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First Ride 999R

2572 Views 14 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Gas Man
2005 Ducati 999R Motorcycle First Ride
Bologna's latest homologation special isn't just the horniest Ducati motorcycle in history, it just might be the best V-twin sportbike ever built.

By Mitch Boehm

You've probably heard the phrase, "Race on Sunday, sell on Monday." It's shorthand for racetrack-to-showroom trickledown, and the practice has helped fuel sportbike sales for decades.But nobody does the deed quite like Ducati.

The 2005-spec Ducati 999R I got a chance to ride at Laguna Seca for a whole day prior to the AMA/SBK weekend is a perfect example. The new R-model not only bristles with track-spec hardware, it's also highly exclusive. Ducati will build just 300 units to satisfy Superbike rules. At nearly 30 grand, it's a hugely expensive piece, but I don't feel shy telling you this is the fastest, best-performing, most grin-producing V-twin sportbike I've ever ridden.

Except for a new upper cowl (which removes some of the old 999's jack-o'-lantern look), the new R doesn't look much different from the 749R we featured in our July issue: blood-red body and frame, black wheels and swingarm, radial brakes and that sharp-edged look. What you don't see are the many engine and chassis upgrades that make this a better foundation for a factory Superbike—or one helluva serious streetbike.

On the track, the new-gen R is a nearly magical device, if a little softly sprung for riders on the high side of 200 pounds. With more preload and damping dialed in at both ends, the R charged around Laguna's roller-coaster-like asphalt as if it were on rails, the engine howling like a racer's, the radial Brembo brakes hauling the bike down from speed predictably (though with more lever effort than we'd like) and the Öhlins suspension sucking up the bumps, ripples and fore-and-aft pitching without complaint. Contact-patch feedback at the bars, pegs and seat was terrific—better than any street-legal sportbike I've ridden.

Ten years ago I got a chance to ride Scott Gray's factory Ducati Superbike at Laguna. That was a long time ago, but I'd bet this new R-model 999 is every bit as fast and composed at Big Speed as Gray's works racer. And all this from a streetbike. Amazing.

2005 Ducati 999R
Price: $29,999
Engine type: l-c 90-deg. V-twin
Valve arrangement: dohc, 8v
Displacement: 999cc
Transmission: 6-speed
Weight: 399 lb. (claimed dry)
Fuel capacity: 5.3 gal. (20L)
Wheelbase: 55.9 in. (1420mm)
Seat height: 30.7 in.
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1 - 3 of 15 Posts
chev said:
sweet looking bike but I'll stay in the 10K range and be just as happy and won't feel nearly as bad if I dump a 10k versus a 30k bike. That's insane to charge that much.
Yeah, Chev has his head on right! He's got his eye on the 10R! :thumbs: Smart Man!! :dthumb:
twisty said:
I find it funny how different writers hate and love the 999r. I just read the article in roadracing world about the 999r and he credited it a lot. He said in short words that is was not worth the money, bikes like GSXR and ZX-10 will have no problems dispatching this bike on the track. Also performance bike said that motor felt weak and flat.

Give me the Aprilia...and lets go duc hunting.
Shiet, give me a GSXR or a 10R and I'll never find a duc. They'll all be in hiding!!!! :lol: :wink:
Thanks Twisty! ! I hope you noticed I said GSXR or 10R!!!! Got to give props where props are deserved!!!!
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