New Bikes

First details of Ducati’s 1299 Superleggera emerge

Carbon chassis and 220+hp

DUCATI has something special waiting in the wings – a 1299 Superleggera that we expect to be revealed at the Eicma show in Milan in a few weeks’ time.

Currently the bike exists under the name ‘Project 1408’. Select details about it have been made available to VIP Ducati customers via the invite-only Project 1408 website which has recently gone live.

So far, we know that it promises to be light thanks to a carbon frame and airbox, swingarm and carbon BST wheels – as detailed in the screenshots of the Project 1408 site that are currently floating round various Ducati forums.

The low weight is rumoured to be matched by a serious power figure - around 220hp thanks to a very heavily tuned engine, the most powerful V-twin Ducati has ever made. If we look to what Ducati did to the engine in the 1199 Superleggera then we can expect head work, new internals, the best materials and fuelling changes

We also understand that the exhaust system will be similar to what’s on Ducati’s factory World Superbike Panigale R, with twin underseat Akrapovic silencers rather than the 1299’s traditional under-engine design.

Elsewhere, the spec is certain to impress but Ducati isn’t revealing all just yet – only certain sections of the Project 1408 site are viewable at the moment.

The price is expected to be in the region of £60k - £70k but nothing has been announced yet and Ducati hasn’t said how many of the bikes will be built.


dudeofrude's picture

220hp from a twin, Imagine what they could do with an IL4?

BubbaDaytona's picture

They already have a MotoGP V4 >250hp.
I4s are just the cheapest way to make 4 cylinder bikes.

It's not hard to make more power, just bore out the displacement.
These bikes are for showpieces, 220hp, 250 hp, is irrelevant, they rarely will make it out of a garage. Give any non-pro rider 220hp, they will just die.

dudeofrude's picture

They wouldn't, I was just getting at with the amount of power they managed to get out of a twin then I wonder what they'd be able to get out of an IL4.

And I don't think non pros are going to kill themselves on a 220bhp bike because next to none of them will ever get to the point when all that power is being generated haha

"Give any non-pro rider 220hp, they will just die."

That depends on the electronics. When fancy £500,000 1,000BHP sports cars can be "tamed" to the level that Z-list slebs can drive them without wrapping them round the nearest lamp post, what with ABS, traction control, wheelie control etc. I'm sure the same technology can be applied to motorcycles too.

My guess is they're making use of the limited run to sneak past domestic testing... They might also use a slightly less "braked" version of the engine for the power rating, e.g. missing certain ancillaries or whatnot.

Plus Italian horses tend to be a little smaller...

The seriously over-square design allows for lots of revs for a big twin, but still about 20% shy of a litre-class inline-four, and the remaining deficit up to now is accounted for by the uneven and wide firing intervals, despite the 30% displacement advantage. Modern ignition and fuel control means the large bore is not a detriment in terms of pre-ignition, and they can even compensate for the slow flow through those massive valves at low engine speeds, to some extent. But the smaller bore afforded by more cylinders would obviously help.

An inline four with that kind of bore / stroke ratio would be a little wide (85 mm bore for 1000cc), so I doubt Ducati could really do anything special, except for the "cheating" that the desmodromic cam profiles allow (assuming they could engineer it to work). The Desmosedici RR had an 86 mm bore...

"The seriously over-square design allows for lots of revs for a big twin, but still about 20% shy of a litre-class inline-four"

The rev's don't really matter much when your making the same or more power. From MCN test this year the 1299 made the most HP of all the top end bikes just slightly more then the S1000rr and made by far the most torque. While it doesn't rev to 14,000 RPM they make 15 or so extra ft. lb or torque, that more then makes up for lack of revs.

The point was whether Ducati could make waves with a four cylinder engine, based on what they do with a twin.

The Superquadro wouldn't make as much power as it does if it didn't rev as high as it does, or if it didn't have the displacement advantage (higher peak torque): hp = lbf.ft x rpm / 5252

If it could make the same torque higher up, say nearer where the four pots do, it'd make much more power than they do (in line with its displacement advantage).

In fact it still makes 8% less power than it "could", given the revs and displacement, as compared with the four cylinders. But it's slightly unfair given the advantages four cylinders have in terms of unsteady gas flow and acoustic / pulse tuning (firing intervals).

Something tells me they're cheating slightly with all that excess swept volume; or is it the excess revs afforded by the mega-over-square dimensions..? It's both :)

There are only two ways to make more HP. You either have to make your power at higher RPM, or you have to make the motor bigger. There is no way to make more max torque than the laws of energy/fuel allow. 85 ft/lbs / liter is the accepted limit, Ducati nor anyone else is going to change this.

Exactly. It comes down to the chemistry of the combustion (e.g. petrol in air), what mass (not volume) of air you can cram into the cylinder (temperature, pressure, flow / acoustic properties of head / cams / valves etc.) and how efficiently you can extract the heat released (pressure rise vs. crank / piston position, heat losses, friction etc.).

Add something like a compounding turbine and you get more power for a given fuel flow (increased cycle efficiency through waste heat recovery; great for hybrids), add a compressor and you can put more fuel in as well!

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