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Robin does the Ducati 999R05
with "Rockin' Robin" Cunningham

The use of the 999 stock exhaust system on the new 999R05 is what allowed Ducati to drop its price by $2,000 to the easier to an easier to swallow $30,000 price point (actually $30,919 delivered in Los Angeles, less sales tax). Whereas in past years, the R models came stock with the full race Termignoni exhaust system running a muffler, but with a replacement race silencer and matching CPU upgrade module in the shipping box.

Well, our staff has ridden and raced every version of the Bolonga desmo quatro since the 851 model back in 1988, to the current generation Testastretta 999. And of the current generation 999's, there's not a bad model in the lineup, just a continuous evolution in rewarding V-twin power, hogher rated and proportionally better performing brakes and suspension. Back in May in Italy as a prequel to World Ducati Week, we took the Duati Racing Experience track day aboard the base 999 model at the Misano Grand Prix track and had a sheer blast. The base model handled so well, and had just enough power, we never found ourselves needing more.We had all the brrakes we needed, the power was just enough to drift out the back end in any of Misano's medium speed corners, and though the stock Showa suspension had some noticable movement it never felt unsettling or out of control or cause us not to attack the track any harder. Nor did it necessitate us to forfeit any track time to come in and play with the suspension settings.

Our own modified 999S Project Bike which evolved from stock over the 2003 season, certainly is a more precise, dedicated and powerful weapon than the base 999. Its stock Ohlins suspension offers more feedback and harder edge control, but probaly isn't as compliant and smooth as the base model's Showa suspenders. The S model's base model Ohlins front forks do seem to top-out now that we've been able to evaluate them next to the new R model with it's new top anti-top out out springs. The other very minor complaint with our 999S was the external adjustability of the rear Ohlins shock which offers too wide a range in damping adjustability which isn't really needed, while in the mid setting where it needed to be, it had not enough range, being either too firm or too soft with just one click on thre resevoir know, affecting both compression and rebound.

So what's it like to ride the new R05 model? Our bike came to us new and before riding it we knew we had ro reset the suspenion. Most important is pulling in the steering rake on the adjustable steering head from the box setting of 24.5 degrees to 23.5 degress. This is where Team Ducati Corse runs their bikes, and it needs to be there if you want the bike to turn. next, the suspension ride height needs to be lowered. Drop the front Ohlins forks to at least the 4th groove on the tubes. At the back, the ride height needed to be lowered at the spring preload adjuster to get the necessary 25-30% sag with the rider's weight in the saddled. Unfortunately the Ohlins piggyback shock resevoir interfers with the use of a preload collar wrench, and the lock rings have to be adjusted with a hammerer and drift. Not a cool thing on a $30,000 exotic superbike.

Once I finally got to ride the bike, these's no susprises in the handling department. It's still Ducati superbike at its finest, the standard to which all other superbikes are measured against. The bike will ride itself if you want it to, yet it goes and does exactly what you want as well. Too fast for the corner? No problem, just lay it over further and feed in the abundance of smooth , torquey power to maintain your line. You can't crash a Ducati is handles so perfectly, no mater how much you screw up a turn and braking points. Rather it takes a concentrated effort of stupidity that only seems to be abundant in some owners of other sportbike drands.

I do notice the increased compliancy of the newly revised Ohlins radial forks, which have a smoother feel.It's attributed to the new internal spring guide in a teflon sleeve which reduces inner friction, increasing adhearance to smaller bumps with resulting improved grip. And the new top out springs in the forks do a great job as well, giving no indication that the forks are toping out as the front wheel gets light across rises in the road or accelerating out of corners.

In the power department, the new R is more than amply endowed with a 1-2 punch consisting of a really wide and incredibly strong torque curve right from 3,000rpm on up to 8,000 and abve. Peak power is at 10,500 and the rev limiter comes in at 11,000, but if you are up in that range you are actually wasting time. Leave it in one gear higher than you might otherwise, and let the midrange pull you through a corner like taffy and then hurl you down the next straight with a BIG chicken eating, Lone Star swiggin; grin on your face. Yee Ha!

And speaking of power, the 999R05 finally comes out of the box with the right gearing, running a 15/36 front/rear sprocket set. It's brothers have always come geared too tall with a 16 / 36 set and we've always needed to regaer them lower to a 15/47. But with the 999R05's stong mid range power increase, using the lower 15T front countershft sprocket just by itself, the bike seems to be just right.

Power wise, our full Termignni race System equipped 999S had more than enough power for the street, and in the Santa Monica and Angeles Forest mountains around Los Angeles where we canyon ride and race, the engine is always short shifted around 8,000rpm, well below the 10,000rpm power peak, so you can let the torque curve catapult you to the next corner. The new stock 999R05 feels very similar to our race piped and remapped 999S 04 model Project Bke, and is possibly an improvement over last year's slightly peakier 999R04.

But in the real world I just can't feel the claimed 150hp coming out of the R05, even after regearing it. In cayon racing with the guys last weekend in the Santa Mountains, I was having a hard time pulling away from a well ridden Honda CBR600RR and a Kawasaki KZR12000 out of 3rd gear corners. If there is a claimed 150hp in there, some where, the engine must be stiffled by the stock exhaust system. We have the new Termignoni Race Sytem on order for our R05, but delivery from Ducati isn't expected until November '04. At that time we'll give it a comparable before and after run on the dyno just to see what the 'as delived" power really is, and how much the Termigoni Race System and CPU remap adds to the engine performance.

Handling wise, the 999R is flawless when pushed hard. It feels so light I could place it any where on the road, rack that I wanted to pass slower riders. Even mid corner corrections were easy while cranked over on the sidewalls, to sqaure off a corner sooner to get on the gas quicker and make a pass. The stock Michelin Race Pilot tires have immense grip and cornering power, and offer a much widerread contaxt patch then same size Pirelli / Metzlers.

The R's higher spec radial Brembo front brakes felt awesome, particularly once I got them bedded-in an hot. I could make up ground with anyone in our riding pack just by out waiting threm and out breaking them diving into corners. Acouple of times I had the back wheel up in the air as I felt the rear wheek waving around. It was a total rush!

You'll notice in the pictures of our 999R05 we are running a Ducati Performance Bucui Slipper Clutch under a vented cover. With the R05 model's higher 12.45:1 compression ratio, we felt installing the slipper clutch prior to riding the bike was an absolute necessity to prevent wheel hop when banging down the gears diving into corners. We are not a big fan of the heavy spring pull and erratic clutch lever feedback from the conventioanl ramp and ball slipper clutches, but slipper clutches are a necessity on high performance, high compression race motors.

The Italian component company Adige has a new type of variable cam design slipper clutch called APTC (Adlr Power Torque Clutch) which they displayed at World Ducati Week in May 2004, and which is susposed to work much better than the present ramp and ball slipper clutches, but at present they do not have a US distributor - Adler S.p.A., ph: 39.02.742.411, So at prensent the best available slipper clutches come from STM of Italy, with their newesrt Evoluzine models employng a one piece "degressive spring" for a softer pull the more the clutch is released. STM is sold in America by Azione Moto, ph 954.535.2941, Shown on our 999R05 bike is the older design conventional 5 spring clutch available from Ducati Performance which does get the job done.

This Girl's Conclusion

Overall handling and performance performance wise, the 999R05 is just about flawless in stock form. In fact, in box stock form it almost identical to our lightened and perfomance upgraded 999S Project bike that ended up costing us An equal $30 Grand by the time we were done. However, the new R05 does offer a touch more compliant and grippy suspension, a touch more bite on the radial front brakes, and a susposedly stronger kick in the nice broad powerband.

I don't know how many R05 owners are going to want to keep the heavy stock exhaust, and I'm sure like me, many of them are going to be spending the big chunk of change to pick up either the new Ducati Performance Termigoni Slip-On Race Silencer Kit (around $1,500) , or Termignoni Full Race System. ($3,300+!).If you do go for the full system, you will effectively be spending $33,300 for the new 999R, which in reality is actually a $1,300 price increase over the previous R models which came full Termignoni Race Exhaust System equipped.

What this all works down to is, if the awesome Ducati 999R05 isn't in your price range, you've still got a much more affordable route to duplicating your own by starting with one of the the more affordable 999 or 999S models and uprading and modifying it, like we did with our previous 999S Project Bike, to make it perform on par with the 999R.

In particualar the new 999S 05 model is also equipped with the new upgraded Ohlins suspension and radial Brembo brakes as found on the 999R 05 model. Power wise it's rated at 143hp with the stock catalytic muffler, and it comes in the crate with a slip-on Termignoni race silencer that bumps engine output to 147hp. All that for a more affordable $22,995

Making the choices even more sweet is the new 2005 base model Ducati 999 Superbike priced at $17,995 now with the deep sump 999 Testastretta engine as found previosulyjust in the 999S / R models, with the base 999 now uprated in power to 140hp. The only difference is the more cost effective Showa suspension on the base 999, as compared to the fully Ohlins equipped 999S.

So if you aren't Daddy Warbucks and can't afford a 999R05, get one of the the 2005 uprated new 999 or 999S models Superbike and make that your entry into Ducati Superbike heaven. Ciao baby! - Robin Cunningham

Type Twin-cylinder L-configuration,
Desmodromic timing,
4 valves per cylinder,
liquid cooled
Engine bore 104 mm
Stroke 58.8 mm
Total displacement 999 cm3
Maximum power 150 HP @ 9750 rpm
Maximum torque 11.9 kgm @ 8000 rpm
Compression ratio 12.45:1
Intake valve diameter 42 mm
Intake valve lift 13 mm
Exhaust valve diameter 34 mm
Exhaust valve lift 11.5 mm
Intake/exhaust valve material titanium
Valve angle (inclusive) 25∞
Timing diagram (with 1 mm valve play)
Opening before TDC 21∞
Closing after BDC 53∞
Opening before BDC 60∞
Closing after TDC 20∞
Conrod centre distance 124 mm
Conrod material titanium
Primary transmission ratio 32/59
Gear ratios First 15/37; Second 17/30; Third 20/28;
Fourth 22/26; Fifth 23/24; Sixth 24/23
Final transmission ratio 15/36
Clutch type Multi-disk, dry sump
Oil pump Gear type
Lubrication circuit capacity 3.8 l
Generator 480 Watt
Electronic ignition/injection ECU IAW 5M2
Ignition stick coil, in sparkplug seat
Injectors one per cylinder, IWPR2, 12-jet
Theft alarm Immobilizer integral to engine ECU

Chassis Specifications
Frame steel tubing, trestle-type
Trail 91 - 97 mm
Steering head angle 23°30’ – 24°30’
Wheelbase 1420 mm
Front suspension stroke 120 mm
Front fork leg diameter 43 mm
Rear suspension stroke 71 mm
Rear wheel travel 128 mm
Front rims and tyres rim MT 3.50x17” tyre 120/70 17
Rear rims and tyres rim MT 5.50x17” tyre 190/50 17
Ground clearance 125 mm Seat height 780 mm
Footplate height adjustable to 387 mm and 410 mm

Seat height 780 mm
Maximum width 730 mm
Handlebar width 671 mm
Maximum length 2095 mm
Steering angle 28° 30’ right/left
Dry weight (without fluids and battery) 181 kg
Front brake disks (diameter) 320 mm
Rear brake disk (diameter) 240 mm
Radial four piston front brake callipers 34 mm (piston diameter)
Two piston rear brake calliper 34 mm (piston diameter)
Front brake master cylinder piston 18 mm (piston diameter
Rear brake master cylinder piston 11 mm (piston diameter)

Exclusive Screensavers - Because We Love You!

Robin & 999R05 Screen Saver -Stunt Road
Robin & 999R05 Screen Saver – Scott's Road
Ducati 999R05 Screen Saver - Front
Ducati 999r05 Screen Saver - Rear

Go to: Ducati 999R05 Information Page 1Test Page 2Test Page 3  • 999F05

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Titanium Valves
The Testastretta engine of the new 999R uses titanium valves, both on the intake and exhaust. The weight saving is considerable, especially if we consider the strong accelerations imposed by the high engine speed. The valve diameter is 42 mm on the intake with valve lift of 13 mm, and 34 mm on the exhaust with lift of 11.5 mm. On the previous 999R's engine the intake valve diameter was 40 mm with 11.71 mm lift and the exhaust valve diameter was 33 mm with 10.5 mm lift.

The use of titanium has obliged Ducati to use special valves seats and guides. The timing diagram has not been substantially changed relative to the previous 999R engine, although the cams are of a completely new shape. The intake valves now open by 21∞ before the TDC, compared with a previous value of 16∞, and close 53∞ after BDC relative to the previous 60∞. The exhaust valves open at 60∞ before BDC as before, while they close 20∞ after TDC compared to a previous value of 18∞.

The inclination of the intake and exhaust valves on the new 999R is no different from that of the old version, at 12∞ and 13∞ respectively off the cylinder-head axis. In line with Superbike race engines, the retaining system on the closing register valve stem has been changed. This register is acted on by the desmodromic timing rocker to close the valve, and its thickness determines the play between its surface and the fork-shaped ends of the rocker itself, with which it contacts. This play must be adjusted with great precision, since it greatly affects the mechanical stress on the timing components, as the valve returns to its seat. It also affects the timing diagram, which must be close to the nominal diagram. The closing register retainer system normally used on series Ducati engines exploits the action of two half-rings seated in a cavity machined near to the upper end of the valve stem. These two half-rings engage the register. However, this system has evident limits on a race engine which is often run at its top engine speed. In these conditions the half-rings are severely stressed and tend to deform plastically (they are crushed) and hence do not guarantee a constant play between the register and the rocker.

For this reason the Testastretta engine of the 999R uses two titanium half-cones which encircle the valve stem. They have a circular section bump on their inner surface which engages with the groove machined near to the end of the valve stem itself. This groove is however not as deep as that used for the half-ring system. Furthermore, the two half-cones, when the steel closing register is pressing against them, grip the valve stem under friction, thus considerably reducing the stresses around the groove. This enables the valve stems of the new 999R to be not 7 mm (as used on the other Testastretta engines) but 6 mm, resulting in a further weight saving.

It is also worth noting that the half-cones, since they perfectly couple with the register, are not subject to deformation even though they are highly stressed. This means that the valve closure play remains constant for a longer time when the engine is running. As already indicated, the valve centre distance has been increased over that on the previous 999R's Testastretta engine. It has thus been possible to use parts with a larger diameter head. Each valve has been moved outwards (orthogonally to the ducts) by 0.75 mm, for an overall increase in stem centre distance of 1.5 mm (the new centre distances are 43 mm between the two exhaust valves and 46.8 mm between the two intake valves).

The valve seats also have a higher position relative to those of the previous engine. It follows that they protrude more into the head combustion cavity, which has been completely redesigned along with the larger squish surfaces. The volume of the cavity is thus less than that in the heads of the previous model engine. As already indicated, the consequent increase in the compression ratio has been limited by reducing the height of the piston head.

The Intake and Exhaust Systems
Nothing has changed in the new 999R's intake and exhaust systems compared to the previous version. There is a single, large volume silencer, and the manifolds have no intersection points. In particular, the difference in length between the front cylinder manifold compared to the shorter rear cylinder manifold has been compensated for with a number of differing cross-sections (varying from 45 to 55 mm for the front unit, constant at 45 mm for the rear unit), so as to ensure identical fluid-dynamic behaviour of both exhaust systems. Furthermore, the rear cylinder manifold penetrates into the silencer.

The Testastretta engine used on the road version of the Ducati 999R is equipped with catalytic converters. Each cylinder assembly has a dedicated three-way catalytic converter. The one on the front cylinder is fitted about halfway along its exhaust manifold, while the rear cylinder unit is integrated into the initial section of the silencer. The airbox has a large volume (12.5 dm3 ) and is not closed off by the lower surface of the fuel tank. The ducts which lead the intake air from the dynamic scoops on the front fairing to the airbox are equipped with a Helmholtz resonator to reduce intake noise without penalising engine performance. The RH duct is integral to the coolant tank.

The 2005
Ducati 999 Models

Standard 999 05 is $17,995
in either Monoposto or Biposto (the new 999 of course has some significant improvements over '04 including the deep sump S engine making 140 HP in the base model!)

999S 05 is $22,995 for 2005 and included upgrades as well. The suspension, radial brakes, 143 HP and a free 102 db exhaust in the crate with the bike (putting it to 147 HP with that exhaust installed).

999R 05 is $29,995
With 150 hp rated engine, radial brakes, carbon fibre fairing, magnesium components.

Now for the really good stuff....
Click and go to Paddock Garage for big 1224 Screensavers of the 999F05 and
sexy pictorials of all the Calendar Angels


Fast Dates gone wild!
Our official Team Ducati Corse World Superbike Trophy Girls are waiting for you in Member's Corner!

Ducati's World
Championship Racers

An inside look at the World Cha,pionship Ducati bikes and riders.

520 Chain / Sprocket Kit
Optional sprockets are needed to regear the 999 which comes geared extreamely tall. Chain and gearing kits are avaiilable from both Ducati Performance and MotoWheels which carries the race quality AFAM sprockets. These are higher quality hardened and anodized sprockets which we recommend.

Other companies like Sporcket Specialites offer lower quality unhardened sprockets which we really don't recommed for their reduced strength and wear, particular if your are changing to a narrow 520 sprocket setup to reduce weight.

. We opted for a narrower 520 from stock 525 chain and sprocket kit which reduced weight 1.5 pounds .
For our Ducati superbikes we normally go down 1-tooth on the front countershaft sprocket form 16T to 15T, but now the new 999R does come with a 15T stock which makes a complete 520 chain and sprocket swith a little harder to justify. On on the less powerful 999 and 999S they still need to gear down further and wesuggest going one tooth taller in back from 46T to 47T. But the new 999R05 has more than enough midrange power that it isn't as necessary.

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