If you’re looking for an Italian superbike with ludicrous power, look elsewhere. The new Ducati Panigale 959 (ducatiusa.com) offers nobler traits: poise, balance, and maneuverability. Its 157 hp L-twin engine is no slouch, but it integrates harmoniously with the chassis, delivering fierceness along with confidence-inspiring finesse.
An evolution of the Panigale 899, the 959 features a slightly larger 955 cc engine and a slipper clutch to smooth out aggressive downshifts. It comes with a full suite of electronics, including traction control, antilock brakes, and engine-braking control. But the $15,000 bike also behaves well with all the systems switched off, showing how a sound mechanical foundation can make sophisticated technology seem superfluous.