Hmmmmm, I remember really liking the 848 Streetfighter for an everyday Ducati ten years ago, but Tommy “Guns” Roderick was less than complimentary when he rode the thing around Italy at its introduction. High strung, nervous, and “a testicle-harrowing experience” thanks to a forward-sloping seat, TR concluded the 848 was a motorcycle he wouldn’t want to spend more than an afternoon on. Ouch.
In the presentation for the 959, Ducati described its new bike as having “perfect balance,” which is a descriptor I immediately dismissed as pure PR speak. After all, every OEM would want to say that about one of its new products, but after having spun laps on the latest Panigale at the Ricardo Tormo MotoGP circuit, I’m becoming a believer in this Italian balancing act.
Increasing the 899 Panigale’s stroke from 57.2 to 60.8mm, while retaining its 100mm bore (3.94 inches), in addition to a bunch more changes, brings us to the 2016 Ducati 959 Panigale. The crankshaft was redesigned to support a brand-new crank journal lubrication system and completely new connecting rods, while compression remains the same 12.5:1.
Any bike nut who’s fascinated by performance loves sportbikes. But consumers often have a narrow focus on what makes for a desirable sporting machine, often opting for a faired crotch rocket rather than a relatively comfortable naked roadster. But while naked sporty bikes from Japan have almost never sold well in America (R.I.P. Suzuki SV650…), unfaired sportbikes from Europe are in relatively high demand.