The Ducati 1098 sets new standards when it comes to road bikes. It has, quite certainly, the most useless mirrors I have ever encountered on a bike. Imagine trying to view the road behind through a shard of broken glass gaffered to a very short stick attached to the side of a vibrating fairing and you have an idea. But who cares? I love this bike.
Riding the Ducati 1098 on the road just highlights its track ability. The riding position is much more in the style of a Japanese sports bike with the seat high and bars low, but it isn't uncomfortable, just focused. Well, not uncomfortable next to other sporty machines anyway. If you're used to riding Japanese bikes the Ducati 1098's seating position will feel pretty natural, and if you ride a Ducati 916 it well feel identical!
On the move the Ducati 1098 feels sharp and focused, like a well set-up track bike.The brakes are instant but with feel, the handling on a par with the Japanese sports bikes and the engine.. well the engine is just stunning.
Although it only has a few extra cc the Ducati 1098 feels completely different to the Ducati 999. Open the throttle hard in first and the Ducati rockets forward as well as upwards while the exhaust provides a wonderful deep drone as backing soundtrack. The gearbox is precise, clutch heavy and the fuel injection, although very instant in its delivery, is clean and usable enough for this not to be an issue.
On the road you have to be a bit careful with the Ducati 1098 because it's a lot faster than it feels. Like all twins the Ducati 1098 doesn't feel fast because of the lazy nature of the engine, but with a genuine 141 horsepower the Ducati 1098 is a fast bike. Keep a wary eye on that beautiful digital display.
But the best thing about riding the Ducati 1098 on the road is the feeling you get and the attention you get. Like the Ducati 916 when it was first unveiled everyone stares at the Ducati 1098. It returned the sex appeal to Ducati that was sadly missing through the Ducati 999 years, but at the same time it's offering a modicum of road civility, just watch the speed.