Suppose you’re in the enviable position of having to choose between two of the most stunning sportbikes Ducati has ever made. Which do you buy: the $18,995 base-model 1199 Panigale or its 899 sibling at $14,995?
We wondered how the 899 stacked up against the more powerful 1199. Looking at our measured performance data, the 1199 produces 174 hp and 88 pound-feet of torque compared to the 899’s 131 hp and 65 pound-feet. Translated to straight-line speed, the bigger bike sprints through the quarter-mile in 9.91 seconds at 145.50 mph, hits 60 in 2.8 seconds, and has a measured top speed of 182 mph. By comparison, the adolescent Panigale does the quarter in 10.38 at 133.85 mph, hits 60 in 2.7 seconds, and has a top speed of 161.
Not many people buy a Panigale to go dragracing, right? So we had two-time AMA SuperSport championship runner-up Hayden Gillim run the two back to back on the tight and twisty Streets of Willow Springs. With our VBOX recording the data, the lighter, more agile 899 trounced the 1199 by 1.4 seconds (1:18.94 versus 1:20.36), even though its max trap speed of 127.5 mph was significantly slower than the 1199’s 133.4. What gives? The 1199 has so much power that it’s a handful on such a tight track. If we conducted the same matchup on Willow Springs’ ultra-fast main road course, the results would have been lopsided the other way.
On the street, it’s a toss-up. Both bikes get exceedingly hot in traffic and have hard-core, track-oriented riding positions. But both are also far more refined and civil than any Ducati superbikes of the past.
If your intention is to keep your new Panigale on the street and you can afford the $4,000 premium, the 1199 is a great choice. But for those interested in hitting trackdays, the 899 is our pick. It will save you money—enough to keep it on fresh race rubber for a long time.
|SPECIFICATIONS||Ducati 899 Panigale||Ducati 1199 Panigale|
|DRY WEIGHT||415 lb.||403 lb.|
|WHEELBASE||56.2 in.||56.6 in.|
|SEAT HEIGHT||32.5 in.||32.5 in.|
|FUEL MILEAGE||38 mpg||31 mpg|
|0-60 MPH||2.7 sec.||2.8 sec.|
|1/4 MILE||10.38 sec. @ 133.85 mph||9.91 sec. @ 145.50 mph|
|HORSEPOWER||131.0 @ 10,940 rpm||174.4 @ 10,805 rpm|
|TORQUE||65.2 lb.-ft. @ 8960 rpm||88 lb.-ft. @ 8780 rpm|
|TOP SPEED||161 mph||182 mph|