Ducati Spacers Pangiale Heat Shield Kit Test
With a Ducati 899 Panigale as my daily rider, my chosen flavor of two-wheeled fun often forgoes practicality and comfort for raw beauty and spine-tingling power. I trade panniers for panache, a plush seat for sore legs, and forgiving suspension for surgical handling.
While I’m willing to suffer these minor drawbacks to ride such an incredible machine, the bike metes out pain in one particular way that could break the trance it holds over me. All incarnations of the iconic superbike radiate unrelenting heat from the rear cylinder and header pipe coiled beneath the seat—scalding riders where it counts.
As a result, I practically scrape myself off the bike after just a short ride, let alone my 45-minute commute to work. I sneak glances back at the bike’s perfect posture as I walk away, but it’s hardly solace for my scorched pants.
One can’t help but wonder, does it have to be this way? Maybe not—at least when it comes to roasting my manhood. Ducati Spacers, the company that single-handedly eliminated Panigale throttle slop, now offers a Panagale Heat Shield kit that promises to let you have your beautiful superbike and ride it too.
This unassuming piece of kit consists of intricate fiberglass stickers that can withstand to 2000 degrees F and offer a claimed 15 degrees of relief after a typical 40-minute ride. Invisible once adhered to the backside of the saddle and subframe and engine covers, the motorcycle’s exotic design remains unsullied. The idea is to redirect the heat away from the rider’s inner thighs and rear end, allowing for a more comfortable riding experience.
Installing the heat shield on my bike went surprisingly smooth. These things always take longer than you think, but I was ready to get back on the road in just a couple of hours. This is in no small part because of the stellar manual included in the kit. The full-color four-page booklet walked me through every step of the way with large, crisp photos and well-written directions, including helpful mentions of common pitfalls like when a bolt could fall into the bodywork or a hidden tab could snap if I wasn’t careful.
I didn’t need any special tools either. A couple of hex keys, a Phillips screwdriver, and an 8 mm socket were enough to get the job done. Well, that and a pump to siphon gas from the tank, which must be lifted to access the subframe panels. I picked one up from my local auto parts store for less than $20, but if this isn’t an option, you /can/ lift the tank when it’s full (be careful not to spill) or go for a long joy ride instead.
With the seat and subframe covers in hand, I wiped down the parts and installed the heat shield itself. The custom die-cut fiberglass pieces felt quite durable in my hand and fit the OEM plastics remarkably well. However, it still took patience to align them properly with the subframe covers’ many bits, bobs, and odd contours. I found it exceedingly helpful to do a dry run to see how each piece aligned before peeling away the backing and fully committing.
After buttoning the bike back up, I hit the slab for a test ride on an 80-degree Sunday afternoon. As the bike warmed up, my new fiberglass barrier provided welcome protection from the heat. I felt slightly warm air seeping through the weak points between the bodywork and seat, but my legs and butt remained surprisingly cool—at least for the first 20 minutes.
Roughly 25 miles into my ride, the Panigale’s seat began to creep back up to its usual seething temperature. According to Ducati Spacers, this is typical behavior for the kit—as the radiant heat builds up, it is replaced by conductive heat, and fiberglass shielding can only do so much. During my 150 miles in the saddle with this kit, I always felt the burn eventually, whether stuck in rush-hour or flying at full-blown interstate speeds.
Still, the Panigale Heat Shield kit by Ducati Spacers is well worth the investment. While it doesn’t have an indefinite effect, it will cool your coals from Ducati Red to something more bearable for the first 20-30 miles of every ride. Most of my low-speed urban riding fits within this duration anyway, and that’s where the relief is most valuable. You can’t—and shouldn’t—go WOT within city limits to generate extra breeze without attracting unwanted attention.
I love my 899 Panigale’s clean lines, minimalist underbelly exhaust, and the intoxicating snarl of its 148-hp L-twin powerplant. Yet it seems this nearly fatal flaw is simply baked into its otherwise perfect design—and as a superbike junkie, I know that good things never come free. This kit isn’t the ultimate solution I hoped for, but it is the best option out there and I welcome the partial relief.
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