INSTEAD OF the snapshot of the latest sales figures, we’ve delved into the Department for Transport’s vehicle licensing numbers to see which bikes – new and secondhand – are the most common on British roads.
This time it’s Ducati’s turn, and for a brand that’s synonymous with sports bikes you might be surprised to see which models have found most favour with the supposedly superbike-crazy British public…
10: 1199 Panigale
Can you believe that the 1199 Panigale isn’t just a last-generation Ducati, but the range-topper from the generation before that? C’mon, it’s still drool-worthy, and so packed with technology and ooh-look-at-that thinking that it would be adorning every magazine front page if it was launched as a 2019 model tomorrow.
In fact, of course, it first appeared seven years ago. But even today its radical, MotoGP-inspired monocoque frame means it’s the ultimate expression of the V-twin superbike. Well, nearly the ultimate, because of course it did have a successor…
9: 1299 Panigale
…and the 1199’s immediate replacement has proved even more popular. While the DfT figures showed 690 1199 Panigales on the road at the end of last year, there were 708 1299 Panigales in use at the same time.
Showing up for the 2015 model year, the 1299 Panigale’s main change was the bigger, 1,285cc engine, the biggest V-twin in Ducati’s history and also the most powerful. Yes, the new Panigale V4 is better, but if you like a V-twin superbike, the 1299 has got to be the ultimate expression of that idea. After all, nobody’s making a twin-cylinder superbike anymore.
8: Monster 821
Ah, the Ducati Monster. The bike that’s regularly lauded as the machine that saved Ducati when it first appeared in the early 1990s, forming a double-whammy with the original 916 to bring the firm back into the limelight and set it on a course that would see it become the powerhouse it is today.
There’s no arguing with the Monster recipe; it’s the distilled essence of motorcycling, with no frills, no unnecessary add-ons, no styling-for-the-sake-of-it edges or curves. It’s a fuel tank, a frame, a seat, and engine and some wheels and suspension. That’s about it, and what more do you need? Nothing, according to the 780 people riding Monster 821s in the UK at the moment.
7: Monster 696
Of course, the Monster 821 is a bit more complicated than the original, but the Monster 696 – made from 2008-2014 – was even more like the 1992 original. It was air-cooled, for a start, and for years was the absolute starting point in the Ducati range, the first step on a ladder than goes all the way to heights like the Desmosedici RR and Panigale V4.
It’s not that fast, but there are lots of them and prices are relatively low, and with 820 in use over here, they clearly have some longevity, too.
The Panigale generation of superbikes might have represented a huge step forward for Ducati, but the 848, and its larger 1098/1198 siblings, represent the last of the line with trellis-framed links back to the 916 and even earlier Ducati superbikes like the 888 and 851.
Production stopped five years ago in 2013, after a five year production run, but there are still loads of 848s in use – 835 at the end of last year when our figures were collated.