We have to feel sorry for our Japanese readers today, as a crime against motorcycling has occurred in the Japanese motorcycle market. The bike of 2012, and arguably one of the more beautiful designs to come out of Bologna (don’t worry 916 fans, we still like the Tamburini classic more), it turns out that the Ducati 1199 Panigale was a touch too loud for the Japanese market, and modifications had to be made before it is released to the island nation next month. Some extra baffle, maybe some tuning to the ECU, and no big deal right? Well…no, not quite.

Getting a black carbon fiber snorkel, a larger plastic clutch cover, and a revised engine map, the Japanese market Panigale is one of those things that once you have seen it, it cannot be forgotten. An abomination to our senses, the revised exhaust system is reportedly adds 8 lbs to the stock system, which it appear to have been just welded onto directly.

If that wasn’t bad enough, peak horsepower is said to be limited to 135 hp. Not exactly an elegant solution to a simple problem, the only piece of solace we can find in this story is that we expect Termignoni sales to boom in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Source: Ducati1199.comVisordown, & Motoblog.it

  • Afletra

    What the…

  • AK


  • That sucks!!! But that’s what the Japanese get they build boring bikes anyways……

  • MP

    Wow. That’s some serious bullshit right there. I wonder if that’s a gov attack on Ducati engineered by a Japanese moto manufacturer

  • Dave

    I had to look those photos over very closely. For a moment, I thought this was a Photoshop hoax.

  • Me too Dave.

  • Aj

    What? That isn’t a bad photoshop? OMG

  • Dave
  • In other news, the Japanese model has got some tasty wheels on it. Daddy likes.

  • Steve

    “a larger plastic clutch cover”

    What’s the reason behind this mod? (Loud clutch?)

  • Ed Gray

    The “old” dry clutch was definitely loud, by moron standards, but this is a wet clutch. I don’t get it. luckily that is real easy fix.

  • Ganny

    I feel like tearing that ugly thing off of the Panigale

  • Frenchie

    It’s also the first time I see pictures of the Panigale with passenger footpegs!
    Has anybody seen passenger footpegs or seats on the European/Amercian version?

  • Ganny

    Could they not have added a 1198 style exhaust at the least

  • Leo

    916 line is still the sexiest moto ever. This is jap model is still way better than 999 but the 916 rules

  • Leo

    @frenchie .. Even better it has passenger foot pegs yet no passenger seat….

  • Michael L

    This is like bad porn.

  • AC

    It’s like Ducati was so disgusted, they didn’t even want to put any effort into making a nicer can. Can’t blame ’em!

  • JTB

    Well sadly I see this and think it could happen here. People continue to roll around with volume controls in their right hands and make sure everybody looks at them as they ride by. The non-riders will be sure to support anything that makes those “noisy” bikes quiet. Never mind we already have the DOT standard in place but not enforced. Their solution will be a new law with a lower DB and a tamper proof system. So be sure to piss off every non-rider around you with your race pipes you fitted or drag pipes and you can bet we will eventually get punished too.

  • Dan

    @Jensen: Those are the non-s model wheels, so unfortunately for the Japanese they don’t even get fancy wheels to offset all that ugly.

  • Nick

    Dave, I live in Australia and have never seen a 916 with that headlight.

  • Steve

    Nick, that’s because the single headlight 916 didn’t last long here, the huge public uproar saw the twin headlight come back. Every owner who had one did the swap the moment they got it home lol.

  • Well I just lost all respect for the Japanese . . . **** :-( !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pingback: Dave Minella()

  • Archer

    Why is anyone surprised? Japan-spec bikes, even those from the big four in Japan, have often been neutered. The land of 80 crank HP CBR600RR’s.

    Hey at least it isn’t France.

  • Spektre76

    This must be Pearl Harbor for Italy.

  • @Greg: “Well I just lost all respect for the Japanese . . . **** :-( !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Don’t be silly. Japanese riders don’t want it this way; Japanese LAWMAKERS do.

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting seeing a Panigale in the flesh. Now, not quite so much. The way they chopped that exhaust onto the bike is just tragic. I suspect there will be a thriving business for aftermarket exhausts for these bikes here. (I live in Tokyo.)

  • KevinW

    I would imagine it wouldn’t be the most difficult thing to just remove that extension and do a remap. Am I off base here?

    Is the government there often this strict about regulating exhaust/engine noise?

  • Well, Ducati have capped the existing exhaust ends and, likely, have removed the muffler baffling. If you just removed the extension, you’d wind up blowing your unmuffled exhaust straight into the bodywork. Probably not a great idea.

    The government is growing ever stricter with regard to noise regulations. Clubs of bōsōzoku have done a very good job of reducing public support for motorcycles/scooters in general. Many a night I dreamed of having an EM pulse rifle that I could use to shut those bikes down. God, they were horribly loud. (It’s less of a problem now.)

    There are regulations in the works that could have certain vehicles limited to only 68 dB(A) output in a few years.

  • Bob

    It’s really a heat thing, they can’t take the heat… ; )

  • superdave

    Funny thing about Ducati. They sell in europe- and thus go through type approval. However, you import one, and apply the same same tests to it – it WILL fail on noise. Ducati makes machines which are dubiously type-approved, and violate the rules of the territories in which they’re sold!
    My own Multistrada – sold in the UK – does not pass the noise requirements that are required to pass EU type approval.

    They’ve been doing dodgy things with their noise emissions for quite some time.

  • James Sharpe

    I like it…

  • Damo


    Yeah the first time I heard a 1198 fire up it sounded so burly I had to take a look to see what kind of aftermarket cans were on it….much to my surprise it was the stock exhaust. Ducati always finds a way to sneak it past, for this I commend them.

    Japanese bikes are almost always quiet as hell stock, hell even my recently purchased RC51-SP2 sounds like the Jetson mobile until you hit red line with stock exhaust. This shall be fixed shortly :)

  • smiler

    There was a time when, if you wanted to sell skis in Japan they had to have been tested by a Japanese world ski champion, of which there were precisely zero.

    Its just a restrictive practice. Especially given all the catering bean can sized exhausts on all and every performance Japanese car.

    Or is it the 2013 R6 in mock up?

  • RobG

    A bummer, but how many people will keep the stock exhaust anyway? And the aftermarket will fix the tuning too. It’s just gov’t BS, no matter what country it’s in.

  • NBeato

    Its not April Fool’s day?

  • JohnMc

    @ James Sharpe

    As an owner of a late 90’s gsxr, I see nothing wrong with big round exhaust can. A round exhaust can has been a sportbike design trademark since the dawn of the sportbike in the mid eighties. It has only been in the last 5 years or so that shorty “GP” style exhausts have been in vogue. It reminds me of old Ducati 888’s and 951’s.

    I like it too…

  • paulus

    it all unbolts and can be changed for standard parts…. better than no approval to start with
    Just getting around the legistlation

  • Gutterslob

    It isn’t country-wide, fyi. It’s just in major Japanese cities. They don’t even allow some of their locally manufactured sportbikes in these cities, btw (or at least that was the case when I lived there). Pretty sure the standard, non-neutered 1198 is still legal outside these city limits, though don’t quote me on this just yet.

  • BBQdog

    Now I understand why my CBR 250 R is pig ugly. They don’t have feeling for it.

  • Tom

    Bullshit! When I ever see the cops go after the bosozukus on their clown penis bikes 250cc and smaller, then I’ll take this seriously. But then again, most of you have no idea how insulting the Japanese motorcycle test is. Seriously, the mindless bullshit that is required to robotically finish the course is insulting.

  • Filip

    I’m not surprised. I honestly can’t believe how Ducati managed to get the 1199 approved for the European market. It is the loudest thing I have ever ridden and arguably the loudest production bike ever built. Furthermore, the seat gets awfully hot sometimes, due to (part of) the exhaust running underneath. Sadly, the newly designed system did not (and probably could not) solve this annoying problem.

  • Damo


    I have heard this is a big complaint from folks that were going to buy the Panigale for their everyday sport bike. A couple reviewers said in slower traffic they had to keep lifting off the seat because they though the fairing was on fire.

    I personally have no interest in toasting my wedding vegetables.

    I have ridden other under the seat exhaust style Ducatis and never had this problem, I wonder why a header with a heat shield gets so hot?

  • Westward

    No offense, but as Ducatisti, we wouln’t expect GXSR-ist to recognize the design travesty.

    Personally I just think Ducati missed an opportunity to design something more innovative. They were just simply lazy…

  • @Tom: “When I ever see the cops go after the bosozukus on their clown penis bikes 250cc and smaller, then I’ll take this seriously.”

    ROTFL! Damn it, man, you almost made me wake up my wife from laughing. I’ve actually seen attempts at catching the bikes. It was ~15 years ago and the mess was shown on TV. It looked more like a modern take on the Keystone Kops than it did a real effort to clean up the streets. In the end, I think it did more harm than good because it proved beyond any doubt that the cops simply couldn’t corral the bikes no matter what they tried.

    @Damo: “I personally have no interest in toasting my wedding vegetables.”

    Best. Sentence. Ever. :-D

  • Krylov

    You would think that the original “under-motor-hidden-in-fairing”
    Panigale exhaust solution should be a clever way of solving many problems
    in exhaust design:
    a) you get the big exhaust volume required to get sufficient performance
    _and_ noise emission reduction,
    b) the noise source is put close to the ground and not at the back of the
    motorcycle like a Jerico trumpet,
    c) the weigth coming with the required volume of such an exhaust is
    put close to the motor/center of weigth of the motorcycle
    d) you can optically hide the optical fugliness that usually comes with
    these designs under a piece of fairing plastic.

    Many intrinsic advantages of this construction approach in theory, but
    if you look at the result – faking “fulfillment” of EU emission laws through
    corrupt/incompetent/hearing impaired test engineers and desecrated
    like this in Japan: Epic Fail!

  • meatspin

    it doesnt look that bad, and owners will obviously convert it back after they get it. The clutch cover though is hideous.

  • superdave


    Absolutely true – its amazingly loud. To the point where a *lot* of trackdays are out-of-bounds due to noise, on a totally stock machine.
    Hell, my Multistrada 1200 fails a lot of trackday orgs noise requirements in the UK also!
    To be honest, I rather want to see Ducati held to account for this kind of legislation-bending.

  • @superdave: “To the point where a *lot* of trackdays are out-of-bounds due to noise, on a totally stock machine.”

    That’s disturbing to read. I might expect that on a bike with a full-blown racing exhaust, but certainly not from OEM pipes from the factory.

    “To be honest, I rather want to see Ducati held to account for this kind of legislation-bending.”

    Hell, yeah, ‘cuz it’s the owners getting pulled over and ticketed who’ll reap the rewards of such a loud exhaust. A lot of communities have some pretty strict noise bylaws that’ll get you ticketed at the merest whim of law enforcement nowadays.

  • Gary

    How do you ruin something already so aesthetically challenged?
    (851/916/1098 Fan Club)

  • MikeD

    Is it really THAT loud ? ! {o_O} WOW.
    I still have to see one in the flesh…….even more, HEAR the darn thing. I have to crawl from under my rock more often, that or maybe i need to move to a wealthier hood. LOL.

    P.S: It looks HIDEOUS. I think CHOPPING HALF of the can off will do WONDERS for it’s look.
    Sato & Arata and who knows who else are going to make a fortune selling aftermarket solutions to a problem that shouldn’t have been there to begin with.