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Quo Vadas' 899 Panigale Review

24370 Views 26 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  Mariner
So, I have put 2000klms on the bike over the past few weeks and I thought it was about time to post up a review.

I have owned many different types of bikes and had all sorts of engines - vtwins, vfours, inline fours, triples etc and I must say that I do have a soft spot for vtwins and vfours - I just love the way the power is delivered and the way the engine spins.

I have yet to take the 899 to the track so my review is purely based on road riding and I think this is where most people will ride this bike and it's a real world experience.

The ergos on this bike are actually quite comfortable and the higher bars on this Duc make for riding less taxing on your body although I do still experience a bit of weight on the wrists every now and then but I put it down to climatising to a new bike (I came off an RSV4). The reach from the seat to the bars feels natural and comfy.
The 899 is actually quire comfortable and it fits me very well - I am 6ft.
The tank is designed and articulated nicely so my knees lock in well and fit into the sculptured parts on the tank without any ill feelings

Riding the bike:
Riding around the city, you do feel the heat from the exhaust beneath the seat but in all honesty, it isn't that bad. To new comers of this bike, they may find it a bit disconcerning but you'll get used to it and forget all about it once you put some miles on the bike.
The stock gearing makes for easy riding and you can stick to the speed limit without too many gear changes. It is comfortable at both low and high speeds and really is so much more friendlier and fun to ride than the 1199.
This bike really is a cornering machine due to short wheel base and wide bars.
It has telepathic-like cornering ability and you just tip in and let the bike do it's thing - it really does make cornering a breeze and you find yourself going in deeper, later and faster and the bike holds it's line like it's on rails.
The bike feels very front wheel biased and very front end reliant when cornering, which I like. Bottom end of the engine is superb which makes getting of the line or squirting between traffic a breeze.

The ride by wire on this bike is nearly one of the best I have ever used. Silky smooth throttle response and subsequent engine delivery make riding this bike both slow and fast a breeze.
Traction control settings are not intrusive and I am constantly going through them to find the setting most suited to my riding but having TC is a wonderful thing and a nice backup if things go a bit pear shaped.
ABS on this bike is wonderful and inspires confidence when really getting on the brakes hard. The different settings are very different and not intrusive.
Engine braking control has three settings and it's fun to go through them all - or turn it off all together.You can turn the quickshifter on or off but I don't really see the point of this option.
The three rider settings -Race, Sport or Wet off varying amounts of engine power delivery and also effect the way that the other electronics work.
I found that toggling between different modes alright but having to get off the throttle and brakes whilst riding to change these settings is a bit annoying and changing TC, ABS, EBC etc is whilst on the fly or stationary is not very user friendly as the menu to access these is once again not so user friendly.

The brakes on this bike are outstanding. Very progressive and plenty of feel on the lever and they just suck up speed like nothing else. Many ppl will go on about how they aren't like the one's off the 1199 but who cares - these brakes do the bike justice and stop the thing on a dime. It's nice to also have adjustable levers to suit your riding needs.
The brakes don't "bite" on initial pull of the lever, yet the beautiful progression of the brakes coming on and feel you get through the levers is outstanding. Very predictable and inspiring feel when you yank hard on the levers.

The stock gearing is fantastic on this bike (15/44) and this combined with the torquey engine make for easy city riding and punchy delivery when in the twisties. Throttle response is silky smooth and I have never ridden a Ducati that felt so good when opening the throttle. The engine spins up very fast so if you get on it you will fly through the revs ever so quickly and be close to the limiter. Twins always spin up fast so it's just something you get used to. The exhaust note that you get from this bike is like a symphony to your ears. With both the 1199 and 899 I think that you get more of a true engine note coming out of the bike as opposed to putting on pipes that give you a note from them just being there.
The beauty of this bike is the engine and the way that it delivers power.......simply stunning.

I have tweaked the suspension a little and have found it to be most compliant on the road where it can rally soak up bumps well via city riding and holds it's line when cranking through corners. I did have concerns about the location of the rear suspension next to my left leg but you don't feel it whilst riding.
Plenty of scope to set the bike up to your liking without changing the rear spring and I actually love how easy it is to change the preload on the rear shock as you have straight access to it.

Pros with the bike:

The engine is absolutely stunning as has enough grunt to get you into trouble very easily. This, combined with the stock gearing make for an incredibly thrilling ride and the power band of the rev range is incredible. From idle it is quick to get up to speed and once you hit 8/9000 revs things very exciting.
Being an 899, the power delivery is not scary and you can really crack the throttle out of turns without fear of the bike bucking you off - you will however pull wheelies if you are in the meat of the rev range.

I liken the 899 to a Daytona 675 on steroids - it turns into corners incredibly quick and holds it's line like it's on rails.

Most of us don't by superbikes or supersport bikes for fuel economy but for real world riding, it is kind of nice to get a bike that can at least do 200klms on a tank of fuel. I have managed to get around 230klms on a tank with about 10klms left in reserve :)

The design and aesthetics of the bike make the 899 a simply stunning bike to both look at and marvel at the beautiful engineering

Cons with the bike:

The biggest issue I hear and have found out with is bike is that for city riding, you do get a fair amount of heat being emitted from the exhaust below the seat. My RSV4 wasn't as warm but the frame did get extremely hot which had a similar effect on my inner thighs that I get on the 899. I actually remember that my 848 was wayyyyy hotter than the 899. The heat really doesn't bother me as I've had hot bikes before but to a person who is unfamiliar with the heat that these bikes put out it may put them or off or be a deal breaker.

The stock riding pegs are absolutely terrible and it is annoying that on such a beautiful machine and a machine that will be tracked or ridden hard through the hills that the stock pegs are so god **** slippery and uncomfortable under foot. Try riding the bike when it is wet and it's not a pleasant experience. New rearsets or pegs being a cheaper and faster fix are the way to go to eliminate this problem.

Toggling through the electronic settings - traction control, engine braking, power modes etc is a pain compared to what I am used to on the RSV4. Personally, i don't like the control menu and the way you toggle through the menu to get to the settings you want - it just isn't very rider friendly or intuitive.

Windscreen is pretty useless on highway or high speed riding so a better screen may be warranted. An annoying thing that I have noticed is that there is a gap between the top of the instrument panel cluster and the screen. I got some leaves that fell between this gap and they are near impossible to get out short of being Dynamo the street magician.

Having to use a hex key to change the preload on the front suspension is a wank and not being supplied with one in the toolkit is just even more stupid.

I feel that this bike will be a bike that most mortals will be able ride for the above mentioned. It really is a "riders bike" and feel that I will be able to ride this harder than nearly any other bike I have owned. Sure it's only 899cc but geez, it's only 100 or so cc's off a litre bike and I have one of those also and enjoy riding the 899 hard, cracking the throttle open hard out of corners and flicking it around like a bmx.
It really is a stunning package and now just want to take it to the track and wring it's neck :)

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I concur! Great review for a great bike!

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I also have to agree, great review. I've seen reviews from blogs but it helps to hear it from a real owner.

I like to think of Ducati as the BMW, Ferrari, Porsche of the bike world :D
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Thumbs up for the review! It will definitely instill more confidence for those looking to own one!
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A well written and accurate review.
It really is a bike that once you get off, you can not wait to get back on.
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Two thumbs up on the review @Quo Vadas!

I just know everyone can appreciate a detailed review like this. ;)
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Well done quo vadas!
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fabulous writeup,,,cant agree more with all the writeup, very true to my personal intial impressions:)
Great report, thanks so much.
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Thanks for taking the time Quo to write a review with this amount of detail.
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Thanks for all your feedback guys.
I'm sure I could have written more but it may have led to some silly diatribe of sorts.

Please feel free to question my review in any part or add your own comments against my own thoughts.

Great online community and more imprtantly, a great bike.


p.s. thanks to the admin team for uploading a pic of my bike to the thread :)
Thank-you for the incredibly balanced, measured, thoughtful and enthusiastic review. It assures me I've made the right decision. I've got another 3 or 4 months to go before I pick up my white 899. I have to wait until the spring and spring showers wash all the salt off of the roads. I traded in my Triumph Daytona 675R (2011) for the 899. I had an 848 (2010) before the Daytona but it was stolen (from my condo underground garage in 2011). Before the 848, I rode a Monster 695 (2007). I'm dying to get back on a Ducati. I test drove an 1199 and I could feel the Ducati fever in my blood start to burn. As you mentioned, these are rider's bikes--the connection that one feels with the bike is thrilling--the sense of communication/dialogue with it is uncanny. The Daytona was a superb bike. I had no complaints whatsoever about it (and it was great on the race track) but the Ducati spoke to me. And I wanted the ABS and traction control. I will, as always, use the bike for everything (hence my desire for ABS & Traction control--just in case) but I live for the track.
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^^ Cheers Che dolce tuono.

I think I stated in my review that the 899 feels like a 675 on steroids and it's true.

The diablo rosso tyres that come stock on the bike are incredible also. I have had these tyres on my last three bikes and they give you fantastic feedback, grip and the dual compound allows for maximum traction when cornering and the hard middle compound gives good tyre wear and longevity.

I test rode the 1199 numerous times and I just can't see the point of all that power. The fuelling and engine spins so much better on the 899 and you get to use the engine more and personally, I think it's more fun to ride.
I already have a litre bike and it's more than I can handle. I can ride the bike fast but can't flick it and have as much fun as I can with smaller capacity bikes (although having a slightly smaller displacement engine on the 899, I really don't class it as a bike that is far off a litre bike).

Hope everyone is enjoying their Ducs as much as I am :)

Nice Summary. I've done 1500 km and agree with most of your comments. I don't have a problem with the menu options, maybe I don't fiddle enough!. The heat issue is soon forgotten - just spread your legs slightly to let a little air through between tank and knees and it is almost eliminated, and not really an issue out on the open road anyway. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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Excellent review my friend; I have hardly had a chance to ride mine due a combination of bad weather, work and two young babies in the house but itching to carve up some tracks soon!

My other ride is a Diavel so I am already a fully loved up Ducati owner!

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A good read, great review, not got too many miles on the clock yet but already love it :D
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