Update: The MSRP of the 1198 is $16,495, while the 1198S will retail for $21,795.
Bologna, Italy-based bike maker Ducati had been enjoying the success of its magnificent 1098 and 1098S superbikes for a couple of years before it announced the limited production run of 1,500 units of the 200 hp $72,500 MotoGP repli-racer Desmosedici RR. Close on the heels of that bucking bronco the company unveiled the 1098R. A 1098 in name only, the 1,198cc R model was very much a turn-key World Superbike-spec motorcycle with lights.
Rumors were that Ducati “convinced” the FIM to bump displacement for liquid-cooled Twins to 1,200cc for the 2008 WSB season. The now-retired Troy Bayliss campaigned a 1098RF08 to great success for Xerox Ducati, taking the 2008 championship. The street-able 1098R was the homologation obligation for the F08.
Unveiled to the world at the beginning of this year, before the 2008 WSBK got underway, we learned that only a smattering of items separated the race bike from the consumer-available 1098R. Now, less than a year since that hero-maker came on the scene, Ducati brings us the 1198. Obvious upgrade comparisons could be made to the 1098, as it was the precursor, but we could also concentrate on examining how close the 1198 is to the 1098R. Which came first, the 160 hp 1098 chicken, or the 190 hp 1098R egg?
Right down the middle
The 1098R and 1198 both have bore and stroke of 106 x 67.9mm, nearly a 100cc bump from the 1098 (104.0mm x 64.7mm, a true 1099cc). Intake and exhaust valve diameters on the 1098 at 42 and 34mm, respectively, are smaller than on the 1198 at 43.5 and 35.5mm. The 1098R valves measure 44.3 and 36.2mm. An emerging trend, perhaps?
Compression ratios follow a similar good, gooder, goodest pattern. The 1098 squeezed fuel mixture at a ratio of 12.5:1, the new 1198 at 12.7:1 and the 1098R at 12.8:1.
Now we come to a rather interesting bit of data on the new 1198. We learned when attending the 1098R U.S. launch at Barber Motorsports Park in February of this year that Ducati clipped just less than 5 lbs (2.2kg) from the 1098’s mill by way of titanium valves and piston connecting rods, a lightened crankshaft, carbon fiber belt covers and sand-cast crankcases and cylinder heads.
According to Ducati materials obtained through subterfuge and payment in Krispy Kremes, the 1198 engine is said to weigh 3kg (6.5 lbs) less than the ol' 1098 thanks to the implementation of a vacuum die-cast process to manufacture the crankcases and the use of magnesium-alloy valve covers; there's no mention of any Ti materials.
All the minutia of the changes on the 1198 that improve over the 1098 yet don’t quite stack up to the 1098R are fine and dandy, but all you really care about is twist and go, ya?
The R model claims 180 hp at 9750 rpm, with 99 ft-lbs of torque at 7750; a big boost over the 1098’s claimed 160 hp at 9750 rpm and 90 ft-lbs at 8000 rpm. Claimed figures for the 1198 put it dead-center again with 170 hp at 9750 rpm and 97 ft-lbs at 8000 rpm. Shocker! No, not if you’ve been paying attention. For your Sunday Morning Ride trivia needs, you can explain to your buddies that a 2007 1098S (identical engine as 1098) saw dyno results of 141 hp and 80 ft-lbs. Don’t worry, we won’t tell yer mates you got the figures from us.
Areas where the 1198 benefits directly from the R is in use of its Desmosedici MotoGP-derived pistons, friction-reducing treatment to cams with 10% more lift, race-ready gearbox (more GP trickle-down) and 63.9mm elliptical fuel-injection throttle bodies –though it’s unknown whether the t-bodies use a single or twin-injector as on the R. Unfortunately there’s no mention of a slipper-clutch on the 1198. Oooo… So close!
At this juncture, frame, suspension, brakes and geometry appear unchanged from the 1098. However, the 1198 gains a redesigned headlamp good for a 1.2 lbs weight savings, and new 10-spoke forged-aluminum wheels wearing Pirelli’s grippy Diablo Supercorsas SC tires in 120 x 17 and 190 x 17 fitments.
If you owned a 1098 and grew weary of a $16,000 bike having less-than-functional mirrors, you’ll be glad you dumped the 1098, ‘cause the 1198 comes with a stem extension kit that moves them out 30mm. And, finally, the all-in-one LCD racey dash unit is now backlight by bright white LEDs, and the rpm and speed figure images have been enlarged. The 1198’s claimed wet weight is 412 lbs.
Your Italian day dream is now complete.
You like-a the S model, we gotta you S model right here… But only betta!
It wouldn’t be like Ducati if there wasn’t a dolled-up version of its most-awesomest-bike-as-it-is-already-model. The former 1098S, with its upgraded-over-Showa premium Öhlins suspension front and rear, lighter wheels and Ducati Data Analyzer (DDA), set the standard for “available equipment” for a purebred sportbike. The new 1198S is no different. Well, it’s kinda no different.
The newest S model is powered by the same L-Twin as the 1198, but it’s carried in a bronze colored frame that matches new 7-spoke Marchesini GP-replica wheels, and a carbon-fiber fender rides out front. The 1198S also gets premo Öhlins springers: a fully-adjustable 43mm USD fork and fully-adjustable shock.
The DDA is apparently larger (4mb), and now works with (don’t laugh!) Windows Vista. It can also be used to analyze the amount of DTC interaction during wheel spin. Holy Gotham on fire! Did I just say DTC, as in Ducati Traction Control? Indeedy I did.
Referred to as DTC For the Road, Ducati proclaims this is the first traction control system ever available on a production street motorcycle. It is standard on the S, integrated into its electronics package, and not an option on the 1198. From what we can tell it’s identical to the 8-level system (Level 1 least TC, Level 8 most TC) as used on the 1098R, the same TC used on Ducati’s MotoGP and World Superbike machines. DTC is easily-accessed by way of a large toggle on the left switchgear. There’s a special display area in the LCD instrument panel that indicates which setting you’re currently using.
Lastly, the S model knocks 4 lbs from the standard 1198’s clamed dry weight of 377 lbs; wet weights follow at 408 lbs vs. 412 lbs.
Exotica for a song
When the 1098R was unveiled in its near-WSBK-spec form, it seemed a better deal to me than having a GP bike with a license plate. The Desmo, in case you haven’t ridden one (and I’m guessing virtually no one reading this has) is akin to driving a NASCAR Winston Cup winner to get milk and eggs. The 1098R on the other hand offered more livable ergos, a slipper clutch and far more manageable power delivery. Though it’s race-ready, we all know it takes an inordinate amount of tuning prowess and rider talent to realize its potential. Still, a vehicle of that caliber for only $40K is incredible.
With the 1198’s engine shadowing the mill in the 1098R, and the rest of the bike lacking only the R’s top-tier Öhlins suspension (especially the shock), and oodles of carbon goodies, we could easily place the 1198 at well over $20,000. But since most of the ground work had been done by the 1098R, hopefully meaning limited tooling changes, let’s be optimistic and cross our fingers for an MSRP less than $17,000, and for the S model to be below $21,000.
With such relatively marginal differences between the 1198 and 1098R in terms of engine performance, I’ll venture the new bike is all that and a bottle of house Chianti.
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