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When you plonk down 120K for a superbike you expect the ride of a lifetime. And that’s just what Andrew Allan got when he bought himself a Ducati Superleggera

The day you buy yourself a motorcycle is a special event that is to be relished, and if you happen to be buying a new Ducati Superbike you are paying premium money and can reasonably expect to receive a premium experience. So have you ever wondered what happens when you buy something even more expensive and exclusive from Ducati?

I’m talking about the Ducati Panigale 1299 Superleggera, a motorcycle that only exists because it can. I won’t go into the technical details as the hyperbole surrounding this machine means you’ve already seen the specs or you can easily find them (Vol 67 No 04). Only 500 have been made, and even that number can’t be justified on purely rational grounds.

Using the tried-and-true pretext that you only get to live once and you can’t take anything with you when you go, I found myself talking to my local Ducati salesman at the end of 2016 about a bike that didn’t appear to exist. Yep, strange as it may seem, there are no 1299SL brochures, it’s not listed on the company’s price list, does not appear on the Ducati website, and does not occupy public space in dealer showrooms. The Superleggera has its own website and was available on request only. It was almost clandestine.

Following a somewhat stilted discussion with the dealer, I eventually established that the 1299SL would eventually exist and that I could request a bike by placing a deposit, but – and this was emphasised – there was no guarantee that Ducati in Italy would allocate a motorcycle to me because their best customers (meaning 1199 Superleggera owners – which isn’t me) would get first preference and deliveries would be some time in 2017.

A few days later I put my name on the waiting list by handing over a cheque that would ordinarily be enough to buy a motorcycle outright (and a nice one at that) and then the waiting started.

Finally, several months later, I was down at the pub when my phone rang and a pleasant-sounding lady explained that she was calling from Italy and I’d been allocated one of the 500 machines to be built.

At the end of the call, I experienced a number of contrasting feelings: elation – I’m one of the lucky few; disappointment – I don’t need this bike, all I really wanted was to tell my friends that I tried to buy ‘the big one’; and concern – how, when and where do I tell the wife what I’ve just agreed to buy.

This last issue really was crucial. I’m happy to say my wife is a keen motorcyclist who rides an MV Agusta F4, but she’s a one-bike-at-a-time
person whereas I tend to buy a motorcycle every few years but rarely get around to selling them, so over the past 30 years or so I’ve accumulated a few and therefore I’m regularly reminded that the garage is rather full already.

A few weeks later I received another call from Italy. A man asked, would I like to come to Mugello for a ride day? Bikes and food will be supplied, just bring leathers and safety gear…

Read the full story in the current issue and Yearbook (Vol 67 No 12) of AMCN on sale now!