Living with a Ducati 1199 Panigale S — Road Tests: First Rides — Visordown

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Living with a Ducati Panigale S

Panigale makes look mammoth

MY neighbours be forgiven for thinking there’s a at the end of the road, shelling the house door, but no, it’s just me up Ducati’s incredible-sounding 1199 S.

It’s a Ducati superbike so of it’s noisy and blatantly but, like all the best it’s an event.

From it up, to cruising through town or to tap into what it’s got to there are no half measures this bike.

Over the of a week and 500 miles, it made me it made me wide-eyed with it dished out confidence and occasionally it back off me but it never ceased to put a on my face. Even if, some of the that smile was a nervous

Commuting to work, the Ducati is in ways not even the smartest engineer could dream up. 190bhp is excessive around but on the plus side, the heat the engine kicks out is better almost any heated gear ever used. Keep it and the heat wafts around you and you feel quite smug.

at the lights for any length of time and bikers will hold palms out in your direction, to tap into a slice of your mobile radiator.

It’s not the heat that’s good on the commute; the noise is too. to today’s society it’s but the Panigale is the only bike ridden in a long while snatches the attention of a smartphone-addicted long enough for them not to out into your path.

it’s noisy and yes, owners have been with them at trackdays, but not noisy like a raucous with an obscenely large it’s noisy in a way I appreciate. If you in, you can hear the major components at the gear-driven cams, the valves and two monsterous pistons but not the clutch: is the clackety-clacker-clack of the dry clutch, synonymous the older generation. At tickover it sounds like a 50-caliber gun.

I love it!

I never usually with riding modes, I opt for the ‘I bought it, I want all of approach, but in town, the Panigale is in WET mode, which softens up the bumps up the traction control, the power output but, smooths out the throttle response.

In or SPORT mode, do anything but or SPORTING and the Panigale isn’t on part throttle. It wants it all or so trying to cut your way through with precision is hard when the throttle is so eager even if completely static, it making the ride jerky in the In short, WET is my mode of choice in because with 195bhp on the Panigale becomes a magnet for

Or is it the other way around?

You’d a tiny Italian superbike be rubbish at commuting, but the Panigale’s size, seriously wide-set and healthy steering lock it great for squeezing through gaps. Infact it’s better than the Suzuki 650 I’ve been running A lack of size, weight and a steering lock are all you need to through town — GS with aluminium panniers, note.

ABS is a great tool for a especially during the winter where leaves and rain make the roads that bit treacherous. Let’s face it, a lot of bikes don’t even with it which I think is I dare say the Pirelli Supercorsa SPs the best for a British winter, but I have any moments on them town, even when

If it were mine, I’d fit a Michelin Pilot Road 3 or Z8.

You don’t have to be deranged to buy a to commute on but while it can do the job without a it feels a bit like buying an Persian rug. for your dog to on. But if you can afford to, why not.

All Ducatis are The Panigale is firmer and in RACE or mode, it’s about as as a pair of granite underpants. from the commute and out on the motorway, the is harsh, you can’t get away it tripping over bumps and you can every change in tarmac.

on the racetrack, not so great after 2 on the M40 which I now know has a lot of changes in and quite a lot of over-banding. There’s no in my mind that the blokes who the M40 definitely didn’t win the Yas Marina

Then you’ve got the power and map. Y’see in WET mode the is down to 120bhp, which is in town but a bit rubbish on the open GIVE ME EVERYTHING!

RACE is full-on, so no good you’d which is why in the middle there’s mode. Same ‘195bhp’ but a aggressive throttle response LO instead of 195 HI) and softer suspension. the ticket!

Except, it’s

I ended up running RACE with WET suspension settings sounds about as sensible as Nick Griffin to open an Reception Centre, but, in mode, the throttle response is so more precise, in SPORT it feels numb and lazy. the suspension in SPORT and RACE almost identical, so to iron out lumps and bumps on the road, WET is Oh and in RACE mode you get front-only ABS and I that.

I’ve never used an rear brake on a wet road it making my right foot like it belongs to Michael

To get the Panigale setup right and best — especially on cold roads — need a more suitable and a play with the preload

There’s only one drawback and the fact that in RACE the speedo becomes a lap timer and speed readout gets into a small corner of the

On more than one occasion I off speed for a speed camera, to look down and realise I had give the brake lever healthy squeeze.

In fourth at 4,000 revs, the Panigale along quite happily and just a tiny nudge of the the fast-revving and eager motor up 1,500 revs and bolts on 15mph. By the way, I’m to the rev-counter, the way the numbers jump out at you as you on up the revs is addictive. If you’re at all about speed, then away now, but whatever you do, look down at your in the middle of an overtake on a country you’ll probably be doing, a 3-month ban.

Talking to journalist, his gripe was the age-old but you can’t use it anywhere’ that I time and time again. you can and you will but like with all the moments you can are becoming more and limited but it just means when you do, they’re that bit special. You might not wring last rev from the motor you don’t need to — but on the road at the right time, the Panigale into its stride and into even just a amount of what it has to offer is one of best experiences.

Yes I know: THINK OF THE KITTENS! Of a few people will get their in a twist, blaming me for ruining but the fact is, we can’t all dodder the countryside at 62mph on a sticker-clad GS the fog lights on, wearing enough to be seen from space; a on song and dishing it out is something you have to experience. Even if it the kittens.

Just because do fast doesn’t mean you to ride like an …, cars and generally make a of yourself, but even this on greasy, cold, leaf-scattered we were cutting along the minimal amount of fuss and amount of precision. With the barely spinning above 6k, we had the and grace of a low-flying Lancaster The few roads that were for the taking, got taken.

There is a lot of stuff about the Panigale, there’s the fuel consumption. The is thirsty, the tank range is The only way I can see that fuel could have been up the development list is when got to the problem of just how they get it to consume more of it.

Despite its tank, the best I could was 98 miles before the reserve came on, which is quite a effort, going on what owners reckon they’re

Then, like on all the best tests, I played reserve roulette. Bad idea. You see, convinced in this Health age that manufacturers have their fuel warning sensor higher and higher up the

On some bikes, it comes on at 90 and, after some roulette, you fill up 40 miles and you still have a good left.

So when the Panigale light came on, I took it on. In there was only ever to be one winner. On the M40, seven in and passing a fuel stop, I off the opportunity. A mile down the a sign said the next was in 10 miles.

I’d decide on or not I’d push past the one or bottle it, when I got there. 10 later and approaching the next stop, it was decision time. The made the decision for me as it cut out. Clutch in and desperately hoping coast up the slip-road, we made it

Time of …? 18.6

Ducati definitely haven’t moving the fuel warning up higher. Bastards!

With the LED sidelights emitting a glow a candle would find I wasn’t about to push the 100 metres up a slip road and being shunted, so, adopting a taught to me by a very clever man Keith Masters — and used when I owned a 600 — I tipped the Panigale until the left handlebar touched the floor. I stood it upright and prodded the starter, it again and we were back in We’d covered 112 miles in using 16.5 of the 17 litres.

at many things with the but play reserve range at your peril.

With services at 7,500 miles and ones at 15,000 miles, are working hard to shed image of being high bits of jewelry. A Yamaha R1 servicing at 6,000 miles and miles, a Honda Fireblade at and 8,000. Gone are the days you could accuse a Ducati of unreliable or picking out the wiring as a weak point.

I think it’s fair to they’re now up there with the

So could you live with and use a day to day? Yes, but it definitely be my first choice for longer work as the tank range is the seat is fairly hard and the protection is limited. As a commuter, it is excessive, everyone stares at you and end up getting told off for things you done. Guilty by association.

A commuter? I don’t see why not. But on country roads you can use it, really use it and a blast.

Soften off the suspension play with the riding until you’ve got it how you like it and the track-focused tyres, opt for the aftermarket and you’ve got yourself a fantastic, tool for all conditions.

If you do buy one: buy a jacket too, because neighbours might return

Model tested: Ducati Panigale S ABS

Price: £19,750

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