Some lucky journalists were invited by Ducati to ride the new 2009 Ducati 1198S, the 1198cc monster recently endowed with its big brother’s traction control system. On the outside the new 1198S looks like its predacessor, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts: 100 more cubic centemeters, a new lighter crankshaft, and Ducati Traction Control (DTC). DTC is a true race traction control system that works first by retarding the ignition, and second by cutting the fuel injection during major wheel spin. Read more for the full report.
Initial reports about the 1198S make it sound like there was only a marginal improvement to the bike’s overall performance:
“The handling is much the same as the 1098…It’s agile and easy to push through fast corners. Ducati has once again made it’s legendary V-twin superbikes perform like no other V-twin.”
However, it is the traction control that really steals the limelight. Ducati has highlighted what racers have known for years, getting the power down to the road in a usable manner is what it is all about. The Telegraph reporst that the traction control “is staggeringly effective. Set aside years of mental conditioning if you can…lay the bike on its ear in a turn then crack the throttle wide open…instead of being fired into a low earth orbit you’re driven out of the corner with a thrust so ferocious you’d think twice about unleashing it with the bike bolt upright, let alone like this”.
No wonder Carmelo Ezpeleta wants to limit the amount of computing power strapped to GP bikes. Having the level of wheel control that is now available on the 1198S mean riding has become more of a point-and-shoot experience than man harnessing machine.
“DTC will elevate most road riders and plenty of pretty reasonable racers to a whole new level of performance, up there with names you’ve heard of, in how fast you can charge out of a turn. There is nothing else like it bar the 1098R, nothing on the roads at all, and I don’t care what Japanese superbike is in your company, it won’t be able to stay with you out of corners. The 1198S’ DTC is less intrusive than the 1098R’s, too, working so subtly that all you’d notice if you were looking would be a flashing red light on the dash.” – Kevin Ash of the Telegraph
Of course, with 168bhp on tap and with a dry weight of around 169 kilos, the Ducati 1198S was always going to be an impressive motorcycle, the Ducati Traction Control system just makes it that much more rideable for the everyday rider.
Now all you have to do is find that US$22,500 and you’re all set to go…