Whiz bits. I like aftermarket high-end performance parts and high-tech gizmos, and there is nothing I like more than a motorcycle covered in whiz bits. Ohlins, Brembo, Marchesini, Termi, titanium, traction control, data systems, and carbon fiber. Just looking at this bike gets you pumped before you even throw a leg over it.
Even better than the looks, is the ride. This bike is the real deal. All of these whiz bits make for an awesome experience. The bike handling and suspension, which are the same as many AMA racers use, was compliant, and the feel was absolutely confidence inspiring. In the big radius corners at Spring Mountain, it was just you and the tire. The communication between rider and pavement was outstanding. The engine, for a twin-heck for any engine-just pulled all the way to redline like a freight train. The TC was a bit of a disappointment. I found myself saying, "Really? I'm approaching the limit?" My sense of traction seems to be a lot different than the TC system. However, these were not the OEM tires, and there is no way Ducati can account for the optimal wheel slip percentage for every tire on the market.
A race bike for the masses, if you have amassed $43K. Is it worth it? If you're after the ultimate 1098, absolutely.
I'll have to admit that riding the 1098R on a racetrack not laden with nasty bumps everywhere has changed my opinion of it. Instead of getting all wound up as the chassis was tied into knots by the engine's stupendous power, the Ducati was free to ripple the pavement as it charged off the corners like a locomotive running on nitro. The V-twin desmo's flexibility allows you to avoid numerous shifts in tight sections of the track, and its acceleration off of slower corners makes for some of the best fun I've had in years at the track. This is the type of power potential production street-going twins should've had from the start; if they had, I'm sure we'd still be seeing more V-twin sportbikes in manufacturer's lineups today.
I know how difficult it is to design and implement a truly adaptable traction control system for a sportbike/racebike, so I'm not as apt to be so judgmental now regarding the DTC's somewhat simplistic adjustments. That a manufacturer-and a small one such as Ducati-has even offered up a system like this on a production motorcycle is a major step forward, and the test results here prove that there's plenty of potential for even better performance.
Yes, the 1098R is out of my league price-wise, but it's nice to know it's still there.