Succeeding the mythical 916 was practically impossible mission. So, you might as well be daring, even if it means disturbing. The main thing is that the fat sportswoman from Ducati is still a diva. When it was presented, the 999 was shocking, but the CEO of the Italian manufacturer did not hesitate to announce this machine as THE motorcycle of the decade..
From the outset, the Bolognese surprises. It may not have the grace of its previous one but an extraordinary finesse. It almost looks like a 125. The trim has been extensively worked in the wind tunnel to optimize air penetration. Example: the two panels "added" participate a lot in aerodynamics. Strange but still Ducati.
This sport retains the lattice frame and a desmo twin. It is certainly the rear that will most upset lovers of the pencil stroke of Tamburini (creator of the 916). The single-arm and the double silencer have disappeared. The new classic swingarm should bring more rigidity and improve stability.
New as it is, rarely a production bike will have as close the concept of a factory wheel. The mirrors can be removed by unclipping, the footrests can be adjusted to 5 positions, the caster angle is still adjustable, but now you can also adjust (to 10 mm) the position of the saddle-tank assembly (only on the single-seater version). As for the dashboard, it is now a real small on-board computer.
At the end of our surprises? Certainly not. A 748 or 996 pilot will not find his marks. On the 999, the driving position is less pressed forward, the wrists less martyred by the half-handlebars, the seat lower, the freedom of movement more important – The legendary discomfort of the Ducatis seems to have helped ‘water in his wine.
Even the behavior has become a reason. From the 916 to the 998, these hyper sports cars required very specific handling: anticipating, tightening the machine, entering it with force and conviction in the bends; a physical and demanding exercise. With the 999, all of this turned into impressive agility and spontaneity. She keeps the fabulous precision of Bologna products, as well as its imperial stability. We can finally drive more relaxed. Delay braking, violate the machine, and give big gas when exiting the turn, the Ducati obeys without flinching.
Despite its name, the engine is a 998 cc. The bike accommodates the excellent testastretta block which gains here a new airbox, more torque and greater approval. Generous at mid-revs, it then explodes at around 7,500 rpm to rush like a patient up to the 5-figure mark. To calm the beast, the beautiful double disc set provides a good feeling and formidable power. However, it seems to lose its effectiveness over turns. Maybe the platelets ?
Don’t think the 999 has become a Ducati for children. If the bike is easier and more instinctive than the 998, we are still far from the agility provided by an Aprilia RSV 1000 R, its direct competitor. Do not even compare with Japanese women, who will seem like bikes next door. A Ducati is piloted, and you have to hold it if you don’t want it to deviate from the printed trajectory.
We could have feared an explosion in the price given technological progress and the design / development phase. But the plant was able to keep costs down by rationalizing production. Thus, the 999 is displayed at € 17,000. Add 4,000 more for the S version, its twin pushed to 136 hp and its suspensions Öhlins. Face to face, the 998 takes a rouste but prides itself on its magnificent past. In superbikes, the 999 has appropriately taken up the torch: it is untouchable.
What you must remember
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Model marketed in
about 275 km / h
The technical aspect
Ducati 999 2003
- Tank: 15.5 liters
- Height: 1110 mm
- Wheelbase: 1,420 mm
- Dry weight: 197 kg
- Operating weight: 215 kg
- Train before
- Secondary chain transmission
- Rear axle
(100 x 63.5 mm)
at 9000 rpm
at 8000 rpm