Kevin Ash, at the Telegraph, got to test ride the new Ducati 1198S recently. And while he makes all the right noises about the 1098’s mid-life facelift, styling tweaks, MotoGP-derived this and homologation special that, what’s really interesting is what he has to say about the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) system fitted on the 1198S.
DTC, which was also fitted to the Ducati 1098R last year, could only be used in conjunction with the race exhaust on that bike. Things are different on the 1198S, where the system first reduces torque by retarding the ignition, and if that’s not enough to curb wheelspin, it works with the bike’s fuel injection system to reduce power. So, yes, the 1198S seems to be the first road bike to be fitted with a full race-spec traction control system. And the results, according to Mr Ash, are spectacular.
‘It is staggeringly effective. Set aside years of mental conditioning if you can (and believe me, it's not easy), lay the bike on its ear in a turn then crack the throttle wide open. Yes, against the stop if you dare,’ says Kevin. ‘Then, instead of being fired into a low earth orbit you're driven out of the corner with a thrust so ferocious you'd think twice about unleashing it with the bike bolt upright, let alone like this. In the lower gears your biggest problem is entirely new on a road bike: the 1198 S will actually wheelie while cranked right over,’ he adds.
‘DTC will elevate most road riders and plenty of pretty reasonable racers to a whole new level of performance, up there with names you've heard of, in how fast you can charge out of a turn. There is nothing else like it bar the 1098R, nothing on the roads at all, and I don't care what Japanese superbike is in your company, it won't be able to stay with you out of corners. The 1198S’ DTC is less intrusive than the 1098R's, too, working so subtly that all you'd notice if you were looking would be a flashing red light on the dash,’ says Kevin, who is clearly quite taken by the DTC thingie.
Of course, with 168bhp on tap and with a dry weight of around 169 kilos, the Ducati 1198S was always going to be impressive – the DTC system just makes it more rideable for ordinary mortals. Now all you have to do is find that US$22,500 and you’re all set to go…
For Kevin Ash’s full riding impression of the 2009 Ducati 1198S, see here
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