Nerd’s Eye View: Ducati 1199 Panigale

Nerd’s Eye ViewDucati 1199 Panigale 

by Khiem Dinh

Khiem Dinh is an engineer for Honeywell Turbo Technologies at the time of this writing.  All statements and opinions expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies.

I love sport bikes.  Why?  They are pretty much the only track-ready vehicle you can buy straight off the showroom floor.  They come with fully adjustable suspension, sticky tires, lightweight this, titanium that…  you get the picture.  Sure, you can buy some very high performance cars, but the only one that I can think of that’s street-legal and truly a track-ready vehicle is the 2008-2010 Dodge Viper ACR (which happens to come with fully adjustable KW Suspension, Brembo brake calipers and StopTech brake rotors).  Back to the subject at hand, this is Ducati 1199 Panigale a friend brought over.  Being an engineer, I like to geek out over stuff, especially high-end Italian machinery.  Keep in mind this is just the base model Panigale (which retails for about $17.5K), but Ducati is to motorcycles what Ferrari is to cars; I wouldn’t kick out a base model Ferrari 458 from my driveway.  If you want to know the specs on the bike, you can do an internet search.  I’m just here to point out stuff I thought was cool.  So on with the close-up through the eyes of a nerd.

Let’s start with the front wheel and move on back.  There are a few interesting features of note here.  The first thing that caught my eye are the spokes; the bigger spokes are like a U-channel instead of being solid or a box section.  Cutting out all of that material reduces weight.  The wheels are said to be at least 0.5kg lighter than the previous versions.  A little further back, you can see a toothed wheel.  At the minimum, that’s used for the ABS system.  I imagine the wheel speed data is also used for traction control.  The brake rotor assembly is two-piece consisting of a rotor floating on a very minimal material rotor hat.  With sport bikes, minimizing weight is the name of the game and you’ll see this evident all over the bike.  This bike had just over two hundred miles on the odometer and there was still some cross-hatching visible on the rotors to aid the brake pad break-in.  The one nice little touch is the valve stem which comes off at a 90 degree angle; this makes it much easier to hook up the line from a compressor or just to put on a tire pressure gauge.
Lightweight Brembo monobloc 4-piston calipers handle the braking duties up front.  Notice how unnecessary material is removed from the brake caliper to reduce weight.  The front axle is hollow all the way through saving weight.  The little red knob at the bottom of the fork is the compression adjuster.  Lastly, some super sticky Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires.

Why are the fork sliders black?  They are low-friction, hard-anodized black aluminum.  Low-friction is very important for forks to reduce stiction and allow the suspension to function properly.  Behind the front wheel are the radiators.  They have some seriously high fin count!  A lot of cooling is required from a 1.2L twin making 195hp.

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