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The 1199’s Torque Deficit

By Admin Admin
on March 04, 2015

By Rob Evans

Ducati made their name in racing using the Ltwin engine. Most of Ducati’s competition produced inline 4 cylinder machines of slightly lesser displacement. The Ltwin’s benefit is mid-range torque and grunt in corner exit while sacrificing top end horsepower to the 4 cylinder machines. The Ltwin couldn’t rev as high as the competition and the lack of valve surface area meant the 4 cylinder machines were faster on longer straights. In an effort to close the horsepower gap, Ducati has redesigned its engines continuously in the pursuit of higher revs and top end power. The culmination of this research, development and evolution is the 1199 Panigale that is capable of revving to an insane 12,000rpm in ‘R’ trim level. However, the top end power seems to come with a caveat that the engines no longer produce huge midrange torque they once did. Journalist and forum members alike are quick to point out that the oversquare nature of its engine (meaning the bore is larger than the stroke’s length) is the cause of this strange delivery of power yet, a little bit of research shows that isn’t true.

The original 851 superbike used a 92mm bore with a 64mm stroke, giving it a 1.39:1 bore/stroke ratio, oversquare, but not extreme by today’s standards. The redesigned 955cc machine utilized 96mm bore and 66mm stroke for a 1.45:1 bore/stroke ratio, all the while producing more horsepower and torque everywhere. The 996R got another bump in bore size to 98mm, stroke remained the same increasing the ratio to 1.48:1. The 999RS won the WSBK manufacturer’s championship 3 of the 5 seasons it competed. However being pushed to keep up with the now legal 1000cc 4cyl machines, Ducati used its shortest stroke ever, 58.8mm coupled with a bore of 104mm. This was the most extreme rod/stroke ratio to date of 1.77:1. Once Ducati was allowed to use 1200cc engines in WSBK, the 1098R was designed around a very oversquare 106mm bore and 67.9mm stroke (1.56:1 ratio). Each step in bore size allowed for larger diameter intake and exhaust valves to better fill and evacuate the cylinders at high rpm, a key to making horsepower. All of these models were praised for their intense torque delivery and usable power on corner exits. When the 1199 was introduced, Ducati pushed the boundaries farther with an even more radical bore/stroke ratio of 1.84:1. The bore was now a massive 112mm and stroke an incredibly short 60.7mm. While this ratio seems extreme compared to models past, if we dig deeper, it isn’t the first to use a ratio as wild as this. The same ratio was used by famous Cosworth racing V8s that had decades of great racing success in Formula 1, partially because of their very linear torque delivery making the power more accessible more of the time. How is it then, that the Superquadro engine has a reputation for a lack of midrange torque and a very peaky power delivery?

1199 and 1198 dynograph comparison

The dyno graphs don’t lie; the 1199 makes less power and torque than its predecessor until the very top of the rev range, with a very obvious dent in power from 4,000-7,000rpm. Most journalists tout the Superquadro engine as being very peaky because of it’s oversquare design implying oversquare engine design has ruined Ducati’s legendary bottom end torque. So why has the new engine lost some of that flat torque curve?  In the late v-8 era of Formula1, most teams’ stroke ratios are approaching 2.5:1 and maintained flat torque curves and excellent power delivery.

The problem that no one seems to be pointing to stems from how effectively air gets into and out of the cylinders. At the most basic level, the camshaft opens, and closes the valves. To increase the efficiency at high rpm, both the intake valves and exhaust valves must remain open simultaneously for a short period.  The reasoning behind this is that by opening the opening the exhaust valves the pressure in the cylinder decreases, helping to ‘pull’ the incoming charge in past the intake valves and into the cylinder; this is known as valve overlap. Ducati Superbikes have continuously increased valve overlap boost high rpm power. The trade off is the ability to fill the cylinder at low rpm, where very little to no overlap is beneficial. The road based Multistrada  uses an engine called the ‘Testastretta 11 degree’ sporting a narrow-head with 11 degrees of overlap, while by comparison the engines in the 1198 and 1199 use  41 degrees of valve overlap. This helps to explain the shape of their power curves.

Multistrada and 1198 dynograph comparison

As demonstrated in the dynograph above, the 11 degree overlap of the Multistrada makes it out punch even the 1198 in torque and horsepower until 6500rpm. Past 7500rpm, the small overlap limits the Multistrada’s ability to get air into and out of the cylinders fast enough thereby torque begins to downturn where the 1198 pulls ahead.

With equal valve overlap, the 1198 trounces the 1199 in power delivery until very high engine speeds. To determine the reason we must look at other compromises made during design. The most important of which is the exhaust system diameter and its routing. In an effort to centralize mass and lower the polar moment of inertia, Ducati routed the exhaust of the Panigale so that it exits beneath the bike. This makes the bike easier to tip from side to side and overall positively effects handling characteristics. The compromise is that it doesn’t leave very much length for the exhaust piping. The exhaust pipe length is determined by many factors and specifications of the engine. Pipe diameter and length play an important part in maintaining exhaust gas velocity. The higher the exhaust gas velocity is, the easier it escapes the system and the more effectively it creates a low pressure area that helps pull the intake air into the cylinders during that huge valve overlap period. Imagine a vacuum cleaner sucking at the exhaust of the motorcycle, helping the intake air reach higher velocity than it could on its own; a very well designed system creates a similar effect. A carefully executed exhaust system takes crank angle, valve opening and closing events, rpm and several other factors into account to take advantage of exhaust pulses the engine produces to make the most horsepower and torque everywhere in the rev range.

Shown below is a photo of the exhaust system of the WSBK Ducati team compared to a road bike with the standard exhaust routing. Notice the pipe on the outside of the swingarm near the rider’s right foot on the WSBK machine? The original equipment exhaust system, and even most on the market are not designed this way.


             2014 WSBK Ducati 1199                                            2014 1199 road bike

Nicholas Udstad, a technician at TTRNO designed an exhaust system around the same principles the WSBK team used to get the most power possible out of the 1199. By choosing to have longer primary exhaust pipes than standard, along with tapered sizing as the exhaust temperature decreases, the exhaust gas velocity remains high for a longer period, escaping more quickly than the standard exhaust as well as assisting in pulling fresh intake air into the cylinder. This increase in gas velocity and faster cylinder filling is especially important at lower engine speeds where the majority of torque is produced. The obvious question to this design is ‘what are the downsides?” The main reason all the aftermarket manufacturers don’t make their exhaust systems this way is cost. It is expensive to perform the R&D necessary to find out what the best overall design will be rather than just making a standard type exhaust bigger and slapping your logos on it. It’s also more expensive to manufacture because of the tight confines the pipes have to fit within. Tighter tolerances add cost to quality control and the making of the pipes themselves. The results of Nicholas’ exhaust translated to an increase of torque by nearly 15ft lbs and 20hp at the wheel. Most importantly, no longer does the torque abruptly increase near 7,000rpm making the bike more manageable during corner exits.


N.Udstad designed full exhaust vs. Termignoni full exhaust

As this dyno graph displays, exhaust tuning is very important on high performance engines and rarely are stock systems optimized from the factory. Improvements may be difficult, but a well thought out and designed exhaust system is a fundamental way to make the most of what the engine is already capable of.

If you would like to know more of Nicholas Udstad’s exhaust designs please contact




Rob Evans

Understanding suspension | Upgrading your Triumph modern classic

By Maxwell Materne
on December 04, 2014

The point of a motorcycle’s suspension is to both absorb the road’s imperfections and keep consistent traction with the asphalt.  But how does it work?

To understand the principles of suspension there are 2 different things to discuss: springs and damping.  The springs used in both front forks and in rear shocks are the same type of coil springs you would find in a pen or in a mattress, just much stronger.   What prevents the spring from continuously oscillating is the suspension’s damping characteristics.  

Let’s look at a VERY simplified diagram how suspension works:




There are 3 main components in this image to pay attention to; the oil, the valve and the damper rod.  The valve is on the end of the damper rod and is pushed through the oil as the damper rod is moved up and down.









As we push the damper rod up into the shock we can see that oil is passing through the valve.  The rate at which this oil passes through the valve is determined by the size of the holes in the valve and by the viscosity of the oil.










The effect is the same in reverse for most stock shocks like those found on the Triumph Bonneville.  With shocks like these the rate at which the valve plunges through the oil is not adjustable nor can the oil be changed in order to get a different amount of damping from the shock.  
















Now let’s add the spring into the mix.  For every action (hitting a bump and the shock compressing) there is an equal but opposite reaction (the spring returning to its original length - rebounding).  

Let’s discuss the Triumph modern classic line specifically.  The Bonneville, Scrambler and T100 have absolutely no adjustability while the Thruxton only has fork preload adjustability.  Preload is the amount of tension that is put onto the springs in order compensate for rider weight.  Our TTRNO Level 1 suspension package addresses the issue of preload adjustability and spring rate.  

TTRNO’s Level 1 suspension kit for Triumph Modern Classics consists of:

  • Preload adjustable front fork caps
  • Progressive fork springs
  • Hagon preload adjustable rear shocks

Preload adjustability is the first step in getting a motorcycle set up for you, but this Level 1 kit goes a step above by installing a spring with a progressive rate.  Let’s discuss spring rates…


The above spring is a standard flat-rate spring.  These springs are  used in stock applications because they are cheap to produce and easy to tune.  They work great for setting up a bike for the track, but are not ideal for a comfortable street ride.  That’s where the progressive springs come in…



Progressive springs are wound at a different rate throughout the length of the spring.  This allows for an increase in suspension “stiffness” as more force is applied.  On the road this allows for small bumps to be absorbed under a very light spring rate and more aggressive bumps to be controlled at a higher rate.  In other words, a soft ride without bottoming out.  

Suspension level 1 price with parts and installation $920.

TTRNO’s Level 2 suspension kit for Triumph Modern Classics consists of:

  • Preload adjustable front fork caps
  • Rider weight specific flat-rate springs
  • RaceTech Gold Valve front fork cartridge emulators
  • Ohlins S36DR1L shocks

What makes Level 2’s components more advanced is the ability to adjust not only the spring preload but also the rebound damping.  Remember how damping is controlled by the valve on the damper rod?  Well, the rate at which the shock compresses and rebounds can be tuned by the size of the orifices in the valve.  RaceTech’s Gold Valve kit is able to tune both compression and rebound damping by both changing the size and shape of the valve orifices and by changing a series of shims that sit on both sides of the valve.  These shims help tune damping by their rate of deflection as fork oil passes them.  For simplicity’s sake I’ll leave it to RaceTech to explain the rest:

The rear shocks for Level 2 are made by the world-famous Ohlins suspension company.  They are preload, rebound and height adjustable with larger and more advanced valves than those used in Level 1’s Hagon shocks.  Adjustability is externally done meaning that changes in road conditions can be tuned quickly and easily.  

Suspension level 2 price with parts and installation $2,300.

TTRNO’s Level 3 suspension kit for Triumph Modern Classics consists of:

  • Traxxion Dynamics AK-20 Axxion cartridge kit for front forks
  • Rider weight specific flat-rate springs
  • Ohlins S36PR1C1LB shocks

The set of components in Level 3 is all you need to make your suspension FULLY adjustable with preload, rebound and compression.  One of the largest advantages of the AK-20 cartridge kits is that rebound and compression damping can be externally controlled unlike that of the RaceTech Gold Valve kit.  This allows suspension tuning to be as simple as turning a few screws rather than taking apart the front forks.  Ohlins’ S36PR1C1LB shocks have an external “piggy back” reservoir to keep oil temperature and viscosity consistent.  All of the adjusters on these shocks are a simple turn of a knob with no need for difficult spanner wrenches and the damping control is so intricate that any and all traction characteristics can be tuned perfectly.  The amount of adjustability provided in this kit is the same as that of full factory race bikes and these components are by far the best on the market.  Take it from me, if you want the best suspension components on your Triumph Modern Classic, this is the kit!

Suspension level 3 price with parts and installation $3,900.

Maxwell Materne

2014 WERA Thruxton Cup National Champion


Back to Tech Center

Dunlop Ntech and GP-A Track Tires

By Nick Napoda
on June 06, 2013


Dunlop produces tires for both European and US racing series. Given the dramatic difference in track surface and conditions between the two continents, Dunlop has decided to make tires for each respective nation’s series. The Dunlop GP-A (‘A’ standing for America) is a tire made here in Buffalo, NY for US tracks. Rather than having the tire produced in Europe and then sent over via ship, when distributed here on home soil, they can arrive in racers’ hands in as little as 2-3 days.

The 8477

Developing specific compounds of tire for individual tracks is nothing new at Dunlop. The famous Daytona 200 has had a tire made for this race only for years. The nature of the track and length of the race mandate it. This year, Dunlop introduced another one of these specific compounds called the 8477. This tire was developed after June 2012 testing at NOLA Motorsports park ( by the AMA series. The new style of asphalt construction at NOLA gives it a more abrasive nature and is generally not kind to softer compound tires. In reaction to the riders’ feedback during the test, Dunlop manufactured a tire with a Medium+ compound, offering an even harder contact patch than what was currently available. The carcass is also much stiffer with more steel built in than competitors. This not only gives the tire unrivaled support during braking and accelerating, but also means they’re much less likely to succomb to the high temperatures of a summer trackday or race. These tires have proven to be the tire of choice at NOLA Motorsports park for fast lap times and confidence inspiring feel.

DOT vs Slick

    Slick tires regardless of the brand have no tread grooves with which to evacuate water, and are therefore not approved by the department of transportation for road legal use. DOT tires have these tread grooves and can be ridden on the road legally as they are deemed safe enough to ride through rain as well. The GP-A and Ntech are unique in they share the same carcass and general profile, however the GP-A is a DOT approved tire, and the slick Ntech is not. The tires even display different sizing on their sidewalls, the GP-As being offered in a 120/70 and 190/60, while the Ntechs are only available in 125/80 and 200/55. This may be off-putting to 600cc riders who’s bikes call for 180 rear section tires. Dunlop assures, and I can attest, that even the 200/55 Ntech rear tire fits on smaller 600cc machines.

How Long do they last?

    Contrary to popular belief, these tires do not have a specific amount of heat cycles they can be put through. Their grip is based on tread depth and the resulting carcass temperature. Deeper tread means the tire can have a larger contact patch and generate more heat for superior grip. When the tire is more worn down, the contact patch is smaller and the tire is unable to produce the same amount of heat in the carcass and loses that grip. Dunlop says the loss of grip on the 8477 should be very gradual as well.

Tech talk: How Vespa Automatic Transmissions Work

By Zachary Materne
on January 27, 2012

Just about once a day I surprise someone by saying that all new Vespas are automatic.  Twist and go, nothing to it, easiest thing in the world to ride.  Inevitably it’s followed by the question of, “how does that work?”  It’s really quite simple and ingenious; first let’s get an understanding of some of the principles behind gearing.


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Ethanol vs. Fuel Treatments (K100 Success Story)

By Maxwell Materne
on August 18, 2011

Check out our update!!

What is ethanol? Ethanol, currently found in most fuel, is the same kind of alcohol in your pantry but distilled to the point where it is nearly pure. The United States ethanol industry is largely based on corn ground into “meal” and paired with enzymes to convert it’s starch to simple sugars. Yeast is added and the combination is distilled then dehydrated to produce a 200 proof alcohol (a small amount of gasoline is added to keep this undrinkable.) Ethanol is highly miscible meaning that it attracts water, and because of this is can not be transported in pipelines, rather it is added to gasoline filled tanker trucks before delivery to gas stations.

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