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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ducati's next gen Super Bike - Ducati 1199?

After the wondrous Ducati Diavel, which basically re-defined what a muscle bike should be and look like, it seems that Ducati is planning for another bomb and the segment of discussion is their Super bike. With nothing much happening for Ducati at the MotoGP (post arrival of Rossi) and with the drop dead gorgeous 1198S remaining more or less unchanged for quite sometime now, it's quite understandable that the think tank at Ducati is etching to come out with something radical, so radical that it would leave the world numb.

Ducati's current fleet of sport bikes have some features in common - The Trellis frame, The L-Twin engine construction with belt cam drive, Desmodromic valve operation. If Ducati's new patent application, Patent Application #US 2009/0308677 A1, or “Simplified Motorcycle”, is to be believed, then we are in for a real big surprise in motorcycle construction. The patent application basically outlines a motorcycle construction design that is devoid of any frame, and instead all the components are bolted to the motor. To quote Ducati's Lawyer, while filing the patent -

“A motorcycle comprising a propelling group or engine, a saddle support, a support for the rear wheel, and a front directional group comprising a handlebar integral to a steering headstock functionally associated to a supporting organ of the vehicle front wheel, wherein such front group is connected to a box-like body incorporating the function of filtering box, constrained to the engine and apt to support the latter by connecting it, therethrough, to said front directional group, said support for the rear wheel and said saddle support being constrained to the engine, the vehicle being not equipped with additional members apt to constrain said engine to such front directional group.”

The schematic representation of the proposed design is quite radical indeed from a design perspective, leave aside the numbers. With the current competition on the war land in the forms of the super mighty BMW S1000RR, 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and the Aprillia RSV4 APRC SE, Ducati is really pushing the development of it's next gen motorcycle development and spy shots of this next gen is already out, giving hints of an extremely compact and radical motorcycle.

The spy shot clearly shows that Ducati is trying to carve a new niche than it's already established elements. The Trellis frame is gone, the L-Twin is gone, the belt cam drive is gone, but maintaining the Desmodromic valve operation. The engine is still a 90° V-Twin, but it's not L-Twin, the horizontal cylinder head is now angled back. Ducati is very very seriously trying to get the top end power delivery mapping right for it's flagship.

The main issue with the L-Twin engine construction is that it's long, which in a way limits the swing-arm length for any wheel base, also, it makes achieving a steep rake angle difficult as anything too steep on the rake would hit the horizontal cylinder head. On the other hand, the Trellis frame comes in the way in the potential size of the air box. The 2009 the oh so dangerously gorgeous Ducati Desmosedici, with it's carbon fiber monocoque chassis, might be considered as a blue print of what the future of Ducati Super bikes might be engineered as.

So, as is clear from the spy shots, Ducati has gone for completely re-mastered chassis approach. Other key elements that are noticeable from the spy-shots include -
  • Horizontally mounted rear shock connected directly to the engine
  • Underslung Buellesque side exit exhaust, just like Ducait's MotoGP monsters
  • Almost drag racer length swing arm
Well, there's not much spec available for this so called and proposed 2012 Ducati 1199, but expecting it to rev the roof tops off with it's new more over square Superquadrata engine.

As happened with the Diavel, people are already getting a fancy of the spy shots and people at bar-design.net have already taken the cues from the spy shots.

The Diavel has raised the bar real high for Ducati itself as far as meeting the hype goes and I'm sure Ducati has way more than needed in-house talent available, to repeat the history.

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Item Reviewed: Ducati's next gen Super Bike - Ducati 1199? Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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