All good things must come to an end, or so the Chaucer saying goes. In this case, it’s true – the Panigale line is coming to a close, so Ducati have honoured it with a bang by releasing the 1299 Panigale R Final Edition and boy what a bang it is.
The Panigale Tales
So what exactly is the Final Edition, other than a pretty paint job? Well sort of a greatest hits that combines elements of the 1299 Panigale, the Panigale R and the 1299 Superleggera.
The engine is an offshoot of the one from the 1299 Superleggera, so it’s pumping out similar numbers: 209 hp at 11,000 rpm and 104.8 lbft at 9000 rpm. The Superquadro engine in the FE shares the same lightened crankshaft and tungsten balancing pads as the Superleggera along with the larger intake and exhaust valves. It’s also got the new clutch from the Superleggera and air-intake system with optimised intakes for each cylinder. Closing out is the titanium Akrapovic exhaust with the high-level silencers acting like the WSB sprinkles on the road-going cake.
The chassis set-up meanwhile, is the same as the Panigale R. There’s no frame per se, so the Final Edition has the die-cast aluminium monocoque structure from the R that uses the engine as a stressed member. The suspension department features an Ohlins clean sweep with a pair of 43mm NIX 30 USD forks, a TTX36 monoshock and an adjustable steering damper. The rest of the kit is top notch too with Brembo M50 monobloc calipers, three-spoke forged alloy wheels and Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tyres. Then of course, there is that pretty paint job.
As you would imagine with any modern Ducati, the Final Edition comes with a whole host of abbreviations and rider aids. There’s DWC EVO (wheelie control), EBC (engine braking), DQS (quickshifter and autoblipper), DTC EVO (traction control), DDA (data logger) all of which is managed by the IMU (brain).
End of an era
The Panigale R Final Edition doesn’t just mark the end of a road bike range – it also signals the end of the v-twin race bike. Over the last 30 or so years, Ducati’s v-twin race bikes have taken 330 World Superbike victories but advances from the competitors have meant that the twins are no longer competitive and the engines have diverged considerably from the road bikes.
Time had come to move on, so it came as no real surprised when Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicalli admitted they’re working on a four-cylinder bike. Then just a few weeks ago we brought you spy shots of the new V4 that will replace the Panigale and ultimately join the WSB paddock in 2019.
So how do you buy a slice of this moment in history? Well the Final Edition is a numbered series but it’s not limited, so you can just stroll down to your local dealer from late-July and purchase one at your leisure. Only time will tell if it will become a collector’s item worth a fortune but for now you can take one home for £34,995.
The engine in the Panigale R Final Edition is a variant of the engine in the Superleggera, so it shares the same intakes and similar lightweight components. The only real difference is in the final assembly – there are no titanium fasteners and the barrels have steel liners (rather than aluminium).
Chassis & suspension
The frame is the lightweight aluminium version from the Panigale R (the 1199-engined WSB homologation special), rather than the carbon one in the Superleggera. The suspension is fully-adjustable Ohlins throughout and has a 24* rake, also like the Panigale R.
The titanium Akrapovic exhaust is a work of art that resembles the twin high-level pipes that are fitted to the WSB race bikes. Amazingly this is Euro4 compliant, so Ducati can keep selling this until 2020 is they want to.
While the bright red wheels might not be a Ducati staple, the tricolore paint is. We've seen it a few times over the years and we’re glad it’s back again – we’re also breathing a sigh of relief Ducati didn’t opt for 900SS Final Edition Silver.