Ducati vs Harley: Who delivers the most comfortable ride

Ducati vs Harley For The Most Comfortable Ride

Ducati and Harley have built themselves a reputation over the years of royal fans who are attracted to high performance engines. These bikes are built with quality in mind and are meant to announce their presence in the streets.

If you are a first time biker, it can be a challenge choosing between a super bike capable of reaching astronomical speeds of up to 160 mph or a laid-back cruiser that enables you to take leisurely rides across the city. It is this world that Ducati and Harley have curved out a niche.

When it comes to the best cruisers in the world then there is no name that has been ingrained in bikers mind like the Harley. The bikes are old fashioned, classic cruisers that are meant to announce their presence. It is not uncommon to find out that most Harley bikes tend to be part of a community of other bikers.

But, if you are looking for something that is going to keep your adrenaline levels pumped up then you have to consider getting yourself a Ducati. Here we check out several characteristics that have made this two bike brands at the top of the food chain.

What are the key differences between Ducati vs. Harley?

Manufacturer Ducati Harley
Category Superbikes Cruisers
Origin Italian United States
Engine Desmodromic valve four stroke V-twin 45 degree
Performance High acceleration Slow riders
Consumption Agile riding Fuel guzzlers

 

Ducati vs. Harley – How do they compare

Engine performance

Harleys are basically cruisers and are not meant for fast acceleration like in the case of the Ducati Panigale. Most of the Harley bikes feature the V-twin engine 45-degree angle between cylinders. The engine design was so revolutionary when Harley introduced it that they decided to patent it. With the engine you have it firing the cylinders at uneven intervals. The engine does not come with distributors and this allows it to operate on a single set of points. Ducati is renown for its L-twin engine where the cylinders share a common crankshaft but they are arranged in a V configuration. With time Ducati become synonymous with its V4 engine and later transitioned to its Panigale engine. This allows for fast acceleration and high speeds.

Body Frame

Once of Harleys most popular bike is the fat boy and it competes quite well with the Ducati XDiavel. The body frame shows some differences that put these bikes miles apart. The Harley comes with narrower handlebars and large 150mm front tires. This causes the bike to steer more clearly than the XDiavel. At high speeds you will notice the differences as the Harley is more stable on the roads. When you look at the footpegs for the Harley they are closely positioned for easier riding and this makes them easier to reach than the Ducatis.

Electronics

The electronic dials in most Harleys differ. In some in some instances you have full TFT screens that show you all your instruments while in some cases you get a combination of analogue and digital dials. Harley first introduced Electronic fuel injection in 1995 and continued with the trend in most of their bikes to today. For every Harley there is that distinctive sound that is produced by its V-twin engine. The company has trademarked this in the US. Ducati due to its competitive nature on the racing track comes with an array of electronic systems like traction control, wheelie control and various riding modes. In most bikes ABS brakes are standard.

Ducati vs. Harley – A Comparison Overview

Ducati Overview

Ducati is a currently owned by the Volkswagen Group. It has its headquarters in Bologna Italy and has a reputation of producing high quality motorcycles. But it is in the high performance motorcycles that Ducati has built a name for itself. The bikes come in a desmodromic valve design with four stroke V-twin engines. Unlike in most conventional valve springs engines, the desmodromic valves use separate lifter and cam lobes. The valves in turn open and shut more quickly without the risk of suffering a valve float or loss in power.

The other difference in the engine was how the clutch was designed. Other bike manufacturers have been using the wet clutch system that allows the spinning parts to be dripped in oil but Ducati formulated its own dry clutch system that allows the bike to eliminate any possibilities of power loss as result of loss of oil viscosity.

Ducati 959 Panigale

The Panigale is a good looking bike for any super bike enthusiast. It comes with a 955cc engine that is capable of generating 154HP @rpm of 10,500. This produces a torque of 107.4 Nm. Transmission is through a six speed gear box that ensures fast gear shifts. The Panigale is equipped with both front and rear disc brakes.

The Ducati 959 has received some upgrades to make it more aggressive looking with additional larger air intakes, wider windshield and fairing and a reinvention of the front to make it more sporty looking. For the rear the tailpiece has been split. The Ducati 959 Panigale comes in a sturdy die-cast aluminum monocoque frame that offers great support when riding at high speeds. The L-twin liquid cooled Superquadro engine delivers fast acceleration making this bike a darling for adrenaline junkies.

The 959 Panigale comes with an awesome array of electronics that includes traction control, ABS, ride-by-wire throttle, quick shift, and engine brake control. You can ride the bike in either sport, race or wet riding modes. The bike weighs 200kg and is available in two colors – Ducati Corse Livery and Red.

When it comes to suspension and braking, the Ducati is impressive courtesy of front 320mm dual discs and rear 245mm single disc. Both wheels get advanced Brembo Calipers. For the suspension you get Showa 43mm and rear Sachs gas charged mono-shock. ABS are a standard plus dual canister exhaust system that is Euro4 compliant.

Ducati Panigale V4 S

The V4 S comes with a very powerful 1,103cc engine that is capable of producing 208 HP at a torque of 124 Nm. This makes the Panigale superfast on the racing track. The power mechanism maximizes on both the four cylinder and twin engine firing mechanism. The bike derives its Panigale name from the factory where it is manufactured.

For braking you get front and rear discs while the wheels are forged aluminum. This gives them agility and stability at peak performance. To further reduce the bike’s weight, it comes with a lithium ion battery. The Panigale has a 5-inch TFT color screen that lets you view all of the bikes instruments at a glance. The bike weighs a modest 198kg and is available in just one color. It competes well with Yamaha flagship 1000cc bike the R1.

Ducati Panigale 1299

The Panigale 1299 is the last edition in the V-twin category before the superbikes were transformed into V4. It features a super powerful 1,285cc engine that is capable of producing 203.5 HP at a torque of 142 Nm. All this power is transmitted through a six speed gear box that offers fast and efficient gear shifts.

You will find some similarity between this Panigale 1299 final edition with the 1199 Panigale. The 1299 comes with Ohlins suspension and a similar chassis to the 1199. It also gets the same titanium Akrapovic exhaust as in the 1299 superleggera. Titanium has been used on the intake-exhaust valves while one gets a larger crank pin and lighter crankshaft.

The Ducati Panigale is loaded with some awesome electronics like traction control, power modes, wheelie control, cornering ABS and quick shifter. The bike weighs 190kg but since it is a final edition you may find it hard to locate it in some shops.

Harley Overview

It is the dream of many to own a Harley Davidson bike. The bikes come with extremely powerful and load engine that announce their presence on the roads. The company has a long history producing bikes that can be traced to 1903 in Milwaukee Wisconsin. It is here that the iconic bike maker started making its mark in the motorcycle industry. Owning a Harley is about joining a community of committed bikers who love their bikes. The company has in recent years ventured into various Harley merchandise that includes riding gear and brand centered museums and events. Today, the company makes its iconic bikes in any of the following factories: Wisconsin, York, Milwaukee, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Kansas city. It also has subsidiaries in Brazil, Manaus, India, and Bawal.

Harley VRSCDX Night Rod Special

The night rod is something that seems to creep from a dark movie. It is bold and with an aggressive engine to boast. When it comes to engine power you get this loud V-twin massive 1250cc engine that is capable of generating 125 HP. The styling is exceptional as you get some low rise bars, cast aluminum wheels, fastback tail section and a streamlined front end. The best part about the night rod is that it is a rare breed of bike and you will find very few of none at the parking lot. The engine power comes from the fact that Porsche and the Harley team spend some considerable time developing it.

To help you control all this power, the Night rod comes equipped with ABS, a massive 240mm rear tire, and slipper clutch. The powertrain is made from platinum and it comes with polished covers. The frame is all black and you get some nice LED stop, tail and turn lights. This glow powerfully in the dark or when you are stopping the bike. For riding comfort you get a low ride seat of 25.6 inches; this ensures you have a cruising riding position. On the dashboard you have an electronic speedometer, dual tripmeter, clock, fuel gauge that correctly informs you when you are running low on fuel, engine diagnostic readout, low oil pressure indicator light and LED indicator. The dash is quite visible even when you are cruising at night or in foggy weather conditions.

Harley 1990 FLSTF Fat Boy

When this bad boy was introduced into the market in the 1990s it was received with a lot of fanfare. In fact the bike was so successful that it become one of the most loved Harley bikes. The bike is quite stylish due to its silver polish and 16 inch wheels for both the front and rear. The fat boy design is classic making it a favorite for the older generation that is still into cruiser bikes.

The FLSTF is supported by a powerful a four stroke V-twin 1,337cc air-cooled engine that is capable of producing up to 48 worth of horsepower. Production of the bike continued from the 90s to 2017 when it was replaced by the FLFB/FLFBS. Transmission is through a five speed gearbox that is capable of reaching a top speed of 91.96 mph. The bike is ideal for romantic gateways as it can accommodate two persons. The bikes popularity soared as it was one of the bikes featured in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

In 2018 the fat boy saw some modifications where a Showa Monoshock suspension was mounted on the rear and the Swingarm was also modified. The front shocks now had the Showa dual bending valve (SDBV) that offered better handling and comfort. The wheels were upgraded to now include some 18 inch Lakester rims and it come with the inclusion of a LED headlight.

Now let’s compare 2 popular Ducati and Harley models

Model Ducati Diavel Harley Davidson Fat Boy
Displacement 1198.4cc 1745cc
Maximum power 150 HP @rpm 9000 65 HP @rpm 5,500
Maximum Torque 123 Nm @rpm 8000 144 Nm @rpm 3000
Cooling system Liquid cooled Air cooled
Fuel tank capacity 17 L 19.1 L
Mileage 12 kmpl 15 kmpl
Kerb weight 239 kg 304 kg
Wheelbase 1580mm 1665mm
Length 2235mm 2370mm
Width 860mm 990mm

 

Conclusion

Ducati has become a household name on the superbike sporting calendar. Its Panigale V4S has won various championships due its fast acceleration and high horsepower. The Ducati performs better than the Harley in the high performance bike section but the Harley gets the edge when it comes to the design of luxurious classic cruisers. Harley has a larger fan base than Ducati in the US where it has established for itself biking communities.