Ducati’s 1199 Superleggera

A frisky, ultra-light take on the 1199 Panigale street-legal racer

For motorcyclists who believe less to be more, Italian sports-bike specialist Ducati has just unveiled a new, limited-edition, more extreme version of its already rather extreme 1199 Panigale street-legal racer.

As the name suggests, the 1199 Superleggera is an ultra-light version of the standard machine, which has had its (dry) weight pared down from a not-exactly-portly 164kg to a gossamer-like 155kg, thanks, largely, to the use of exotic metals.

The main frame, wheels and sub-frame, for example, are now made from magnesium instead of plain old aluminium, while the rear subframe and all of the fairing panels are moulded from carbon fibre. The exhaust system is made of titanium, as are many of the bolts and fasteners and even the exhaust valves. Engine weight is further reduced thanks to a super-lightened crankshaft.

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A track-only kit is also available, which adds five horsepower and trims a further 2.5kg off the 1199’s weight by ditching the registration-plate holder and sidestand and adding an Akrapovic race exhaust with “siamesed” two-in-one collector box.

The overall weight reduction understandably makes the 200-horsepower machine somewhat frisky, so the Superleggera is fitted with a handy electronic device called DWC – or Ducati Wheelie Control – which is designed to keep the front end on terra firma.

The bike will be made in an edition of just 500 worldwide, but Ducati claims that 375 of those have already been pre-ordered (many by selected Ducatisti who previously bought one of the marque’s earlier limited editions, the £40,000+ Desmosedici RR, which went on sale in 2008). This despite the price tag of £54,000 being more than double the £26,550 of the standard 1199 Panigale R.

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But you do get a tailor-made dust cover thrown in.

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