2014 Ducati 1199 Superleggera First Look

October 22, 2013
Justin Dawes
Justin Dawes
Digital Media Producer |Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

Raised on two wheels in the deserts of Nevada, the newest addition to the MotoUSA crew has been part of the industry for well over 15 years.Equal parts writer, photographer, and rider, "JDawg" is a jack of all trades and even a master of some.

During the 2014 Panigale 899 First Ride press intro our intrepid Road Test Editor Adam Waheed was treated to a tour of the Lamborghini factory. Both Ducati and Lamborghini fall under Audi’s wide reaching umbrella of finely crafted mechanical conveyances, and now the Italian motorcycle manufacturer has crafted a new 1199 model that shares a name with the ultimate lightweight Lambos – the Superleggera.

While there have been plenty of automobiles with the Superleggera treatment though the years, the “Super Light” has become most tied to Lamborghini’s radical LP series of Gallardo supercars. Ducati has now taken the same route with the “highly exclusive” 1199 Superleggera. Perfectly suited for posters on young boy’s bedroom walls and fodder for Ducastisti’s fantasies, this ultra-trick 1199 will have a limited run of 500 models. According to Ducati 75% of which have already been sold.

Offered first to owners of the Desmosedici RR or R model Superbikes, the Superleggera is based on the Panigale R, but gets a titanium, magnesium and carbon fiber makeover to create the highest power-to-weight ratio of any motorcycle ever produced. Cranking out a claimed 200 horsepower, the Superleggera tips the scales at just 341.7 pounds, dry.

The Panigale’s aluminum monocoque frame has been replaced with a magnesium unit to match the forged Marchesini three-spoke wheels. The sub-frame is now crafted from carbon fiber as well as the bodywork. A lithium-ion battery and a full titanium exhaust with stainless steel headers cut weight even further. A lightweight Ergal rear sprocket and World Superbike-spec 520 chain shed more pounds. Most of the hardware on the engine and chassis are now titanium. Lightweight Ohlins FL916 front forks with fully-machined bottom legs and a titanium spring-equipped Ohlins TTX36 shock handle the suspension duties. Brembo M50 Monoblocs have been fitted with a racing-style MCS 19-21 front master cylinder and remote adjuster.

The Superquadro engine also received new bits of exotica, with titanum exhaust valves to match the intake valves and con-rods present in the Panigale R. Special two-ring pistons, a first for a Ducati street powerplant, use a single compression ring and a single oil ring to reduce friction. Ducati has also modified the combustion chamber too, with a higher compression piston, and the crankshaft has been “super-lightened” and features precision balancing with dense tungsten inserts.

If over 200 horsepower is still not enough for those lucky enough to get their hands on a Superleggera, a Race Kit is available to add five more ponies while cutting an additional 5.5 pounds. The kit consists of an Akrapovic race exhaust, a high racing windscreen, dedicated dust cover, paddock stands, machined mirror caps, and removal kits for the sidestand and license plate holder.

Upgrades to the electronics include a new Inertial Platform system to manage the Ducati Wheel Control (DWC). Additionally, the Ducat Traction Control (DTC) and the Engine Brake Control (EBC) is optimized with an automatic calibration of rear-tire size and final transmission ratio. Ducati’s Data Analysis+ (DDA+) system uses a new sensor and software channel to record and display the Superleggera’s lean angle. Race-derived, handlebar mounted control buttons enable on-the-fly adjustments of the DWC, DTS and EBC.

Pricing of the Ducati Corse Red liveried 1199 Superleggera has not been released, but be assured it will be expensive. While we doubt the pricetag will exceed the Desmosedici’s whopping $72,000 asking price back in 2007, it should be well north of the Panigale R’s $29,995 sticker price.