Two years after the "red-volution", all the models in Ducati's Superbike family, in both engine sizes, have been dramatically improved. Updates have involved not just restyling but a series of major improvements to chassis and engine aimed at bringing the 749 and 999 closer still to Ducati's ultimate sports motorcycle concept, making them meaner, faster and more competitive than ever. But even though Ducati's SBK range now looks almost identical to the bikes that dominate the world's championships, they are still just as comfortable as ever. Because comfort is not just something you need on long road rides. Comfort is also essential if you want to maintain high speeds for any length of time on the track. And stylistic improvements are only part of the story. Performance has got substantially better too. The basic 999 is more powerful, the 999 S more exclusive than ever, and the 999R now delivers an incredible 150 HP. Supersport motorcycles, from which Supersport and Superbike machines are derived, represent a segment of the market that has exploded in recent years. Supersports have now reached a level of performance totally unimaginable only a few years ago. That is why, just two years from the launch of the 999, Ducati's most high-tech twins, the Superbike family has been completely renewed.
All 999's and 749's (the basic models, the S and the R), have been substantially improved. The objective is clear, to confirm Ducati's supremacy in terms of racing and street performance, and to bring the specifications of these latest models closer to the bikes ridden by the official Ducati racing team. The inspiration behind these changes is Ducati's return to AMA racing, the North American Superbike Championship that sets far stricter limits on modifications than the World Superbike Championship. Involvement in the AMA championship has inspired Ducati's engineering team at Borgo Panigale to develop a new range of bikes capable of performing as excellent racing mounts in every model and engine size. Ducati's 2005 Superbike models are dramatically better as a result, starting with their looks. Fairings have been redesigned in size, level of protection and volume, and the new fairing is radically different in appearance. All 999's and 749's now feature a higher and wider cockpit fairing with a higher screen but without the two upper side air ducts. This provides a far higher level of protection and is more aerodynamic than its predecessor at high speeds.
The air ducts on the previous cockpit fairing were extreme styling solutions adopted to deviate the air flow away from the rider's body. The cockpit fairing and screen on the latest bikes protect the rider's head and shoulders and prevent annoying vortices from forming at high speed. The new cockpit fairing is the most evident stylistic change but far from the only one. The new streamlined lower fairings with their more protective spoilers, like those previously used only on the exclusive and sophisticated R models, are other eye-catching innovations. Other developments, derived from Ducati's last two highly successful racing seasons, include the new box section swing arm designed to reduce weight and increase torsional strength. This race-developed swing arm is a major contributor to the great appearance of Ducati's 2005 Superbikes, and makes them look more than ever like the factory racing machines.
Then there is the rear of the bike. This is still characterised by an under-the-tail exhaust system, but for 2005 a protective heat shield in black anodised aluminium has been added. These modifications have made the already incredible lines and performance of the 999 and 749 better than ever. The new bikes provide a range of opportunities for personalising ergonomics and setup that goes well beyond conventional suspension adjustments. The latest Superbikes allow owners to adjust footrest and handlebar lever position and steering head angle (something no other bike of this type offers). On the single seat versions, even the fore and aft position of the seat-tank assembly can be adjusted. As you can imagine, these adjustments allow you to set your bike up just as you want it for any type of road, track or riding style. Ducati therefore has no qualms about stating categorically that the 999 and the 749 are the most race-oriented production bikes on the market. But don't assume that sports performance means low levels of comfort. Over the last two years Ducati has shown that rider comfort is just as important for sports bikes as it is for road going machines. Good wind protection and ergonomics help you explore the limits of your motorcycle and above all else enable you to maintain at-the-limit speeds for extended periods without fatigue.
Major improvements have also been made to the engines of Ducati's 2005 Superbike range. While the 749 models have kept all the updates made early in 2004, the 999's have seen a real engine revolution. The basic 999 has received a tremendous injection of power with the adoption of the twin cylinder engine previously reserved for the S model. The S itself has maintained a power margin of 3 HP thanks to more sophisticated internal components and can deliver even more power still with the addition of the racing kit supplied with the bike. The R, the model specifically designed for track racing, holds an even bigger surprise. In addition to its absolutely top of the range components and technology, the R now boasts the most powerful Testastretta engine of all production bikes with an incredible 150 HP. These increases in power have not diminished the 999 and 749's respect for the environment. All Ducati's Superbikes, even the race-oriented R, still comply with rigorous Euro2 emission control standards. These incredible results have been achieved by using the latest, most advanced technical solutions, including highly sophisticated electronics. In fact, their advanced electronics remains one of the strong point of Ducati's Superbikes, which were the first motorcycles ever to use CAN line engine management technology. CAN line technology use only two wires to manage all main and accessory functions has led to a dramatic reduction in weight, and has enabled the use of multi-functional instruments capable of providing riders with a great deal of essential information.
749 wallpapers 1280 x 1024...
Identical in looks to the rest of the 749 models, for many riders the basic 749 provides easy access to the wonderful world of Ducati Superbikes. The new 749 boasts impressive performance for both the track and road use. The Dark model offers an even better price to performance ratio.
The 749 is the smallest of the Superbikes, and provides easy entry to the world of Ducati supersport motorcycles. Yet there is nothing small about the 749, which shares many of its components with the other more powerful Testastretta models. The 749 is equipped with a new improved lower fairing and a wider upper fairing with a higher windscreen for better protection against the wind and turbulence. The new design allows the rider to keep his head and shoulders completely out of the air stream when approaching maximum speed. From its over-and-under twin headlights to its in-the-tail exhaust silencer, the basic 749 already boasts many of the stylistic and functional features of the Superbike family. It also offers a wide range of adjustments including adjustments for the distance between the brake, clutch levers and the handlebars. The classical red and yellow colour schemes have been joined by a matt black Dark model which carries the lowest price tag of the entire Superbike range. Just like the other Dark models in the Ducati range, the 749 Dark features a more basic equipment level that of the S and R models. In particular the 749 Dark has no steering damper and has a fixed rear monoshock linkage to give an even more favourable price to performance ratio.
Like all Ducatis, the 749 is equipped with the high strength tubular steel trellis frame that has become the signature of all the motorcycles now leaving Ducati's factory in Bologna. The 749's frame has been specially designed and tested to work perfectly with the Testastretta engine. The Sachs rear monoshock and the Showa upside down fork provide the full range of damping adjustments plus adjustment for spring preload to ensure that even owners of the most basic model in the range can achieve a perfect setup.
The 90 degree twin cylinder Testastretta engine that powers the 749 is derived directly from that of the 999. The name Testastretta ('narrow head' in Italian) refers to the special technology used on these engines to reduce the angle between the valves. A small valve angle allows the combustion chamber to be made flatter, which in turn increases power output. The 749's engine is particularly sophisticated. Delivering 108 HP at 10,000 rpm and 8.2 kgm of torque at 8,500 rpm, it confers an excellent level of performance on the 749.
749S wallpapers 1280 x 1024...
More powerful than the basic 749, the S also stands out for top level chassis components that turn it into a race-ready machine capable of excellent lap times from the word go.
Ducati's 2005 Superbikes share a common styling dominated by a fairing that has been radically redesigned at the upper fairing and side spoilers. The difference between the 749S and the basic 749 lies in the presence of a number of more advanced chassis parts that guarantee more advanced handling and give the S a more aggressive look. Just as on the 999's owners can adjust the position of the footrests and, on the single seat version, can even slide the whole seat-tank assembly backwards or forwards, to distribute weight to suit personal preferences and track characteristics.
The details that distinguish the 749S from the basic model are designed specifically to allow its owner to set up the bike to match preferences and experience. Overall dimensions and characteristics are the same as those of the basic model but the 749S incorporates a number of additional features that make it an extremely professional motorcycle. Evidence of this is the presence of the eccentric that allows you to set the steering head rake angle to either of two values, 23.5 or 24.5. Perfect riding ergonomics are also ensured by the fact that the footrests can be adjusted to five different positions, from a typically prone racing position, to a more comfortable street position. The 749S also boasts a steering damper with an eccentric end fitting designed to adapt its position to the two possible steering head angles. The suspension that completes this exceptional quality chassis are top of the range Showa units. The 43 mm upside down fork with TiN coated stanchions and the rear monoshock both provide the full range of adjustments.
Already in 2004 the 749S was equipped with a dedicated engine incorporating a number of special innovations aimed at delivering highly competitive performance. The latest modifications to the crankshaft and valve gear, including larger valves and a new system to secure the valve stems to the closing rocker adjusters, have been derived directly from the world of racing to guarantee excellent power without reducing flexibility. The 2005 749S boasts a power output of 116 HP at 10,500 rpm, and 8.4 kgm of torque at 8,500 rpm.
This uncompromising sports machine is only available in the single seat version and is the perfect bike for all those who want to own a real middleweight racer. The Testastretta engine is more highly developed than ever before to maximise performance and minimise weight. Chassis components have obviously been selected for maximum competitiveness on the track, and special materials like magnesium, carbon fibre, and titanium abound to make the 749R unbeatably light and mean.
The style of the 749R is extremely modern and almost identical to that of the official Ducati racers. The R is also fitted with the 2005 design fairings made from new high tech polymers. A new manufacturing process has allowed Ducati to make the R's fairing sections thinner and lighter than ever before. Though it is designed to excel on the circuit, the 749R comes equipped with elegant rear view mirrors and integrated direction indicators that are not just stylish but quick and easy to remove for use on the track. In line with Ducati tradition, all 749R motorcycles are fitted with a numbered silver data plate on the steering head.
Everything about the 749R's chassis is designed for maximum efficiency on the track, from the trellis frame which allows adjustment of the steering head rake angle to the brand new aluminium alloy box section swing arm like that used on the 999 Factory in 2003. In addition to its uncompromising racing design, this swing arm has a significantly better rigidity to weight ratio than the standard swing arm. It also incorporates Superbike type chain adjustment sliders instead of a conventional cam mechanism. This means that chain tension adjustments do not affect the suspension set-up in any way. The suspension linkage is also brand new and features flat rate progression like that previously implemented on Ducati Factory machines. The new linkage system ensures excellent rigidity and far greater precision under competition riding conditions. Better linkage rigidity is achieved by use of a different spring, giving the Ohlins monoshock a shorter compression stroke (56 instead of 71 mm). Adjustments for spring preload, compression and rebound are possible as usual. The 749R has all the highly exclusive solutions for adjusting ergonomics and riding position, including a 20 mm longitudinal adjustment of the seat-tank assembly and footrest position adjustment. The 749R has just two footrest positions instead of the five on the other 749 models to comply with the rules of the world Supersport championship which forbid removal of parts from production bike frames. The footrest mounting plates have also been reduced in size to give more room for the exhaust collector pipes which are larger in diameter than those of the road-going models. The front fork is of unbeatable quality. It is the latest, most advanced Ohlins upside down unit and represents the absolute top of the range of this famous Swedish manufacturer. The stanchions are 43 millimetres in diameter and Titanium Nitride coated for a smoother sliding action. Perfect fork action is also guaranteed by innovative internal components. The fork is fully adjustable and has a special bottom section designed to fit radial brake callipers. The 749R's callipers are triple bridge, four piston, four pad units and operate on 4.5 mm thick disks that are themselves fitted at an extended distance from the hub for improved cooling. All brake and wheel components are race derived, including the famous Brembo/Marchesini machine finished forged aluminium wheels. The advanced finishing process used to manufacture these wheels means that while they are 3.2 kilograms lighter than those of the 749 and 749S, they offer the same excellent rigidity thanks to the 10 points on the inside of the wheel to which the five 'Y' spokes are attached. (Conventional straight spokes only have five anchor points.)
The 749R's engine is based on the same twin cylinder Testastretta unit that powers the other members of the 749 range. The R's engine, however, has been specially developed for efficiency on the track. It develops 121 HP at 10,500 rpm and 8.6 kgm of torque at 8,250 rpm. These fantastic figures have been achieved by a series of modifications, including a reduction in stroke and an increase in bore to permit the engine to operate at higher revs. Owners can also install the (optional) racing kit to increase these figures even further, taking maximum power to a level unequalled in the field of competitive motorcycle racing.
The new "slipper" clutch is also perfect for racing because it minimises rear wheel slip during the hard downshifting frequently necessary in competitive riding. Other important innovations, like the racing profile cams and titanium valves and valve guides were already introduced on the 2004 model. The use of prestigious materials in the 749R's Testastretta twin certainly does not end with the valve gear. The con rods themselves are in titanium and the cylinder head covers in magnesium alloy. Likewise, the timing belt covers are made of carbon fibre and feature forced ventilation for better cooling. The list of prestige components used on this engine ends with the special super-lightweight crankshaft and high strength aluminium alloy pistons. Despite its incredible power and torque the 749R's power unit remains faithful to Ducati's environmentally friendly engine policy. Even this fantastic twin is equipped with a catalysed exhaust and conforms to Euro 2 emission control legislation.
999S wallpapers 1280 x 1024...
The 999 S delivers a higher level of performance and this can be increased even further by installing the racing kit supplied with the bike. The 999S represents the logical link between the basic 999 and the pure competition model. The S is equipped with the best sports chassis available, but is nevertheless homologated for normal road use. This splendid style icon is also a sophisticated track racer, capable of satisfying even the most demanding sports rider.
The level of equipment on the 999S guarantees professional handling on the track without renouncing the comfort and manoeuvrability necessary for effortless use on the road. The overall design of the 999S reflects that of Ducati's other Superbikes, with the stylish new over-and-under, twin headlight fairing designed for enhanced aerodynamics. The single seat version, with its genuine competition seat is more race inspired still in its looks. The clearest differences between the 999S and the basic 999 in terms of handling come from the brakes and the new Ohlins suspension.
999S wallpapers 1280 x 1024...
ChassisThe 999S shares the same basic equipment as all Ducati Superbikes but boasts suspension that is rarely found on a production bike. The new Ohlins fork monoshock belong to a range normally reserved for competition motorcycles and provide a large number of adjustments. Both the rear monoshock and the upside down fork can be adjusted for spring preload, compression and rebound to achieve the perfect setup for all riding conditions. A new non-return valve has been incorporated in the rebound damping system to stop rebound adjustments interfering with the suspension's other settings. Like all 999 models,the 999S features an upside down fork with TiN (titanium nitride) coated stanchions. The fork's internal components have also been improved for better performance and comfort. Ducati's determination to use only the best available components is demonstrated by an adjustable Ohlins steering damper fitted with a special eccentric end fitting, that allows it to adapt to both steering head rake angle settings. The use of radially mounted callipers is an essential aspect of the braking system.
Some of the technical solutions developed for the Ducati racing team were implemented on the production Testastretta some time ago, and a large number of components were improved to achieve higher performance. In 2004 for example, oil lines were made straighter and their angle increased and valve diameter and lift was also increased to improve breathing. This has effectively reduced the power difference between S and the basic 999. Nevertheless, the S still maintains the advantage of improved titanium con rods and a lighter crankshaft. The S therefore still maintains a power differential over the basic model. Special internal engine parts also make a big difference to efficiency in a way that can be best appreciated under competitive riding conditions. When you buy a 999S you also receive a special track race kit at no extra cost. This is the first time for such a kit to be included in the price of a middle of the range model. The special exhaust silencer and the other race components in the kit reduce the bike's weight by over a kilogram and takes engine power to 143 HP at 9,750 rpm and torque to 11.4 kgm at 8,000 rpm.