Headed for the Indian Market, Ducati 959 Panigale Displayed at IBW

BENGALURU: The recently held India Bike Week 2016 at Goa, witnessed the Italian bike maker Ducati, raise the curtains on the all new Ducati 959 Panigale. This new Panigale sibling is all set to hit the Indian market with bookings already open and deliveries likely to commence from July 2016, with a premium price tag of Rs 14,04,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi NCR).

There was lots of gossip amidst motorcyclists across the globe, especially the Ducatisti as the 959 Panigale is the global replacement for the superb 899 Panigale. The 899 Panigale’s power delivery and handling enchanted almost everybody, but with the nature of reviews pouring in from the motorcycle-world gurus it can be concluded, the new Panigale sibling has done it. Although targeted as a liter class sports bike to replace 899 Panigale, the Panigale 959 draws its cosmetic lines and design inspirations from its elder brother, the Ducati Panigale 1299. The 1299 Panigale, a brutal machine with immense power that tries to propel the bike from underneath the rider everytime throttle is opened hard made it a purely track bike, and for the experts. The design team at Ducati wanted a street bike image for the 959 Panigale; it is reflected in the controlled, linear power delivery of the bike which makes it a sweet everyday ride, but can perform exceptionally well on tarmac as well. The 1299 Panigale’s heat, obviously from its large engine block, that made it hard for city rides has been well countered in the 959 Panigale.

Coming back the new Panigale, it is powered by a 955cc L-twin engine, the first Superquadro form Ducati with Euro 4 emissions approval delivering 157BHP and a peak 107Nm of torque at 9000rpm; an approximately six percent increase as compared to its predecessor. The cylinders, placed at right angles to each other are mounted to create a 21 degrees angle between the front cylinder and the horizontal plane. This places the engine forward and allows for a better weight distribution. The piston stroke travel has been increased and the motor gets a redesigned crankshaft. Mated with a six-speed transmission, the 959 Panigale comes with a slipper clutch and Ducati Quick Shift (DQS). The DQS enables up-shifting or down-shifting gears without engaging the clutch lever, earning the precious fractions during a head-on; also exempts the rider of playing with the clutch lever in city rides.

The skeleton is a monocoque made of cast aluminium which has managed to provide a low weight to bike (176 dry weight/ 195 kg wet weight) while retaining the structural strength as expected from a performance bike. The rear end comes with a fully adjustable Sachs rear monoshock for the best suspension response under road and track conditions. The Brembo Monobloc M4.32 320 mm front and 245 mm rear disks brakes coupled with Bosch 9MP Antilock Braking System provide a bite that is powerful but not overwhelming. The 959 Panigale has been designed with a weight distribution equivalent to 52 percent at the front and 48 percent at the rear without the rider or fuel; Ducati claims, fully fueled and with a rider atop, this becomes a perfect 50:50. The manufacturer has equipped the bike with advanced multifunctional LCD instrument panel that changes the information displayed based on the riding mode selected ensuring relevant and important information is delivered to the rider. The bike comes armed with Ducati Traction Control that effectively manages the rear tyre slipping based on eight different levels; eight for the strictest control and one meant for experts. Three pre-set riding modes with “ride-by-wire” are offered- Wet, Sport and Race. Switch to “Race” and the engine delivers all its might unleashing every horse packed within. The new Panigale features Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa 120/70 front and 180/60 rear tyres. 

The bike headed for Indian shores, like its European counterparts (to satisfy latest Euro 4 norms) is likely to be fitted with side mounted double barrel exhaust system that takes its toll, although small on the exhaust note. Visually the 959 Panigale looks spectacular, especially in the traditional “Ducati Red”. Ducati 959 Panigale looks like a nice package, considering Indian market where premium bikes are more of “street bikes” than track racers.

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