Best of the Best 2008: Motorcycles: Sport Bike: Ducati Desmosedici RR
Ducati first tantalized the faithful in 1964 with the Apollo prototype, a virtual Holy Grail for Ducatisti due to its 4-cylinder desmodromic powerplant. After an agonizingly long wait, the MotoGP-inspired Desmosedici RR—?featuring its race-bred, liquid-cooled, 90-degree L-4, 16-valve powerplant and tubular-steel-and-carbon-fiber hybrid Trellis frame—has made its way into the grip of a few passionate, performance-pursuing motorcyclists.
Riding the $72,500 Desmosedici is an exercise in exhilaration. Crank pins offset by 70 degrees generate soft-pulse timing that results in a seamless torque curve. An actively mechanical siren’s song calls out for more output from the four 50 mm Magneti Marelli throttle bodies, a quick grab of the hydraulically actuated dry multiplate slipper clutch, and yet another shift of the 6-speed racing cassette gear cluster. Horsepower peaks at 200 with the race exhausts and the motor singing its crescendo at 13,800 rpm
The Desmosedici RR’s chassis length and Öhlins steering damper enhance its stability, while aggressive cornering is encouraged by its steep fork rake and custom Bridgestone BT-01 tires. An Öhlins gas-charged suspension is of ultrapremium quality, with the firm feel needed for high performance but none of the attendant harshness. As a complete package of desirability, the Desmosedici RR is without peer.