To the naked eye, the 2008 Ducati 1198S looks pretty much like any other Ducati model, with the exception of graphics, or a few small aesthetic differences here and there. But the naked eye is nothing more than the untrained eye, in the case of these motorcycles. There are differences; at times there are few, and sometimes there are many. There are several sub-models of the 1198, which replaced the 1098 and stepped aside for the 1199. Ducati actually began production on the first in 2008, and production ended completely for the line in 2011. Our focus here will be the 1198S, with the ‘S’ standing for ‘sport’. This model was much like the 1098, but it was a more powerful version with higher torque, headlamps that were brighter, fairings that weighed less, redesigned wheels, the addition of traction control, and for appearance sake, a paint job that was a bit different.Let’s take a look at what led Ducati to the production of this particular bike.
The 1198S: A Bit of History
In 2008 Ducati first announced the release of both the 1198 and the 1198S, though the bikes weren’t actually available until 2009. The suggested retail price of the 1198S was $21,795, a full $5,300 more than the 1198. The predecessors to these models, the 1098 and 1098S, had been successful for Ducati prior to their release of the Desmosedici RR G8. Next came the 1198R, which was basically considered a race-worthy superbike with headlamps. At the time of this model’s release, less than a year had passed since the 1098 hit the public eye, but they were determined to provide a little bit more to the rider with this new bike.
While there were mentionable differences between the 1098 and the 1198 (which was a much-loved model, at the time), the 1198S was really nothing more than an 1198 dressed up in a fancy suit. With much the same mechanics and power as the 1198, the only major difference between the 1198S and the 1098S is the fact that the new model sported a frame that was bronze in color, which was said to match its new wheels. The wheels, by the way, were Marchesini-GP replicas, with seven spokes. It also had a carbon-fiber fender on the front, and all that was just for starters. Basically, they wanted to take what they already had and make it better, if that could even be done, according to Motorcycle.com.
So, with most of the descriptive sentiments out of the way, let’s take a look at what made this baby go.
The 2009 Ducati 1198S: Specs & Features
This was basically a glorified 1098S/1198, so let’s break it down just a bit to give you something by which to tell it from the others.
- Primary drive has straight-cut gears with a ration of 1.84:1
- Chain-driven final drive with 38 rear sprocket and 15 front sprocket
- 6-speed gearbox with ratios as follows:
- 1st gear @ 37/15
- 2nd gear @ 30/17
- 3rd gear @ 27/20
- 4th gear @ 24/22
- 5th gear @ 23/24
- 6th gear @ 22/25
- ALS 450 Tubular Steel Trellis frame
- Dual seating with 32.3 inch seat height
- Digital MotoGP instrument display includes Data Analyzer, traction control, rev counter, speedometer, immobilizer, fuel gauge, maintenance warning, clock, fuel consumption gauge, average speed, low oil pressure light, fuel level, average speed, turn signals, fuel reserve, oil temperature, neutral gear, and trip fuel usage.
- 56.3 inch wheel base
- Rake at 24.5 inches
- Ohlins 1.7 inch upside-down fork front suspension
- 4.7 inch front wheel travel
- Semi-floating disc front brakes; Brembro front-bloc calipers, radially mounted
- 7-Spoke Marchesini in forged light alloy
- Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa front tire
- Ohlins monoshock rear suspension
- Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa rear tire
- 5 inch rear wheel travel
- Marchesini forged light alloy rear tire
- 9.6 inch 2-poston Caliper rear brake
- 373 lb. Dry weight
- 4.1 US gallon fuel capacity
- Euro 3 emissions
- Liquid-cooled, 4-valve per cylinder Desmodromic V-twin engine
- 2-1-2 exhaust system with catalytic converter
- Electronic Marelli fuel injection
- 73.1 cubic inch displacement
- 4.17” x 2.67” bore & stroke
- 97 lb-ft @ 8,000 rpm (claimed) torque
- 170 hp @ 9,750 rpm (claimed) power
- Compression ratio of 12.7:1
That’s the basic bare bones when comes to the 2009 Ducati 1198S. This information should give you a general idea where this bike stood as far as specs and the power it offered the rider. Bearing all that in mind, let’s take a brief compiled look at what owners and others who have had the opportunity to ride the bike have to say about it.
The 1198S: From Those Who Have Been There
We’ll try to keep this brief, but it’s important to hear what those who have actually experienced the 1198S have to say about it.
Let’s begin by saying that motorcyclenews.com states that this bike felt ‘Japanese’ when it came to the actual ride. They also said that behind the handlebars there’s plenty of room for the rider, with dimensions that were typical to a motorcycle of this style and build. It was constructed to take corners like it was on rails, but does take a bit of getting use to. This is made easier by the fact that bike’s seating and other features are adjustable, so the rider can make get use to it much more easily than they may first expect. With that being said, the ride is pleasurable and fun, and the 1198S is a smooth ride that everyone should have the opportunity to try at least once (especially with such an affordable price for a Ducati).
Summing It Up…
So, here we have a basic upgrade from the 1098 in the 1198S, and it also seems to be something of a duplicate with frills. The ride is smooth and easy enough, and aesthetically this is a pleasing version that doesn’t appear to go overboard in the slightest. The price is right, especially for a Ducati, considering that they always seem to run high for the American cyclist.
Being as simple as this bike seems to be, it is feasible for anyone who knows how to ride to get on this thing and go without too much of a problem. Easy to ride with plenty of the ‘fun’ element seems to be the motto here. It is a racing bike that was really made strictly for the road, so there is no need to fear going overboard your first or second time around. It also makes it easy to get used to with the adjustable setting for the rider.
So, if you get a chance, take it. Hop on and go for a spin with the confidence that the bike won’t drive you. With the price being right, even at resale, it seems that anyone could feasibly have an opportunity to own a Ducati and enjoy it endlessly, depending on their means when it comes to upkeep.
So, if this is a bike that has captured your interest, take heart. There is a good chance you can make one your own if you find the right bike for sale. Go out and see what is available. You will likely be surprised what you can find, and what you can actually have.
So have plenty of fun, and be safe.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith