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2011 Ducati 848 EVO Superbike First Ride

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


The road holding capabilities of Pirellis Diablo Supercorsa SP rubber is absolutely amazing. This is what full-on DOT race tires felt like just a few years ago.
The road holding capabilities of Pirelli’s Diablo Supercorsa SP rubber is absolutely amazing. This is what full-on DOT race tires felt like just a few years ago.
Fresh for 2011, Italy’s legendary motorcycling brand, Ducati, has released a new middleweight sportbike dubbed the 848 EVO Superbike. This new motorcycle replaces the standard 848 and offers increased braking, acceleration and handling performance for less dough than before with its price now starting at $12,995, a full grand less than its predecessor.
 
The 848 EVO can be classified as Ducati’s entry-level Superbike. It utilizes the same frame, suspension and nearly identical braking components as the premium World Superbike pedigree 1198. The primary difference is the powertrain with its use of a smaller 849cc liquid-cooled L-Twin engine and conventional wet (bathed in oil) clutch. This places it in a unique category in the sportbike world offering a machine with a bit more power than what the middleweight 600cc Supersport class can offer.
 
TECH TALK
 
Engineers began with the base 848 as we’ve tested extensively in the 2008 Ducati 848 Comparison and 2009 Ducati 848 Comparison. They then focused on the engine and upgraded it with new hard parts. They began by reworking each cylinder head and modifying the intake ports for better flow. New camshafts provide 13% higher lift on all four of the intake valves and 8% more lift on the four exhaust valves. New pistons were also fitted that boost compression ratio from 12:1 to 13.2:1. The throttle bodies grew 4mm in diameter to 60mm. Other hot rodding tricks include a 500 rpm increase in maximum engine revs with the limiter now coming in at 11,300 rpm. More power means more heat so the plastic timing belt covers now have ventilation slits in them. Together, Ducati claims these changes allow the 848 to pump out six more peak horses than before.
 
The 848 EVO Superbike receives the same monobloc Brembos as used on the 1198 and Desmosedici D16RR.The Arctic White Silk colorway gets lipstick red panted frame and wheels.Just like the rest of the Ducati Superbike line-up the 848 gets a single-sided swingarm with an narrower 5.5-inch wide rear aluminum rim  6.0 in. on the 1198 .
(Left) The 848 EVO Superbike receives the same monobloc Brembos as used on the 1198 and Desmosedici D16RR. (Center) The Arctic White Silk colorway gets lipstick red painted frame and wheels. (Right) Just like the rest of the Ducati Superbike line-up the 848 gets a single-sided swingarm with a narrower 5.5-inch wide rear aluminum rim (6.0 in. on the 1198).



The potential for higher trap speeds necessitates stronger braking performance so engineers ditched the two-piece cast Brembo calipers for the one-piece monobloc design as used on the 1198. We were never fans of the two-piece calipers so for us this upgrade is huge. The calipers still bite down on twin 320mm diameter rotors with a radial-mount master cylinder and steel brake lines augmenting the set-up fore and aft. The rear brake is unchanged and there is no ABS option. Ducati claims that the 848 now delivers 20% more stopping force based on the same amount of lever pressure.
 
Other chassis changes include the fitment of a non-adjustable steering damper that is horizontally- mounted between the fuel tank and the top triple clamp as well as an upgrade to Pirelli’s fabulous Diablo Supercorsa SP road tire. These tires are one of our favorites on both the street and track and you can learn more about them in the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP Tire Comparison Review.
 
All said and done Ducati claims that the new EVO weighs roughly the same as the standard 848 which we previously measured at 420 pounds with a full 4.1 gallons of fuel. Lastly, the EVO will come in three colors including Dark Stealth for $12,995 and Ducati Red and Arctic White Silk for $1000 extra. We are especially fond of the latter colorway in tandem with its bright red wheels.
 
RIDING IMPRESSION
 
Steve Atlas melting Pirelli rubber aboard the 2011 Ducati 848 EVO Superbike at Imola.
One of the biggest attributes of Ducati sportbikes is the chassis which provides near perfect amount of flex allowing the rider to comfortably flirt with adhesion limits through corners.
Atlas serving it up at Imola aboard the 848 EVO Superbike.
Atlas and Carlos Checa bang bars down the straightaway at Imola.
Even with the Pirelli street tires  front end feel at lean is copious.
Atlas puts in laps at Imola aboard the 2011 Ducati 848 EVO Superbike. Compared to its predecessor it’s about 10% better everywhere and the best part is that the price has actually dropped by $1000 for the Dark Stealth colorway.

For the test, resident fast-guy Steve Atlas visited Italy’s beyond fabulous Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari racing circuit in Imola, just a short drive from Ducati’s manufacturing and worldwide headquarters in Bologna. The track itself is situated right smack dab in the middle of the city and is fully integrated into the lives of its citizens in a way that would be impossible to replicate in America. If you’re a full-on motor head you simply have to visit Imola. It is unreal. Take it away Atlas:
 
Hey guys and girls, for our test Ducati took us all the way to Imola. And I’ve been to plenty of bad-ass tracks all around the world but none like this one. As soon as you pass the stacked F40 statue (a tribute to Ferrari founder, Enzo Ferrari) you can literally feel something special. It just has some kind of aura about it. So much crazy stuff has happened here for good and bad including when F1 drivers Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna both met their unfortunate demise the same weekend in ’94, (Rest in Peace). Yet it’s an absolutely beautiful place. There’s even a soccer park and a number of old world homes and buildings right inside. It’s the stuff legends are made of.

Let’s talk about the bike for a moment. The biggest thing is the addition of the monobloc brakes. The 848 was always held back a bit by the two-piece cast brake calipers and it’s quite an upgrade. There is a substantial increase in outright stopping power and feel. This makes it that much easier to slow down and you don’t have to yank on the brake lever nearly as hard as before. This is probably the biggest improvement. Though it doesn’t have a slipper-clutch the engine has so little engine braking that you don’t really miss it. You can still back it in nice and smooth and it's actually a lot of fun.
 
Inside the engine, Ducati made a host of internal changes and the top-end is more powerful than before. It’s not drastically different but you can definitely feel something extra. Although it doesn’t sound like a 500 rpm higher rev ceiling is that big of a difference, it allows you to hold a gear longer and you don’t have to shift as much which is a big plus. Bottom-end felt the same and there was just a hint more mid-range, but again top-end is the most improved.

Equally as impressive as the top end power boost is the Pirelli SP tires. The difference here is huge because it’s the closest thing to a race tire for the street. There was one spot on the track—Acqua Minerale—it’s a consecutive series of downhill right corners. The first one is taken at around 120 mph and the second at 70 mph. At first, the way the track looks it seems like you need to slow down for the first bend. But I saw Carlos Checa would bomb through the first corner without braking and I thought to myself "if he can do I may as well try."
 
And it’s here where the trust and confidence of the Ducati’s chassis comes into play. Feel while leaned over on the side of the tire is crazy. You put so much pressure on the front end, you’d think it is going to fold but it doesn’t. I specifically remember Checa having the bike leaned over so far that it looked like his shoulder was on the ground.
 
It’s mind boggling how much grip and front end feel you have. You could literally push the bike right to the limit and scrub off speed by pushing the front tire. Then you’d stand it up, grab a downshift and get hard on the brakes then whip it into the next corner. From there the track goes straight up a steep hill. You flick back to the left while you’re riding a wheelie up the hill, what a blast!
 
Before that right hander where you plow the front, there is a downhill left where you can spin the tire all the way downhill. Again, I remember mad-man Checa burning off his tire with smoke literally pouring off it when he was in front of me. It was unreal!
 
Overall, it’s like the old 848 but 10% better—everywhere. The real benefit is in terms of price as the Dark Stealth EVO is actually a grand cheaper than the ’10 version 848. But then again for an extra $1000 you can have it in white with the red wheels and frame which looks gorgeous in person. It is one of the best looking Ducatis around and to get that for the same price [$13,995] as before is unbelievable. Well done Ducati!
 
The smooth torque-rich power pulses of the Ducatis liquid-cooled 849cc L-Twin help the rider achieve fantastic drives off corners as Atlas demonstrates.
The smooth torque-rich power pulses of the Ducati’s liquid-cooled 849cc L-Twin help the rider achieve fantastic drives off corners as Atlas demonstrates.

FINAL THOUGHTS
 
Ducati could have easily carried over the standard 848 for another year. Instead they pumped up engine power, increased braking performance, and elevated its handling capabilities with higher grip tires and a steering damper. But the really amazing thing is that they did it while still dropping the price by a 1000 bucks. If you’ve always wanted to experience the charismatic thrill of Ducati Superbike ownership there’s no better time than now.

The addition of an improved 848 and a couple other new middleweights can only mean one thing: We will have another episode of our annual Supersport Shootout coming up in a few months and it looks like Ducati may have closed the gap with the 848 EVO, so stay tuned...
2011 Ducati 848 EVO Photos
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2011 Ducati 848 EVO Specs
The 2011 Ducati 848 EVO Superbike comes in three colorways.
Engine: Liquid-cooled 849cc L-Twin; 8-valves
Bore and Stroke: 96.0 x 61.2mm
Compression Ratio: 13.2:1
Fuel Delivery: Marelli electronic fuel-injection 
Clutch: Wet multi-plate; Hydraulic actuation
Transmission:
Six-speed; chain final drive
Final Drive: Chain 15F/39R
Frame: Steel-Trellis
Front Suspension: Showa 43mm inverted fork; 3-way adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping; 5.0 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Showa gas-charged shock; 3-way adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.7 in. travel
Front Brakes: 320mm discs with radial-mount Brembo four-piston monobloc calipers
Rear Brake: 245mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Tires: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP; 120/70R17, 180/55R17
Claimed Dry Weight: 370 lbs.
Wheelbase: 56.3 in.
Rake: 24.5 deg.
Seat Height: 32.6 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gallons
MSRP: $12,995 (Dark Stealth); $13,995
Colors: Ducati Red; Dark Stealth; Arctic White Silk
Warranty: Two years unlimited mileage
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Comments
nikola11   February 21, 2011 03:57 PM
Fantastic bike, white and red uffff
Vlad -Reliability  November 24, 2010 10:04 PM
beautiful bike....I wish Duc's were as reliable as jap. bikes though... here is a proud owner from ducati forum:

"i finally got it.
First of all i have to say, it's even better than what i would expect from the look, the flat black is slightly different than the 2010, and the finish is just excellent. the exhaust sticking out almost 4inches more than the 2010 makes lot less noise (but this will be a quick and expensive fix )
i'll try to ride 600 this weekend (3 days weekend ..mmm...) so i can do the first service and get rid of some of the stalling issues (something with the cam timing i guess).

I drove 60 miles yesterday night, just doing streets and highways, everything seemed alright and smooth
when i first parked it, it didn't find the neutral (the bike was in neutral though) so probably something wrong with the
neutral sensor i guess. this problem comes from time to time and i have to start the bike in 1st gear with the kickstand up.
this morning even like that, the bike was running in 1st then stalling (even around 5krpm). did that a couple of time, and then
stopped and didn't start anymore... i waited couple of seconds, started it again in first put it in second and drove to work.
i know that ducati's have character, but i wish i would at least experience the first days flawlessly.
Oh, and the right signals are not working as well (back and front).. maybe the switch has been shaken off as well as the neutral sensor...
anyway i'll drop by my dealership to fix the sensor and the signals as soon as i can.
But even with these issues, i'm loving it."
Vlad -vs '11 gsxr-750  November 24, 2010 09:57 PM
would be really nice to see a head to head shootout vs 2011 gixxer 750....
Stephano -Why not buying a new old stock 1098S instead??  November 23, 2010 06:47 PM
Regardless of the main focus here which is to review the new EVO, I'd say buying an old stock yet brand new 1098"S" with better suspension, more power and higher torque would be a much better option. I know of a place that has 3 brand new units in stock at an incredible deal. I'd congratulate Ducati with their new EVO anyway and do think that it's a great bike...
JB -Ducati FTW  November 23, 2010 02:30 PM
I just picked up the EVO in the classic red two weeks ago; love it! This is a very well balanced bike. It loves the revs and will stick in any corner. Lol, I went to the international bike show last weekend and checked out every bike on the market. None came anywhere close.
Alysha -:D  November 23, 2010 12:07 PM
Hell yes!! I am getting one!!! She is SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! Cannot stop staring!!!!
Mototk -*&%$  November 19, 2010 03:16 PM
Absolutely stunning. The red wheels are awesome!
Drunkula -Wow!  November 18, 2010 07:49 AM
That white with red wheels looks fantastic.
Maxx -Maintenance  November 17, 2010 08:31 PM
Any word on weather the maintenance schedule has been extended or has gone down in cost. That is what keep me from buying a Duc, not cheap just realistic. it does sound impressive for a middle weight.
Scotty Doo -Full Potential  November 17, 2010 09:38 AM
I think this is what Ducati had in mind when they first released the 848 in '08. Sounds like a fantastic bike. I am with donald, I want to see what that MV f3 has to offer. Being a Street Triple owner I am interested to see what MV can do with a 675 triple. The lack of a dealer network is hard to overcome though, especially here in Canada.
Shaitan -The track bike I'd choose  November 17, 2010 09:12 AM
At that bargain price (at least by Ducati standards) the 848 EVO is the bike I'd choose for serious carving or track days.
donald -euro & dollar @ work  November 17, 2010 09:10 AM
well, the exchange rate between euros and dollars have definitely helped with the price drop; when the 848 was introduced a couple of years ago, the euro was @ $1.60 vs now @ $1.34. it'll be interesting to see how the new MV F3 will be priced vs. the 848 evo. I agree that the silk white and red really makes the bike pop.
Tom -848  November 17, 2010 09:06 AM
My friend takes delivery of her's today. Thats right I said Her.
Gads -Wow  November 17, 2010 05:16 AM
Ducati never cease to amaze me...always have that extra something that captures your soul when compared to a japanese bike.
stefaan -ducati  November 17, 2010 01:28 AM
they are hard to ride, but ducati sure makes one hell of a motorcycle.