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My new 1199 Panigale, part 6

Posted on June 24, 2012 by acruhl


First read the previous parts:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

I’m going to editorialize a bit before I go into the discussion points again:

People have been asking me if I don’t like this bike after reading these posts. I feel like I need to explain myself more.

You can’t test ride all bikes these days. Or, it’s not always the case that you can test ride the bike you want, let’s say. I didn’t ride the 1199 before I bought it. I’m kind of glad I didn’t to be honest. It was such a shock to the system that I probably would have brought it back after a few blocks and put my money down on a nice 848 EVO. It’s such a nicer street bike, and it’s much less intimidating. (Not that I’m against intimidating bikes, I used to endurance race on my friend’s 2004 ZX-10R. That thing shrinks your nuts, and I’m glad I never rode it on the street! But it sure was fun to race.) The 848 is arguably prettier too, but I might change my mind about this after a while.

Look: The 1199 Panigale is friggin serious. You have to put on your man pants if you want to ride one. It makes no apologies for beating the sh*t out of you and acting like a caged animal around town. This is not a bike for wishy washy people or idiots. If you want a fast bike which doesn’t beat the crap out of you, go get a BMW or a GSX-R or something and be a lame ass. (If you pass me on the track on yours, I will take back the lame ass comment.)

Ok, more points after 636 miles:

o I finally broke it in! It actually happens at about 621.5 miles, not 600 since it’s actually 1000km. The dash flashes on the “oil service” message, then you get an icon on the screen reminding you to get it serviced. That message pops up when you start the bike as well. The tach changes, it’s no longer yellow as of 6000 RPM. I let it loose after this happened in “Sport” mode and I thought that this was a fast bike, but not brutally fast. Later on I switched to “Race” mode and it definitely feels faster, as if the throttle opening rate is directly connected to your wrist rather than slowed down. Even then, it doesn’t feel like a brutally fast bike, but it really is. The powerband is a lot more linear than the 1198 or pretty much any inline 4. So it’s not beating you up with a lumpy powerband, it just goes and goes all the way to redline. Holy cow is it fast though once you realize what the H is going on…

o I never mentioned the clutch. It’s nice and light. Not as light as my Multistrada 620, but not far off either. Way lighter pull than you’d expect for a 1200cc twin. A lot lighter than the dry clutch bikes for sure.

o Electronics: The EBC (Engine Braking Control) is a bit weird. When you let off the throttle, you get engine braking for about half a second, then the electronics kick in and you can feel it sort of let go and coast. It would be nice if they could reduce that threshold a bit more, but I haven’t tried the other settings yet to see if they are different. I might just turn it off. It’s got a slipper clutch already (the APTC {Adler Power Torque Clutch} is a slipper clutch by design), so the wheel might not hop anyway. One of these days I’ll try it and report back. I was able to get the DTC yellow warning light to come on in “Wet” and “Sport” modes without a lot of problem. It’s almost always on in Wet once you twist the throttle. In Sport all you need to do is come off a corner a little bit hard and there’s the yellow light. I haven’t been able to make it happen in “Race”, which is probably because I haven’t been to the track yet. I don’t know which mode is my favorite between “Sport” and “Race”. On the street, I like the Sport mode’s dash layout a lot better, but that’s probably the only thing I like. I don’t like DTC on 5 or the “195lo” power delivery as much as Race. But I find myself riding around in Sport mode 95% of the time just because I like the dash layout. I could set up Sport to work like Race without much issue, maybe I will. Wet mode is kind of bizarre, at least it is for an electronics noob like me. It’s not a mode you want to ride around in much, unless it really is wet. You can’t put it in wet mode and fool yourself into believing you have a smaller bike or something. It’s just dull as can be, not fun at all. A Ninja 250 would probably be more entertaining than a Panigale in Wet mode.

o Another electronic related thing is the engine sort of feels “digital”. You’re aware that your wrist isn’t directly attached to the throttle butterflies, even though it’s not a huge deal. You’re just aware of it. When you close the throttle quickly and pull in the clutch, a bit of gas is applied once the revs drop down toward 1000 as if they are “catching” it and preventing it from stalling. It’s weird, it feels a bit like someone else is in control of your throttle. From zero to 10 degrees or so of throttle twist area seems highly “processed” to make the bike run a bit smoother or something.

o I’d be surprised if there isn’t a new fuel map for it yet. I talked about it before, but that stumble when you open the throttle quickly from small throttle openings is still there, even at higher RPM. It’s not very nice. Or maybe this is one of the things they did to try to get you to buy the $2000 slip on and accompanying map…

o Should I complain about the seat again? No, not after my above editorial. I need to be a man and take it or spend the $250 on the aftermarket seat I guess.

o This is still one of the best bikes I’ve ever ridden when on it’s side. You just keep on leaning and it keeps going. I’m starting to wear out the “Diablo Supercorsa” lettering on the edge of the back tire. The front tire doesn’t get all the way to the edge on the street, but on the track it will (trail braking to the apex tends to do this). The only thing is I don’t quite get the feedback through the bars that I have with my 998. I’m able to go faster on the 1199 just because it’s so much lighter and forgiving while at full lean, but I’m not sure what it’s doing to the same degree as the 998. This is what makes the 998 so fun. Hopefully I can have as much fun on the 1199 once I figure out how it works on the track. Man I need to do a track day soon…

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