World, welcome the new Ducati 899 Panigale
If you are an avid interwebbist and are even mildly interested in motorcycles, chances are you have read a lot about a new little Ducati being developed at Bologna. As it turns out, it is ready now, and Ducati has just revealed it at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Enter the new 899 Panigale.When it comes to looks, the 899 looks very much the same as the 1199, but apart from the repositioned vents on the fairing, there is one more little detail that hardcore Ducatisti will notice, and that is the double-sided swingarm on the 899. No exposed rear wheel for you, chaps.As the name on the tin suggests, this is a Panigale with a smaller engine. The 899 utilises an 898cc Superquadro L-Twin motor with a revised bore and stroke, which means that the 899 makes 146bhp and 99Nm of torque. The gearbox is the same six-speed unit as on the 1199. The shrunken motor's output means that it's a bit more powerful than the 848 EVO, its predecessor, but is down on its bigger brother by about 50bhp and 30-odd torques. Still, the 899 is a bit smaller than the 1199 in terms of dimensions. And whoever complained about 146bhp being a tad less to work with on two wheels?The 899 is only the second Ducati to employ the engine as a stressed member of the aluminium monocoque chassis, just like the 1199. Also, like the 1199, the 899 gets Ride-by-Wire technology and riding and power modes - 'Race' and 'Sport' let you have the full-fat 146bhp as and when you please, while 'Wet' mode pulls the output down to 110bhp to ensure optimum traction. These modes work in tandem with the three-stage ABS (available as standard), eight-stage Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Engine Braking Control (EBC) and Ducati Quick Shift (DQS), a feature that lets you change gear without having to involve the clutch, thus shaving precious tenths of a second off a lap. What's more, the bike is DDA+ ready, which means you can also keep track of your on-track exploits.The bike gets fully-adjustable suspension, with Showa Big Piston Forks at the front and a side-mounted Sachs monoshock placed at the back. Twin disc brakes up front and a single disc at the rear are Brembo units. The 899 doesn't get the 1199's colour TFT info display, and has to make do with a black-on-white LCD example. And even though the 899 is a bit more compact, it weighs almost as much as the bigger Panigale, with a kerb weight of 193kg.It's only available in one variant for now (in a red-black or white-red combo), with Ducati's usual customisation options on offer. And yes, we expect this to make its way to India real soon. Toned down a bit much, or is the 899 just right?