Join Date: May 2007
Location: Venice, CA, USA
My 696 review
I just test rode a pearl white one today. It had the DP ECU and carbon termi pipes (but unfortunately the decibel killers were still installed).
First off, I think it looks fantastic. The older Monsters next to it still look great, but now like the previous generation. The bike is very small, the details are great. Bike starts readily, responds quite crisply to the throttle. Clutch engages right at the end of the travel which is a bit of a bummer if you're 2-up and/or on a steep hill, but is ok in most conditions. Engine revs quickly and the bike has a lot of scoot. The stock gearing is a little high (typical Ducati for noise regs) but a 14th instead of a 15th front sprocket would clearly help it feel gutsier. Right now the bike feels really nice but I was expecting a little more oomph but I think that it is down to gearing. This new motor is meant to be significantly more powerful than the 695 that it replaces. The closest comparison that I have is my 800ss (when the fuel filter is not getting plugged!) and the 800 feels noticeably more powerful, but that may be because I have it geared correctly.
I was a bit disappointed in the brakes, the front is the latest really cool radial design, much more modern than the pedestrian offerings on my 800ss or my St4s, but it was only par with the 800ss, and not as strong as the brakes on the St4s. BUT, the bike only had 42 miles on it so it really should get better. Hopefully.
In motion the seat makes you slide forward into the tank a bit, so the nards get a bit of contact if you're not careful. A real hooligan position though, I began blasting through traffic with it and the suspension at up to 60mph city speeds absorbed all the busted asphalt that LA threw up for it no problem. A great city bike. I'm not sure how it will feel at higher speeds or canyon straffing because the front end felt a bit flighty to what I'm used to, but until it is ridden in those conditions I wouldn't know.
The instruments are hard to read in daylight, not because you can't make them out but you have to look down and focus on all the stuff. I think that this is because I'm not used to digital read outs. At night I think it would be easier because everything glows orangey red and stands out.
I have to say that I feel that Ducati has a winner with this one. Coming back and parking it next to the previous generation bikes I really had the feeling that the baton has been passed on. Just wait until the bigger motor versions come out.
The dealer received 10 bikes last week. 8 have already been sold...
p.s. forgot to mention I am 5'10" and 150. If you're a big boy you'll likely dwarf this bike.