Wednesday, 01 August 2012 07:04
Assertive design enhanced by full LED headlights, front carbon fibre mudguard. Marchesini machine-finished wheels, electronicallycontrolled suspensionand adjustable Ohlins steering damper. With this race set-up. the 1199 Panigale S is immediately ready to hit the track and take on the stopwatch.But she doesn't have a black dress!
This right here is what we’ve been waiting for since the very first details were released for the 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale. Not since the introduction of the BMW S1000RR in 2009 has a sportbike garnered so much anticipation and excitement from the motorcycle world. When our man Waheed rode it in Abu Dhabi for the 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale First Ride, he left impressed with the sexy red beast but not entirely sure is could take down the mighty Beemer. Ducati supplied us with its more expensive ($22,995) and higher spec S model, as we would have to wait even longer for a standard model. Since we wanted the best each manufacturer had to offer, we had no objections.
From the ground up the 2012 Ducati Panigle is an entirely new model. Both the chassis and the engine are unlike any that the Italian factory has offered to the public. Check out the 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale First Look for all the technical details, but here are the Cliff Notes: The new powerplant of the 1199 is an oversquare design named the Superquardro. Ducati hails it as the most powerful V-Twin in production today. As for the chassis, the Superquadro is an integral part of it as well, being a stressed member with a monocoque aluminum frame attached to the cylinder heads. This allows the Panigale to be the lightest Superbike on the market. It tipped our MotoUSA scales at 426 pounds with a full tank of fuel.
The Panigale's TFT multi-colored display is one good-looking unit but not all is perfect with the high-tech unit. The display looks trick but it is very busy and figuring out how to make changes on the fly could be easier.
The first thing riders notice when jumping on the Panigale is the departure from the extreme forward-set riding position from the previous model. It’s still aggressive but not as uncomfortable as before. The layout is more conventional with a comfortable reach to the bars and more legroom than all the other bikes except for the KTM. Our testing crew loved the slim feel and all agreed the comfort is at a whole new level for Ducati. If not for the extreme under-seat heat that comes of the exhaust header that cooked our legs and backside whenever we were moving slowly, it would have rated right at the top.
“The Panigale is beautifully balanced, narrow and super light,” says our woman test rider, Lori Dell. “It’s not a commuter bike for sure with all that heat that comes from under the seat.”
First seen on the Diavel, Ducati’s TFT display is one of the best looking dashes in our test. The multicolored readout is easy to read and packed with every bit of information the rider needs. The shift light, or lights we should say, is super cool as the whole outer area of the meter lights up to signal an upshift.
“The Ducati’s meter has insane styling with a technologic advantage,” comments stunter Ernie Vigil. “Everything is adjustable electronically; it’s really pushing the the envelope of what’s possible.”
There are a couple of annoyances with the meter that kept it from being the best in the test. First, is as the rpms move across the display the single digit for each 1000 revolutions enlarges to allow you a quicker glance to seevwhat speed the Ducati’s mill is spinning. The problem is when the engine is spinning at 500 rpm increments the enlarged number jumps back and forth between the higher and lower. At speed it looks like some sort of warning light and distracts the rider. The other issue is when the sun is directly on the meter it can be difficult to see.
Turning the throttle on the Panigale S is nothing short of impressive. The power delivery from the Superquadro heart of the Duc
The 1199's Superquadro enigine likes to be reved more than previous Ducati Superbike poweplants. 165 hp? Really?
builds slower off the bottom than you might expect but then comes on strong all the way to 11,000 rpm. Riders accustomed to the previous generation of Ducati superbikes will have to adjust their riding style accordingly and use the revs rather than torque, but we think this is a good thing and will appeal to more riders. We ranked the 1199 just behind the BMW in engine power.
Leah put it simply, “The Panigale is 100% raw power; this bike does what it was engineered to do.”
Raw power needs raw fuel, and the 1199 uses more of it than any other in this test. Over the course of our test, the fuel economy averaged out to just 24.81 mpg. That gives the Panigale a range of only 111.7 miles with its 4.5-gallon tank. So you will be visiting the pump often, but it will give you a chance to chat with all the adoring fans of the Ducati’s good looks. Every time we stopped it drew interest from passers-by. It isn’t even a contest in the appearance category with a win by unanimous decision.
Ernie put into words what we all thought, “It has by far the most intense styling out of the bunch. The bike looks amazing; it should go down as one of the best looking bikes ever. Amazing, truly a work of art.”
Strapped down to the dyno, the Ducati’s 1199cc V-Twin kicked out the second highest horsepower rating at 165.54 and the most torque with 85.6 lb-ft. combine that with its ultra-light weight and you get one hell of a rush when the trigger is pulled. On our less than ideal test strip the Ducati rocketed down the quarter mile in 11.37 seconds at 139.7 mph. That’s not the result we expected from the Panigale, but getting a good run was difficult with the front wheel clawing at the sky. Zero to 60 times also suffer the same result with a best effort of 3.887 seconds.
Slowing down the Ducati was a joy with excellent brakes courtesy of Brembo. Just as every other mega-spec ride in this
There is no denying the aggressively styed Panigale is on e of the better looking bkes in the Supebike Smackdown.
shootout the monobloc calipers do the squeezing of twin 330mm discs with superior feedback and feel, but these are the new M50 calipers and are said to be more rigid yet lighter. From the solid feel from the lever to the herculean stopping power, our test team loved the stoppers on the Panigale, rating them second to the BMW’s phenomenal units. Out back the feel wasn’t as spectacular but definitely above average. On the real world skidpad the 1199 stopped in 131.8 feet, just 9.5 inches longer than the Beemer.
On the highway the Panigale is taut, but not uncomfortable. It tracks straight and true on and off the gas no matter the surface, but you know it’s not happy in this element. Up on Palomar Mountain the 1199 begs you to turn the road into a race course, as you want to go fast to exploit the sharp handling. Any slower and it feels a bit twitchy and rough around the edges. The upgraded electronically adjustable Ohlins NiX30 fork and TTX36 rear shock allow for constant contact with the Pirelli Supercorsa SP tires and the asphalt for extraordinary feel. The more aggressively you ride the better it gets, and there’s the rub. It’s not as well behaved as the BMW when the pace is sedate.
“It’s like a bratty thoroughbred, needy and misbehaved until in its element,” declares Lori. “Then it becomes a different bike, a focused and immaculate racing machine.”
The 2012 Ducati Panigale S is almost everything we hoped it would be. It’s fast, it’s aggressive and it’s beautiful. In just a few areas it fell short, but that is just enough to finish third behind the well balanced Honda and seemingly unstoppable BMW. For a first model year that is impressive to say the least. It may not be perfect, but that is what gives it a soul that only can be pure Ducati. The perfection is in the imperfections.
Published in RUFF RYDERS MOTORCYCLES
Tuesday, 16 August 2011 06:21
Dark Man X, considered the next coming of the slain Tupac Shakur, though asking him to comment on this will bring this angry response "I say they don't know what the f**k they are talking about. And when people say I'm the second Pac, I'm not, I'm the first X." That being said, Earl Simmons (DMX's real name) has said of Tupac "I think Tupac was a strong-minded black man, and that's what America fears." Nevertheless, perhaps the real reason people flock to DMX is because the man is real, not a multi-million dollar record executive dressed like a rapper (listening Puffy?) to which he apparently agrees, saying "I'm real. And people like real. I haven't crossed them yet, I haven't been on no fake sh*t yet, no bullsh*t yet. And they feel my sh*t. People like a real person."
Following the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., DMX took over as the reigning, undisputed king of hardcore rap. He was that rare commodity: a commercial powerhouse with artistic and street credibility to spare. His rapid ascent to stardom was actually almost a decade in the making, which gave him a chance to develop the theatrical image that made him one of rap's most distinctive personalities during his heyday.
The early days for Simmons were definitely real, born December 18, 1970 in Baltimore Maryland's projects, his family quickly moved to Yonkers with his aunt, with a father that left him at a young age. He also endured an abusive mother, which in combination helped mold Simmons into a life of crime, where he spent years in group homes and jail. This also led to other troubled behavior such as alcoholism and drug abuse, a response to his manic depressed state.
Everything about DMX was unremittingly intense, from his muscular, tattooed physique to his gruff, barking delivery, which made a perfect match for his trademark lyrical obsession with dogs. Plus, there was substance behind the style; much of his work was tied together by a fascination with the split between the sacred and the profane. He could move from spiritual anguish one minute to a narrative about the sins of the streets the next, yet keep it all part of the same complex character; sort of like a hip-hop Johnny Cash. The results were compelling enough to make DMX the first artist ever to have his first four albums enter the charts at number one.
What turned Simmons life around was rap music. In the early days, he paid his dues rapping on street corners, playing in clubs, and distributing his tapes, all this created a buzz for the performer in the New York scene. 1997 brought Ruff Ryders Entertainment and DMX was quickly signed by the Def Jam label. He appeared as a guest of sorts for the likes of LL Cool J, Lox, and Mase before releasing his first single in 1998, Get at Me Dog. With this created the artists affection for 'the dog'. In fact, DMX has a tattoo dedicated to his late pit bull and what he calls his "best friend" which says "One Love Boomer". His first full album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, went on to sell 3.6 million copies (and counting). DMX also branched out into film, starring in Belly, a Hype Williams directed crime saga which featured other rappers such as T-Boz and Method Man.
The cash strapped Def Jam was eager to get another album out and released the 2nd DMX project of the year with Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. The controversial cover had DMX in a bathtub full of blood. The album featured a duet called Omen with Marilyn Manson (though the two never met, it was the product of a recording studio match). This and the success of Jay-Z helped catapult Def Jam from near extinction in the prior year to the leader of the hip-hop pack, as the downward spiraling Bad Boy Records (Puff Daddy) and the post Tupac Death Row Records were headed in the opposite direction. His latest album, ...And Then There Was X, has been his biggest hit to date, helped in large part by an all-out media blitz in support of its release. He appeared on Saturday Night Live, Queen Latifah, as well as an episode of Moesha.
Like Tupac, DMX's post celebrity life has been touched with crimes and alleged misdeeds. In 1998, charges that he raped a 29 year old stripper were dropped after DNA tests on the woman came back negative for a match. In addition, he's been arrested in connection with stabbings in Denver and Yonkers, though both of those cases were dropped.
He also was arrested on drug paraphernalia and weapons charges in addition to spending two nights in a Trinidad jail for swearing during a concert, were the practice is legally forbidden. Ironically, his hit What's My Name has drawn protests from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which they say glamorizes dog fighting, though Def Jam countered that there is no actually dog fighting in the video and that no dogs were harmed. DMX's own love for dogs supports the theory that were was no bad intent with the video, as he has said "I used to take dogs on the street. I used to bring them home if I could, make somewhere for them to sleep right outside the building. I had dogs as long as I could remember, you know."
Toward the end of 1999, DMX released his third album, ...And Then There Was X, which became his third straight to debut at number one. It also produced his biggest hit single since "Get at Me Dog" with "Party Up (Up in Here)," which became his first Top Ten hit on the R&B charts. The follow-ups "What You Want" and "What's My Name?" were also quite popular, and their success helped make ...And Then There Was X the rapper's best-selling album to date, moving over five million copies. During its run, DMX returned to the big screen with a major supporting role in the Jet Li action flick Romeo Must Die. In the meantime, he was indicted by a Westchester County, NY, grand jury on weapons and drug charges in June of 2000.
He also entangled himself in a lengthy legal battle with police in Cheektowaga, NY (near Buffalo), when he was arrested in March for driving without a license and possession of marijuana. He missed one court date, and when he turned himself in that May, police discovered more marijuana in a pack of cigarettes the rapper had brought with him. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 days in jail, and his appeal to have the sentence reduced was finally denied in early 2001. After stalling for several weeks, he turned himself in and was charged with contempt of court. He was further charged with assault when, upon learning he would not be let out early for good behavior, allegedly threw a food tray at a group of prison officers. He later bargained the charges down to reckless assault and paid a fine, and accused guards of roughing him up and causing a minor leg injury.
Not long after DMX's release from jail, his latest movie, the Steven Seagal action film Exit Wounds, opened at number one in the box office. DMX also contributed the hit single "No Sunshine" to the soundtrack, and signed a multipicture deal with Warner Bros. in the wake of Exit Wounds' success. With his legal problems finally resolved, he returned to the studio and completed his fourth album, the more introspective The Great Depression.
It was released in the fall of 2001 and became his fourth straight album to debut at number one. Although it went platinum quickly, it didn't have the same shelf life as his previous releases. In late 2002, DMX published his memoirs as E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX, and also recorded several tracks with Audioslave (i.e., the former Rage Against the Machine). One of their collaborations, "Here I Come," was featured on the soundtrack of DMX's next film, a reunion with Jet Li called Cradle 2 the Grave. The film opened at number one upon its release in March 2003, and its DMX-heavy soundtrack debuted in the Top Ten.
Published in ENTERTAINMENT