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Our Favorite 2016 Ducati Motorbikes

Every bike enthusiast has that dream list of bikes which he would like to test drive... and let's be honest, own if only we had unlimited disposable income! We're the same and boy do we love to dream big. And this time, it's the ultimate luxury Italian brand Ducati.

For a long time, Ducati bikes have been my ultimate dream rides. Just like the the Italian landscape or the perfect glass of Sangiovese, Ducati motorcycles are beautiful and seductive, exuding a timeliness quality and perfectly refined skill.

Their 2016 line up builds on their widely successful models from the base half decade, like the Multistrada and Panigale, as well as staple models such as the Monster. Either way, Ducati has been making amazing machines recently and has, in my eyes, changed their image among motorcycle enthusiast forever. They're still a luxury brand, so don't expect bargain basement prices here but for once in my life I feel like owning a Duc is worth it.

Let's take a look at our favorite Ducati motorcycles for 2016!

Multistrada 1200 S

Ever since the first launch of the Multistrada 1200S, it revolutionized the moto world by offering a bike that performs as well on the track as it does on the street and on long-distance touring rides.

The 2016 version of Multistrada comes with even more riding modes and is powered by the brand new Ducati Testastretta DVT (desmodromic valve timing) engine - a first on both the intake and exhaust camshaft!  It times the valves' opening and closing based on engine load and speed, which allows the engine to operate more efficiently and deliver optimized performance and torque throughout the entire RPM range.

The bike is equipped with four riding modes ? Urban, Touring, Sport and Enduro - so you can really make it customized to your current riding situation. It also has the Ducati Skyhook EVO suspension, which automatically adjusts the damping and height based on road conditions. Wheelie control, traction control, ABS cornering, and the Safety Pack all ensure a smooth and easy to handle ride.

At MSRP of $20,095, this is the ultimate luxury "go anywhere, do anything" bike - a machine that will take you from commutes through town to long distance adventuring. This swiss army knife of motorcycles can be criticized as trying to do it all but falling short on each front. But as most motorcyclists own only one bike, this can be it for all the different types of riding you're looking to do. Perhaps if you can swallow the price tag.

Monster 1200 S

The simple yet powerful aesthetic of the Monster family bikes is their biggest draw.  The striking color scheme, the naked look, the round headlight flanked by the forks... this bike is a true icon and has been a long time favorite of mine for a city motorcycle.

The new 2016 Monster 1200 S sees an increase in power from 135 to 145 horsepower. It's powered by the Testastretta 11 engine, which is uniquely designed for the Monster 1200 family to fit as a structural element of the frame. The engine has the dual-spark arrangement and secondary air system, as well as smaller throttle units, which all work together to ensure optimized performance and increased torque at low-mid RPMs.

The Monster 1200 S is also equipped with the latest technology packages, which include three riding modes (urban touring, and sport), Ducati Safety Pack, traction control, and ABS with anti-lock braking system. It also has Brembo brakes and Öhlins suspension. Nothing is sacrificed.

At MSRP of $13,995, it's not an introductory model but I feel the upgraded brakes, suspension and tech give the S model the leg up in delivering a spirited riding experience.

Panigale 959

New for 2016, Ducati came out with an entirely new 959 model in the Panigale family! This bike was created in order to meet Euro IV emission controls, which would have required a change in either the capacity or performance of the 899. And because Ducati refuses to sacrifice performance, they came up with the all new 959. So how does it compare to its predecessor, the 899?

There is a slight bump in the piston stroke from 57.2 mm to 60.8 mm, which means a new crankshaft design and new connecting rods. It also sees a horsepower increase from 148 to 157. Other main changes are the piston crowns, different exhaust system, slipper clutch, and better footpegs.

Aesthetically, the 959 has a slightly wider front fairing for aerodynamics, a bit taller windscreen, and a smidge shorter mirror stalks. I've always thought that the Panigale 899 is one of the sexiest sportbikes, and this one manages to look even better.

The 959 aims to be a practical sportbike that takes you from the track to the road. It has three ride modes (race, sport, and wet), Ducati traction control, Ducati Quick shift, ABS 9MP Bremo braking system, and a three-level Engine Brake Control. The electronic rider-aid suite and user interface is the same as the 899 but the parameters have been calibrated for the Panigale 959 platform.

Our opinion is that we love the new Panigale 959! Rarely do middleweight machines do well without being raced but the 899 baby Panigale sales soared. We can barely call the 959 a middleweight sportbike but starting at MSRP of $14,995, dare we say that this is actually a moderately well priced bike for what you get?

Hypermotard 939 SP

And lastly, we have the Hypermotard 939 SP. Just like with the Panigale above, the old Hypermotard SP got an upgrade in order to meet Euro IV emission standards, without giving up power.

The Hypermotard can be thought of as a fancy street-legal dirtbike, that is... one with top-notch suspension, strong motor, and high end streetbike technology.

Compared to the previous model, the new year's Hypermotard SP Testastretta 11° L-twin engine is bumped up from 821cc to 937cc, increasing the horsepower a bit from 110 to 113. This means new crankshaft design, pistons, and rods. Other main changes include new exhaust system, oil cooler, and top-of-the-line Öhlins forks. Visually, there's little difference to the old 821. But the new 939 delivers significantly more power in the mid-range.

The styling is motocross inspired with the high seat and wide bars (the SP version has an even higher seat height). The technology package include three riding modes (sport, wet, and race), designed to take you from the road to the racetrack. It's certainly an interesting bike.. a sportbike masquerading as a dirtbike, which makes it one of the most fun bikes Ducati ever came out with.

At MSRP of $15,595, it's certainly a splurge for what you may think of as a dirt bike, but the Hypermotard 939 SP proves that it's so much more than that. It's not the most practical bike, but I'd still love to have this in my garage as the "fun bike". 

Which of these bikes are you lusting over? Or do you have your eye on another model?

*all photos courtesy of Ducati

By Sir D

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