Home of the Ducati club of Tucson and Southern Arizona


999R, 1098R, and 1199 all in the same day!

Posted on May 06, 2013 by acruhl

I was lucky enough to ride a 999R, 1098R and my 1199 all on the same day recently. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the 999R and 1098R, but I have ridden a few 999Rs on the track, and I even raced one once. The 1098R is something I would like to spend a lot more time with, if only it were possible…

Quick notes:

999R: The best steering Ducati superbike ever? The 749R might be the same or even a bit better. It’s gotta be in the running for best steering sportbike ever.

1098R: What a package! Only half a step behind the 999R as far as steering, but the engine and chassis are matched so perfectly. There’s nothing wrong. A dream motorcycle. I’m guessing the 1198S and SP are really close.

1199: The fastest, without question. You can’t argue with physics, technology, and progress. The most pleasing to ride on the street? Far from it. The above 2 make better street bikes, mostly because of the better fuel injection mapping and comfort.

To illustrate progress, here’s an interesting set of data:

999R: 399 pounds dry
1098R: 364 pounds dry
1199: 361 pounds dry

Note that the 1199 has no carbon fiber, and it has cast aluminum wheels where the other 2 have forged aluminum and lots of carbon fiber. That’s serious progress, folks.

The 2006 999S did the fastest lap of the Roadracing World 1000cc sportbike shootout at Spring Mountain (I think that’s where it was). That was against the GSX-R, ZX-10R, R1, etc. The 999R still holds the lap record at one of the fastest tracks motorcycles race on, Thruxton. These are seriously good motorcycles. Also notable is the dash is the most readable of the 3. It has a big analog tach right in the middle, and all of the other information you generally don’t need to know on a moment’s notice is clustered on the LCD panel, or in a few warning lights. I thought the 999R was the most comfortable as well.

The 1098R might be the fastest superbike ever get for corner exits. In World and Italian 1000cc Superstock last year, you could see the 1098R riders pull a huge gap on all other bikes, including the supposedly all conquering BMW S1000RR and even the 1199. The other bikes eventually caught up after a few hundred feet or so. This indicates not only a strong engine, but good mechanical grip as well. The steering, engine and suspension make such a good package. Possibly the best superbike for the street and track ever made. Unfortunately, it has the worst dash of the 3. LCD dashes just aren’t good for finding information quickly. But they are light and cheap… It’s not quite as comfortable as the 999R, but not far off.

The 1199 is such a hot and cold bike for me. It’s the fastest on the track of the 3 without question, although the 1098R would be close. It would take a few laps to go faster than the other 2, you have to build up trust a lot more since it doesn’t have that immediately perfect front end feel of the others. Corner entry takes a bit more faith. At full lean while feeding in throttle, it’s about the best feeling bike I’ve ever ridden though, and that’s where it counts. The brakes are better, but it’s not quite as stable as the other 2 on the brakes. The suspension isn’t as sophisticated, or the rear shock isn’t at least. You can feel this during corner entry all the way to full lean, but magically at full lean it becomes really good again. And then there’s the engine. Other than a hole in power between about 5 and 8k RPM, this must be the best engine ever put into a motorcycle. You get the really nice feel of a twin, but the manic top end of a 4 cylinder all in the same engine. The 1098/1198 can actually feel a bit too powerful in the lower RPM and it takes some concentration to keep it from getting away from you. The slightly softer power at lower RPM on the 1199 is actually a good thing for rideability, if only the FI map was better… The dash is just OK. It’s kind of cool to look at something that looks like an iPod on the dash, but ultimately a big analog tach is much easier to process. Hunting for information on a flat panel while riding quickly can be difficult, no matter how good that panel is. This is also the least comfortable Ducati superbike for me. The higher and closer handlebars don’t help much because there’s no gas tank to lean on. The heel plates push your heels outward just a bit and this feels awkward. The fuel injection mapping doesn’t work very well until you are going quickly, either. On the street it surges and pops a lot, and it takes a very light touch on the throttle to ride smoothly. The other 2 don’t have this problem, you aren’t even thinking about throttle control on those because they are so good.

So to sum it up:

The 999R and 1098R are better street bikes. But they have been thoroughly surpassed by the 1199 for racing. Which one should you have? Ideally, all of them. For me, I’m quite lucky to have both the 1199 and 998! If I didn’t have any of these, I’d go for the 1098R if I could afford it!

Leave a Reply

↑ Top