Editor’s Note: Short on space in the garage? Gear Patrol’s new series, “Want This, Get This”, moves into a whole new vein this week, presenting a lust-worthy sportbike along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. Read on for the dream screamer and its reality-based substitute.
Ducati 1199 Panigale R
So, think you can ride? We understand — we drool over the Ducati’s beast of a flagship racing bike, too. A World Superbike-ready machine that takes the already sensational S version and adds Titanium piston rods, a lightened flywheel and an adjustable swingarm pivot, the 1199 Panigale R is a street-legal racing bike that revs quicker and handles better than anything you’ll encounter on the road or track. This is a lot of bike, all with the smooth refinement of a 30 year-old Scotch and ferocity of pissed tiger climbing out of a forced bath.
The Superquadro L-Twin 1198cc engine churns out 195 horsepower with a smooth-like-butter power curve managed by Ducati Quick Shift and straight cut gears that allows upshifts without the clutch or backing off the throttle. The suspension carves corners with excellent turn-in response, even while trail braking. Swathed in carbon fiber, with titanium rods and a lightweight flywheel, the 417-pound two-wheeled razor will have you swooping canyon roads or track curves faster and more surely than other liter bikes. Ducati captures all the latest technology from both its MotoGP pedigree and user-friendly features: traction control, engine breaking control, ABS, a TFT instrument panel, and Ducati Data Acquisition, a neat feature that uses GPS to create a virtual finish line and monitor your riding performance. If it’s the ultimate in sportbike your heart yearns for, start writing those love letters to the 1199 Panigale R right now.
The Suzuki GSX-R100 is for the guy still paying off college loans — or maybe putting his first kid through. Save a year’s worth of tuition (sorry, public school only) and get a bike that has bona fide racing chops. 45% of the AMA Superbikes fielded since 2009 are GSX-R variants. The Gixxer gives you almost as many horses (182) as the Panigale R, has a shorter wheelbase, and pulls impressive low- and mid-range torque from the 999cc engine, thanks to 12.9:1 compression ratio. Translation: a rocket that any talented rider can use to edge a poseur on the more expensive machine, even considering the extra 31 pounds the Suzuki hauls.
Carving turns on the GSX-R1000 isn’t as crisp as the Ducati, but the Brembo front brake calibers are modulated well enough to allow trail braking right up to a turn’s apex. The lack of traction control will give pause to those looking for the latest tech — but purists won’t be fazed. Selectable riding modes is a nice bit of tech that effectively neuters the bike during your buddies’ test rides. Even though the Gixxer is less than half the price of the Ducati, you still don’t want to watch someone dump your new bike.