DUCATI 959 PANIGALE (2018 - 2020) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £4,000
Power: 148 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.7 in / 830 mm)
Weight: Low (387 lbs / 176 kg)


New N/A
Used £11,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Ducati’s 959 Panigale Corse is worth the extra cash over the standard model for wow factor alone.

It’s still the 959 we know and love - easy and non-threatening to ride fast and born to tackle fast corners. The Ohlins is a small step up in performance and adjustability, but it’s not huge and there’s no power gain from the new end cans. Tot up the cost of the Corse’s extras and it adds up to a lot more than the sum of its parts, but can buy a used 959, or even an earlier 899 cheaper and upgrade it for less.  

In 2020 the 959 was replaced by the Ducati Panigale V2.

Ride quality & brakes

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

There’s little wrong with the standard 959’s fully adjustable Showa Big Piston Forks and Sachs shock, but we all know top drawer suspension is always an improvement. But as cool as they look, the Corse’s Öhlins forks and shock aren’t an obvious step forward, which just goes to show how well set-up the base model is.

Ride-quality is slightly improved, but you’d need to ride the Corse back-to-back with the stock 959 to really feel the difference and fit stickier tyres to work the suspension harder. But on track it’s easier to dial the Öhlins to suit the rider and feel the changes a few clicks of damping makes.

The Corse also has an adjustable Öhlins steering damper, but the Ducati is so unflappable it’s not needed. 


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

The 955cc, 148bhp 8v Superquadro motor remains unchanged in Corse guise, but it comes with Euro4-friendly titanium Akrapovic cans. They don’t make any extra power, but they’re trackday friendly, recording just 97db at 5000rpm.

Reliability & build quality

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

There have been no reports of major issues with the 959.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

You’ve got to really want this special version of Ducati’s baby Panigale. It might come dripping with mouth-watering goodies, but the Corse is superbike money and you can have a lot more power and technology for the same price, or less.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

The new Corse edition comes with a host of goodies, including fully-adjustable Ohlins suspension and steering damper, a 2.5kg lighter lithium-ion battery, Akrapovic titanium cans and a lumo-orange MotoGP inspired paintjob. 


Engine size 955cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 830mm
Bike weight 176kg
Front suspension 43mm fully-adjustable Showa BPF forks
Rear suspension Fully-adjustable single rear Showa shock
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs with Brembo four-piston radial caliper
Rear brake 245mm single disc with single-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost £4,000
New price -
Used price £11,500
Insurance group 17 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 148 bhp
Max torque 75 ft-lb
Top speed 165 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

2016: 899 Panigale replaced by the 959. Euro4-frienldy, it has a more powerful ‘stroked’ 955cc engine, a tweaked chassis and styling, new side-mount exhausts and a 7kg weight increase.

2018: 959 Panigale Corse introduced with Ohlins, Akrapovic exhaust cans, a lighter battery and MotoGP inspired paintjob. 

Other versions

Panigale 959: Base model is still high spec and comes with Brembos, a quickshifter, traction control and ABS.

Owners' reviews for the DUCATI 959 PANIGALE (2018 - 2020)

2 owners have reviewed their DUCATI 959 PANIGALE (2018 - 2020) 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 959 PANIGALE (2018 - 2020)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Value vs rivals: 2.5 out of 5 (2.5/5)
Equipment: 3.5 out of 5 (3.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £4,000
5 out of 5 Experiences from a first time Ducati owner
18 April 2021 by RRacer

Version: Corse

Year: 2018

Easiest bike to drive ever. Tuned for top end, lacks low end V-twin grunt. For those new to biking but want to get into sports bikes, this is the easiest bike to live with. Nervous low rpm characteristics, but otherwise gentle as a lamb.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Depending what type of biker you are, this bike could be heaven or hell. For those that like hyper touring (high avg speed, carve corners) it's spot on! If you use it as a commuter vehicle and often sit in heavy traffic it's the wrong one. At low speed you get a high load on your wrists. Low speed is choppy and just feel awkward, especially if you haven't corrected the excessive throttle play. Get the suspension dialed in, adjust controls to suit you and it's the easiest bike to ride. Ever. For real, like an old school CBR600.The high rev characteristics of the motor, not unlike your average inline four, requires somewhat of an attitude change from those familiar with big V-twins. Admittedly, it's largely a consequence of the ever tightening emission rules.Conclusion: it's a liter twin that feels like an I4 600 to drive. Easy to drive fast, just doesn't feel fast.

Engine 4 out of 5

The engine delivers everything you need for the street. If you're in for the bragging rights - go for the 1299 or the V4. Truth is that 150-160 horses at the crank is all you can use at the street, unless for straight line acceleration/top speed. That's not how you use sports bikes anyway.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

So far I've only done 650 km on mine. Build quality is top notch - assembly not as good. You need to go over the bike from time to time and make sure screws and nuts are secure. It's a good idea to add some blue Loctite here and there. Unheard of for a japanese bike.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

Not done any service on it yet, but from what I hear it's expensive. I've had a great number of different bikes during 40 years of riding/racing, and I usually service them myself, apart from work that requires special tools and/or expertise. The dreaded bi-annual desmo service seems to be the most expensive. I also hear a lot of stories of shops over charging simple maintenance work.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The 959 Panigale, including the Corse, has all the electronic gadgets you would want. Some of those gadgets sometimes get in the way of, say, rear wheel antics, which I find pretty fun. Without disabling at least the ABS, the front wheel will never lift more than an inch. It has an up only quick shifter which works really good. Selectable engine braking characteristics makes sense for track use only. Side note - off throttle engine braking makes the most awesome sound! Later revisions (the V2) got lean angle aware ABS, which would've made this one better. I don't mind the monochrome dash, as the color TFT is smaller. Old eyes prefer larger writing. OEM mirrors are a joke. Blurry at any speed/RPM. The up side is that you'll be fast enough to not need them. Euro4 side mounted silencers. Why are they there? I removed them and started the bike. No difference in sound levels. The under engine collector kills the beautiful song of the Ducati twin. Will install an under-belly, no cat free breathing exhaust. On a side note, this is my first Ducati, and I'm surprised on how the Ducati crowd seems obsessed with upgrades, performance enhancing or not. A full exhaust system could set you back $6000 - I kid you not! The same system would cost less than half for any other bike, except for Triumphs and those American two-wheeled agricultural vehicles.

Buying experience: Dealer bought. Mint, just run-in. A few extras added.

4 out of 5 Sexy, Safe (for a motorcycle), fast(ish), refined, but at a cost.
30 March 2020 by Kieran

Version: Corse

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £4,000

Review is for the U.S. Corse version (WOOOO no ugly shotgun cans!). This thing looks sexy AF, I love the bike overall, the flat paint scheme looks 200% better in person, and sets off the bike. Engine is solid, refined for 7+ years as 899, only issue I've had was a bad radiator cap but bike was still able to make it to the shop cause the radiator is massive. Electronics make this thing a peach if you want it around town, granted you (and your family jewels) will get cooked, but do you really want to have kids while you own a Panigale? Also it is not a value, if you are looking for bang for your buck, not for you. Engine isn't the screamer you can get in the Japanese bikes for a lower price. Also this is my only form of transportation so it can be a commuter if you are willing to deal with wrist pain, sweating a bit, and possible sterilization.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Why I bought the bike (aside from the paint scheme), you'll need to get the suspension custom tuned otherwise it feels like you are getting punched in the kidneys, but I came from a monster 1200 and FZ09 prior to this, and this thing feels awesome in comparison. Easy to turn, brakes are a a little soft getting at first, but the ABS works well. If you grab them hard it will stop real quick without you getting acquainted with the pavement.

Engine 4 out of 5

Not super impressive and kicking in the low end like my 1200 monster was, but absolutely screams when you hit 8-9K. Been refined for 7+ years so I'm hoping there won't be any reliability issues outside of the radiator cap mentioned above which is an easy fix.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Had a few issues in first 5K miles. Radiator cap went bad while in Yosemite, radiator is impossible to get to without taking off the side + front fairing plus headlight. Rode it back didn't have any issues since the radiator is massive and even spitting fluid when parked a few times it was fine. Dealer fixed it right up and ran a heat check. Chain was loose after about 500 miles, just assuming it wasn't setup right. Also easy fix, still was a bummer to pay for the tow bill as the Ducati service would've taken weeks. Aside from those issues it runs like a dream and it has never left me stranded. Fit and finish are what you'd expect from a $20K bike after tax and other fees.

Value vs rivals 2 out of 5

*In U.S. dollars. Also to note, depends on how much you ride I'm basing this on riding ~7.5K a year standard services costing ~$1.5K with tires every other year, and $3K every other year for the 15K desmo service + tires. You have to maintain a Duc and good luck doing it yourself. Additionally I couldn't shift with the standard foot equipment, nearly impossible to move the shifter lever without stripping their stupid custom adjustment rod. So sprung for rearsets which were pricey as well as getting them put on. Can finally use the quick shifter though. Also if you live in a city and are under 40 get ready to give your first born to the insurance company. I have a clean driving record, no tickets, but maxed out coverage with a low deductible and am paying just under $2.5K a year.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Few things here, they don't have separate wheelie and traction control and it is super invasive, "Ducati fun police." So if you want to save your front tire, you'll have to go low ABS only in race mode. Be nice to have a gas gauge but its not like they work on other bikes I've had either. Also knocking a point since the foot pegs combined with the shifter lever are virtually unusable if you are 6 ft +. Nice add-ons with the corse is the steering dampener and ohlins.

Buying experience: Love my shop in Marin Speedshop in California. They've got me in for the radiator issue within a week. Buying experience was painless did it on a whim in about 2 hours.

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