Hayden 848 Preview
While it may be Italian, the 2010 Ducati 848 Nicky Hayden Edition’s graphics package has an indisputably American flair. Celebrating the MotoGP Champion’s move to Ducati for the ’09 season, the 848 NHE was introduced on Independence Day at the Red Bull United States Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.One can argue that Hayden was inspired by this red, white and blue show of respect, as he rode to his best year-to-date finish the following day. Highlights of the styling package include Hayden’s autograph on the tank, as well as his signature “69” front-and-center on the fairing.For 2010, the Ducati 848 Superbike is getting a few minor refinements: the cam tensioner pulleys are now aluminum for weight savings, allowing the motor to accelerate more quickly; the dash now enjoys LED illumination for better night visibility; and a 30mm mirror extension gives the rider a fighting chance at viewing what is going on behind him.When street riding, Ultimate MotorCycling prefers the 848 to the 1198, as the smaller motor is better suited to public highway speeds. The Ducati 848 lacks traction control, but the power delivery renders that feature less necessary.Boasting 134 horsepower and over 70 ft/lbs of torque from the Ducati Testastretta Evoluzione engine, the 369-pound (claimed dry, no battery) 848 is a superb balance of performance and rideability, making it a potent weapon in sporting canyons.Like the Ducati 1198, the 848 features track-friendly ergonomics that decrease on-street utility, but the reward is maximum performance in any venue. The Showa suspension is firm, but never approaching harsh; fully adjustable, the forks and shocks are absolutely ready for closed-course speeds, as are the twin radially mounted four-piston Brembo calipers up front. The wide Ducati 848 powerband and a six-speed transmission with a wet clutch ensure the right ratio is always available, whether on the street or track.With the Nicky Hayden Ducati livery, rest assured this graphically enhanced Ducati 848 Superbike will get far more attention than the pearl white version, so be careful on the street.