Top 10 Hottest Bikes of 2012
These 10 motorcycles are sure to make waves in 2012
Ducati 1199 Panigale
How much more hype can we give to the new Ducati 1199 Panigale that hasn’t been done already? The successor to the popular and successful 1098/1198, the Panigale is more than just a significant update, it defines what we moto-journos mean when we talk about revolution vs. evolution. Many of the technologies on the new Panigale will break from the mold we’re so used to seeing on sportbikes.
First, the frame, or rather, lack of one. The monocoque design of the 1199 means the engine is the frame and the signature trellis design on past Ducatis is no more. This technology borrows directly from the company’s MotoGP experience. Considering how much trouble Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden had this season aboard those MotoGP machines, it will be interesting to see how the new 1199 performs.
Of course, the 1199 engine is also earning much attention, as its highly oversquare dimensions will deliver the highest revving liter-class Twin ever. The “Superquadro” engine of the 1199 also promises to be one of the most powerful V-Twin engines ever. If all the hype is to be believed, then we can expect horsepower figures close to 200 at the crank. Staggering.
That much power is hard to tame for even the best riders, so Ducati has graced the 1199 with an advanced electronics package that should set the bar pretty high for its competitors. We could go on and on about what is easily the most anticipated motorcycle of 2012, but we’ll whet the appetite with this little teaser. We’ll be riding it next month at an exotic location to see if the Panigale measures up to its intense hype.
Pricing for the base Panigale starts at $17,995, the “S” variant lists for $22,995 and the Tricolore is set at $27,995.
Erik Buell Racing 1190RS
Erik Buell has been kicked in the crotch more than any other industry player we know. Decades ago, it was the AMA eliminating a racing class just as Buell unveiled a game-changing new bike in that category. Then, in 2009, Harley-Davidson pulled the plug on its Buell Motorcycles subsidiary, leaving Erik and his dreams of building a world-class sportbike up a creek with no paddle, boat or water.
And yet Erik Buell refuses to be counted out. The awkwardly styled Buell 1125R has been thoroughly overhauled and transformed into the elegant and exciting Erik Buell Racing 1190RS. A Rotax-sourced V-Twin is the only carryover part, and even that has been comprehensively upgraded to deliver a claimed 175 hp.
Nearly every other component is distinct from the 1125R, including its new aluminum frame, spidery magnesium subframe and built-in-the-USA magnesium wheels constructed with a new ablation casting method. Ohlins takes care of suspension duties, while the front brake’s 8-piston caliper uses trick cooling ducts.
EBR says it will produce a limited run of 100 1190RS models. The base RS retails for $39,999. A Carbon Package costs an extra $4,000. The price is high, certainly, but this machine is on the level of an American-built Bimota. Early reports from those who had ridden it are nothing short of glowing. We’re hoping to get a ride on it soon.
And further proof Buell ain’t dead yet. The company says it will be building three new models, thus far known only as the RX, SX and AX. We definitely haven’t seen the last of Mr. Buell!