It almost felt like writing a eulogy when tapping out our comparison between the Ducati 888 and the Final Edition Panigale.
Ducati has meant ‘V-twin’ to sportsbike enthusiasts since the 1970s: although they’re not ditching them fully, it’s still hard to get your head around the fact this is the last big twin superbike.
Thankfully, it doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed any more: it just means there won’t be any more built. The water-cooled twins alone span 30 years – if you can’t find one from the selection out there, you’re simply not trying hard enough.
We decided the Final Edition needed to be in like-minded company when we got one of the swansong Dukes in: our tame road racer/track tester Michael Rutter’s career started on an 888, so we borrowed PB reader Nat Bennett’s Corse-rep beauty and spent a day on the roads Michael has ridden since he was 16. Tucked in, soaking up the joy of a booming 888 as Rutter nailed the 1299 FE ahead was a moment as special as the bikes: read about that in this month's issue.
There’s other special stuff in the mag if Ducatis aren’t your bag: try our Suzuka tech feature, Franco Morbidelli interview, stare agog at the French nutters nailing a tabletop dirt jump on superbikes at one of Europe’s nuttiest races and some Gallic weird/wonderfulness can be found inside too.
What's inside this issue of Performance Bikes
BMW S1000R Sport Vs Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory
The second installment of our supernaked stand-off pits last year's king against the S1000RR-derived naked Beemer.
The Grand Finale
Ducati's last V-twin superbike is a £35k dream bike, using some of the best bits from various models. We dintriduced it to PB's Ducati-loving, road-racing track tester Michael Rutter and his favourite-ever Bolognewse superbike, the still-fabulous 888.
Our bikes: Yamaha YZF-R1
Chris's brother is a picky sod; he wanted 150bph, modern handling and great looks for less than £4k. But he found it and now we're adopting his new mini-project.