Buying used: 2014 Ducati Panigale 899 - page two

First of our new buyers' guides from the legend Chris Moss - Expert view,values, what goes wrong with the 899 Panigale






Iain Rhodes of RPM bikes (, 01604 583350), an independent with lots of history with Ducatis, gave us his thoughts. 

“The 899 Panigale is a real world Ducati. It’s been made for the masses to ride and enjoy more easily, and is a lot less costly to run. It’s not likely to give you any shocking bills. It shouldn’t be confused with older Dukes. Ducati’s mechanicals are getting stronger by the year and the 899 Panigale is a good used buy in that it’s very reliable, and has no common faults. Owners are usually older and more affluent and don’t skimp on maintaining their bikes at the right places. They’re generally used for more special occasions, and not for things like commuting. Most riders only clock up around 3,000 miles or even less in a year. As long as the bike you’re interested is in good condition and has the all important full service history, then you can look forward to a happy life together."

“Some bikes haven’t been cleaned as often as possible, and fasteners on the lower part of the bike can corrode quite readily. If the rest has been looked after, then this shouldn’t put you off. Home maintenance can be a bit fiddly as the fairing takes a while to get off. Oil and filter changes aren’t too bad – though the filter needs to be extracted rather than just simply removed by hand. Front cylinder access isn’t too easy, though with enough time and patience, you can check the plugs and valves. Clearances are usually OK for 20,000 miles or more, though you need a special tool to change the shims. A bit of smoke from the exhaust on start up isn’t unusual and they can burn a bit of oil if they’re used harder."

“They don’t always crash too well, as there are lots of sub-assemblies and bits that sit proud of the rest of the bike that get damaged easily. Spares are a bit more costly, but you can get anything within a few working days. Consumables are always in stock. Lots of owners fit tasteful aftermarket parts like cans, footrests and carbon components. I’ve never seen any bikes fitted with cheap tat. End cans need to have a map downloaded for them to work best.

“Some see them as a poorer man’s 1199 or 1299, I see them as more realistic, usable. and comfortable options.”




Triumph 675R, 2013-current, 675cc, in-line triple, 126bhp, 167kg

Triumph’s fastest sportsbike boasts plenty of high spec components, tons of character, and a British badge. Its in-line tripe engine has power, flexibility and an absolutely gorgeous soundtrack. Not being Euro-4 compliant means when stocks sell out, it’ll be no more. Pity. More focused than the Panigale but with similar appeal.


MV 800F3, 2013-current, 798cc, in-line triple, 148bhp, 173kg

Exotic, well-equipped MV has very strong performance and plenty of head-turning potential. The stylish Italian steed has a usable, revvy engine with an excellent chassis able to cope all that’s thrown at it. Fun and easy to ride, the F3 makes is a rare sight on UK roads. Uncertain dealer back up is a significant drawback.


Suzuki GSX-R750, 2011-current, 749cc in-line four, 148bhp, 170kg

Latest three-quarter litre GSX-R may be the last if the poor appetite for sportsbikes continues. Superbly balanced, the Gixxer is very usable providing plenty of pace with less intimidation – road or track. More comfortable than you’d think too. Doesn’t have the same sheer wow-factor of the Duke, but it’s a cheaper option.


KTM RC8 R, 2011-2015, 1195cc, 75°V-twin, 175bhp, 184kg

Not as successful as KTM had hoped for, in either standard or R trim, the big V-twin still has plenty going for it. Strong, grunty power gives plenty of speed readily, with a hi-spec chassis keeping it all in check nicely. Unique style, roomy adjustable riding position and rarity value may well make it a collector's item in future?



The 899 Panigale is a good used buy in that it has a very good reputation for reliability and is usually owned by older, more conscientious types who look after their bikes well. Service intervals are realistic, and as you can look after most smaller service items yourself running costs can be quite reasonable. It should be viewed as a more modern and robust Ducati – which hasn’t always been the case with many previous models. Any thoughts of, ‘It’s a Ducati, it’s bound to breakdown’, really should be dismissed. 

You’ll probably need to travel to see one as they’re not that readily available. As long as a full service history (done by an approved outlet) can be shown, and the bike doesn’t show any evidence or real neglect, then you should be OK. A bit of light corrosion isn’t unheard of with fasteners looking scruffy quite readily if the bike’s used in poor conditions or not cleaned often enough. This shouldn’t be worried about too much, but it’s worth having a more thorough look under the plastic to see if it’s any worse under there. It should be noted most 899s are kept in tip-top condition, so you don’t have to buy anything under par. It’s a buyer’s market. Annual mileage is around 3000 miles or less, so a fair number have yet to have a full 15,000-mile service. As the price of this is not really any more pricey than most machines, this shouldn’t put you off. Factor in the cost if it’s imminent, though bear in mind valve clearances usually stay in tolerance for up to 20,000 miles or possibly more. Engines should run quietly, though a small amount of smoke on start up isn’t unusual.

Many bikes will have had tasteful extras fitted which normally make them even more desirable, though it’s always handy to get the original parts. If stuff looks like it’s been replaced to sort crash damage then look round the bike even more carefully. Lots of components can get damaged even in a slow speed fall. Parts aren’t always cheap. 

Any bike of very low mileage needs checking carefully. Longer periods of storage requires special care. Conditions ideally need to be warm and dry to fend off any corrosion and the battery needs to be kept fully charged. Engine oil needs to be changed every year, regardless of mileage. Motors shouldn’t be started without being run up to full temperature otherwise condensation will harm the internals. 




* Prices are for early models sold privately in average condition to newer, well cared for examples available at dealers. 





Proof of a full service history is important. The 899 Panigale isn’t as fragile as older Dukes, and far more robust and tolerant of servicing being done late. Even so, a service history is the best guide to the attitude of the owner and sort of attention the bike’s had.


Not as lazy and relaxed as earlier bigger V-twins, thanks to its short stroke design, the Panigale motor needs to be revved more to give its best. In saying that, it’s still pretty flexible and pulls keenly from lower rpm. It’s better in town where it’s much less snatchy at lower speeds. It’s very reliable if it’s looked after.


Up front the forks work well with good compliance and control. The performance of the rear shock isn’t quite as good. Fitting an 1199 or 1299 Panigale unit improves matters, though a good quality aftermarket shock offers the best solution. 


Spares are readily available, even if they do cost a bit more. Expect anything to arrive within 2-3 working days. More regularly used items are nearly always in stock at dealers.


Servicing intervals are longer and cost less than those of earlier belt driven V-twins. And though the 899 is more tolerant of extending some service items a little, it can affect the way the bike’s value is perceived. Changing the engine oil and filter on time and using good quality stuff is essential. Ducati recommend using Shell Advance Ultra 4T. 899s can burn oil, and there’s no inspection window in the fairing to check the level. Do it before every ride.


Oil and filter changes are quite straightforward. Air filter inspection is also pretty easy. However, top end jobs like plug and valve checks are much more involving. They can be done, but you must be very patient. Valve clearances rarely go out of tolerance before 15,000 miles, but need a special tool to allow shim changes.


Standard brake pads are fine for all road work. However if you want to do trackdays, then fitting a more appropriate compound is essential to cope with the higher demands


So comfortable is the riding position and seat, the Panigale can easily be entertained for longer distance runs. With a tank bag, seat and back packs, a two week tour of Europe is easily possible. However, don’t consider taking a pillion too far as their accommodation is nowhere near a luxurious. 


If the Ducati isn’t being used it needs to be stored with care to avoid problems. Ideally the bike needs to be parked in a warm dry place and unless the engine gets up to full temperature via a ride of at least 10 miles, it shouldn’t be started. Even if the bike’s not ridden, oil should still be changed as advised. Batteries should be kept fully charged.


DEALER SERVICING; intervals / costs

Every 7,500 miles/12 months = £200-250. At 15,000 miles = £350-450

* Costs will vary depending on labour rates and condition of your bike and parts






Engine:898cc, liquid-cooled, dohc, desmodromic 8v, 90°V-twin

Power:148bhp @ 10,750rpm

Torque:73lb/ft @ 8000rpm

Dry weight:169kg

Frame: aluminium monocoque

Suspension:43mm inverted telescopic forks and rising rate monoshock, both fully adjustable 

Brakes:Twin 320mm discs, four-piston front calipers; 245mm disc, twin-piston rear caliper 

Tyres:120/70-17 front, 180/60-17 rear

Seat height:830mm


Fuel capacity: 17 litres




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