Ducati Reveals 659cc Superquadro Mono Engine
Desmodromic Single to debut on new model Nov. 2
Days after confirming its plan to go motocross racing, Ducati made another surprise announcement, revealing its new single-cylinder engine dubbed the Superquadro Mono.
We’ve known Ducati was preparing a Single for over a year now, after we first broke the news of the 659cc engine, but we now have full technical details about the Superquadro Mono, plus confirmation that it will be powering a new motorcycle that will debut on the Nov. 2 Ducati World Première 2024 episode titled “Live. Play. Ride.” Based on spy photos that have been floating around, the new model is expected to be a Hypermotard-style motorcycle.
The Superquadro Mono is derived from the 1,285cc Superquadro engine that powered the Panigale 1299 superbike, Ducati’s last, and highest-performing street-legal 90° V-Twin. The Mono uses the same 116 mm diameter piston as the Twin, but a longer stroke of 62.4 mm. The shape of the combustion chamber, as well as the Desmodromic valve system and the 46.8 mm diameter titanium intake valves, and 38.2 mm steel exhaust valves are all similar to those used on the Panigale 1299’s engine. The Mono’s compression ratio of 13.1:1 is actually even higher than the Twin’s 12.6:1.
Though the stroke is longer than on the Panigale, it’s still relatively short, with a bore-to-stroke ratio of 1.86. This, along with the Desmo valve system, allows the engine to reach very high rotation speeds for a Single, with a rev limit of 10,250 rpm. By comparison, the closest similarly-sized Single currently used in a production motorcycle would be KTM’s 693cc LC4 engine that powers the 690 Enduro R and 690 SMC R (plus their Husqvarna and GasGas variants). It uses a longer 80 mm stroke with a smaller 105 mm piston for a 1.31 ratio, and has a rev limit of 8,000 rpm.
Ducati claims the Superquadro Mono produces a maximum of 77.5 hp at 9,750 rpm and 46.3 lb-ft. at 8,000 rpm, while describing the power distribution as “linear and exploitable” while respecting Euro 5 homologation limits for street use. For track use, adding a Termignoni exhaust system can bump the peak power output to a claimed 84.5 hp at 9,500 rpm. For Europe and other markets with similar laws, Ducati will also produce a detuned version to meet A2 licensing requirements.
The Superquadro Mono uses a die-cast crankcase integrating the water jacket around an aluminum cylinder barrel, similar to the 1299 Superggera’s engine. This allows for a lower weight while improving coolness due to the thinner walls. The cylinder head is directly fixed to the crankcase for a more compact engine while adding rigidity.
A single oval-section 62 mm throttle body feeds in the fuel through an under-throttle injector. The engine is set up to be controlled by a ride-by-wire system that offers three different power modes (high, medium and low).
The Superquadro Mono uses an asymmetrical crankshaft mounted on differentiated main bearings. To balance the vibrations, Ducati added two gear-controlled balancing countershafts that also control the water and oil pumps. Ducati says the engine’s vibrations are on par with those produced by a 90° V-Twin.
The engine is paired to a six-speed transmission with racing gear ratios developed from data from the Panigale V4 with a long first gear designed to maximize thrust for slow corners. As you would expect from Ducati, the transmission is set to be compatible with a quick shift. Ducati opted for a wet clutch designed to require a lighter lever load, claiming intuitive engine braking behavior to facilitate sliding into corners.
As with its other recent models, Ducati made a concerted effort to reduce maintenance costs with lengthy service intervals of 30,000 km (18,641 miles).
While we now know a lot about the new engine, there remain a few lingering questions. The obvious question is about what motorcycles Ducati will put this engine in. The first model, a Hypermotard-style (Hypermono?) bike will be announced on Nov. 2, but we have to assume Ducati will use the same engine on more models down the line. A smaller Scrambler or even a Monster might be good candidates for the Superquadro Mono. A Supermono sportbike is another intriguing possibility, and this year marks the 30th anniversary of its introduction.
Ducati’s new motocross bike will obviously not have a 659cc displacement, but will it share some features of the Superquadro Mono? Ducati already confirmed it will also have Desmo valves, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer to learn if they will have more in common.
More by Dennis Chung