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2009 Ducati 1198 Superbike First Ride

Sunday, November 30, 2008

2009 Ducati 1198S First Ride
Ducati had us seeing red in Portugal, with Motorcycle USA tesing the Italian marque's latest superbike at the new Autodroma Internacional Algarve circuit in Portimao.
Dozens of red Ducati flags whip in the wind along the front straight of the Autodromo Internacional Algarve circuit as a row of pristine 2009 Ducati 1198S superbikes glisten in the morning light below them. This is Portimao, a region near the southern edge of Portugal, and this is a big day for Ducati. It’s the international press launch for the new 1198, the latest in an ever-growing line of Italian superbikes that has taken the world by storm. Only two years removed from the arrival of the brilliant 1098, the 1198 is thoroughly redesigned and this is the first opportunity for the press to sample the goods. In brief, the new 1198 feels like its predecessor with a confident front-end and serious stability, but this bike is more powerful, faster and gnarlier than ever before.

At the heart of this new motorcycle is a stroked version of the Testastretta Evoluzione engine. It revs quicker, makes ten-more horsepower and is lighter and more durable than its predecessor. The S-version we will be testing is equipped with top-shelf suspension and wheels, as well as the latest Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and Ducati Data Acquisition (DDA) systems. This Ducati Corse racing technology has again spilled-over and sprinkled us with its scientific splendor.

Feeding fuel to the L-Twin are a pair of 63.9mm elliptical throttle bodies, now with one injector per cylinder, that are the same size as those on the 1098R. No swapping ECU and exhausts to get the full benefit on the 1198S is required, with the DTC system refined for the street right out of the box. The engine is lighter, stronger and more powerful. Like the 1098R, this engine is closer to the power output of the Inline-Four mills it is inevitably compared with. The question is whether the added displacement and slightly reduced weight of the base Ducati 1198 will close the gap enough on the competition in our annual Superbike Smackdown.

Accelerating out of a turn is one of the easier ways to drop lap times  or get high-sided  depending on how it plays out. The 8-way adjustable DTC system cuts ignition at the first three levels of retardation before cutting fuel as a last resort.
The Ducati 1198S cranks out 170 horsepower, ten more than its 1098 predecessor and it's a tad bit lighter as well.
We’ve long been fans of the way Ducati L-Twins accelerate and as their traits have evolved over the years, so too has our taste for Italian power. This year the 1198 connects corners even faster and with less effort than before. It revs quicker, so the 10,500 rpm redline arrives sooner. Fortunately, the 6-speed transmission is slick and precise because keeping this baby in the right gear to take full advantage of the heaps of torque it churns out is a recipe for success. Internally, gears three through six are physically thicker than the 1098 to counter stresses from the extra hp and torque. Gear ratios are now identical to the 1098R. The dry clutch proved durable and effort at the lever is still quite light. There is no slipper clutch to be found.

Row through a few gears on Algarve’s smooth surface and you’re hauling serious ass when the brake markers arrive (They start at 100 meters here, so there’s not much warning). The bike howls proudly under acceleration, it pulls linearly, always building power quickly until the mandatory cut-off after 10 grand. The 1198S and 1198 feature 1198.4cc of displacement, up 99cc over last year, and the same 106mm bore and 67.9mm stroke dimensions as the R model. Weight savings start with the use of a vacural-casting process, first seen on the Ducati 848, which shaves 4 lbs (2kg) off the crank cases alone. The 1198S/1198 engines are essentially 1098R engines without the expensive top-shelf internals. There are no Titanium connecting rods or valves on the 1198 models, among other R-specific internal mods that push it to the 180-hp range.
2009 Ducati 1198S First Ride
Did we mention the brakes are awesome?


The Brembo brakes are superb, offering loads of power without a bunch of initial bite, which can make the front end dive abruptly under hard braking. The brakes and suspension combination invite the rider to trail-in deeper than they maybe should but don’t give any reason not to either. These brakes are insane and one of the high points of the 1198.

Grab too-much throttle on the exit and the DTC keeps you in check, another highlight for this racing thoroughbred. Three small indicator lights on the top right corner of the information-laden dash board tell the rider the first of three DTC levels is in effect, as well as a larger red light that informs you that maximum DTC, fuel-injection cut-out, has been employed. Yes, friends, the traction control works incredibly well. 

Ducati had us seeing red in Portugal  with Motorcycle USA tesing the Italian marque s latest superbike at the new Autodroma Internacional Algarve circuit in Portimao.
Getting on the gas hard out of the corners is much more manageable for mere mortals thanks to the DTC.
Accelerating out of a turn is one of the easier ways to drop lap times, or get high-sided, depending on how it plays out. The 8-way adjustable DTC system cuts ignition at the first three levels of retardation before cutting fuel as a last resort (restricting fuel supply is how the previous generation 1098R DTC system worked and the reason why it could not be used on the street without the upgraded exhaust and ECU). For those who ride smooth or slow the DTC will not seem to interfere much because there will not be significant wheel spin to set it off. When you push hard, however, trying to get good drives and pick-up the throttle while leaned over, then the DTC becomes an ally - a safety net of sorts. It is not highside control though, so don’t think you can just hold the throttle pinned and hope for the best – that only works for dudes like Casey Stoner. DTC is a tool - a technological, race-bred instrument of speed intended to make riding the 1198S a more enjoyable event.

During early sessions getting acquainted with the track, the DTC came on occasionally. After the break, while we were really trying to push harder, get good drives and attempting to tap into what the 1198 can really do, then it was working quite a bit. Setting 4 of 8 is not too intrusive, allowing for largely uninterrupted throttle application. The final four settings are intended for racers. As with any new toy it takes some getting used to. It does kill your drive sometimes, but is losing a tenth-of a second during a trackday better than replacing the bodywork, side cover or a bar? We think so.
2009 Ducati 1198S First Ride
The Ducati 1198S handles great, is quite stable through the corners and the feel from the front brake helps the rider feel confident to trail brake deeper and deeper every lap.


Make no mistake the engine is the soul of the 1198. Power is simply fantastic and the combination of this and the DTC seems to increase confidence, allowing the rider to focus more on entry speed and lines to dial in lap times. Add into the mix the really trick Ducati Data Acquisition (DDA) and you learn exactly where the DTC comes into play, how fast you are in each turn, where the throttle is, what rpm you are at – it’s a technophile’s wet dream. You can mine data until you are sick of looking at it but beware – there’s no bullshitting the computer and everyone who sees the data will know exactly how fast you were going and how you got there.

Chassis remains a constant of the Ducati Superbike family. No significant changes to the geometry ensure the 1198S is as stable as the 1098. Toss this bike into a corner and the first thing you notice is that it seems to turn-in with less effort. Having recently ridden an 848 to bone-up on my Ducati turning traits it seems the Ducati 1198, with its forged 7-spoke GP-replica wheels, 43mm Ohlins fork, Ohlins shock and four-lb weight reduction, reacts quicker to rider input than the sum of its parts would suggest. Imagine a 1098 that turns-in ‘better’. 

Stability, a trademark of this brand over the years, is not noticeably affected by these changes. In fact, the 1198S begs to be ridden harder than any insignificant specs on Bayliss’ ass will ever be able to do. Check this interesting fact: Bayliss, who was riding with us at the intro, lapped the Algarve track on the same 1198S with the Pirelli Supercorsa SP
Hutch sizing up Bayliss for an inside pass! No  this is Troy Bayliss letting us play with the big kids - proving what the racing paddock already knows - that the three-time SBK champ is one of the nicest guys to ever turn competitive laps.
Hutch sizing up Bayliss for an inside pass! No, this is Troy Bayliss letting us play with the big kids - proving what the racing paddock already knows - that the three-time SBK champ is one of the nicest guys to ever turn competitive laps.
tires we had at our disposal to within a mere 5-seconds of the pace he set while winning both races a few weeks earlier. Talk about the untapped potential of a stock motorcycle on full display. The easy-to-ride nature of the 1198 is backed up by the fact that over 20 journalists had their way with these machines over the course of a week, with a grand total of zero crashes.

In true Ducati fashion the 1198S does not disappoint. The additional power is very noticeable and after riding the Ducati Traction Control equipped 1198S it is clear the superbike ante has been upped. While we can’t say where it will stand in the competitive 2009 Superbike Smackdown rankings, we are sure it will be a hit with racers, fans and consumers alike. It retains the widely accepted appearance of the 1098 and features increased performance across the spectrum in terms of outright power, torque, lighter weight and track-bred electronics from the DDA to the DTC. The 2009 Ducati 1198S is truly a Superbike for the masses.
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09 Ducati 1198S Technical Specifications
2009 Ducati 1198 First Ride
MSRP: $21,795
Engine: L-Twin cylinder, Desmodromic
Displacement: 1198.4cc
Bore & stroke: 106x67.9mm
Compression Ratio: 12.7:1  
Power: 170hp @ 9750 rpm
Torque: 97ft-lb @ 8000 RPM  
Fuel system:   Marelli electronic fuel injection
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Tubular steel trellis
Wheelbase: 56.3 in.
Rake & Trail: 24.5-degrees/Unavailable
Front Suspension: Ohlins 43mm fully adjustable upside-down  fork
Front Brake: 2x330mm discs w/ radial-mount Brembo Monobloc 4-piston calipers
Rear Suspension: Progressive linkage w/ fully adjustable Ohlins monoshock
Rear Brake: 245mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper
Wheels: "GP Replica" 7-spoke forged light alloy
Tires: Front: 120/70 ZR 17 - Rear: 190/55 ZR 17
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 US gal (1 gal reserve)
Dry Weight: 373 lb.
Seat Height: 32.2 in.

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2009 Ducati 1198 - Press Video
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Comments
shahab khan -ducati 1198  January 2, 2011 06:29 AM
i varey like this bike,it so saxey and i hope this bike brock the all bikes record,in 2010,allradi i have 2 bick but now i gating this bike
Andrew -Horses for courses  December 28, 2010 05:28 PM
A note about the displacement argument between the Japs and the Ducati's. The powers that be at WSB chose the formula, not Ducati. The Japanese factories could have built a twin if they wanted. A twin cylinder bike is never going to produce as much power as a 4 cylinder bike of the same capacity, end of story. Even at the dispalacement the twins are allowed to run, they still don't produce as much power as a four. It's in the way that the ducati's deliver their power which gave them the advantage. At the end of the day, motorcycling is not just about numbers. It's about pride of ownership, it's how a bike how makes you feel when you ride it, hear it, or just look at it in the shed. It's your mistress. I've owned Jap fours, British twins,and 2 Ducati's. And nothing stirs my soul, like an Italian twin....
Raz -Mr.  August 30, 2010 10:03 AM
Well, it all comes down to what each individual likes and that's that. Most of us can't even use these bikes to their full potential, so why are we talking about which one has more power and......
Take any of the bikes mentioned above and push it really hard, push it to the limit and I mean everything and if you finish the ride and not need a fresh pair of underwear then you can be a critic. But until then, zip it dudes and just accept that everyone is different.
phillip -ducati 1198  May 12, 2010 10:18 AM
this bike deffinatly topppsssssss the line!!!!!
Don Pablo -Bike Lover  April 23, 2010 01:29 PM
Wow you Ducati lovers really bought into the hype that the Ducati marketing folks are selling!!!
Do you really believe that Ducati won all of the World Superbike championships because of a superior engine architecture or other technology? The plain and simple fact is that Ducati won and continues to win championships because they are good a begging the race organizers to give them some sort of unfair advantage. The race organizers always bow to Ducatis demands because Ducati threatens to leave the series. Don't believe me? During the 1990's when Carl Fogarty was winning championships, the Japanese inline fours were limited to 750cc. The Ducatis were allowed to run 1000cc engines. To make matters worse, they were also given a 15 pound weight break. When the Japanese were finally allowed to run 1000cc bikes, they had to run with intake restrictors so the playing field still was not level. The 1098R, despite its name is a 1200cc bike running against 1000cc inline fours. No wonder they keep winning. In fact, Ducati CAN'T win without some sort of concession from the race organizers. One only needs to look at Moto GP where the playing field is level (for the moment). Who keeps winning championships? Is it Ducati?!! Hell No!!! Valentino Rossi keeps winning on a Yamaha. See what I mean. And anyone who thinks the L-twin engine architecture is superior needs to ask themselves why didn't ducati campaign an L-twin in Moto GP?? Ducati knows that a twin cylinder engine would not be competitive and the rule makers were not going to give them any breaks.
Rex -new duc hunter  January 15, 2010 04:59 PM
I'm holping someone can help me. I've ridden since I was 7 years old
(33 years) and like a lot of you, I've owned more bikes than I can remember at this point but, I've never owned a Ducati. I'm looking to change that within the next couple of months though. I'm torn between a standard 1198 and an 848. The 848 sounds appealing but I figure that if I only have one shot in my life at getting a Ducati, I want to shoot for as much as I can afford, which may be the 1198. Can someone give me their insight between these two bikes? It will be ridden daily to work (one hour round trip) and as often as possible from there. I'm sure that I wouldn't be disappointed with the 848 but, I also don't want to ever find myself asking "I wonder what that 1198 is like with it's extra mussle".
RENDELL -no thank you  January 8, 2010 04:56 PM
Too high maintenance.
jake -ducati 1198  December 14, 2009 07:42 PM
ive got a 5 speed honda its amazing but the ducati just tops the line
duke -ducati 1198  December 14, 2009 07:39 PM
ive got a 4 speed pedal bike that can go faster
Alexandre -GWR total  September 25, 2009 06:11 AM
Hello I would like to know what the total gross weight of the DUCATI 1198 S, Thank you!

ducati lover -duc  July 14, 2009 05:52 AM
for all you guys out there with those jap bikes keep riding your lower class bikes cause thats how far you guys will get for all the guys out there with class you cant go past a 1198 its a real man's bike its not a toy
Greg Smith -Ducati 1198  June 20, 2009 11:29 PM
As an ownder of am 08 Kawasaki Ninja ZX10R and an 09 Ducati 1198, I can say from personal experience that no other bike on the planet handles, takes off, or rides as well as the Ducati. Yes, its an expensive bike but honestly, the gain very much out weighs the cost. I would get tested by other riders on my Ninja all the time but when they see my Pearl White 1198, even a Busa will tuck tail and run. Enough said!
christopher theisen -1198s  May 30, 2009 08:25 PM
what a bike not just another bike i had a chance to take one on the track wow ten laps of pour fun so trade in your jap bike and take one on the track ,and then you can comment if you crash its worth every penny
rocky -1198  May 15, 2009 02:28 PM
the bike L@@Ks nice but how fast will it go????? and yes any bike that I ride I will push it until it cant no more. I can speed and get away with it.
Rodney -1198s from gsxr 1300  February 22, 2009 01:42 AM
Yeah yeah I have heard all the banter about Japanes vs Italian, horsepower junkies and twity freaks! Being a previous owner of two Busa's and now moving to an 1198s this summer Iam very excited about these facts, power to weight ratio being increased 2) no more wrestling in corners even though the busa is way more nimble than most people dare to explore! 3)stepping outside of the close minded inline four owners box and still puttin foot in dat ass on a twin while lookin extra sexy doin it! If you can ride you can ride! There are super motards cats whippin 1000's on twisties everyday! Go figure!
KT -Italian Twins vs. Japaneese 4's  January 15, 2009 02:43 PM
The Duc is a nice ride if you got the dough for it. I go on any and every test ride I can find. I had a chance the test the 1098. Comparing it to my inline 4 I've determined it's just a different style of ride. These days, the difference between the performance of all superbikes is so small, it's worth mentioning. So twin or inline 4, who cares. Just ride it like you stole it.
KIMO-R1 -Bow Wow  January 14, 2009 06:44 AM
Who's got more horsepower, which bike has more bang for the buck, etc etc...I really don't give a damn! People buy bike for what they are and for their own personal reason/preference. If you own a Japanese (And BTW not Jap) bike and love what you have, then keep it. If you've never owned a Ducati, then don't knock it...Bike is a bike is bike, right? Riiiiiight. Just keep saying to yourself. All these bitching about why I don't like particular bike because it's Italian bike vs Japanese bike is nonsense and old school squid talk. Bike ownership is about riding what you have and to rip the benefit of what that bike has to offer for whatever type of riding you do. Ever wonder why some riders prefer red color bike vs blue or some prefer twin vs in-line4. I've heard them all...Faster red...better/more torque and sound of twin vs screaming in-line 4. How about Suzuki vs Yamaha for those hard core Suzuki fans because it's simply "Suzuki" or "Yamaha", of Honda for that matter. Get the point? If, you have ridden every bikes in it's exsistence, then my friend you have a legitimate complaint to submit your moot reasoning to the complaint department, in regards to how one bike dosen't handle better then the other. Until then no one is listening.
SoCalRider -Ducati 1198S  January 4, 2009 02:50 AM
I've ridden my buddies 1098R and 1098S (yes he has both along with a 999) and the bikes are very impressive. I've got a 1998 Honda CBR900RR and my bike is not even to be compared to these modern wonders. The handling on the S and R is amazing. I pulled a power wheelie on the R getting on to the freeway. Something that would never happen on my bike. I plan on getting a 1198S prior to MotoGP at Laguna Seca this year. Hope some of you can make it.
GAJ -No slipper clutch?  December 21, 2008 02:49 PM
Curious...for so much $$ you'd think it would have one.
Martini & Rossi -To Each His Own  December 16, 2008 02:38 PM
The argument of Japan's fours vs. Italy's twins is a bit tired. To each his own, really. I personally like European bikes and myself own a Ducati. However, I certainly respect what Japan puts out the same way I respect Chevrolet's ability to build a Vette that runs with the best (and much more expensive) of Europe. Nothing competes with Japan's bang for the buck...period. I myself prefer the sound and styling from Ducati. Bottom line...cant we all just get along?
KTM Boy -the R  December 10, 2008 04:44 AM
A friend of mine, just bought the 1098 R, what a beast. Really light, I sat on it and it feels like your sitting on a GP 250. Forget how much horsepower it had but it must go like hell. The power to weight ratio must be amazing. It cost a lot of bucks, but hey if you can afford it, what the hell.
shawn b -WSBK  December 9, 2008 04:08 PM
AMA roadracing? please,just call it the Gixxer cup.The best riders in the world are riding WSBK! and the best of the best won the championship this year
shawn b -they'll figure it out  December 9, 2008 03:30 PM
My fellow Duc brotha's,you are totally waste'n your precious riding time going back and forth with these Gixxer retards. trust me i know what I'm talk'n about,I use to be one!they will figure it out eventually.
Nodian1 -Reply to Superlight  December 8, 2008 10:47 AM
Thanks for a meaningful reply. I could not agree with you more. My reply to IcePick was to put in perspective his comparison of Ducati and the Japanese fours. The good thing about WSBK in 2009 will be new factories entering like Aprilia, BMW, and maybe KTM. It’s nice to see new factories enter a race series rather than existing factories leaving a series like in AMA/DMG.
Shadow -Ducati  December 7, 2008 08:52 PM
myself ducati is a luxury...a sportsbike for the prettyboys...what happens if you get serious with it on track push it to the limits n BAM!!!! you crash at speeds exceeding 200mph....then you sit down at the gravel and say crap!...well its better to crash an R1,GIXXER,NINJA or CBR at least its lighter on the pockets and u would care less about crashing it..Ducati...power on the pockets thats what i'd like to think..overall its a beauty and the performance is great but not for me..HarDcORe RidinG CrasH n Burn!
Superlight -Reply to Nodian 1  December 7, 2008 07:39 AM
Its always been difficult to put together a "perfect" rules package for racing. The only way the rules would be totally fair is to dictate engine configuration, like all bikes must have four cylinders. Then a cc limit would work fine for the manufacturers. As soon as you introduce other engine types, i.e., two or three cylinders, this well-crafted plan goes awry, as the bikes with fewer cylinders cannot make as much power under the same displacement limits. Why not? Twins/triples cannot rev as high as fours nor can they have as much total valve area in comparison. Does this mean fours (or fives or sixes) are inherently better than twins/triples? No, just different. The problem for series rules makers is that to exclude makes like Ducati reduces fan interest in the racing series. Personal example: with the AMA Superbike series a Suzuki-fest these past several years, I have had little/no interest in it. I've watched WSBK, where all makes at least have a chance to win on any given raceday.
Nodian1 -Reply to IcePick  December 6, 2008 04:37 PM
“That combination leads to great drive out of corners compared to it's Inline-4 Japanese competitors” Now IcePick, don’t ya think if the Japanese bikes had say 1400cc, this would make it equal to the 200cc advantage Ducati has now over the Japanese bikes, that the Japanese bikes would have great drive out of the corners compared to the twin engine Italian competitors. “and handling and drive out of corners win races...not really straight line acceleration/top speed--unless you are on a drag strip LOL” Where is it written IcePick that the Japanese bikes don’t handle well? Contrary to your belief or maybe lack of understanding of how races are won, top speed and straight line speed are apart of how races are won. Key word is “part”. This is a tired old argument. Both Ducati and the Japanese bikes are fast going around race tracks. Both handle well. But the fact remains, if Troy Bayliss never sat on a Ducati how many races let alone championships would Ducati have won after 1000cc fours were allowed to race (and I don’t count Neil Hodgson’s 2003 championship because there were no factory teams from Japan competing that year and 90% of the bikes on the grid were all Ducaties). In the vast majority of the races in WSBK since, right behind Bayliss and sometimes ahead of Bayliss was a Japanese four. So yes I have watched many WSBK races both in person and on the TV.
bigdikedbiker -fuk it  December 6, 2008 04:30 PM
i get 160 plus horsepower at rearwheel on my 08' kawasaki zx-10r.i thought ducati would have a much faster bike this year. i buy whatever is faster on the market not for a partial dream you fuckin asshole.
IcePick -Charles-Ducati 1198  December 5, 2008 07:29 PM
You must be one of those horsepower junkies, that only care about straight line top speed. Watch a WSBK Race; Ducati has always had the most torque (due to it's superb twin engine) out of Superbikes and a stellar chassis. That combination leads to great drive out of corners compared to it's Inline-4 Japanese competitors, and handling and drive out of corners win races...not really straight line acceleration/top speed--unless you are on a drag strip LOL. I own an '07 1098 myself, and I'm sold on the bike as it's seen aggressive canyon and track duty. I may possibly upgrade in the future to experience the thrill of using TC, but for now there are a few aftermarket companies offering TC for the 1098 and the bike has more power/torque than most (including me) will ever use anyway.
Rickturbo -Quack Quack  December 5, 2008 06:55 PM
Thinking of selling body parts for this bike! R1 or 1198? A similar choice: Lexis or Ferrari. Nuf said.
George -Ducati 1198  December 5, 2008 04:43 AM
To all the whiners about cheap fast Jap bikes. Get a life Ducati is what dreams are made of, just be glad your Jap bike can imitate a partial dream.
brent -nothing  December 3, 2008 04:44 PM
damn diz bike iz beast how much for it??
newmotorcyclist -Ducati  December 3, 2008 04:36 PM
Ducati's are among the best of motorcycles around Personally, I like the 848.. I'm new to the motorcycling world..but so far..I love it!!!
Motorcycle Fan -1198  December 3, 2008 03:59 AM
This must be the most beautiful bike on the market right now.
FadedGenes -Movie  December 2, 2008 06:06 PM
Please tell your web designers to use something other than proprietary MicroJoke standards. Linux users cannot play video using Silverlight. Many alternatives exist. Thanks
Charles -Ducati 1198  December 2, 2008 05:55 PM
This comment is for Dan the Canadian. 170hp is at the crank, that is not rear wheel hp. it's rear wheel hp will amount to 144.5hp. with that said, any of the Japanese liter bikes will still beat it down, at a fraction of its cost.
Anthony -Superbike for the masses???  December 2, 2008 03:38 PM
As much as I would love this bike I dont see how it is a bike for the masses...I don't know the crowd that these writers hang out with, but I don't know all that many people that can drop almost $22k for a sportbike. With that said I wish I could afford it lol
Gerrit-Jan -movie display under Linux  December 2, 2008 03:38 PM
I cannot play the movie under Linux Ubuntu. I need to install Silverlight? Sure thing M$ will provide this for Linux..... not.
ABRAR SUBHANI -1198  December 2, 2008 03:53 AM
THIS BIKE IS SUPERB & DUCATI IS PRIDE OF ITALY
Dan the Canadian.... -170 hp...........  December 1, 2008 12:01 PM
Now if I could only afford one!
James -Ducati 1198  December 1, 2008 11:52 AM
I'm in love with this bike! When will it be available in dealerships?