Ducati confirmed the news we were all expecting at the weekend as they released, and then subsequently bedecked their race bikes in the same paint scheme, a 1299 Panigale R Final Edition. And while V-twin fans will have a tear in their eye, this is a fitting farewell to an engine that has brought Ducati 334 race wins, 17 Constructor's titles and 14 Rider's titles in World Superbikes...
The 1299 Panigale R Final Edition costs a slightly scary £34,995, but it is only just shy of the Superleggera in terms of specification, although it doesn't have a carbon frame, wheels or swingarm.
Powered by what Ducati are calling an 'offshoot of the Superleggera's engine' the FE makes 209hp with 104.8lbft of torque thanks to the same lightened crank, larger valves and revised air intake system as the Superleggera as well as titanium con-rods and valves. Add to this an Akrapovic WSB-style exhaust system, slipper clutch and top-level electronics and it's a fairly potent package. And the chassis is equally top-level.
Ok, you are missing the carbon bits, but the FE gets Ohlins suspension (not semi-active electronic) and steering damper, forged alloy wheels, Brembo monoblock calipers and a very pretty paint scheme so everyone knows you are on an FE. In addition, although Ducati haven't actually limited its numbers, every FE will be individually numbered.
"Maybe no other motorcycle manufacturer has bound its name so tightly to an engine as Ducati has to its sports twin-cylinder," said Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali. "Today, we're here to celebrate its history, just as we stand on the cusp of a new era in which our desmodromic system will be used on a new generation of V4 engines derived from extensive experience in MotoGP. But that's the future. Today, we want to pay homage to a twin-cylinder engine that - thanks to incredible torque and compactness - has seen Ducati win races in every SBK championship it has ever participated in. In short, it's the engine that has written World Superbike history."
So that's out with the old, all we have to do now is wait until the Milan Show at the end of this year to welcome in the new V4 era...
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Here's me on mine at Cadwell Park in 1990 - I'm sure the genre will be sorely missed.
V8 FOU10 Jul 2017
It will be interesting - but having owned countless Ducati V twins I shed a tear. But, hey, it's progress. I can't see them making a less than brilliant bike with soul.
huckster610 Jul 2017
Ducati abandoning V Twins? Gimme a break! Triumph still making versions of upright twins. Updated, but still regarded with affection, even if built in Thailand. Does anybody know the justification for this "New Brand Strategy," or is this just VW/Audi marketing twaddle?
Steve Bass10 Jul 2017
For outright performance on the track, the 1299 configuration was as big as the bore could go. In truth it went too far with the 1199 onwards. For racing success you need high rpm and a twin with the bore & stroke of the 1299 just cannot survive at high rpm. it's simple mechanical constraints and the laws of fizzicks.
So for their Superbike offerings, Ducati will go V/L 4 and it's for the better in my opinion. If they retain things like the Desmo valve train and give it a big bang firing order it should be a cracker. The D16 RR was a first go at a road bike and came close albeit strangled by its airbox so with the development $$ VAG have since brought they should hit the ground running and produce a missile. with the current Superbike crop ALL making 200bhp and fitted with a raft of electronics this might be the bike the D16RR should have been. V twins will remain for everything other than the Superbikes in my opinion, at least for the next 5 years.
As a die hard Duc fan i'll keep campaigning my hybrid freakshow but I have a slot for the 4cylinder R model when it arrives.
rtz6210 Jul 2017
Before I met her SWMBO had a Ducat V twin of some sort for track days. She always recounts how when she used to close the throttle (perhaps crack the throttle shut may be more accurate?) it tried to tip her over the handlebars. Having said that, as one of her friends told me, 'she looked like a pea on a 'oss' as she was a size 6 and 7st wet through. Guess I'll have to stick a Foggy rep or one of these on my wish list now..