Sorry, The Japanese-Spec Panigale is Not a Hoax

08/30/2012 @ 5:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler40 COMMENTS

Never underestimate the power of denial. When we first published photos of the Japanese-spec Ducati 1199 Panigale, the immediate reaction from readers was that the machine had to be a hoax. Oh no dear Ducatisti, Japan’s v-twin abomination of Italy’s latest superbike is very real.

With Japanese journalists now getting a chance to swing a leg over the machine, we get our first glimpse of the bike in motion. Noticeably quieter than our American-spec version, we still don’t understand the need for such a butchering of Ducati’s design. But then again, we’re bloggers, not engineers.

Featuring a single right-hand-side-mounted exhaust that taps into the under-slung units we are more familiar with, the Japanese-spec Ducati 1199 Panigale also features an enlarged plastic clutch cover, and a re-worked engine map (the S model also features the base model’s wheels). Check the video out after the jump. If any of our Japanese speakers hear something interesting in the video, post it up in the comments.

Source: Ducati News Today

  • JasonB

    Finally a euro brand gets a taste of what the Japanese have to deal with here in the US on a daily basis. Sucks to be on a level playing field, huh Ducati?

  • Me

    That pipe makes me want to throw up

  • John O

    Two things I’ve yet to see on any respectable Ducati on the street:

    A stock pipe.
    A stock clutch cover (at least before they went ‘all wet’ in that department)

  • joe

    could be worse. some of the japanese bikes of yester year and their fire hydrant sized stock cans.

  • MikeD

    Holy Crap…that thing is so muffled(CHOKED) that i can actually hear what people have been saying about the engine itself being a noisy SOB…that and the intake noise is all she’s got left to show off on “The Land of The Rising Sun”.

    I bet the major xhaust builders on Japan have nothing but Money Signs on their eyes after seeing such sacrilege…….CHICHIN $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

  • MikeD


    Like the Yamaha Warrior and it’s BAZOOKA/WATER HEATER Sized Muffler ? LMAO.

    To think that i loved the looks of that thing muffler and all included. ROTFLMAO.

  • joe

    at MikeD

    exactly. yamaha was bad for it. i recall the r6 or r1 and their red or blue pipes.

  • motogpdr

    I’m certain I will be a minority opinion on this issue….and let the hammering of me begin…but frankly, the stock exhasut (ala buell) to me is butt ass ugly…so i am struggling to see why everyone thinks this more traditional exhaust is so hideous…..maybe I’m wrong but i think the underslung pinagale exhaust is ugly…not sure jap spec is pretty but to me it doesnt look any more ugly than stock EU or USa model

  • Westward

    I like the under slung exhaust, it’s kind of reminiscent of Stoner’s earlier Ducati’s…

  • MikeD

    Personally i was all jolly and pleased when a lot of them started coming out with undertail xhaust in the 2000-2006 ? Period.

    But since they have riverted to UGLY ASYMETRIC TACKED ON THE SIDE HANGING OUT THERE xhausts as of lately my second best choice is a la KTM RC8, 1199, BUELL…who ever u thougth got it out first…yes, under the engine, that.
    I don’t care if your canister on the side makes 10hp more or weights 10lbs less than my undertail or underslung…it looks like shit on my eyes.

    I have a problem(issues,lol) with asymetric stuff. I like dual xhausts, undertail or underslung.
    One of the reasons i love my old SV1000N.

  • Spektre76

    I just threw up in my mouth.

  • BBQdog

    Pffff, as soon as those japanese riders have their Pani at home they will remove the clutch cover and exhaust and screw on the real stuff. Aprilia had something in the RS 125 ignition box for ages, just cut a little wire bridge in the ignition box and the restriction was gone.

  • BBQdog

    @MikeD: the disadvantage of an undertail exhaust is that the seat section gets VERY clumpsy.
    Look at the tail of an Aprilia RSV4 compaired to a Ducati. Best thing would be/is an under-the-engine
    pre-damper combined with a side or undertail.

  • Kai

    He talks about the muffler at 5:00. He says there are probably going to be a lot of differing opinions about it but the sound works unexpectedly well. It’s not loud to the point of causing trouble for the neighborhood, but puts out a good enough sound when you’re at high RPMs so not a bad job on that end.

    If you have enough money to pay for a Ducati in Japan, I’m pretty sure most people won’t get the Japan-spec version and will pay the extra to buy the the full power model (as I did for my VFR).

  • Thanks for the insight Kai!

  • Nori

    Hi Jensen
    Not much comment on exhaust or crutch case cover. No comment how fugly it is.
    Tho they mentioned that they have face possible complete ban for sales in Japan without these modifications to comply (silly) law and appreciated Ducati some deliver the solutions.

    Being Japanese and riding superbikes plus soon to be a monster owner (in Thailand) I guess I’m plibilegde not facing enforced speed and noise limit and no strict compliances.

  • Damo


    “I have a problem(issues,lol) with asymetric stuff.”

    I am with you on that, only thing I don’t like about the S1000RR.

    That being said, I prefer under-slung exhaust in general. Undertail exhaust ala R1, 916, etc is great, but I hate dealing with shrouded unertail exhaust ala the 2004-2007 CBR1000. Pipes blocking signale lights, excessive bum heat, etc.

  • Dewey

    Oh NO!,
    Market-specific changes that compromise the “purity” of what Ducati hath wrought? Say it isn’t so.
    Here’s another news flash, Ducatis are not built by the hands of angels sent down from heaven specifically to
    build these bikes, and Ducati doesn’t cause the sun to rise or any other magical events to occur.
    The pretentious Italophile bullshit is played out already. Ducati is now as exotic as Harley Davidson, both admitted “lifestyle” brands that are household words. They are marketed to, and bought by, insecure, attention-starved posers who for the most part can’t ride. I’m sure that any Japanese buyer will do exactly what their American counterpart would do, put on a Termi pipe, “race” ecu and DOT race tires then tiptoe around on it like it’s made of glass while never dirtying the outer third of the tread.

  • Westward

    If you can’t afford one, don’t hate (is the vernacular I think). Exotic as Harley Davidson, really now? At least Ducati have the temerity to innovate design and engineering. Seriously, what have HD innovated lately that is different from fifty years ago other than dark chrome and mirror placement ?

    What japanese superbike is so very different than it’s previous year besides its colour scheme? The GSXR, if that is not the equivalent of Harley, then I don’t know what is, the colour’s not changed in eons, and the mirrors are the same as ever.

    Not to mention that I have seen custom paint jobs on Japanese bikes that would make your last nights meal march up out your throat and slap you and wife for even having the notion…

    In the words of lil’ Wayne, ” W H A T ! ”

    The most innovative thing that has come from japanese bikes, is graphic design, otherwise its SSDD…

    Don’t like the Ducati, don’t buy one, don’t like the BMW don’t get that one either. Can’t afford either, don’t whine. But don’t have a cry about them neither, as they seem to be the top selling bikes of recent.

    **Please, no retort’s about rubbing elbows with the Murdochs, Gates, and Buffets. I already know you have an mansion and a Bugatti in the garage, and the GSXR or the RC51 is about how real a rider ya are…

    *** Speaking for myself, I will bet I have closer to 100,000 miles on my bike than most can claim. As for posers, I think most european bike owners have enough sense to not try to prove they are Rossi or Stoner’s equal on the streets, and tend to save that delusion for track days…

  • Dewey

    OK, you’re right.

  • smiler

    Once upon a time. To sell foreign skis in Japan, they had to have been tested by a Japanese world skiing champ.
    This is simply the same economic protectionism. When in Japan, traffic noise is as the rest of the world. An it was Japan that invented exhausts for cars made from welded together catering sized chopped tomato cans.

    Underslung is so much better. Look at nature. A man’s manhood is not on the right side of his right leg but between them!!!

  • AK

    @ Westward

    Right on brother.

  • MikeD

    After reading some more (specially comments from real world owners)…i want to say i hope more of the OEMs jump on the UnderSlung Xhaust bandwagon and ditch undertail and side xhausts. I kinda like the factory system on the CBR1000RR.
    Undertail looks cool, speedy, etc but according to a lot of Daytona 675 and R1 owners it gets HOT.
    A custom mapping and running richer helps…but it’s merely a drop in a bucket or a band aid trying to close a MACHETE wound w/o proper stitches.

    Something that occurred to me is that underslung could be (a lot?) pricier than “your regular pipe xtension-can to the side” when it comes to upgrade, built, design…u name it.

    Case in point:

    Im ok with a less cluttered tail section, lower COG, no butt-tigh-family jewels roasting and mass centralization.

  • meatspin

    is ducati full of purists or something? People get offended way too easily. I’m sure japan market panigale owners will apply their own fix in due time.

  • Dewey


    See, you even talk like Harley owners.

  • @MikeD: “Holy Crap…that thing is so muffled(CHOKED) that i can actually hear what people have been saying about the engine itself being a noisy SOB”

    Well, the first guy talking indicated that it’s loud enough to be enjoyable, but not so much to irritate the neighbours. And as far as the engine being noisy, it’s a Duc. The last time I saw an 1198 go by with Termis on, all I could hear was the clutch. Sheesh.

  • MikeD


    LMAO. Im sorry, i think i have been spoiled by the D&D’s on my old girl. If quiet pipes are required to be able to have this thing in Japan so be it. (^_^)…sometimes i get fed up of mines too.
    Man, i live rigth next to a highway…………….u want to talk loud motorcycles with me ? LOL.
    Those crazy bastids fly by every Thursday after Midnigth doing at least BUCK 80+ and taking the toll plaza like a grown up stealing candy from a baby. The loudest ones are usually the Crossplanes, Aprilia V-4’s and the THUNDERING L-Twins, boy do they sound WICKED at full tilt.
    Not that i want it to happen but i always keep it in mind one day im going to see a huge fireball and LOUD xplosion and bike parts falling all over my precious(read xpensive) roof tiles because one Squid got over-biked and tougth he was #46, #1, #11, #99 or #26. (-_-)

  • Mark

    Is this the Japanese protecting their industry by hoping buyers will be put-off? Probably not but crazier things have happened.

    @MikeD Agree with your exhaust sentiments and you’re not the only one who has issues with asymmetrical designs.

  • Doug

    Well, with the negative press that the Panigale’s been getting… This is just more. Agree on the lack of aethetics of the “John Deere” can on this Japanese variant. How rediuclous!

    With the successes of all the other Ducati machines in recent years one has got to wonder what Ducati corporate has learned from the introduction of the Panigale.

  • Westward

    Since Ducati likes to claim their bike are inspired by racing, I don’t see why they could not have taken the opportunity to create a more aesthetically appealing solution. The recent GP bikes have an under tail and right side GP style pipes. Stoners bikes had an under tail and underslung style.

    I will admit, the solution Ducati adopted for the Japanese market was incredibly lazy….

    But I also have no doubt some industrious owner or shop tinkerer will produce some sort of solution that will warrant praise…

  • spektre76
  • smiler

    The case for a Japanese protectionist response is clear in IMHO.

    – The panigale is aimed more firmly at taking sales of Japanese manufacturers than any bike Ducati heas produced. Ergonomics, service intervals, engine character, electronics. Ducati are now selling more bikes with a wider range.

    – The clutch is wet and therefore not noisy in anycase.

    – They never seemed bothered by the 1198 dry (very loud bag of spanners dry clutch) and the noise it made even with the OEM cans on.

    – Skis.

  • Archer

    First off, these will be as rare as unicorn crap in Japan. Second, if you want to see a country that makes it extremely tough to buy and license for a real motorcycle in the first place, Japan is it. It’s the land of scooters, not so much motorcycles, in the past 10 years.

    This isn’t protectionism so much as societal conformity.

  • I have to laugh at the conspiracy theorists. The 1198 with its bag-of-spanners clutch is only that loud with its OEM exhaust. The Panigale, on the other hand, gets told to stay home from track days because the combination of its engine racket and over-the-top exhaust note is just that. Over the top. The bottom line is that there is a maximum dB level that Ducati needed to meet to sell the bike here. Ducati needed to both quieten down the exhaust AND shield the engine to make that happen.

    It’s worth reiterating that the aftermarket is a thriving business here (Japan). Panigale owners who feel like uncorking the bottle will have no trouble buying the Euro clutch cover and Termis. There is very little risk of owners being ticketed for excessive noise regardless of how many neighbours they piss off firing up the bike at 4 a.m. on a summer Sunday morning, which is already getting light.

  • ombrachecammina

    Finally .. YES !!!
    finally a country that lead over the brand.
    Italian homoligation of Ducati+Termignoni was an “ancient mistery” … ahve you ever been in a tunnel behind a Du+Te bike ? well, if it’s be law, law will be for everyone !

  • paulus

    DB level laws are reducing levels regularly…. conform or don’t be approved.
    In the UK some track DB levels are LOWER than the legal road levels.
    Again… dont conform… can’t ride it.

    in this case though…. this was a lazy arse solution. Nasty

  • Tom


    “buy a license”. You got that right. One cannot EARN a license. It is only given after a cop feels that they’ve ripped you off enough. I have an AT license but if I want to buy a MT car/K-truck, by gawd I’ll buy one and drive it license or not.

  • Kay

    He made a couple good points about the Japanese version of the bike:

    There was talk that the 1199 Panigale would not be sold in Japan. The third muffler added to make it legal and to make it tolerable for the neighbors (Japanese cities are very densely populated). The engine still makes great power with linear delivery.

    Also, people who are saying big bikes like the Panigale is close to unobtainable in Japan probably don’t know that Harley-Davidson lobbied the Japanese government to make it easier for Japanese citizens to get big displacement licenses. Even with the added taxes, there are plenty of riders in Japan who wouldn’t hesitate in spending this kind of money on anything Italian. Have you guys even been to Tokyo and seen how many Alfas and Ferraris there are???

  • @Kay: Well put. There’s plenty of big-bore, exotic iron rolling about, whether it be 2-wheels or 4.

  • I snapped this picture in the Nagoya Ducati dealer a few weeks ago.

    Salesman said there is an option to have the original exhaust and ECU installed.