Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Multistrada is a hell of a lot of bike

I haven't talked much about how much I love this new bike in comparison to the Hypermotard, which I also loved dearly. But let me just say, wowsers.

The MTS is so much more bike than the Hyper was. It also isn't what the Hyper was; a fully-spastic-raucous-always-on-11-flat-out-hoon-machine. But in return for losing some of that, the MTS is everything else I want from a motorcycle. Here's a bit of the 'why'.

After a tyre refresh and around 3,000 kays travelled I am pretty comfortable saying the MTS is the best bike I have ever owned.


 Electronics
There is a lot to cover here. Electronic suspension settings, ABS, dash and the ignition system, all pretty complex. It's the most technology on any bike I've ever owned and I'm still adjusting to it. The dash is a mighty fine piece of work and has everything I think I have ever wanted (apart from 3D HUD) on a modern bike. Fuel gauge is excellent and easy to see, temperature oddly shows in F while the outside air temp is shown in C, gear indicator is the best thing ever invented, trip meters are perfect with A, B and Total, and the electronic ride modes and suspension settings are a sinch to operate once you know how.

 A quick flick down on the left bar gives you the ride modes, it's easy to do and while I never thought I would find myself accessing different settings on the go, I certainly have, and think it's a bloody great idea which has been implemented really well on this bike.

 Shits all over the stupid system on the Aprillia Dorsoduro and I have totally found myself flipping in and out of different modes depending on conditions. I am not sure I understand ABS and DTC at all to be honest, but I can really tell the difference in throttle mapping with the ride modes, and this is where the technology benefit kicks in for me.



For instance, on new tyres in the wet I kept it on Urban mode for the first few days of scrubbing tyres in. With the bhp pulled back to 100 and a much gentler throttle map I felt much safer and less worried about washing out on new hoops. It's a really big difference - you can jump on the gas and wind it on without that aggressive rush of full-on horses pushing you back in your seat.

 I have also had a bit of a crack in the dirt in Enduro mode and spun the back wheel up a bit here and there, but again I am not really sure I understand the ABS and DTC control on this machine as yet, might need some lessons in what it is doing. For the most part though, I am either keeping it in Urban or Sport mode. Sport mode is by far my favourite unleashing all the ponies available and giving that Hyper-like adrenalin pumping throttle response. Snappy, aggressive, powerful. It's a lot of fun. I have had an unfortunate situation arise with the keyless ignition system though. Unfortunate and just bloody stupid.

I lost the key. The key is one of those proximity things so it only has to be in your pocket to get the bike to turn over and in a moment of stupidity I either dropped it out of my jacket pocket or left it in the seat lock and some twat pinched it. Regardless I had to get a new one and that has turned into a small nightmare. The new key won't program up to work 100% so now the dash throws a 'No Key' error all the time and to start it I have to put the key right on top of the dash assembly or it won't recognise it. She is going back into the shop for reprogramming tomorrow but right now I am wishing it just had a normal key.

Comfort

This is by far the easiest Ducati I have ever ridden. Jump on, sit upright and just ride. It is very, very easy to ride. In some ways I guess it is more forgiving as well in terms of comparison, if you just jumped on a Hyper with a WaspWorks PUK installed you would be forgiven for shitting your pants if you jumped on the gas too hard without expecting what happens next.

 I miss that most of all actually - the incredible induction roar of the PUK unleashing beneath me in a rowdy air cooled thwack of awesome sauce. Of course apart from also being easy to just get on and ride (if you put it in Urban mode first lol) there is also the fact that this bike is a bit lower to the ground, has a bigger wider more comfortable seat and can easily pull 300kms out of one tank of fuel. Hyper? Not so much.


I am thankful I didn't get the 1200S Touring in the end because the centre stand placement would just shit me to tears eventually causing me to remove it and losing all the benefits of having said centre stand. How they could design a centre stand that your heel touches continuously is beyond me. I have had the factory heated grips installed, and on mornings where the thermometer is barely registering a 1 or 2 I am super thankful for them.

 The other angle to comfort I guess is how you feel actually riding it. Now I am definitely not 100% on it yet, I haven't really had it cranked over in the twisties but I do know this. I feel incredibly confident on this bike. It assures me I can tip in and just roll on out again. It feels so sure footed on the road and stable at speed - something again the Hyper never really inspired in me.

It can also bang a u-turn on a ten cent piece, the turning circle is that good and I find myself tipping in a whole lot better at slow speeds on this bike - something I could never manage on the Hyper. It has a really nice feel in commuting situations and again inspires more confidence in me as a rider. The bars are wider but need to be higher for me (risers on their way from the GT model) and so I haven't quite found my 'go fast' mode of riding yet - I am not sure if I should be hanging off the seat, pushing the bars around or dropping my shoulder into hard corners - it will come in time I guess. After about 100kms the seat gives me Ducati-arse so I have ordered a Sargent Performance Seat without welt and top stitched. Those things are the only way to do long distance on any bike IMHO.

Grin factor

This is an odd one. Big Steve and I often talked about the grin factor on the Hyper. You need to be a certain kind of person (lunatic, imbicile, big kid) to buy a Hyper in the first place and the grin factor appeal is very high. But it is also the inherent problem with owning that bike, especially if it is the only bike in your shed. Every single ride is set to lunatic mode.

 There is no other mode. Braaaaap braaaaap braaap! Now while that is fun, it is also highly impractical for someone who wants to ride to the Snowys a few times a year, or slab it over to Adelaide or up to Sydney for something to do - which is why I traded for a more practical (four-bikes-in-one lolz) solution in the MTS. But does it have the grin factor? Not exactly. It's different though, it gives me confidence and inspiration.

 It's super fast, much quieter (no dry clutch) and more comfortable and even though I try not to let my emotions/moods affect me on the odd occassion when they do take over and I find myself giving the old girl a fistful of gas and really going for it, the manic grin comes back. It just takes a bit more to coax it out of. I'm not complaining. Plus it has that deep throaty Ducati grumble of a big twin that certainly does make me smile and twist the wrist almost every-time I start it up :)


Summary

The MTS is a complex amazing machine and something that I can see myself on for many years to come as I learn to live with, and ride it. Do I miss the Hyper? For sure, sometimes. Most of all I miss that induction roar but I don't miss the lunatic it extruded from me, maybe I can keep my license for a while longer now. Stay upright and ride naked people.