2008 Desmosedici RR + Ducati 1098R Motorcycle Comparison — Ultimate…

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Ducati Desmosedici RR

2008 Desmosedici RR + Ducati | Motorcycle Comparison

Now is the winter of my made glorious summer, as the 2008 motorcycle racing is finally underway. All the major compete in both the World and MotoGP series, and the machinery have developed is stunning. machines are super-exotic multi-million prototypes, whereas Superbikes are the of production-based motorcycles developed hugely powerful race-bikes.

in its infinite wisdom, has produced versions of each of its most race machines. The MotoGP-derived RR is now available for sale, and the road-going of the World Superbike machine—the likewise, arriving on the showroom Naturally, there are a few concessions to and street-legality.

Nevertheless, both are each a direct sibling of the if not quite a perfect twin. But no mistake, these motorcycles are very close to the pukka ( Click image to enlarge )

stiff suspension, contorted positions and ludicrous power these motorcycles have a appeal, and it takes a particularly aficionado to consider buying one, let alone both. one such passionate individual is my Kaming Ko. Describing himself—with understatement—as just an enthusiast, he is, in an ex-motorcycle and automobile racer of riding these two machines to their limits.

An owner of the and soon to be owner of the 1098R would be his first ride), he offered us this unique for the ultimate back-to-back Ducati

Spring Mountain Motorsports in Pahrump, Nev. is a speed-freak’s After acquiring the facility years ago, John and Brad Rambo have both money and love the facility. Supported by Tuscan-villa outbuildings housing their and Radical race schools, is even a gorgeous new club-member spa to any satisfied, but track-weary, gladiator.

The track has a variety of corners to test these two motorcycles.

Being Ducatis, naturally have similar silhouettes. bikes have hand-laid bodywork wrapping each engine, smoothly coaxing the airflow around and over the and its rider. They are painted different shades of racing white-striped Team Version RR in team sponsor Marlboro whereas the 1098R comes in the classic Italian racing

Exotic materials abound, on the Desmosedici: the footrest hangars are as are the entire front and rear the radiator cowl and airbox. cam, clutch and sump and a full titanium exhaust are while the 1098R has sand-cast a carbon-fiber fairing and seat, and a pair of Termignoni mufflers poke out the back. Both are so exquisitely detailed that the you look, the more you see. ( image to enlarge )

Both are with Öhlins forks, the front suspension on the Desmosedici the gas-charged racing version more adjustments. The settings are to be based on Ducati’s current numbers, and has what Ducati to as a balanced setting. In theory, results in quicker response improves rider feel.

The uses the fabulous Öhlins and Track fork, which is a improvement over less suspension.

Interestingly, critical numbers on the Ducatis are identical. have a rake angle of (though both can be set-up steeper), 3.8 inches of trail, and a wheelbase. The 1098R’s seat 10mm lower than the and Ducati claims the 1098R the weight of the RR by about 13 pounds sans battery and all liquids).

onto the 1098R (that displaces 1198cc) and with on the Desmosedici, we headed out for our first session. Beginning modestly, we the tires and started getting our up to speed; about halfway the session, we switched machines. The between the two bikes was immediately and Kaming agreed.

Yes, it’s very he said after we’d into the pits again. The is a hot-rod streetbike—whereas the Desmosedici is a racebike.

The 1098R is a stunningly motorcycle, but what strikes me so is how easy it is to ride. It accelerates quickly, but the claimed 177.5 hp its V-twin motor torques in idle and is so linear, the fuel so seamless, that coupled its neutral, stable handling, it inspires confidence. Hugely, powerful, it will effortlessly the front wheel in the first gears; and yet because the power in with such liquid it feels supremely controllable than manic.


Helmet: Suomy Extreme

Leathers: Axo Dragon

Axo KKR-4

Boots: Axo Primato


Helmet: VSREV

Leathers: Spidi GP

Gloves: Spidi Race

Boots: Sidi Veritgo ( Click image to enlarge )

they ride on different of tire, the bikes share the front size at 120/70-17, but rears are different. The 16-inch Marchesini wheel of the Desmosedici on a 200/55—an exclusively developed BT-01. Although the Pirelli Supercorsa 2 on the 1098R shares the 55 profile, its 17-inch rear of the 1098R has the more traditional width.

The differences imply the 1098R might turn a quicker, although with its footprint the Desmosedici should grip a little better.

the first session, Kaming and I that both bikes an increase in tire pressures so the went to 34 psi front, 32 rear, and the to 34 psi in each tire. The improvement was noticeable. The 1098R lost its under power, and the Desmosedici feel (and rider in the front-end.

We were amazed how 2 lbs of pressure in the could make such a

With the tire pressures now at the 1098R’s handling was close to It is incredibly intuitive to turn and placement on the track is easy. The RT fork on the 1098R was exemplary.

The in surface at the exit of Turn 4 fully leaned over was noticeable, and even with the vagaries of Turns 1A and B, both and I felt complete confidence in the end. There is no quirky on turn-in, and coming back on to the the bike stays absolutely on without any tendency to run wide. through Turns 3A and B—which are like a fast-transition chicane—the steered crisply and precisely, me to focus on braking hard for the downhill entrance to the following Turn 4. ( Click to enlarge )

At the back, both are Öhlins-equipped, though the 1098R with the new TTX36 shock. past designs where a piston pushes through the new TTX has a patented twin tube that creates equal on both compression and rebound, in quicker damping response. braking, the rear of the 1098R more planted than the the latter tending to lift its wheel when hard on the

We put that down to weight but the 1098R’s TTX shock undoubtedly too. Both machines with the now-ubiquitous slipper-clutch; the has a heavier spring load to the stronger engine back-torque, but we the spring load settings on bike to be ideal.

Exiting the gear transition of Turns 1B on the feels like being from a cannon. With a 100 ft/lbs of torque at a 7,750 rpm gushing onto the track, the Pirelli squirmed (although not to cause the traction control on 4 to interfere) and the bars shook a As the power poured in, the bike up and lofted the front wheel in a long, controllable wheelie.

As the revs boil up and I upshifted third, the front wheel gracefully to earth. The grin on my was so wide, the muscles around my started to ache.

And that’s the of this hot-rod. A loud, Termignoni race pipe intimidates all within earshot; yet linear power from that has such a perfect connection you can dial in small by merely thinking about it.

Öhlins suspension and a stable giving superb front end and confident corner entry, and monobloc brakes that enough feel and stupendous braking that a week I’m still popping Aleve candy to alleviate the throbbing in my shoulders. Kaming’s immediate of, it’s just so easy to confirmed my feelings.

It has the lithe, quick reactions of a big cat, but it is more panther than the 1098R is light, incredibly stunningly well braked and it exactly where you want it to. But there is the Desmosedici RR. Pushing the button is like pulling the pin on a grenade—you just know is about to be trouble. I could not but draw a quick breath, as if the was literally springing to life my very eyes.

The fast produces a crackle from the all exhaust that lets you you had better be respectful, buddy. blip sends a tingle my spine. Where the 1098 charisma, the Desmosedici barks it. non-motorcyclists look at it differently—everyone the RR is something very, very with a purposeful wickedness it that only true possess.

If the 1098R is a panther, then the is a cheetah with ‘roid

My first few laps on the Desmosedici cautious. I was very aware of the nature of the bike I was riding even though I had ridden an RR I was certainly careful and knew this machine could back. The boisterous motor is tractable.

The engine’s V-4 outputs 85 ft/lbs of torque (almost 15 than the 1098R) at 10,500 It certainly goes well at revs, but without the 1098R’s Although I would never the RR as gutless, lower down it the immediacy of the 1098R.

The Desmosedici sharply, transitioning its weight than I expected. On my initial it turned almost too quickly, a little into corners; alarming, but definitely not as confidence-inspiring or as to ride as the 1098R. Yet, as the started to click away, my increased and I wicked it up.

And, that, everything changed.

At rpm—about the same point as the 1098R runs out of puff—the LCD tach sweeps right and the gets angry. Real The gloves come off and suddenly the takes on a peculiarly warped as the 197 hp (claimed, but I believe it) explodes out and to wrench the Bridgestone off its rear magnesium wheel. The exhaust becomes a howl; as the power me back in the seat, it takes of my strength to hold on.

It is no wonder my are still aching. Finally between the 13,800 rpm redline and the at 14,200 rpm, I frantically another gear and desperately try to the front wheel down.

the handling sorts itself out The firm suspension smoothes out and the simply floats over and surface irregularities. Turn-in precise and predictable, and the previously flop-in disappears.

Bottom line: Total is required to make this behave.

Photograph by Don Williams

The monobloc brakes are, of fabulous. Both bikes use pumps at the handlebar and twin radial calipers squeezing two against 330mm rotors. claim to spend more on RD than the rest of the brake combined earns in revenue. or not, these brakes a level of finesse and ultimate power that we could dream of a few short years

The Desmosedici has a racing-type front adjuster that snakes the top triple clamp to the left for easy on-the-fly adjustment; it is example of race detail differentiates the Desmosedici from the

Ducati has positioned these two perfectly, and Kaming agrees. The is the ultimate hot-rod streetbike and on it will exceed virtually expectations. The Desmosedici RR’s prowess is at another level you show it the commitment. Although for road use, it simply so much exotic charisma and power that it would be to leave it glowering with in the garage.

I guess that that, just like Ko, you’ll need one of each.

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