Ducati Panigale 959 Review, Smaller Can Be Better!

Ducati became one of the first manufacturers to release a EURO4 compliant sports bike, unveiling the 959 Panigale at the back-end of 2015. Producing 157bhp from its Superquadro L-twin motor, it shares much of the premium tech found on its bigger 1199R and 1299 model siblings.

Ducati Panigale 959 Review, Smaller Can Be Better!

Owing to the 959’s size of motor and the model’s physical shape, it seems crazy to class it as a middleweight sports bike; it’s better considered a more manageable Panigale. Carrying the same mouthwatering styling as its bigger brothers, the ‘baby’ Ducati looks tantalisingly crafted. Or at least it does until you come across the twin-stacked rocket launcher-style end cans; they really ruin a picture of beauty, even if they don’t fully rob the twin-cylinder motor of its intoxicating, booming audio.

Sat behind the clocks on the tall but supple saddle, the Ducati Panigale 959 felt immediately comfortable. The large and easy to read TFT dash highlighted all that I needed to know, including the settings of the Ducati’s traction control, ABS and selected power mode. The tech was easy to flick between, and without too much hesitation I had the bike set how I wanted it to be.

Ducati Panigale 959 – On The Track!

Ducati Panigale 959 Review, Smaller Can Be Better!
Ducati Panigale 959 is one of few current supersports to be EURO 4 compliant.

Having ridden the 1199R first, I was keen to see how the Ducati Panigale 959 compared… the long stretch down the pit-lane told me this bike also featured a lumpy bottom end character to its motor, but things got much better as soon as we reached the open track; more throttle smoothed the ride instantly, powering the bike forward, albeit not in a remotely intimidating way. It felt more like a tuned 600cc machine, with loads of torque to make the ride that bit easier, aided further by a factory-fitted quick-shifter.

My first impressions of the Ducati Panigale 959’s handling weren’t great as the rear of the bike seemed to wallow and upset the whole machine. Having clocked a handful more laps, I changed my riding to be smoother and more flowing, which favoured the Ducati. It liked to carry high levels of corner speed and to be run a gear taller than you’d think you needed to be in. By my tenth lap I was really enjoying the ride, feeling extremely comfortable and relaxed on the motorcycle. It didn’t possess the raw and intimidating oomph of the 1199R, being perky enough, but also much more manageable to ride. I felt the boss of it; not the other way around.

Ducati Panigale 959 Review, Smaller Can Be Better!
Smooth and manageable power.

Panigale 959’s brakes were good, the traction control – on its most minimal setting – wasn’t too intrusive, and I liked how seamlessly the Ducati quick-shifter helped me to climb through its six gears. Admittedly, it hadn’t been a motorcycle I was overly excited to hop on, but having sampled it properly it proved a real dark horse.

I was so hooked by it that I ran it dry of fuel and had to push it back to pit-lane. Ducati Panigale 959 would be a great bike on the road, and would also be my preference over the bigger beauties from Bologna, simply owing to how much more usable and pleasurable it was to ride.

Ducati Panigale 959 Specifications and Price

Engine : 4-Stroke, Superquadro L-Twin, Desmodromic 4-valve per cylinder, Liquid-Cooled
Bore x Stroke : 100 x 60.8 mm
Capacity : 955 cc
Compression Ratio : 12.5 : 1
Induction : Mitsubishi Electronic Fuel Injection System
Transmission : 6-Speed, Chain-Drive
Power : 157 BHP @ 10.500 RPM (claimed)
Torque : 107.4 N.m @ 9.000 RPM (claimed)

Dimensions (LxWxH) : 2.056 x 810 x 1.115 mm
Wheelbase : 1.431 mm
Seat Height : 830 mm
Ground Clearance : 140 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity : 17 Litres
Weight : 176 kg (dry, claimed)

Frame : Monocoque Alumunium
Front Suspension : 43mm Showa Upside-down Fork, Fully Adjustable
Rear Suspension : Sachs Monoshock Unit, Fully Adjustable
Front Brakes : 2 x 320mm Semi-floating Discs, with Brembo Monobloc M4.32 4-Piston Caliper, Bosch ABS
Rear Brakes : 245mm Discs, with 2-Piston Caliper, Bosch ABS
Front Tyre : 120/70 – ZR17 (Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa)
Rear Tyre : 180/60 – ZR17 (Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa)

Price : £13,095

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