DUCATI 959 PANIGALE (2016 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Ducati’s new 959 Panigale was designed to extend the 899 Panigale’s lifespan and meet tough Euro 4 noise and emissions laws. Based on the Euro 3 compliant 899 Superquadro lump, the ‘stroked’ 955cc engine is more powerful, but Ducati has also breathed on the chassis, tweaked the styling and swallowed the bitter pill of fitting those controversial shotgun-style exhausts. It’s 7kg heavier, too. But apart from the extra weight and slightly feeble brakes, all these changes adds up to a truly sensational sports bike – one of the best in any class. The 959 Panigale hasn’t moved the game on and that might sound like a backwards step, but what Ducati has actually done is saved the ‘baby’ Panigale from extinction.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Suspension, brakes and riding position are all carried over from the 899 Panigale, but Ducati has lowered the swingarm pivot by 4mm to improve traction on track and stability on the road. The shock is 2mm longer and the wheelbase is 5mm longer, but the 24° rake and 96mm trail remain the same.
The ride quality is excellent and there’s lots of spece and legroom to move around, even for taller riders. The joy of riding the 899 Panigale and now the new 959 quickly is to do all of your work in the corners and it has a sweet-handling chassis to oblige. Let go of the brakes early, roll through the turns as fast as you dare and watch brightly-painted apex kerbs flash by like strobes, like a big Moto3 racer.
Coming out of the bends, there’s so much feeling for grip that you can get the 959’s throttle to the stop pretty much the second you’ve lifted up it from full lean. But the bars can kick in your hands under hard acceleration, especially over bumps and during fast direction changes with its lower back end.
Like the 899 Panigale the unchanged Brembos don’t have the power and consistency you’d hope for and aren’t as strong as those fitted to the 1299. They never cause any scares, but could be better.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Power is up a claimed 9bhp to 157bhp and torque is increased by 6.2ftlb to 79.2ftlb over the 899 model. It’s the first of Ducati’s Superquadro motors to pass Euro 4 regulations, so expect the 1299 to follow next year. The 100mm bore remains the same, but the stroke is increased from 57.2mm to 60.8mm.
The reworked motor has ribbed aluminium cylinder heads (to reduce noise and increase strength), pistons with a reshaped crown, high-flow air-filter, upgraded lubrication system, a secondary shower injector above the throttle butterflies (which kicks in just below 9000rpm) and a quieter cam chain.
Gone are the 899’s sexy underslung exhausts and instead Ducati has fitted shotgun-style twin pipes to meet the tough Euro 4 noise and emissions laws. Pipe diameter is also up from 55mm to 60mm, the same as the 1299. Countries outside the EU will still get the old 899-style pipes.
A slipper clutch (the 899 didn’t have one) lets the 959 freewheel more into corners when you’re banging down through the gears. It's also servo-assisted to give a lighter lever action.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Despite the 959’s extra capacity, power and torque, service intervals remain an impressive: 7500-miles for an interim service and 15,000-miles to check valve clearances. Build quality is up there with the best, as are the tasty satin metallic white and gloss red paintjobs.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The 959 Panigale is priced on par with most Japanese and European V4 and inline four-cylinder superbikes, but it’s a lot cheaper than Ducati’s big 1299 Panigale range.
Just like the 899 Panigale before it, you get a lot of kit for your money like traction control, racing ABS, riding modes, a quickshifter, a multi-function dash, Brembos, Pirellis and fully-adjustable suspension.
|Engine type||8v, L-twin|
|Frame type||Cast aluminium airbox|
|Fuel capacity||17 litres|
|Front suspension||43mm Showa BPF forks, fully-adjustable.|
|Rear suspension||Single rear Sachs shock, fully-adjustable.|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm discs with four-piston Brembo calipers.|
|Rear brake||245mm single disc with twin-piston Brembo caliper.|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£150|
|Used price||£9,400 - £11,700|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||157 bhp|
|Max torque||79.2 ft-lb|
|Top speed||175 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
2013: Ducati launches 899 Panigale with a new Superquadro engine, airbox chassis and full electronics package.
2016: 959 Panigale gets new engine and exhausts to meet Euro 4 noise and emissions rules. The motor is ‘stroked’ to give 955cc and features a host of internal mods, which gives an extra 9bhp and 6.2ftlb of torque. Weight is up 7kg, thanks to the new shotgun exhausts and sound-deadening in the motor and fairing panels. The ‘baby’ Panigale also has slipper clutch for the first time, 1299-style bodywork, Superleggera footpegs and a 4mm lower swingarm position.
Owners' reviews for the DUCATI 959 PANIGALE (2016 - on)
2 owners have reviewed their DUCATI 959 PANIGALE (2016 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Absolutely love mine! More than enough “usable” power, paired with hugely confidence inspiring handling and feedback through a sublime chasssis!
Brakes are fine, but could be better. Ride quality is exceptional for a sportsbike! Lovely wide bars are a massive help.
If only it had a dry clutch and the lack of Euro4 rubbish...
Mirror plastic is a bit naff, broken one by brushing past and catching my arm! Other than that, she’s been amazing!
Get roughly 30 mpg (UK) when thrashing around Dorset’s finest A and B roads, and saw 52mpg on a run down to LeMans on a French motorway.
DTC has saved me a couple of times...
Annual servicing cost: £150
I love this bike. It looks fantastic. Comfortable and easy to ride. Great safety features like traction control, adjustable ABS and engine breaking not forgetting the awesome quick shifter. I was not a fan of the shotgun exhausts but managed to find a complete 1299 system and fairings which the dealer fitted prior to collection.
Excellent ride quality that gives real grip confidence at all angles. The brakes are very good but not as good as the 1299.
A great range of power that pulls from low down and fires out of corners.
Build quality is excellent. No reliability issues.
A standard service is around £150 for each of the first 2 years with a major service at 15,000 miles costing around £600. Shop around as it does vary.
More than enough toys for me with the ability to adjust everything (even on the move) dependant upon your style or location. My favourite accessory is Ventureshield coating which greatly reduces stone damage. The Pirelli tyres give excellent grip in the dry and good grip in the wet although by riding style means that i'm lucky to get 1800 miles from a rear tyre and 3000 from a front.
Buying experience: Purchased from Ducati Stoke (Simon) who made the whole experience really enjoyable. The Bike was £13025. I traded a 2014 899 and got the deal I had hoped for. The Service Manager (Paul) was really helpful on kept me informed of every step when changing the exhaust.