Long-Term Wrap-Up: 2007 Ducati 1098

A superbike even mortals can enjoy.

2007 Ducati 1098 - Long-Term Wrap-Up

2007 Ducati 1098 - Long-Term Wrap-Up

Deep inside, we all know we are not Troy Bayliss. Except for Troy, of course... So the idea of a nearly race-ready streetbike like the Ducati 1098 can be interpreted as a funny choice for us mere mortals.

Actually, it's not funny at all, just fun, even in real life. Our yellow standard model came to us in August, 2007, and it got put into immediate day-to-day service. Early trips included a freeway drone out to Las Vegas ("Better than a coach airline seat," said Executive Editor Mark Hoyer) and a 550-mile all-backroad round-trip ride to Santa Barbara from our Newport Beach offices.

The 1098 is comfortable enough for freeway riding, but the rider, and the bike, are much happier tearing up winding roads or burning around a racetrack. "The 1098 reluctantly complies with street riding but doesn't really like half-measures," said Hoyer. "The bike feels bound up when you're cruising corners at a 7/10ths pace and only starts to feel free and wonderful when you charge hard into a corner, flick it in deep and really get on the gas coming out."

Of the issues we tried to address, controlling exhaust heat was top priority. We fitted a Termignoni full exhaust ($3146, including performance air filter and ECU; www.ducati.com) but not before treating the system to a Velvet Black ceramic coating ($225; www.specializedcoating.com) to help reduce radiant heat. The coating held up well cosmetically, and the 1098 was indeed lower-temperature (but never cool!) for the rider.

Even better were the power increase and sound from those dual carbon-fiber silencers. Stock output at the beginning of the test was 141 horsepower. Piped and after 9880 miles, the engine produced 147 hp (with 82 foot-pounds of torque). The bark from those Termi cans was awesome but loud. Unfortunately, supplied "db killer" quiet inserts also killed 9 hp when installed. As a compromise, we ground off the blind end caps on the inserts' tubes to free up flow but still reduce noise. Results were good: In "stealth mode," peak output was 145 hp and 81 ft.-lb. of torque.

We didn't like the stock mirrors much, so we fitted longer Ducati mounts ($51; standard on 2010 Superbike models), but they really didn't improve the rear view much.

After about 5000 miles, the stock clutch had become grabby and screechy under heavy launch loads, so we used that as an excuse to upgrade to an EVR slipper unit ($1400; www.advancedmotorsports.com). The Italian piece is beautifully made and engages better than stock while offering the track-ready slipper action we were after.

Our only functional issue was an occasional fast idle of 2000 rpm or so, engine hot or cold. The mixture and butterflies were synched and reset, which reduced the frequency of the problem but didn't eliminate it. Our bike was subject to one recall―a hot stalling issue associated with the stock ECU―but because we'd done the Termi setup with a new brain, it was "fixed" in that way.

The 7500-mile service was a bit pricey at $729, but it did wonders for running quality. Both the mechanic who performed the service (Spectrum Motorsports; www.spectrum-motorsports.com) and the shop that handled tire changes (Mach1 Motorcycles; www.mach1ca.com) commented on how smoothly our long-term tester ran compared to the many others they had worked on.

Actually, "smoothly" is a good descriptor of how our time with the 1098 went overall. Yes, it is a hard-edged racer-replica, but the rewards were that it was awesome on the track, thrilling on the street and just livable enough to make a good daily rider. Turns out, even we mortals can enjoy a superbike for the street.

List price (2007):|$14,995
Current Blue Book value:|$12,985
Warranty:|24 mo./unlimited mi.
Engine:|liquid-cooled, four-stroke V-Twin
Bore & stroke:|104.0 x 64.7mm
Valve train:|dohc, four valves per cylinder, shim adjustment
Weight: tank empty:|414 lb.
Weight: tank full:|440 lb.
Fuel capacity:|4.1 gal.
Wheelbase:|56.5 in.
Rake/trail:|24.5º/3.9 in.
Total miles:|9880
Miles since last report:|2026
Average fuel mileage:|35.0 mpg
Repair costs:|$0
Maintenance costs (incl. tires):|$1587

Black-anodized aluminum vented cover ($208) allowed the beautiful EVR slipper clutch to shine through.

Billet folding brake and clutch levers ($326) replaced easily snapped stockers.

Öhlins steering-damper kit ($656) replaced the non-adjustable stock damper and offered light steering at minimum setting or serious lock-down when cranked up.

Our favorite tires, Metzeler Sportec M3s ($446), held up well and offered a good compromise between steering and feel. The Ducati Performance seat bag ($182) was easy to install and very useful.

2007 Ducati 1098