Adam Waheed – 6’0”, 175 pounds – Ducati 1199 Panigale
There is no question I’d buy the Ducati 1199 Panigale – only I’d purchase the standard model over the up-spec ‘S’ model we
tested as I don’t need the electronically adjustable Ohlins suspension. The Ducati is head-and-shoulders a better street bike than its predecessor. The ergonomics are more conventional and Japanese-feeling than ever before. And I like that. It makes it friendlier to ride plus I don’t have to adjust my riding style as much to suit the bike. The character of the engine has improved too. It doesn’t vibrate nearly as much and the fuel injection settings seem to be better and the bike doesn’t run too lean at low rpm. For sure I wish it had a little stronger bottom-end power but the top-end performance is borderline insane. Although it's a few horses down on the BMW it’s so light that it can actually out accelerate it in certain situations – and that’s impressive. The Ducati still isn’t the most comfortable bike to ride, but based on its performance and appearance it’s the bike I would want to ride day-to-day. Lastly, the headlight on it is by far the farthest reaching which makes night riding much safer than any other bike in this class.
Ernie Vigil – 6’1”, 170 pounds – BMW S1000RR
With so many options it’s hard to choose exactly what bike would do it all well. Some stand out better in one category but fall short in another. If I were to take power, styling, and price point into consideration I would have to choose the BMW S1000RR. Sure the Ducati does shine but the price difference between the two doesn’t win me over. The BMW comes in $8000 cheaper and offers just as much. The new Blue colorway is really eye catching. The shark-like ribs on the tank add to an already aggressive feel. The motor sound and power delivery is insane. Almost feels like a turbo bike the power comes on so strong. All in all if I had to buy a bike that was going to keep putting a smile on my face again and again it would have to be the BMW. 200 hp at the flick of the wrist is enough to make anyone want to go out and ride.
Lori Dell – 5’6”, 155 pounds – BMW S1000RR
My dream bike for 2012 would be the BMW S1000RR. For me it’s a no brainer. I found the BMW to be the best in quality, features, fit and performance. I could comfortably run around town or jet off to some distant bike night. I would most certainly be thrilled on my weekend canyon carving jaunts with my pack of riding buddies. Whether near or far I feel I would be very comfortable and proud of the BMW and completely confident of its abilities. Also the various traction modes would allow me the opportunity to safely explore my skills at trackdays. In fact, I feel certain that this trustworthy, high performance machine would kick my riding level up a few notches!
Leah Petersen – 5’11”, 140 pounds – BMW S1000RR
The S1000RR is an astounding bike, especially considering the price point. It’s sleek, sexy, eye catching and unique. Not to mention it has the ability to be pretty plug and play (in rain mode for example) or a challenge if I want it to be. Each centimeter of this bike is well engineered, but not overly so. BMW walked the fine line of some over-engineered, unusable speed machine and a true motorcycle with street smarts and track smarts.
I truly felt at home from the second I hopped on the BMW. I spent more time being amazed at how everything just flowed than thinking about my riding. The bike’s riding position is aggressive but natural. I feel like this bike is something that would keep me growing and learning as a rider, without killing me in the process. It’s a bike I could see myself owning for many, many years.
Justin Dawes – 5’10”, 220 pounds – Ducati 1199 Panigale S
I’d plunk down 23 large for the Panigale S in heartbeat if I had the moola to spend on any of these bikes. I hated the 1198 with an unreasonable passion (now that it’s gone I can admit it). So for me to love the Panigale says quite a bit. The engine character makes so much more sense to me now. I like to rev a bike, and finally a can do that with this Duc. The handling just gets better turn after turn, and it’s got plenty of legroom for my creaky joints for long rides. Even better is that the flatter stance doesn’t crush my wrists and nuts like the 1198. The best part of owning the Panigale is that you wouldn’t have to explain why you bought it; anyone that even glances in the 1199’s direction will understand immediately.