Ducati 1198 SP – AskMen

3 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Ducati 1198 SP – AskMen
Ducati 851 SP 3

Ducati 1198 SP

Price: $22,000

Top Speed: 186 mph

MPG / LPG: Unknown

If it’s good enough for Prince William. it must be good enough for anyone. The royal Easy Rider can be sniped by expert paparazzi on a stealth black 2011 Ducati 1198 SP, rounding the tracks of England clad in Union Jack knee pucks. Yes, it’s true.

The beloved prince has been a diehard fan of two wheels since the age of eight, starting on off-road machines, attaining his motorcycle license in 2002, working his way up to Japanese street bikes, and finally ascending the ladder to the more exotic Italian powerhouses of today. In 2008, William rode next to his brother Harry in a motorcycle rally across South Africa for charity, and Harry has taken riding lessons from MotoGP star Chris Vermeulen, so we know it runs in the family.

William’s Duc secret was revealed back in 2009, when the prince thundered to a polo match on his 1198 S. Of course, back in November of 2010, William placed an order for a brand new 2011 Ducati 1198 SP, which solidified the fact that he not only has expensive taste, but also top notch bike-dar when it comes to the best in performance, style and handling. At $27,200 from the factory, it is quite obvious that William opted for the full-fireworks display, as the bike starts at $22,000. But we’ll be dealing with a typical factory 1198 SP in this review, as most of us are not privileged enough to experience the full two-wheeled royal treatment.

The Ducati 1198 SP resides among the caviar of the superbike market, nestling tenaciously next to the BMW S1000 RR and Aprilia RSV4 Factory. For most riders, a bike of this caliber is financially unattainable due to its all-star cast of exotic features, which include Ohlins suspension, Brembo monoblock brakes and a carbon-fiber front fender. The Ducati 1198 SP is not just a catwalk killer; the bike is equipped with serious Italian-engineered L-Twin big bore power.

If you’re dreaming about the ultimate factory track machine, it pays to be a prince.

Despite the 1198 SP’s scintillating, aerodynamic architecture, the bike has mega balls. Ducati’s tried-and-true liquid-cooled 1198.4cc Testastretta Evoluzione L-Twin engine cranks out 170 hp at 9,750 rpm and a brutish 97 lb-ft of torque at 8,000 rpm with an ass-chapping 190 mph top speed.

Super-sensitive elliptical throttle bodies made the 1198 SP more responsive than a squirrel on uppers with a twist of the wrist, and Ducati’s Quick Shift slipper clutch shaved seconds off of our lap times, thanks to its ability to transcend the clutch while keeping the throttle pinned open. Ducati also managed to whittle 6.5 pounds off of the 1198 SP’s Testastretta engine when stacked against the 1098 engine, and we could feel it in the nimbler handling.

The bark of the underseat twin 2-1-2 stainless exhaust system resonated throughout the track, emblazoning all with the classic Ducati growl. Few bikes can match the unruly vigor present in the Ducati 1198 SP’s entire rev range, and the bike continued to pull with refined force all day long.

Ducati gave the 1198 SP the royal treatment when it came to components, and a list like this is enough to overstimulate any track rider’s saliva glands. We’ll begin with the 43 mm, fully adjustable Ohlins forks, which are coated with titanium nitride for the ultimate in smoothness. There’s also the plush Ohlins TTX rear shock, which staved off unwanted pogo action significantly.

Add in the Ohlins steering damper, and our ride was smoother than warm Country Crock, especially while planted in corners. For brakes, the Ducati 1198 SP rocks monoblock radials that bite down on obscene semi-floating 330 mm rotors, which oust standard 310 or 320 mm diameter rotors. Matching Brembo master cylinders sealed the deal for us, paving the way to stoppie heaven.

Ducati 851 SP 3

With Ducati’s ultra lightweight trellis/magnesium sub-frame chassis and brawny single-sided swingarm, the 1198 SP was extraordinarily rigid while maintaining its anorexic 380 lb-ish loaded weight. Top it all off with 7-spoke Marchesini wheels, and a feathery rotating mass never looked so sexy. Though the seat can wear on the bottom after long laps and the bike’s riding position is a tad cramped, the Ducati 1198 SP proved itself as one of the worthiest out-of-the-box street-legal race machines in existence.

The Ducati 1198 SP does not shy from technology, as the bike uses Ducati Traction Control (DTC), which is found on MotoGP bikes. The 1198 SP’s DTC provided up to eight levels of wheel-spin correction, ranging from beginner level with heavy correction to pro with minimal correction.

The bike also gave us Ducati Data Analyzer, which recorded a multitude of rider inputs like throttle opening, bike speed and rpm, and enabled us to download a graph displaying each channel for a comprehensive rider study. Anti-lock brakes are available on the 1198 SP but are an optional add-on. We wonder if Prince William ordered ABS for his bike.

The 1198 SP’s instrument panel seemed like it was borrowed from the Jetsons, backed by LEDs and displaying lap times, air temperature, coolant temperature, battery voltage, two trip meters, and a gaggle of other useful information. LEDs also make their way into the 1198 SP’s tail and turn signal lights, and the headlight is composed of two polyellipsoidal units that cast a thick beam. Seeing the dollar signs pile up in front of you yet?

We see a mountain of fun.

Not only is the Ducati 1198 SP one of the greatest track bikes in existence, but it manages to pull off sizzling Italian style that trumps all other bikes in its class. From the carbon-fiber front fender to the sleek, aerodynamic bodywork, the Ducati 1198 SP is a knockout at nearly any angle. Ducati also added an aluminum tank that boosted the bikes fuel capacity by 2/3 of a gallon, though its slightly larger mass goes unnoticed amid the masterfully crafted body lines.

Prince William doesn’t only have expensive taste in motorcycles, but the boy has fantastic taste when it comes to selecting a stellar machine for the track.

For a cool 22 grand, the Ducati 1198 SP is one of the few bikes to roll out of the dealership with all of the bare essentials present for top notch racing performance. Now you’ll have to ask yourself if buying a bike that’s 22,000 bucks is worth the price of royalty. You’ll just have to ride an 1198 SP to find out.

Ducati 851 SP 3
Ducati 851 SP 3

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