Motorcycle News - Church of MO: 2008 Ducati Desmosedici RR
The new Panigale is a nice-a bike, but the thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Former EiC Kevin Duke waxed effusive over the new Panigale V4 here, but ten years earlier there was already a Twin Pulse V4-powered Ducati for him to get equally worked up about – the Desmosedici RR. Among the other mysteries of MO is why all the punctuation marks in here are replaced by ? in black diamonds… pretend you don’t notice as we stroll down memory pit lane.
2008 Ducati Desmosedici RR Review
Baddest production sportbike ever!
By Kevin Duke, Aug. 07, 2008, Photography by Alfonse �Fonzie� Palaima, Video by Fonzie
It doesn�t take long to be intimidated by the outrageous Desmosedici RR. If the stratospheric $72.5K price tag doesn�t get you, the menacing mechanical cacophony upon start-up will. Observers are sucker-punched straight into the gut, and the beautiful racket portends an experience unlike any production streetbike in the world.It�s quite incredible that a manufacturer has offered such a repli-racer to the public. The D16RR is literally a MotoGP bike built for the street. And not those scrawny 800cc prototype racers currently on the grids � we�re talking the big-gun near-liter-sized versions. As such, the RR carries a compact 989cc V-Four engine inside a version of Ducati�s trademark tubular-steel trellis frames.
The Desmosedici RR is a lust-inspirer of the first order. Just ask D16RR owners like Jay Leno, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.
The engine itself is a jewel. It features the same bore and stroke measurements (86.0mm x 42.56mm) as those on Ducati�s 2006 racebike, the D16GP6. It uses the �Twin-Pulse� firing order in which the crankpins are offset by 70 degrees (cylinders fire at 0°, 90°, 290° and 380°) to generate what Ducati terms as �soft pulse timing.�
No soft pulses are felt from the D16�s saddle � this thing snorts and sprints around a racetrack like a rampaging demon, as we found out during a few lapping sessions at Willow Springs Raceway.
Our test unit was equipped with the race ECU and exhaust system included with each Desmosedici, a no-brainer swap for the standard street exhaust. So equipped, it is said to achieve the magic 200-horsepower mark at 13,800 rpm when measured at the crankshaft. As for rear-wheel power numbers, those who have had it on a Dynojet dyno say it�s pushing nearly 180 hp. Peak crankshaft torque of 85.3 ft-lbs arrives way up at 10,500 rpm.
Duke wonders how many years he�ll have to work for free to pay off a simple low-side spill.
‘The Desmosedici is like a barely tamed wild animal.’
I was anticipating the D16RR to be high-strung, and its rumpity idle and menacing bark when revved did little to assuage those feelings. But then, despite a heavy clutch pull, the 16RR pulled out of pit lane smartly and without frantic revs, despite its light flywheel effect.
Yet this is no pussycat. Get hard on the throttle, and the D16 romps forth like a Gixxer on nitrous! It shows itself to be quite torquey but then comes on with a wicked surge past 10,000 rpm that inhales literbikes on straightaways like they are 600s. Every straight, no matter how short, becomes a passing opportunity. Vibration gets intense at high revs, putting in the mind of the rider a question: �Are you sure you want to use that much throttle?�
Yes we do!
The Desmosedici is like a barely tamed wild animal. It�s highly visceral and with an intensity that threatens to overwhelm a rider�s senses. It sounds downright angry on trailing throttle, as a 13.5:1 compression ratio threatens to skid the rear wheel if not for the racing-style slipper clutch. At neutral throttle it emits a menacing grrrrrr! that would be antithetical to anything from, say, Honda. The throttle response from the 50mm Magneti Marelli throttle bodies with 12-hole ‘microjet’ above-throttle injectors is a bit snatchy, adding to the brutish impression.
The D16�s handling characteristics are similarly racerish. Its chassis geometry (24.5-degree rake, 3.8 inches of trail and 56.3-inch wheelbase) is said to be identical to the MotoGP racer, but these numbers are fairly conservative in the street-sportbike realm. So, despite the reduced gyroscopic forces from the ultra-lightweight forged-magnesium wheels and a relatively light claimed dry weight of 377 lbs, the D16RR doesn�t flick into corners as quickly as expected.
And, like other racebikes I�ve sampled, the Desmosedici proved to be sprung too stiffly for my minimal weight and talent. The suspension was made more compliant after some adjustments, but its heavy springs remained too unyielding � I could still feel the rear end topping out over bumps. Its pegs are high and very rear-set, making it surprisingly difficult to drag a knee. And the $72K price tag doesn�t encourage pitching it in with abandon! Basically, the supremely capable D16 scoffs at the abilities of mere mortals.
“Never have I ridden a machine more capable of exacerbating my ineptness than this 400-lb pit bull,” said senior editor Pete Brissette after a wide-eyed session aboard the Desmo.
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June 3, 2018 at 10:12AM
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