Fastest L-Twin Production Motorcycle
The 2015-17 Ducati Superbike 1299 Panigale presented a major new force in the Superbike class on its release back in 2015. At the time the Panigale 1299 was latest arrival at the Bologna-based firm, with its monstrous 1285 cc Superquadro L2 engine, It raises the standards once again in terms of engine performance and is still to this day the most powerful L2 motor ever released. Thanks to an incredible claimed torque o f144.6 Nm at 8,750 rpm, a dry weight of a partly 166.5 kg, a claimed crank maximum power of 205 hp at 10,500 rpm and a record-breaking power-to-weight ratio that puts the 1299 Panigale ahead of all other Superbikes of its time and any Hypercar for that matter. The 1299 Panigale was the new benchmark for ultra-high performance Motorcycles.
Ducati’s and it’s L-Twin has come a long way from it’s late 80s origins in the legendary Ducati 851. Many incarnations later, we arrive with a 1285 cc short stroke behemoth pushing out more than 180 bhp at the wheels. Ducati’s 1199, despite being a massive motor was criticized for its somewhat gutless (by L-Twin) standards bottom end. You would never have called it gutless but as the motor came on so strong from 6,500 rpm – with an almost 500 cc Grand Prix two-stroke hit made, inadvertabtly ensured that the bottom end felt pretty lethargic comparatively.
Traditionally big piston L-twins with their long stroke motors made loads of low end torque that was also helped by low gearing in the first three gears. Ducati’s 1199 due to chasing those big peak power numbers that many of the the Japanese fours were claiming, had to get the motor revving in-order to make comparable power, so went with an extremely short-stroke design with an insane 112 mm × 60.8 mm bore and stroke. This meant the the big 600 cc pistons had to get spinning before they really came on song. This lack of low end was also exemplified by stringent emissions laws also but could be remedied to some degree by fitting a Dynojet Power Commander or similar and and Exhaust System.
In 2015 Ducati updated the Panigale, Featuring a larger bore at 116.0 but maintaining the same stroke of 60.8 mm added an extra 86 cc, and taking the engine to 1285 cc. While the new Panigale motor still had that 2-stroke character, the bottom end power and torque holes were filled in a little, with Ducati also tweaking the gearing that amounted to a bike that could drive from lower and harder in the rpm range.
As you can see from out Panigale 1299 Dyno Chart, the motors’ output is stunning, peaking at 185 BHP at a little of 10,000 rpm. Like we said, the motor still has that two-stroke style rush of power and torque as you climb past 7,000 rpm and really eats gears faster than you can feed them. Remember the days when a 996 SPS and it’s 120 bhp at the wheels was something to be in awe of? Well the Panigale makes that power at only 7,500 rpm and chimes in with another 65 hp only a couple of thousand rpm later.
Ducati’s for many years now have always lagged a little behind their 1000 cc four cylinder counterparts in terms of straight line performance. This still the case with the Panigale 1299 but it is barely noticable and only really loses out to the faster of it’s rivals at 170 mph and above, which is really irrelevant in 99.9% of situations and would amount to five bike lengths at a track with a long straight such as Mugello.
The ducati really has closed the gap, and is truly ballistic. Hitting 0-100 mph 5.49 seconds and 0-150 mph 9.62 seconds. The Quarter Mile and Standing Mile arrive respectively in 10.17/153 mph and 25.338/186 mph. Top speed is 187 mph. The bike is capable of a sub 10 second quarter mile times but wheelies, and a low first gear makes it a little difficult to launch effectively.