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Bon Vivant
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I got a call this morning that the used 2020 SF that I looked at last week was available for a test ride so I headed down to the Ducati dealership. The bike was ready to ride with a full tank of gas and it had been cleaned up and looked as good as new. I think this bike has about 560 miles on it. If you didnt read my previous post on this bike the original owner only had it for a weekend or so and decided he wanted his Aprillia Tuono back instead of the SF. At least that was the story I got from the dealer.
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The guys at the dealership got the bike ready and as is their policy had a staff person accompany me on the ride. While I waited for my guide I had the chance to go through the menus and found the dash and all of the tech to be very intuitive and easy to manipulate. I set the bike into sport mode with ABS on 4, TC on 3 and wheelie control to 1 (it wouldn't go to off, I'm not sure how to do that but I didnt fiddle around to find out)

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Just sitting on the bike felt very natural, the seat is super comfy and the reach to the bars is also just about perfect for me. Once underway I did find that the knees are folded up a little more than the 1st gen SF but after just a few minutes it's quite comfortable. Overall the bike is just about the perfect blend of sportiness and comfort and I could easily ride the bike all day every day with no discomfort aside from the normal butt pain that we all feel on any bike after a long day.

Turns out I was riding with Paul who I believe is the general manager of the store and a true Ducatisti way back into the bevel days. Paul didnt hold back and I got a real proper test ride with sections of city, highway and back country roads.

On startup the engine idle seems to wander around as the bike warms up. It seems like it's trying to find its happy place and it takes a while. Once warm it seemed to idle more smoothly

The first thing I notice is how well the quickshift system works both up and down at any RPM or any speed. Its fantastic. Throttle operation and fueling is also flawless at any speed and in every situation, even when you're chugging along in a gear too high and the bike starts to lug a bit just a slight twist and it pulls cleanly out of that forgiving your mistake.

I found myself wanting to compare this bike to the first gen SF but the reality is this bike is nothing like the first gen. In no way does this bike compare, its far more civilized, far more sophisticated, and far easier to ride - the V4SF makes you look like a hero while the gen 1 beast will show you who's boss if you aren't up to the challenge. The V4 is a pussycat in traffic with smooth even control of both the throttle and the handling and at no time did I feel any heat off the engine or the exhaust. Speaking of heat the wings also seemed to help in that area directing some needed airflow up past your knees and around your torso helping to keep the rider cool in the summer heat. (Im not sure how that's gonna feel in the winter)
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One of my worries with all that power being created above 9000RPM was how will it feel in the low and midrange power, will it be anemic like the 1199 panigale was? The answer is happily no, it has an almost perfect level of punch at nearly any RPM and at no time is it over the top nor is it underwhelming. The bike is tame and easy to ride and it is deceptively fast. At one point on the highway we accelerated around a couple of trucks as we entered and I glanced down to a very surprising number that I will not disclose. Strangely it has this ability to be both tame and very fast at the same time. Unlike the Gen 1 that is a raw unleashed beast of a bike that can and will bite you this thing is almost BMW-like in its ease of use and surprising level of performance .

But in that same vein its a little BMW-like in it's lack of character, and it doesn't give you that "fear of death" RUSH that I get from both my Touno and my 1098SFS. The bike is just a little too good. I cannot fault it, but it's also just a little too easy, too nice. I dunno, at this stage of my life that may be just what I need.

The bike is a kind of Jeckle and Hyde; ride it below 9000RPM for eveyday use, and spin it up past that to bring out the monster hidden inside. Oh yes I did get the bike to wheelie just a tiny little bit but it happens only once the bike is really moving and its not quite at your summoning like the first gen bike. But if you want speed that lack of front wheel lift really helps and as I said before the bike is fast.

On one hand I really liked everything about the bike and my fears of an anemic low and mid power have been fully alleviated. I know this would be a really great bike for me and it is right up my alley. On the other hand I just didnt get a rush from it, it isnt particularly exotic nor does it feel extra special to me. I'm sure I would love the bike on a day to day basis but it doesn't stir my soul as much as I want right now. I have some really good bikes already, do I need another really good bike? Or am I hoping for something that is a little more over the top? I'll have to sleep on it for a night or two..
 

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I will say that riding it with an exhaust installed definitely makes it feel more raw and aggressive. The full Akra takes care of the dip in low-end torque which is apparent on dyno runs, but what it's really doing is just giving the bike some thunder and fury. Is that actually changing the bike's fundamental character? No. But it does make riding it seem a bit more wild.

Overall, I think your observations are pretty much spot on. The bike is very good at what it does, and I like it more than I thought I would. That said, I struggled quite a bit in choosing between the SFV4 and the new Super Duke, and that was a tough choice for me because the Duke excels on all the points where you said the Ducati falls a bit flat. I went with Ducati because I already had a significant store credit, but there's part of me that is still convinced the Duke is probably the better road bike.
 

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Your road test reminds me of some of the Porsche turbo road tests and comparisons I have read over the years. The old 930 turbo was a much more visceral experience - noise, heat, road feel, stiff controls and scary, unforgiving "you'd better be on your game" handling. The new turbo? Well, with even twice the hp, my grandmother could make one of those go fast and be doing her nails at the same time.
 
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Good review. I have a Tuono and had a 1098SF... both are so full of character. I love the Tuono but miss my SF very much.
 

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Smut peddler
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I can't see you liking this bike long-term FBD. You have a stable full of bikes with character. This bike really has none as far as asthetics are concerned. Other than the tail section, it's devoid of character. The styling is more Japanese than Ducati. I'm sure it's a beast of a machine, but it lacks character. That's a kind way of saying it's ugly. Sit it next to your 1098SF, and I bet no one would give it a second look.

But what do I know? I ride a gen 1 multi, and I think it's a thing of beauty.:D
 
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If you owned it, under what circumstances would you ride it vs any of your other bikes? It seems like whether you like it (or not) is less important than the opportunity cost of owning it.
 

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2020 Multistrada 1260 S Touring
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Very good to hear your feedback on the bike! Some of what you said makes me think it would be a good companion to my GS however it would be the only companion. I don‘t have the stable of bikes you do and this would be very different from my GS for sure.

I think as technology continues to creep it‘s way into bikes, that edge, like what the OG SF has, gets dulled down and is unavoidable given the push for safety features.

I look forward to being able to test ride one myself one day.
 

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I think the looks are aggressive and bad ass.
I find it hard to imagine a Ducati lacking character, but have not tested one of these.
 

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Bon Vivant
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you owned it, under what circumstances would you ride it vs any of your other bikes? It seems like whether you like it (or not) is less important than the opportunity cost of owning it.
You have a point. I'm about at my personal limit for the number of bikes I can comfortably maintain and exercise. I would probably sell the Kawasaki to make room for this bike, not because of the cost but because I just cant ride them all. Honestly I dont ride my 1098SF much at all any more either - it has become a bit of trophy bike and I want to keep it pristine. But being able to spread the miles between several bikes helps me keep them all in pretty clean shape and they aren't accumulating the miles very quickly. I have 17K on the SF and almost 50K on the Multi, the other bikes are all under 5K. I could easily see myself splitting my time between this and the Tuono.

The good thing about the bike not feeling too special is that I would have no problem riding often and riding it hard. But if I were to start blingin it up that could change - like it did on the current SF. I can already name about 10 things I'd like to do to it to make it mine...
 

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Bon Vivant
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I can't see you liking this bike long-term FBD. You have a stable full of bikes with character. This bike really has none as far as asthetics are concerned. Other than the tail section, it's devoid of character. The styling is more Japanese than Ducati. I'm sure it's a beast of a machine, but it lacks character. That's a kind way of saying it's ugly. Sit it next to your 1098SF, and I bet no one would give it a second look.

But what do I know? I ride a gen 1 multi, and I think it's a thing of beauty.:D
I honestly think its pretty ho hum in the looks department too but I can see potential. I think the bike could be pretty dang cool with the right goodies slathered all over it. (And the styling is not Japanese :cautious:)
I have my own pretty outdated sense of style for bikes. Most people these days dont like my style but I dont care, I like what I like.
 

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I have my own pretty outdated sense of style for bikes. Most people these days dont like my style but I dont care, I like what I like.
I read a recent comparison that called the Tuono styling “dated” compared to the Streetfighter and I realized that was what I liked about it.
I saw one at a gas station up here and was taken back by how bland it looked.
 

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Bon Vivant
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Those are pretty similar bikes. I only have 3 bikes, but they are very different. I'm not a collector so for me there has to be a pretty distinct use case for everything in my stable.
Yeah I guess I just have a passion for superbikes but I hate the track ergos. These are superbikes that are optimized for street use. I wish I could own one of each!

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@flynbulldog Styling always has and always will be subjective, personal if you will. But I think it could be somewhat objective that Ducati used to stand on its own in design. Have they slid back into the pack, or have the others mimmicked Ducati to a point where the difference is lessened? Dunno. But that thing just doesn't scream Ducati to me. TBH, I would say it looks eerily similar to the Japanese nakeds (kawi z1000?). My case in point is this. I'm working next to a McLaren/ Lamborghini service shop right now. I see those things roll in all day, and they seem fairly similar to the eye to me. Lambo doesn't scream Italian. Every so often a Ferrari rolls in. The distinction is so obvious, Stevie Wonder could tell by feel. I guess my point is Duc has went more Lambo than Ferrari.

Again, obviously an opinion. I'm sure if you put me on one, I'd have the same reaction as I did on the Beemer S1000. I was blown away by the performance. But when I walked back to my monster, there wasn't one shred of envy in my heart. Guess I have something in common with my gramps and those damned worthless fuel injected cars.i

:ROFLMAO:
 

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I think the Duc superbikes still stand out - maybe that's just the Ducati rosso paint color, I dunno'. But there's been a whole lot of change in the market since the introduction of the original 1000 multi in 2003. My brother bought a 620 in 2005 and it turned a lotta' heads... some people liked it, some hated it, but nobody accused it of being bland or conformist in any way. When the 749/999 came out with the over/under headlight same thing - the design evoked passions on both the love and hate sides of the fence but there was absolutely no doubt that it was an artistic statement by Ducati (and it won more races than any previous Duc including 916/996/998 bikes). The original SF was a visceral beast - there was really nothing like it out there. Now every single manufacturer has a beaked multi lookalike and "adventure" bikes and bad-ass looking high performing nakeds are THE things to make 50-something pudgy white men such as ourselves feel da' boss without killing our necks, backs and wrists. The styles have converged and I don't see any manufacturer out there the last couple of years that's put out a really DIFFERENT bike that's easily differentiated from the pack excepting Ducati's V4 Pani.

Just my 2 cents, like Jackie I ride an air-cooled dinosaur and don't really give a damn about what people think of my ride.
 

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Yeah okay, you win that one. It's the back wheel, take that away and how different is it from

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The rush to me looks like a brutale with a round headlight and taillight (which does look good). It's a bit over-the-top with too many lines but that's my opinion. The MV superveloce, though, that is definitely a head turner, forgot about that one.
 

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The old SF was definitely a "meaner" looking motorcycle. No doubt about that.
 

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and it won more races than any previous Duc including 916/996/998 bikes)
I've heard this quoted before and wonder about this statement..
The 916/996/998 series won 117 WSB races between '94 and 2003, to the 999's 64 from '03 to '07
So the 999 must have won a hell of a lot of domestic races to make up the difference. But so did the 916 series, so where does this statement come from?
 

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Bon Vivant
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, I guess the SFV4 - as good as it is to ride, just doesn't pull at my heartstrings enough right now. Who knows, maybe a special edition someday down the road will push me over the edge? Right now I'm still lusting after that Super Veloche. who needs to be comfortable anyway? 🥴
 
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