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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all,

I stumbled across a picture of a Streetfighter a couple weeks ago, been lurking a while, and after visiting a couple dealers I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to get one.

I've been following the issues and complaints people have had, and in the last 2 days I got to test ride 2 SFs to get some first-hand impressions. One was a base model that did NOT have the ECU remap done yet. The other was an S model that DID have the remap done (according to the salesman).

My current bike is a 2008 Yamaha FZ6, which is also my first bike (2 years, 10k miles). The Ducati is a very new experience for me, so I cannot give any kind of 'expert' review. Instead, here's a few of my impressions that might help some people struggling with their own opinions of the bike.

1) ECU remap. The S model with the remap done was noticeably smoother at low rpm. It took a few seconds longer to fire up, but seemed to idle well after about 15 seconds. The throttle response was slightly smoother at low speeds/rpm than the base with no ECU remap. The S still seemed a little rough at low rpm, but it's a 2-cylinder bike and I come from a Japanese 4-cylinder, so we'll take that with a grain of salt. The base model without the remap had a lot of lag in the throttle at low rpm (below 3000). A gentle twist of the throttle at low rpm took about a second to produce a response from the engine, and the throttle had kind of an on/off effect. The S was easier to modulate. Overall, the bike with the remap done was definitely a little better. I don't expect it to be as smooth as my FZ6, but I think it could be improved even more.

2) Heat shield. I have big feet and this was annoying. I even thought the little shield on the left side was not optimal. Looking at the exhaust, the pipes could be moved inward a full inch and still have about 3/4" clearance with the swing-arm. The stock pipes could be bent this much by somebody who knows what they're doing. I think that would solve the issue. I would probably end up replacing or significantly modifying the stock rearsets on the SF to be less slippery and provide a small shield at ankle-level (like you see on most bikes) instead of heel-level.

3) Suspension. I'm rather untrained in sport riding, and just the base model is such a huge suspension upgrade over the FZ6 that I can't offer much in this area. There was a noticeable difference between the Ohlins and the Showa, and the Ohlins gave a slightly better ride, but they still felt like roughly the same bike to me.

4) Clutch. I'm glad people say this is an easy fix. I didn't think it was tough at all until I had to sit at a traffic light for about 3 minutes. Holy crap!

5) Comfort. The seat, to my surprise, might be more comfortable than my FZ6's seat. This might be due to the SF's pegs being positioned slightly farther back than the FZ6's, resulting in less rotation of the pelvis on the SF. Padding on the SF was perfect, less than the FZ6, but somehow more comfortable. I definitely want the bars raised at least an inch higher on the SF. At speed its comfortable, but I want to commute on this bike, and city riding places too much weight on my wrists (I'm 6'3"). Part of this probably comes from just being used to the FZ6, too, which has higher bars.


It's a bummer that I would have to do so many modifications to get a $20k bike where I want it, whereas I did nothing to my $8k FZ6 and everything works fine. I also don't like hearing the SF crank for 7 seconds or more to start. The ultra-reliability of the FZ6 has me spoiled. Still, I don't think I'm going to be able to talk myself out of the SF S. It's just too incredible. I recently moved to San Diego, and have discovered it's motorcycle paradise. Perfect weather, no rain, curvy mountain roads, and fast highways. I want a bike that is comfortable to commute on 5 days a week and that's also fun in the twisty mountains. I don't want to track it all that much (just enough to build a safe skill level on the bike). I think the SF can be that bike, but it does need a little work.
 

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I've been on the verge of buying a new bike now for a while and have been doing a lot of research on various bikes. Although the hard core sport bikes intrigue me, in the long run I think I'd be better served by something just a bit more comfortable. Always a Ducati lover, when the SF came along I was looking forward to the first reviews. I also am interested in the BMW K1300S and the Triumph SpeedTriple.

Like you, I'm somewhat dismayed that the SF requires so many modifications of a new bike just to make it rideable in traffic. It's been a while since I've ridden and unpredictable throttle response of such a powerful machine, especially at the low speeds at which one normally rides in heavy traffic, is something I'm not sure I want to deal with.

The BMW is out since there are no dealerships within 200 miles here in Mobile, but the Speed Triple is starting to look like a strong contender as my next bike.

....but I really like the sound, looks, and riding position of the Ducati. Is the SF really that bad in traffic around town? With the gap in my experience, I need controllability and predictability.
 

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I've been on the verge of buying a new bike now for a while and have been doing a lot of research on various bikes. Although the hard core sport bikes intrigue me, in the long run I think I'd be better served by something just a bit more comfortable. Always a Ducati lover, when the SF came along I was looking forward to the first reviews. I also am interested in the BMW K1300S and the Triumph SpeedTriple.

Like you, I'm somewhat dismayed that the SF requires so many modifications of a new bike just to make it rideable in traffic. It's been a while since I've ridden and unpredictable throttle response of such a powerful machine, especially at the low speeds at which one normally rides in heavy traffic, is something I'm not sure I want to deal with.

The BMW is out since there are no dealerships within 200 miles here in Mobile, but the Speed Triple is starting to look like a strong contender as my next bike.

....but I really like the sound, looks, and riding position of the Ducati. Is the SF really that bad in traffic around town? With the gap in my experience, I need controllability and predictability.
I traded my Triumph for the SF and although I love the Duc, it is no where near as easy to ride in traffic. It will ultimately depend on the state of tune of the bike. Each one seems to vary from very good (mine now) to very bad (some others on this forum.) The heat shield does suck but not a big deal for street riding. The clutch slave is a must but a fairly easy/cheap mod. The most important mod (IMO) is a change of the front sprocket to a 14t. It really smooths it out and really changes the way the bike rides and operates at slower speeds.

If you want something that will make you smile every time you walk out to it, before even starting it, you cant beat the Ducs! If you want easy to ride, comfy but slightly bland (IMO) get the Triumph.

You'll read a lot of upset people on this forum. But keep those opinions in check because its the same 5 or so people that are having bad experiences. I've met and spoke to a bunch of SF owners, off the forum and the underlying opinions go from good to great with only one guy I know that isn't too happy (due to the low end issues.) I for one love this bike. Even with the hiccups and the heat shield. It feels like nothing else and you just cant duplicate the combination of exclusivity, looks, sound, and passion that a Duc gives you every time you ride it. I really liked my Triumph but it was forgettable. I love my Duc!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
From my own initial impression, I think once the sprocket change is done it will be fine in traffic. The gearing is waaaayyyyyy lower than my FZ6. The FZ6 has about 46 lb-ft of torque and a 14k redline. I think if it had the same gear ratios as the stock SF, it would be way worse in traffic than the SF is.
 

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All,

Let me add one caveat if you are considering the SF (and the SF S in particular). Make sure the suspension works for you, for your intended riding. I only weigh about 145 lbs and can't get anywhere near the sag from the Ohlins rear shock on the SF S that's needed to make for a good ride on the street (only about 20mm max). Great for the track but anything less than smooth roads beat me up! I have a lighter spring on order but think about it as a possible additional cost if your weight is in the same range as mine.
 

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Ducatis are synonymous with customization so none of the issues bug most of us too much because we're always swapping out this or that to fit our taste whether it be functional or cosmetic (can you say carbon fiber?). I have the base with Termi slip-ons and ECU and don't have the flat spot that others describe but it still is rough when cruising in the 3-4k range. I did put on the 14T front sprocket (cost about $35) and it makes a large difference in riding ease because it gets the RPMs up a little, thus keeping it out of that range. For me (6'0") the riding position is absolutely perfect for all but long distance touring when I notice my upper back and neck getting a little fatigued. This may be from counterbalancing the wind blast at highway speeds for prolonged periods, a situation for which I don't intend to ride much, rather than forward lean angle. Since you are pretty tall, it makes sense that you would want a little higher bars. I thought I would too when I first sat on it, but in action it is perfect for me, as I described. I imaging that there will be more aftermarket mods or higher angled bars at some point but for now the choices are pretty slim in that area.

When I test rode the S on release day, I immediately noticed the awkward R foot peg, but everything was new on the bike so I was on sensory overload. The clutch pull reminded me of my 996 before I put a 30mm clutch slave on it, which was pretty painful in the situation you described. I found the Ohlins to be a little stiff for my liking but of course it wasn't adjusted for me. The base out of the box was just about right for my pretty leisurely riding style. When I picked up my pre-ordered base model, they had already installed my Termis and MPL pressure plate with stainless springs. For whatever reason, my foot doesn't seem to be as pushed out as far (even though I don't think anything was changed by way of the piping to the cans) and the clutch pull was noticeably lighter and felt perfect; not too light not too heavy. I would say it was a little easier even than my moded 996. I think the spring tension on the aftermarket plate and springs was lower which made the difference. It may just be that I've gotten used to foot position and it doesn't bother me one bit. Again, aftermarket pegs are available if you desire.

As the miles accumulate and the engine breaks in I'm sure it will smooth out even more. Plus, when you explore the 6-10k RPM the ride really gets enjoyable. I don't know how much of that you got to do your test ride but it is absolutely addicting.

The sluggish start could be a slightly discharged battery (if it had sat for a week or so without being ridden). All Ducs have high compression and it takes a lot of juice to crank 'em up. I keep a Tender on mine when I know it will be a few weeks before I ride again to fend that off a little. I know some who just keep them on the Tender no matter what. This is akin to Ferrari vs Lexus. The Ferrari takes a little TLC to keep her happy. The Lexus never lets you down and just keeps plodding around making no demands. This is not from any personal experience I would add, although I'd love to experience a Ferrari

If you decide to go with the SF, make sure they have done the reflash and that they check your fuel supply line inside the tank. Mine went DOA the day after I brought it home (which was May 30th) and I had to trailer it back to the dealer. The clamp holding it on wasn't slid forward enough and it slipped off. It was an easy fix but unnecessary with a little quality control. I think it's known well enough now that your dealer would check it but you never know.

By the way, a buddy of mine has an FZ-6 and I let him ride my bike and he hasn't forgiven me since :). If you don't want to spend more green on the bike, then try to negotiate in your purchase a few of the things that bug you the most and enjoy the ride!
 

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How far is Mobile from Birmingham? There is a BMW/Ducati dealer there. FYI, my Ducati dealer is 240 miles away.
 

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I think I would have to agree with just about everything said so far.

I wanted to add that the SF is not a fun bike to ride slow in traffic. I haven't geared it down but kind of don't want to because I like being able to putter around at 70mph. By this I mean on the stock bike in 6th gear, just below 4k rpms, you will be cruising at 70 (which is actually about 64-65 ish because of the 8% the ECU adds to the speed it gets).

this bike is REALLY fun to ride on curvy back roads. It isn't quite as focused and dedicated as a full sport bike, and you have to lean way over the front to get the handling down but it's nice enough on long rides that you will not be hurting after 4-5 hours of riding.
my lower back gets sore from flexing during acceleration and my arms and shoulders get sore from braking and leaning on longer rides.

One thing I have done that improved my bike but may have different affects for other bikes, is unhooking the exhaust valve. it really smoothed out the flat spot, but didn't get rid of it.
I dropped off my bike at the dealer to have it serviced, the ECU reflashed and (also on my bike) the output crank shaft seal replaced.

There is also a change in the recall for the front forks.. initially it was just a check and replacement for the necessary bikes, but now (as of last fri.) it's now an automatic replacement of the right forks.. BUT the dealer didn't know if this was retroactive to previously 'checked' bikes.
 

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I think I would have to agree with just about everything said so far.

I wanted to add that the SF is not a fun bike to ride slow in traffic. I haven't geared it down but kind of don't want to because I like being able to putter around at 70mph. By this I mean on the stock bike in 6th gear, just below 4k rpms, you will be cruising at 70 (which is actually about 64-65 ish because of the 8% the ECU adds to the speed it gets).

this bike is REALLY fun to ride on curvy back roads. It isn't quite as focused and dedicated as a full sport bike, and you have to lean way over the front to get the handling down but it's nice enough on long rides that you will not be hurting after 4-5 hours of riding.
my lower back gets sore from flexing during acceleration and my arms and shoulders get sore from braking and leaning on longer rides.

One thing I have done that improved my bike but may have different affects for other bikes, is unhooking the exhaust valve. it really smoothed out the flat spot, but didn't get rid of it.
I dropped off my bike at the dealer to have it serviced, the ECU reflashed and (also on my bike) the output crank shaft seal replaced.

There is also a change in the recall for the front forks.. initially it was just a check and replacement for the necessary bikes, but now (as of last fri.) it's now an automatic replacement of the right forks.. BUT the dealer didn't know if this was retroactive to previously 'checked' bikes.
I would highly recommend the sprocket change. It made the bike go from awful in traffic to perfectly acceptable. It really transforms the bike just enough to make it so much more enjoyable. It doesn't modify it so much that your much higher in top gear at an indicated 70mph. Do yourself a favor and try it, its a cheap mod and I don't think you"ll be disappointed. Plus if you don't like it, your only out $30 bucks.
 

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How far is Mobile from Birmingham? There is a BMW/Ducati dealer there. FYI, my Ducati dealer is 240 miles away.
Birmingham is about 315 miles from here. Much further than I want to travel for bike maintenance on a K1300S.....although I will say that a trip to Barber Motorsports Park is certainly in order. On the other hand, my Ducati/Triumph dealership is only 45 miles away in Pensacola. :)
 

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The Engineer (Tell your mom hey)
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Birmingham is about 315 miles from here. Much further than I want to travel for bike maintenance on a K1300S.....although I will say that a trip to Barber Motorsports Park is certainly in order. On the other hand, my Ducati/Triumph dealership is only 45 miles away in Pensacola. :)
I've had the luck to drive a K1300S.
If I hadn't already planned on buying a StreetFighter, I would have been very sorely tempted by the bmw.. or wait for the new bmw super bike to release.. Either way the K1300S is a great bike with no dive on the front and ABS brakes and an anti spin bit on the rear tire. (kind of like traction control)
anyway I mention all this to say It goes FAST.. so that 315 mile trip.. just drive it home.. drive it back and it's broken in,, that's gotta be like 6 hour round trip :D Not so bad if you ask me!
 
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