Ducati 1198 – A Fusion of Past and Future Classic Italian Sportsbikes

When the world thought nothing could possibly be better than the 1098 from 2007, out of Bologna came the 2009 Ducati 1198 which would end the era of a long family line of superbikes from the Italians. 

They didn’t stop producing sportsbikes, far from it, instead in 2011 when the Ducati 1198 was waved out, the 1199 Panigale was ushered in and all efforts were thrown into the successful new Panigale line which remains at the head of the Ducati line-up today.

With all that said, the Ducati 1198 should not be looked at as a transitional bike from one line to another. 

Far from it, the 1198 should be revered as the absolute peak of a family of bikes that changed what anyone thought was possible to get out of a V-twin engine for sportsbike performance.  

Let’s meander through the short lived life of the Ducati 1198 with a review, take a look at its awesome spec sheet and what they are selling for on today’s used market.

Table of Contents

Ducati 1198 Review

The fact is the 1198 was not all that different from the Ducati 1098. It was just another evolved version of the line, bigger, more refined, walking the thin line between track bike and road-warrior. 

However, the Ducati 1198 was a pretty special machine in its own right and some would argue more suited to road use as an everyday sportsbike then the previous 1098.

Ducati 1198S Corse on display at the 2010 Tokyo motorcycle show

Engine and Transmission

A big 1198cc engine equips the bike with a maximum power output of around 170 horsepower, this is the same engine used in the previous years 1098R. 

However, on the preceding machine you had a different crankshaft, titanium conrods and valves, different cylinder heads, pistons, mapping, pipes and rear shock. Basically the 1098R was a true track bike wearing a very thin disguise as a road-going machine. 

On the other hand the new 1198 was more suited for the street, a little bit, kind of, well okay as suited to the street as any Ducati Supersport machine could possibly be. 

According to Visordown “The bore and stroke has increased from 104 x 64.7 on the 1098 to 106 x 77.9 and the inlet and exhaust valves have increased in diameter by 1.5mm. The throttle bodies’ inlets have also increased by over 13%”

Stronger crankcases were used in the 1198 to make them lighter and more resilient at high temperatures. 

The 1198 also used the gearbox from the 1098R to cope with the extra horsepower that the engine was capable of producing. 

Chassis and Handling

The 1198 is a lighter machine despite sharing the same engine as the 1098. It also has the same Showa suspension set up and non-adjustable steering damper as the Biposto 1098. 

Wheels are 10 spoke cast aluminium and there are no changes other than cosmetic ones with regards to the chassis and swingarm from the 1098.

Handling is precise and intuitive, you will find yourself throwing the bike into the corners and easily moving side to side for correct lean angles and lines. 

The dash, headlight and fairing are mounted to an aluminium sub-frame which helped keep the 1198 lighter than the 1098.

Visordown’s reviewer got to spend a day at the track with a Ducati 1198S and on the handling he had this to say “I’ve heard 1098 owners complain of sore wrists due to the race-like riding position. I’m sorry to say nothing has changed here as my upper body reminded me after a day on track. And the only answer will be getting down to the gym because with the 1198’s greater acceleration comes higher speed braking so you’ll need to be stronger than ever especially if you visit a physically demanding circuit.”

As with all Ducati sportsbikes they aren’t necessarily built for comfort but for performance. Nobody in the design team sat down and thought about how to make the bike appropriate for 2-up riding or long-distance, touring was never even a concept.

The fact is the Ducati 1198 is the best version in the whole family of being a road-going track bike, so it is slightly more relaxed ergonomically, you likely will be able to ride it further than a Ducati 916 but it isn’t a bike to load up and do a weekend tour on. 

Remember the bike has an immense amount of power producing pure speed and torque, it takes some strength to wrestle with the machine and intense concentration, these don’t make for long days riding. 

The best way to use a Ducati 1198 is in short sweet bursts on amazing curvy back roads and if you can face it, some days on the track. 

Brakes

Brakes on the Ducati 1198 remained the same as those used on the 1098 with Brembo mono bloc calipers, 2 330mm discs upfront and 245mm single on the rear. 

Braking was never an issue on any of the preceding models and even with the extra power of the 1198 the Brembo set up proved to be more than adequate. 

Equipment

Ducati Data Analyser can be fitted to the 1198 by any Ducati dealer but did not come as stock. Ducati traction control was also not fitted as stock on the 1198 and was not able to be fitted by dealers after the fact. Whereas the Ducati 1198S had both the DDA and traction control fitted from the jump. 

The 1198 was also equipped with a new LED display that could be operated from a switch on the left handlebar. It meant there was no more lifting your hand off with gloved fingers trying to press small buttons. 

Variations

There were 4 main versions of the 1198, the base, S, SP and R. 

As with the 1098R, the Ducati 1198R was the race version, produced so that Ducati could continue to compete in the World Superbike Championships. 

The R was lighter, equipped with carbon fibre components to reduce weight even further as well as tuned to ensure that the maximum amount of power and torque could be extracted from the engine. 

By the models second year it was fully equipped with ABS and a Ducati Quick Shifter along with the DDA, Ducati traction Control and a MotoGP style instrumentation display.

It was clothed in Ducati race livery. The 1198R was produced in small numbers compared to other variants and therefore is rarer to find on the used market, you will also now find it to be more expensive than the other options. 

The Ducati 1198S was a sportier version of the base 1198. It was lighter and equipped with adjustable upgraded Ohlins suspension and Ohlins steering damper. The S also came as standard with Ducati Data Analyser and Ducati traction Control with 8 modes.

The S saw two designs, one special edition with the Ducati Corse livery and one was a Casey Stoner Philip Island Replica. The race replica was equipped with the identical livery of Casey Stoner’s bike used in the races however, it’s power output was the exact same as the standard Ducati 1198S.

Lastly the 1198 SP replaced the Ducati 1198S. It came with more performance based upgrades. For example the SP came with a Ducati performance aluminium tank, slipper clutch, quick-shifter, improved rear suspension and lighter wheels. 

By 2011 Ducati had reduced their line-up down to just the 1198 and 1198 SP. What this meant was that the base was equipped with some of the cool mods that it had previously lacked like the DDA and Ducati traction Control. 

WSB Success

Following Bayliss success in 2008 on the previous 1098 version, Carlos Checa on an 1198 won both the riders and manufacturers title during the 2011 Superbike World Championship season. 

It was really the best way to send off a long line of bikes that had brought home Ducati many awards and wins over the years. 

Is the Ducati 1198 considered a good bike?

Those who have followed Ducati’s development of Supersport motorcycles and have paid attention to their racing successes and the bikes coming out of Bologna, will all have their own favourites about which bike is best. 

My take is this, the 1098R was one of the best motorcycles Ducati had ever produced, a true sportsbike in thinly veiled clothes for road-use. For Ducati to have then gone on taking everything they had learnt and thrown it into a new machine in the form of the Ducati 1198, it can only be better right?

The 1198 is considered a good bike by the motorcycle community. For some it is simply too big and impractical, but to that I argue why would you purchase a Ducati sportsbike for practicality? 

It is a work of art and beauty, with performance to match. 

By the time of the 1198’s development the days of Ducati’s dubious reliability issues were a thing of the past. Service intervals had increased, maintenance was easier and the engine was rock solid.

The fact is if you regularly service a Ducati 1198 and take care of it then it is a bulletproof machine that will be happy to run as long as you can.

Ducati 1198 Specs

Engine and Transmission – 

  • Four-Stroke, 90० L-Twin, desmodromic, 4 valves per cylinder
  • EVOluzione Testastretta Engine
  • 1198cc
  • Bore x Stroke – 106 x 67.9
  • Compression Ratio – 12.7:1
  • Liquid-Cooled
  • Marelli Electronic Fuel Injection 
  • Max Power – 170 horsepower at 9,750rpm
  • Max Torque – 131.4 Nm at 8,000rpm
  • Clutch – Dry multi-plate with hydraulic control
  • 6-Speed Gearbox
  • Final Drive – Chain

Chassis and Suspension –

  • Tubular Steel Trellis Frame
  • Front Suspension – Showa 43mm with TiO upside down fork
  • Rear Suspension – Showa Monoshock
  • Front Brake – 2 x 330mm semi-floating discs, Brembo monobloc calipers
  • Rear Brake – Single 245mm disc, Brembo 2 piston caliper
  • Height – 1100mm
  • Length – 2100mm
  • Wheelbase – 1430mm
  • Rake – 24૦
  • Seat Height – 820mm
  • Dry Weight – 171kg
  • Fuel Capacity – 15.5 litres

Ducati 1198 Top Speed?

The standard 1198 has an estimated top speed of 175mph.

The Ducati 1198S, R and SP models have a reported top speed of 185mph.

Ducati 1198 0-60 Time

FastestLaps has a recorded time for the Ducati 1198S doing 0-60mph in 2.7 seconds. 

The 0-60 time of the standard 1198 model is said to be 3.1 seconds or just under. 

Ducati 1198 current second hand prices?

£7,000-£8,000 in the UK will be able to fetch you a good condition base 1198; for around £10,000 you could quite easily pick up an excellent condition low mileage example like this one.

Stepping up to £15,000 will get you a mint S or SP.

If you are on the hunt for something particularly special then upping the budget to just under £20,000 will pick you up a later edition like this one currently on Autotrader

It has only 116 miles on it so is effectively a brand new bike – whether it’s worth it vs a modern day Panigale V4 for similar money is really up to the potential purchaser.   

In the US the figures aren’t all that different and if you have checked out the article on the Ducati 1098 you will note that there isn’t that much difference between the two models.

1198R models in the US fetch the most money at around $20,000. There are not too many of these around and the steep price certainly reflects this. 

Between $9,000-$15,000 will get you a base, S or SP with the price difference being based on the S range being more expensive but also there are some really mint condition base models fetching the top end of that figure thanks to their excellent condition. 

For a motorcycle that you plan to ride and use then a S or SP model is the best bike to go for, it comes with all the extras that are super beneficial, just the Ohlins suspension set up alone is superior. 

With that said a base Ducati 1198 at a good price would be perfect for someone who wants to do a lot of track days, a saving of up to $5,000 is well worth it if you stand a chance of sliding it down the tarmac on the track. 

However, for something that is being purchased to collect then look for an R model or one of the Special Edition S/SPs as these will hold their value significantly more. 

Is the Ducati 1198 likely to be a future collectable Ducati?

It is safe to say that the S, SP, R models will always be more collectable than the base model, and the latter will always be the most coveted. 

I would suggest it will be a future collectable Ducati as reflected by the current used prices. Those that couldn’t afford the bill for a new one, are still on the hunt for one today and they continue to change hands without too much depreciation. 

I would think the 1098 will be the most coveted out of the two bikes as there really isn’t that much between them; however, special edition models of both the previous Ducati 1198 and 1098 are the ones to look out for. 

They are Ducati Supersport motorcycles and for those that prefer Italian bikes with a huge backlog of successful racing history will always choose one from this line-up rather than a Japanese inline four. 

There is something quite special about a Ducati sportsbike and there always will be. 

Verdict

The Ducati 1198 is a masterpiece of a machine straight from Bologna. It honors all of the bikes that came before it and tee’s up nicely what would start to come from the Ducati factory thereafter. 

It is a fusion of the past and the future, a bike that modern day riders would be just as happy to ride as they were upon its release. 

Let’s face it, technology on motorcycles in 2021 is just crazy, it won’t be long before they are self-balancing and they can be ridden on auto-pilot. 

The fact is the Ducati 1198 superbike has just enough fancy additions without taking away from the pure thrill of sitting on masses of power ready to throw you into the bends and come away with ease. 

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