The Ducati 999R - the best Italian V-twin superbike ever!
The biggest problem with the Ducati 999 is that it comes after the 916 and its various evolutions. The 916 to 998 series of motorcycles from Ducati were so beautiful, so perfect of form and proportion, that it would be difficult for any motorcycle to surpass their poetic symmetry. And yet, motorcycle design must move on, and we have the 999. Styled by South African designer, Pierre Terblanche, the 999’s lines grow on you with time. It is, you might say, the two-wheeled equivalent of the BMW 7-series – designed to shock, to make you think, to make you take a second look. And once you’re done with looking, you find out that this one goes as hard – or harder – than its predecessor.
Ducati has worked on rider ergonomics, so the 999 is more comfortable than, say, a 998R. And to help things on the track, weight distribution (with the rider on board) is now claimed to be an ideal 50/50, front and rear. The engine, which is where the action is, is a 999cc V-twin with a pressurised airbox, and produces an honest 124 horsepower. So okay, that isn’t enough to work the kind of insane straight line lunges that, say, a ZZR1400 is capable of, but being a twin, the Ducati’s engine has more ‘grunt’ (torque, in the lower reaches of the rev range) than most inline-fours. And the scalpel-sharp handling, in the best Ducati tradition, is to die for. It may not match up to the old 998R in the looks department, but in all other ways, the 999R is a worthy successor to that iconic motorcycle.
0 to 100kph: 2.7 seconds
Top speed: 270kph
In a line: The two-wheeled equivalent of a Ferrari 430
Right click and download a motorcycle-usa.com roadtest video of the 999R here