DUCATI 1199 PANIGALE S (2012 - 2014) Review

Highlights

  • Stunning to look at and to ride
  • A leap forwards from previous model
  • Performs as well on track as on road

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £130
Power: 195 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.5 in / 825 mm)
Weight: Medium (415 lbs / 188 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £11,900 - £15,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The Ducati 1199 Panigale S was a mould-breaking motorcycle. Apart from the colour and the noise it made, it had nothing in common with Ducati superbikes of old. The chassis was ‘frameless’, there was a new-generation ‘superquadro’ engine and it came with the latest electronic rider aids, which work.

Producing a claimed 195bhp and weighing 188kg, wet, it had a fearsome power-to-weight ratio, but was remarkably easy to ride. Gone was the out-going 1198’s excess of almost uncontrollable torque and in was a smooth power curve and a searing top end.

Like Ducatis of old its super-stable in fast corners, but it steered as fast as a Japanese superbike. It’s a very clever motorcycle and very, very good.

This bike was replaced by the 2015-2017 Ducati 1299 Panigale, which had - you guessed it - a larger engine.

There was also the homologation special Ducati 1199 Panigale R to consider, and for those with ultra-deep pockets, the 200-unit limited edition Ducati 1199 Superleggera might be worth a look.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The riding position was completely different to Ducati superbikes of old and there’s a far shorter stretch to the bars than before, which keeps you more in control.

It’s incredibly light and has the kind of Fireblade-like stability the 1198 could only dream of. With the S model’s electronic riding modes, you could alter the electronic suspension’s settings, power, throttle response, engine braking and traction control on the move. This lets you have the Panigale smooth, docile and comfortable on motorways, or sharp, responsive and fiery on your favourite road, or track. New Brembo monobloc brakes (with discs spaced out 15mm to catch the cooling airflow) are incredible and can be used to the max, thanks to the stability of the new chassis design.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The new ‘superquadro’ (or super-square) 90° V-twin engine had an extreme 106mm x 67.9mm bore and stroke measurement and revved to high-heaven, thanks to its desmodromic valve system, which was operated via chains, instead of belts.

It had new vacuum die-cast crankcases, new pistons and the sump, clutch and cylinder head covers are made from magnesium alloy. The engine had a decompression device, which allowed a smaller, lighter starter motor and battery. It has a new gearbox, a wet slipper clutch and a ride-by-wire throttle system for the first time.

The Panigale was obscenely fast, but controllable, the throttle response is smooth and the power delivery linear. The 1198’s excess of lowdown torque has been tempered, which made the 1199 more controllable under hard acceleration.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

With the Panigale now using chains instead of belts, major services have doubled from 7500-miles to 15,000. Build-quality is superb.

Our Ducati 1199 Panigale S owners' reviews show very high scores. Unusually for a Ducati, there are no comments about high servicing or maintenance costs, but it's likely these won't be cheap. However, this is a classic Ducati now and such things are to be expected. Buy with this in mind and we think you'll love every second of ownership. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

For a shade under twenty grand when new, the Panigale S was expensive in anyone’s books, but if you could afford it, you’d be getting a lot for your money. The base model, which had everything except electronically-adjustable suspension is more affordable.

Track test: Ducati 1199 Panigale S vs BMW HP4 Carbon vs Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory vs Honda Fireblade SP

Back in February 2014 MCN Chief Road Tester Michael Neeves went to the Alcarras circuit in Spain with racing ace Neil Hodgson to test the latest crop of superbikes on track. In our test the Ducati 1199 Panigale S took on the BMW HP4 Carbon, Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory and the Honda Fireblade SP.

Ducati 1199 Panigale S vs BMW HP4 Carbon vs Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory vs Honda Fireblade SP

Our verdict said: "It has the chassis spec and pricetag of an ‘exotic’ superbike, but the Blade SP doesn’t cut it against its European rivals. It’s the slowest on track in the hands of Neil Hodgson and lacks the competition’s array of electronic rider aids. It brings up the rear in this test. It’s still a hugely capable, rapid, superb-handling superbike that’s very easy to get on with on the road and track. It looks fantastic and is exquisitely built, but at this price we expect a little bit more.

"The BMW HP4 wins our test. It combines the Honda’s friendliness and ride quality with searing performance and cutting-edge tech. In second is the Aprilia. This R version is cheaper than the Blade SP, but faster, better equipped and its V4 engine is a joy to on road and track, although it’s very cramped for bigger riders.

"The 1199 Panigale S is third. It struggled with its short gearing and lack of bottom-end on track and it’s tricky to ride fast, even for former world champions – but it’s still a beautiful, special machine and loaded with character."

Equipment

5 out of 5 (5/5)

This S model came with a bewildering array of equipment as standard. It has Ohlins electronic suspension (the standard model has 50mm Marzocchi forks and a Sachs rear shock), an adjustable rear suspension link, Brembo monobloc brakes, traction control, riding modes, electronic engine braking control, a slipper clutch, a quickshifter, magnesium and titanium engine parts, a Thin Film Transistor mult-function dash, optional racing ABS and new Pirelli Diablo Super Corsa tyres with a 200/55 section rear.

Specs

Engine size 1198cc
Engine type 8v, ‘Superquadro’ L-twin
Frame type Cast ali airbox frame – engine stressed member. Single-sided aluminium swingarm
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 188kg
Front suspension Electronically-adjustable Ohlins 43mm upside down forks
Rear suspension Electronically-adjustable Ohlins TTX shock
Front brake 2 x 330mm discs with four-piston Brembo monobloc radial calipers
Rear brake 245mm single disc with twin-piston Brembo caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 200/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 32 mpg
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost £130
New price -
Used price £11,900 - £15,000
Insurance group 17 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 195 bhp
Max torque 98.1 ft-lb
Top speed 186 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 121 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

It would be nice to imagine that the Panigale was born of a single meeting; a frantic day of wild ideas, fiercely strong espresso and line drawings hastily scrawled into an artist's sketch book.

But, of course, it wasn't quite like that. There was no single meeting. The bike was formed from a series of ideas and it was actually the radical Superquadro engine that took initial electronic design form some time back in 2007 as Ducati top brass began planning for the future or superbikes.

Before that, as early the end of 2006, Ducati people were mulling over what direction the future of sports bikes would take. Ducati General Manager Claudio Domenicali said: "The project had an initial stage where nothing was very defined. At the end of 2006, after the 1098 was launched, we set down how we were going to create a successor.

"The project began fully in 2008; before that we had already been talking but there was no set project team. It would have been cheaper and easier to evolve the older model but if we had done that we would always be limited by existing technology; limits that have now been resolved by the Superquadro engine."

The man behind the design

Designer Gianandrea Fabbro first sketched what was to become the 1199 Panigale as far back as September 2006 - weeks after he had finished working on the 1098 and two years before Ducati had committed to build the new machine.

Why so early? Fabbro laughs and explains thatit has always been his dream to design a completely new Ducati superbike. He was the lead designer on the current Multistrada 1200 before working on the 1199 Panigale.

He said: "The first design was for fun! I knew there was no new bike happening but my dream was to make something very modern, compact and technical in design. The first sketch took me one afternoon. It was a pencil drawing so it was easy to erase it as I went along.

"I wanted the bike to do what the 916 did - the design came from necessity. I like the engine to be on view as much as possible. The design is all about pulling everything around the front wheel of the bike, giving it some visible weight."

Ducati opted for an internal competition to find out which person was going to get the job of designing the bike. Of all proposals submitted, three Ducati designers were chosen.

Two of the three designs were then chosen for each designer to go away and build a full size mock-up of the bike in grey foam. No colour is allowed as it is the style of the bike being appraised. Fabbro was chosen as the winner.

In January 2008 the 1199 project began in earnest; codenamed 0801 and the concept was fixed.

Other versions

  • Base model - with 50mm Marzocchi forks and Sachs rear shock.
  • Tricolore – Red/white/green paintjob, ABS, race exhaust can and GPS datalogger.

Owners' reviews for the DUCATI 1199 PANIGALE S (2012 - 2014)

8 owners have reviewed their DUCATI 1199 PANIGALE S (2012 - 2014) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your DUCATI 1199 PANIGALE S (2012 - 2014)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Equipment: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Annual servicing cost: £130
5 out of 5 A low mileage 7yr old Panigale stole my heart
15 August 2021 by Martin.S

Year: 2012

I purchased the bike when it was 7yrs old with 3.5k miles on the clock. I've now got 11k miles on the clock after 3yrs of ownership. Bang for buck it's an amazing bike for the money paid.She looks amazing, with the performance, handling, and soundtrack to match her looks.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

It's a dog to ride at 30mph or in stop-start traffic, but I'm rarely exposed to this type of riding so I can live with it. I'd have made a huge mistake buying this bike if I was using it for commuting.The temperature shoots up if you're riding it at slower speeds and it gets hot under the seat but as hot as some other owners have reported.Ride quality is sublime but it can be tiring on poor road surfaces. The Brembo M50's on the front are massive stoppers. Thankfully!

Engine 5 out of 5

There is absolutely nothing I don't like about the bike's performance or power delivery. The torque is intoxicating and it's a constant challenge trying to keep its 195bhp in check.The power delivery in "race" mode is savage if you're not used to it.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

The quality is mainly pretty good, despite all the horror stories.Winter salt remains on the Scottish roads well into the summer months and I've been disappointed in the poor quality of the OEM fasteners, which have burred quite badly. I'm gradually replacing the fasteners with titanium equivalents.It's a little bit aquaphobic - don't use a pressure washer.You'll end up on first-name terms with your tyre dealer.I have an ongoing intermittent electrical problem which means the bike occasionally cuts out. Usually happens when I'm hundreds of miles from home in the middle of nowhere.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

I do most of the smaller maintenance jobs myself - oil & filter change, coolant flush, brake fluid changes, brake pads (clean/replace) - because I want these carried out more regularly than the recommended service intervals. This also keeps the cost of ownership lower.I haven't had any of the big services yet. My 4 out of 5 rating might go down after I experience some main dealer servicing.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Not a feature as such, but for an 8yr old bike the styling is stunning and doesn't feel like it's aged. She can still stand her ground when parked up next to the newer Panigale's.

Buying experience: Purchased privately. Advertised at £12k and purchased for £12k.

4 out of 5 Panigale 1199s.
15 August 2021 by Lee

Year: 2012

Comfy superbike that does everything well except a busy commute. Under seat exhaust really pumps out heat. Not so bad if wearing leathers but in jeans it’s uncomfortable.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Not a pillion type bike but for me solo it’s all day comfy. It’s my only bike. It does 300 mile weekend ride outs and commutes. Can be thirsty if you press on a bit and is way faster than anyone really needs. It is top notch build and component quality.

Engine 4 out of 5

Doesn’t really want to run smoothly at low revs but once your moving it’s a wave of torque. If you take it above 7k revs you unleash what I can only describe as a two Stoke type power band that pins you on the seat hump and demands the very best of the electronic package.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Only issue I’ve had is miss firing on the front cylinder during heavy rain.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

The Desmo service @ 15k is around £1500z🙄

Equipment 5 out of 5

It’s a piece of art to look at. Best upgrade full termis and remap. Running on pilot powers and significantly better than corsa’s for everyday riding.

Buying experience: Bought from a dealer for asking price. Ducati dealer did full service and fitted new tyres, c&s & new clutch slave cylinder prior to handover. Great customer service.

5 out of 5 Bought one 9 years after its debut
21 June 2021 by the_iron_chiborek

Version: 1199 Base ABS

Year: 2013

I love it so much that it hurts! This bike is built by a very passionate group of people. From engineers to the designers to all the way to the factory assembly line. I'm in the motorcycle business too and I've met Gianni Fabbro, I do spend time with people regulary who have worked with him. I know personally his successors at Ducati, I've met his predecessors etc... Everybody in this business accepts this bike as a mastepiece, a classic already and, in my own personal opinion, a used market bargain. Love or hate the Ducati people and what they stand for, this bike is gonna remain special for many years to come.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Top of the line. Comfier than people give it credits for. Does get warm in the traffic but its pleasant when cold. Astonishing breakes and being so light, even over the v4 and such, the bike just stops and goes and all that so so easily.

Engine 5 out of 5

Torque is relatively up high for a twin and overall its very smooth and linear. On second gear around 2k rpm it goes very quiet and the throttle gets fixed at a position. I assume this explains how the passed the emission tests because i dont know how the hell this road bike is this loud with a stock exhaust. I love it, the thump of it just moves your chest. And i still dont know the made it those big cylinders rev to 12k, you can truly tell that this is the highest point of the craft of building v twin engines.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Superb overall. I've bought an 9 year old bike with low milage. Everything is holding up great even after years passing. Minor negatives are the black plastics looks to be "sweating" a little but thats truly all. Everything works as well as when it first rolled outta factory and the bike is still impressive after all these years.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

It is hugely undervalued in the used market right now because everytone wants the v4 goodie. Well on the long run, I see this bike being more sought after than the v4 due to its uniqueness as being one of the most advanced v twins history has ever seen and one of the most beautiful bikes ever made. For such bike, you just suck it up and pay for whatever they ask for at service time.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Great electronics working as they should, screen still looking great. Actually i prefer the graphics on 1199 to any other current gen Ducatis. Quickshifter as standart but no blipper. One would have to be quite certaing with the feet moves for the quickshifter because sometimes it can go a bit indecisive and put you back on the previous gear. Although no problems on acceleration.

Buying experience: Has been a dream for me before, it was unreal when I actually pulled the trigger and few monts after the purchase, I still cannot believe how much i love this thing. I take pride for something that I haven't designed or built. I dont think in the history of motor vehicles, an inanimate object could not be more "animal like" than this bike, as if its has a soul. Is not perfect, just like any living creature and it just makes it more likable.

5 out of 5
12 December 2020 by James Taylor

Year: 2012

It's performance and handling ( it handles like on rails) and the sound even from the standard exhaust. It's only draw back is that in slow moving traffic it gets a bit warm between the legs. would definitely recommend a future classic.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Bologna's ballistic missle is probably the best used bike in the market.
08 July 2020 by Biscuit

Year: 2014

Annual servicing cost: £130

Stunning bike, with a mega top end. With the correct upgrades it's easily rideable around town and comfortable. Inside thighs get a bit warm. With the Termi exhausts it's extremely loud.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Light, flick able, brakes will hurt your hands and forearms as you pile into corners. Honestly the front brake is ridiculously good. Ohlins electronically adjustable suspension is awesome. Plenty of rebound options for British roads. I came from an RSV 1000 (2001) which was over 200kgs wet. I think the 1199s (with the carbon fibre mods on mine) is about 185kgs and there is a massive difference. Plenty of confidence in corners. Pottering around town will mean the exhaust shielding under the seat gets warm. It's not uncomfortable like the new V2 and V4 but it's noticeable.

Engine 5 out of 5

With a throttle spacer, easy and managable around town and motorways or duel carriageways, but who buys a Panigale to ride on those? Stick it in sport or race mode wind it up to over 8000 reves and just make sure you're holding on tight. The power delivery is initially smooth, but once you get to the top end the bike goes mental and the world becomes a blur. It's very very fast, and takes your breath away.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Have only done 500 miles in the month I've had it. Bike feels rock solid and smooth as melted butter despite its 16k miles. Slightly loose left mirror joint, means the already useless mirrors are worse. Absolutely no other issues.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Thirsty. Expect about 100 miles per tank giving it the occasional beans. Big service at every 15k miles is nearly 1000 pounds so save up! I've been riding 7 years with 7 years NCD, I'm 37 and insurance was just over 300 quid for fully comp 250 excess.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Too long to list. ABS, Traction Control, wheelie control, brilliant TFT screen, riding modes which are almost infinity adjustable. Ohlins, Marchesini wheels, Termignoni exhaust system. Throttle spacer and ducati performance seat are an absolute must.

Buying experience: Purcashed from Ducati Aylesbury. Bike has always been serviced there and they've looked after it. Was kept in the dark for about 10 days as to when they bike would be ready for pick up, but they did the Desmo 15k service for no extra cost so can't complain.

4 out of 5
29 October 2015 by Craig

Year: 2012

Best bike I have owned with all the cool electronics that most GP bikes have!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Made an old man very happy !
01 November 2014 by stevensonkaatsch

I had a modest inheritance and bought myself the dream. I bought the Tricolore mostly due to it's looks and then added pretty much everything on the accessory list.... all the carbon, the luggage, race down-pipes and the Up-Map, but not the dust cover which was just TOO expensive. I was lucky, a little foolish and haven't regretted a moment of it. To all the detractors I say there's room for all and each to their own. I am by no means a wealthy man (especially after buying the Tricolore) but have been fortunate enough to buy my personal dream.... and who wouldn't do that, given the opportunity ? It is sooo much better than I am as a rider, but it is gifted with wonderful electronic aids that make up for any kack-handedness from the operator. I have owned a 675R Daytona previously, which I loved (though I couldn't either afford or justify both it and the Ducati at the same time) and various old mid-range Hondas before that. As a 'never born before biker', I got my full licence in early 2012 and cut my teeth on the old Hondas (I'm 57) and made all my dangerous mistakes on them before getting anything with any go in it, then went from Triumph to Ducati pretty quickly thereafter. So.... I'm no great biking Guru or expert in any way worth considering, though a career in the motor trade, hands-on, has given me plenty of experience in performance driving. Although not directly comparable, there are plenty of cross-over skill-sets to draw from. My bike has done well over 7000 miles in all weathers, is on it's second set of tyres and has had a hissy-fit just the once when some damp found it's way into a chocolate-block electrical connector under my seat. Everything went nuts on the speedo screen and the motor went into 'limp-home' mode (restricting me to somewhere around the national speed limit), then was perfect again after my dealers at Ducati Coventry fixed it over a cup of tea (and showed me how to fix it if it ever did it again... just blow into the plug, bit of WD and Bobs yer wotsit. I every other way, the bike is astonishing. It will lift it's wheel just under normal acceleration even in 3rd, floats it in 4th and is beyond words at full throttle in 6th where it seems to start pulling even harder beyond 180 ! Get a road test on an 'S' model... pretty much the same as mine except for the top-end. There are probably faster bikes, definately cheaper bikes and many others that are more user-friendly/easy to ride, but nothing gives the same thrills that Ducati have built into the Panigale (subject to my basic ignorance, of course).

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 1199s Tricolore
07 May 2012 by bananabiker

1100 miles covered so far!!..Very Precise, great brakes,a seating position of a sports tourer (almost), quality suspension and many many electronic safety devices for the average rider using poor quality roads. I had the rear lift in sport mode before the ABS kicked in. Minor niggles: Rock hard seat which can get a bit hot from the pipe below..... A bike that dreams are made of.....

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
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