After the relative failure of the 999 series of superbikes, Ducati needed a win, badly, and they got one with the 1098. The design was much more conservative than the Terblanche-penned 999, but it shared stylistic elements with the 916 and had a recognizable “face.” But for serious riders, the changes under the skin were more important, and today’s Featured Listing 1098R is one of the rawest ways to experience Ducati’s two-cylinder fury.
It’s not that the Panigale that followed the 1098 and 1198 wasn’t even lighter, more aggressive, and more powerful. It obviously was. But the 1098 and especially the 1098R came at the tail end of the era of the truly analog sportbike. In fact, the 1098R is significant in that it represents an actual bridge between the pure, undiluted sportbikes and the proliferation of multi-level traction control, anti-wheelie systems, cornering ABS, and ride-by-wire.
Many of Ducati’s pre-Pani superbikes have power outputs that seem… tame. The famously beastly SPS? Just 124hp. Of course, those earlier bikes were still deceptively fast, and had huge torque figures and fat midranges, compared to inline fours. But by the time of the 1098R, you were still seeing a peak of nearly 190hp and 99ft-lbs of torque with the included race ECU and exhaust. That's a terrifying prospect in a bike that has only the most primitive form of electronic traction control.
And the R was a landmark bike in that it was the first roadbike to include a traction control system designed to allow the rider go faster, to help the rider tame the nearly race-bike levels of performance for both increased safety and better lap times. The DTC was deactivated on the bike as delivered, but installation of the included race ECU and Termignoni exhaust switched it on. Not that anyone would do that on the road, of course... The Testastretta Evoluzione v-twin fitted to the 1098R had the usual raft of titanium engine parts to save weight and help the bike spin up quicker, and the 1198.4cc was at the very limit for WSBK homologation purposes. A factory slipper clutch and the Öhlins TTX36 twin-tube shock helped keep things under control at the rear of the bike, and top-spec Öhlins forks and Brembo brakes did the same up front.
From the original eBay listing: 2008 Ducati 1098R for Sale
Race ECU and full Termignoni exhaust. No modifications. Always garaged. Not ridden in rain. Super clean. Maintenance up to date. Tires have plenty of tread left. Selling this and a couple others to make room for older bikes. I bought this 1098R from original owner/collector in 2012 when it had 1062 miles. Just relisted. Lower reserve. Lower Buy it Now price. Clear title in hand.
I believe all of the 1098Rs shipped with the Race ECU and Termi exhaust, but they weren't installed because, [cough, cough] they were "intended for offroad use only" and weren't anywhere near legal. Having heard one of these up close, I'd say it's pretty clear they didn't even bother trying to make the Termignoni exhaust meet noise standards... Anyway, mileage is low on this one, and the Buy It Now price of $17,700 is right in the ball park, if not a teeny bit on the low-side.