2011 Ducati 1198, 1198SP, and 848EVO: Ducati streamlines its superbike lineup

The 1198 range is consolidated to just two models, 848EVO only middleweight

2011 Ducati 1198SP

Used to be that it was difficult to keep track of the supersport models in Ducati’s lineup. There was the standard version, the S edition, and the limited production homologation R model; then there were the monoposto and biposto versions of some of these bikes. There were also special editions of various models, some with a few special parts or custom paint. The difficulty and expense of stocking and shipping all the additional parts, plus the extra training and manufacturing necessary for these models, started to be a little too much for Ducati general manager Claudio Domenicali.

The former director of Ducati Corse and architect of numerous World Championships for the company, Domenicali knows that simplifying and efficiency are crucial to success. He saw the company’s burgeoning catalog as not only costing it unnecessary funds, but also diluting the brand’s appeal. The brilliant engineer’s campaign to streamline Ducati’s lineup is plainly evident in the Borgo Panigale firm’s 2011 sportbike collection.

Instead of numerous versions of the 1198 and 848 sportbikes, the ’11 lineup now consists of only three bikes: the standard 1198, the 1198SP, and the 848EVO. But the trimming of Ducati’s supersport lineup actually results in more value for each bike. Case in point: the standard 1198 now includes DTC (Ducati Traction Control) and DDA (Ducati Data Analyzer)—two features that previously were only available on the more expensive models—plus the new DQS (Ducati Quick Shift), a powershifter unit that allows full-throttle/clutchless upshifts. All this for $16,495—the same price as last year’s standard 1198.

Replacing both the 1198S and 1198R in the lineup is the new 1198SP. While the new SP unfortunately doesn’t get the monster 190-horsepower race-spec engine from the 1198R, it does get all the standard 1198S features (DTC, Öhlins suspension, forged aluminum wheels, some carbon bits), plus a slipper clutch, the DQS, and an Öhlins TTX rear shock (replacing the previous standard T36PR Öhlins unit) and an aluminum fuel tank. And it gets those additional features for only $200 more than the S model, at a sticker price of $21,795.

The 848EVO gets a fully upgraded engine with an additional six horsepower and 1.5 ft/lb over the previous standard 848, featuring all-new cylinder heads, pistons (with a higher 13.2:1 compression ratio versus the old 12.0:1), cams, and larger 60mm (from 56mm) throttle bodies. Also included with the EVO version are a steering damper, Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires, and the monobloc edition Brembo calipers. And this is all for the same price as the ’10 model 848: $12,995 for the Dark (flat black) version and $13,995 for the Ducati Red edition.