Want to know what the ultimate motorcycle is? You're looking at it: the new limited-edition Ducati 1199 Superleggera. The Italian motorcycle company has started with its 1199 Panigale sport bike and upgraded everything. The frame has been replaced with a magnesium monocoque, the body panels and rear subframe with carbon fiber, and the exhaust and bolts with titanium. The shocks are supplied by Ohblins and the brakes by Brembo, and Ducati has fitted the drive chain from its World Superbike racing program.
The upgrades trim 23 vital pounds off the bike's dry weight to give it the highest power-to-weight ratio of any motorcycle you can buy. Its 341 pounds (plus the weight of the rider, of course, along with fuel and other fluids) are motivated by over 200 horsepower and 98.8 pound-feet of torque. That bit is provided by a 1198cc L-twin engine with four-valve cylinder heads and — for the first time on a street-legal Ducati — two-ring pistons designed to reduce friction and weight. There's even a Race Kit that trims an extra 5.5 pounds off the curb weight and provides an extra five horsepower of kick for days spent leaning from corner to corner on the racetrack.
All this and more makes the Ducati 1199 Superleggera — Italian for “super light” — one very impressive motorcycle. But try not to like it too much. Ducati will only make 500 examples, the vast majority of which were pre-sold to existing customers, who have each had to pay a handsome $90k for the privilege.