Ducati Panigale 1199: Naked for your viewing pleasure


April 2, 2012

Ducati's Pangiale 1199 - an engineering masterpiece, but not the world's best looking bike with its fairings removed

Ducati's Pangiale 1199 - an engineering masterpiece, but not the world's best looking bike with its fairings removed

Image Gallery (10 images)

Ducati has released a series of photos of its revolutionary Panigale 1199 superbike without its clothes on, showing exactly how the bike is held together in the absence of a traditional frame. But while the monocoque chassis is pretty fascinating to look at in the flesh, what strikes us most is just how incredibly compact the bike is - every component has been squeezed into the tiniest possible space. In fact, you can't even see clean through the bike at any point until you reach the rear hugger. This is mass centralization and weight shaving taken to a whole new level … good luck trying to service the thing yourself!

As you take a look through these pictures, here's a few things to take note of:

The Panigale's monocoque chassis

Gone is the traditional Ducati trellis frame that usually wraps around the engine. The Panigale is famously the first production bike to abandon an ordinary frame altogether. One chunky piece up front joins the main front end headstem bearing races to the top radiator and the front and rear cylinder heads.

A pair of boomerang-shaped supports hold the seat and tail unit up off the engine's rear cylinder, and a similar boomerang shaped mount hangs the swingarm off the crankcase. The rear shock sits slightly beyond horizontal, attached to the side of the rear cylinder. The engine doesn't sit in a frame; the engine more or less *is* the frame.

The lack of space

You'd have trouble fitting a credit card into any spot on the 1199. Look at the exhaust tubing, there's barely a cubic centimeter to spare. The top portion of the chassis also houses the airbox. The traditional Ducati L-twin has been angled back 6 degrees to let the front wheel fit in front of the radiators.

The subframe

The Panigale's subframe and seat unit look absolutely tiny with the fairings off, but it's worth noting that the boomerang brackets that hold the subframe to the cylinder and crankcase seem to be designed to allow access to the rear cylinder head. It's unclear from the photos where the battery box sits, but it looks as though simply removing the tank and seat unit will get you through to the top end for those fiddly desmodromic valve adjustments. Good luck with the front cylinder though - that's a radiator-off job. Which means tank off, side fairings off, overflow bottle off, and you'll also have to remove the plastic doodad that bolts to the top fairings on the left hand side. Servicing the Panigale will be a bit of a mission.

Heat dispersion

One of the biggest problems that arises when you pack a lot of engine into a tiny amount of space is that there's very little airflow over the surface of each component to keep temperature in check.

The Panigale seems to have more or less surrendered to this fact - the ultra-compact design seems almost to shield the cylinders from any cooling airflow they might receive. And there's going to be heat - a lot of it. Remember, that 1199cc engine develops a whopping 195 horsepower at 14,200 rpm - a ludicrously high rev limit for a twin. It's the very definition of high performance. So here's hoping the engineers at Ducati have found a better heat management solution than the potato-baking Aprilia RSV4 ships with.

What about a streetfighter?

Whenever a new sportsbike hits the market, nakedbike fans like me start dribbling over the prospect of another high performance, balls-out streetbike with road-focused ergonomics and less nancy plastic covering up the sexy metal underneath.

But while the Panigale is certain to spawn some sort of nakedbike, maybe a Streetfighter 1199, it's hard to see how Ducati will get around the fact that this bike is … kind of ugly with its clothes off. The lack of a frame takes away one of the key design elements when you're looking at nakedbikes, and the engine area is so visually cluttered with componentry that you lose the aesthetic effect of a dirty big engine swinging in the breeze as well.

The best I can imagine Ducati coming up with is some sort of semi-faired street version - probably with even more plastic on it than the Tuono V4. I can't see the streetfighter crowd getting too excited about this layout - it's all function and no form. Then again, perhaps I underestimate their ingenuity. We'll have to wait and see.

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade. All articles by Loz Blain

i love the naked look to the bike. you get a chance to see all the small parts, like a exotic wrist watch.


It's brilliant, fantastically clever etc... but I dunno - something about having a plain old english JAP, BSA, Royal Enfield or even a Yamaha with a 650CC single....

One set of points, one coil, one oil and fuel filter...

Sane speeds to have nasty accidents at.

Naaa give me the simple single with a set of crash bars on it and nothing much high tech at all.

Mr Stiffy

The real dilemma is which would last more than five minutes, me or my driver's license?? Ralph L. Seifer, Long Beach, California.


Ducati,with the exception of some new BMW's,has kicked every bodies butt the last couple of years. If you can afford this fine engineered,beautiful piece of work (with the fairing on) one can afford the shop work.

A naked 1199 would use the motor and another Ducati chassis.

But I agree with Mr. Stiff.,Give me a modern,simple to work on,light weight GS 800 of old. Simple valve adjustments in 20 minutes. But please,not so far back as points,what a pain.



If you set your points properly - including lubricating the heel on the lobe with a graphite type grease, and the cover is more or less water and dust resistant - the points hold their setting and last almost forever.

Mr Stiffy

Nice, only took ~20 years to catch up to the Britten V1000.


If there is one thing that electrical components hate then its heat. Would have thought that the engineers learned their lesson with the Desmosedici and its fried Voltage Rectifier.

W Truter

Life &or license? Ummm? If you want the best of it, join a bike club that does track rides, a couple days a month to ride without loss of license or maybe your life!! It's a hell'va lot safer,,, and cheaper!! Keep your simple single for the daily ride..

Richard Handel

Hay Chidrbmt:

Your words are so right. I grew up in Christchurch during the 80's/ 90's and saw John Britten build and test his bikes around the streets and on the race track. Back then, as a young teenage kid his machines and designs seemed utterly Star Wars/ Blade Runner. I watched them on the race track blitz a Ferrari F40 in a straight line, so beautifully, like poetry.

Like you, I have waited to see such power and beauty again... and Ive waited years and wondered if it is now hidden by corporate mediocrity, or simply plain contemporary conformity.

Anyway - love your tribute to John and his V1000.

Lets all of us dream of something wild and wonderful like this today - and plan to make real tomorrow, without fear of failure.


Simon Mccormack

This is not the first bike to use a frameless design. Vincent used the same technique in their black shadow over 50 years ago.

Demian Alcazar

what are you saying? she is beautiful naked!

Bill Grishaw
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