Up-Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore

11/15/2011 @ 7:12 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

The pinnacle of Ducati’s Superbike offering for 2012 is the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore. Incorporating the key features from the Ducati 1199 Panigale S, like its traction control (DTC), electronic quick-shifter (DQS), forged Marchesini wheels, and Öhlins-made Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) front forks and rear TTX shock, the Tricolore package adds anti-locking brakes and the GPS-assisted DDA+ Ducati Data Acquisition system as standard items to Tricolore’s technical list.

Add in bounty of carbon fiber, and a stunning three-color paint scheme (hence the name), and you’ve got a stellar motorcycle that should please all of a rider’s senses. Helping celebrate Italy’s 150 year anniversary of unification, the Tricolore is Ducati’s ultimate expression of Italian design and engineering. Up-close the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore instantly makes the plain Rosso Corsa-clad Panigale look pedestrian and commonplace, which is a shame. However, if this is the new Corse paint scheme for future bikes, we could get used to that.

Common to all the Ducati 1199 Panigale superbikes, the LED headlight really is something to behold. In its low-beam setting, the two groupings of LEDs near the center of the Panigale’s nose illuminate the way ahead. They are noticeably bright, with a slightly bluish hue. Flipping the switch to the high-beam setting though, and the lux value doubles by our estimates, with the entire headlight array projecting photons. Sources have told us that the entire headlight package is very thin, and surely there is some significant weight savings occurring here because of the LED implementation.

Especially intriguing is the Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) by Öhlins and the new DDA+ data acquisition software. Having played with the DES on the Multistrada 1200, the package is really more of a convenience than something earth-shattering, and merely makes adjustments from preset settings easier and wrench/screwdriver free. Similarly the GPS-assisted data acquisition is also a step forward, but again is how all data acquisition packages should operate (who are OEMs kidding with manual lap timers?), since the DDA+ uses the GPS data to know what turn you are in on a track, and when you’ve crossed the start/finish line.

However what compels us the most about these two systems is the fact that now a motorcycle not only knows where it is on a race course, but also has the ability to adjust its suspension setup on-the-fly while on the track. At this point, it is only going to take some clever individuals to make the two systems talk to each other, and finally bring dynamic body control to the motorcycle industry. We imagine such a system already exists somewhere in Sweden, though it is anyone’s guess as to when the public will see it. Best guesses would be another 10 years. How long will it take a systems hacker to achieve the same feat? We give it 12 months.

Photos: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • Jake Fox

    Enough already! Alright Jensen, you win. I’ll take one with one condition. Those girls must deliver it personally.

  • MichaelL

    Maybe it’s because I am partial to the red, black, white, and exposed aluminum of the previous Corse liveries, but I’m not as overtaken by this Tricolore. Does it translate better in person than it does in pictures?

  • Other Sean

    I’ve been a pretty rabid Ducatisti for 6 years now, but yeah, somebody’s drinking pitchers of Kool-aid on this bike.

    It was also named most beautiful bike of the (Italian) show. Luckily for it, the new MV triple was unveiled LAST year…

  • Gary

    …still, I liked the in-your-face expression of Italia on my `86 F1 better than this watered-down paint scheme (same went for the 1098 version).

  • Aaron

    I think the Tricolore is fantastic, as is the bike’s design. Rossi may not like it for the race track, but damn, it is hot. More supermodel than girl next door, with all those angles, sweet lines, and slightly different looks.

  • BikePilot

    My fav would be that bike with the bare aluminum tank.

  • Michael L

    I agree with BikePilot, I prefer the bare aluminum tank Superstock model, but I will reserve judgement on the Tricolore until I see it in person.

  • aaron

    I’ll take the smaller version (when it comes out) in a senna colour scheme. until then, I’ll be bothering anyone who goes racing a 1199 for the headlights they obviously won’t be needing anymore – my speed triple will love the led look!

  • Billy B.Tso

    apart from the protruding rear exhaust loop tumour, it’s a stunning bike!…and another thing i’ll say for ducati, is they know how to pic a good model to sit on a bike …virtual hi-five to ducati ;)

  • SBPilot

    @ Billy B.Tso

    I absolutely love the rear exhaust loop tumour, it reminds of an exhaust from a stroker! If I ever owned a 1199 I’d take the exhaust cover off and fully expose that beautiful bent piece of metal. Actually scratch that I’d employ someone to make a high number pie cut purge welded titanium tubing exhaust. I can see it now!

  • Shawn

    Rear Shock slider anyone?

  • Spyker_May

    Will we see it on the WSBK circuit..? That should provide some answers re the notion of it being “unrideable” or otherwise…

  • Telboy

    What a fantastic duke they sure know how to make a good bike 195bhp, and it looks great except not so sure about the wing mirrors , looks a bit antilopee , roll on March 20012 when mine should arrive.

  • John

    Very nice bike! Wow! Can you say maintenance hog! You will need a computer lab to work on it. Way to complicated for the average rider. Better bring the wallet. Look fwd to seeing it on the track.