First of all big thanks to Ace Motorsports and Ducati North America putting this wonderful two days event together. A lot of local riders showed up, and I took this chance seriously for testing out two of the possible 'what's next' bikes - 2010 Ducati Streetfighter and 848. The test route was mixed with city streets with stop and go traffic, suburb neighborhood, and some basic level one twisties. It was a sunny dry day at 72 degree - perfect day for test ride!
2010 Streetfighter base model:
- The Engine
One word - SWEET! The engine was strong, responsive, and sharp. It just pull and pull - felt like I never able to find the end of it. It is so strong that almost a bit scary for the more upright riding ergo (will take a bit more in ergo section).
- The Clutch:
It came with a dry clutch unit, and the clutch pull was typical ducati hard. Just unfortunate that the test bike that I had has a sticky non-adjustable lever, and it didn't have enough room to fit two of fingers in between while still maintain good control. I have to use all 4 fingers on the lever to keep the engine alive - not really a big deal, and I got used to it in no time. But still, I feel like the friction zone is a bit short, and it zone ended at about a bit sooner than I expected.
- The riding ergo
Both the sale and the DNA resp told me the Streetfighter had a very aggressive riding ergo. But compare with my Sport 1000, the SF actually fitted me perfectly. The bar was high enough but not too high, and my cone of vision was wide open - I don't even see the gauge! The best part is, unlike the Hypermotra, I felt like I was sitting inside the bike. I felt secure and able to ride it all day long. The only complain I have was the right peg - the heat shield was hitting my boot. Sitting height was just right - similar to my Sport 1000.
- The chassis
The bike was light! I felt it even when the bike was standing still. Suspension was descent (test bike was the Base model without Ohlins); and it was responsive and linear. The wide handle bar gave me a lot leverage to push the bike from left to right. Combine with the strong engine light weight chassis, the bike was so alive on the twisties.
2010 848 base model:
- The engine
The engine was a bit of the let down, especially after riding the SF. It was too soft and too lazy. The pull just simply can't compare with the Streetfrighter - felt like it was only a bit stronger than my Sport 1000. I would expect more since after all it is a higher HP and newer engine on a much lighter chassis compare with Sport 1000.
- The clutch:
I wasn't feeling too hot about wet clutch until I actually using it. The friction zone was wider than Streetfrighter, and the clutch respond was liner and predictable. But believe it or not, the clutch pull was harder than most Ducati bikes including the Streetfrighter. It was really pain in the butt when I was stuck in traffic...
- The riding ergo
The best of 848 offered me was the bump at the fairings - my knees were able to rest on it, and it provided an anchor point when I wanted to tuck-in. Thanks to the supersport design, my legs able to easily 'grab' the tank while I hung off the bike. It was a bit relax riding position compare with my old bike; but it is for sure still not a ideal ergo for everyday use. The sitting height was nice - felt like it was half an inch lower.
- The chassis
In contrast to the Streetfighter, the 848 was lazy in twisties. It needed a bit of the effort to push due to the shorter and lower handle bars (which is similar to my Sport 1000). It is just the nature of the supersport bike and I think I could suck it up. But what really surprised me was the heat issue. Yesterday wasn't a hot day to ride; but somehow both of my knees were cooking. It was almost as bad as my Sport 1000... on both knees!
I think I am pretty sure the 848 won't be on my list any longer while I was lusting all over the new Streetfighter :D~
BTW, I fianlly able to sit on the new legendary Multistrada 1200. It was a very nice bike in real life without the fat - it actually a lot smaller than what I was expected. Can't wait to test ride (or own) it!