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OPINION–What’s wrong with Ducati?

January 8, 2013


Technologyadvanced technology – game changing technology.  That’s how Ducati changed the motorcycle industry.  Perhaps the most significant advance in motorcycle technology in years was the introduction of Ducati’s amazing Multistrada 1200.   Yeah, BMW has a few electric tricks and I’ve spent some time riding an assortment of their products, however, when switching through ESA modes I can’t really tell a difference. 

On the Multistrada however, you can instantly tell when you change a riding mode or suspension setting.  It’s seamless, instant, perfect.  It’s kind of like Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi – the Ducati being the Diet Coke and the BMW being the Diet Pepsi.  You ask for Diet Coke and are asked “will Diet Pepsi be ok instead?”  NO, no it’s not.

If I have all that technology I want to see it, feel it, and be able to adjust it.  On a BMW, it’s Diet Pepsi – good but not great.

Let’s take a look at a handful of the current whiz-bang technology offered by Ducati on an assortment of their motorcycles:

  •  Selectable Riding Modes – Adjustable from the left-hand switchgear – even while riding – the choice of three pre-set modes are programmed to instantly change the character of the Diavel. The three modes are enabled by combining class-leading technologies such as Ride-by-Wire (RbW) and Ducati Traction Control (DTC).
  • Ducati Traction Control (DTC)  – is a highly intelligent system which acts as a filter between the rider’s right hand and the rear tire.  Within milliseconds, DTC is able to detect and control rear wheel-spin, considerably increasing the bike’s active safety and performance.  The system offers eight levels of “sensitivity”, each programmed with an amount of rear wheel-spin tolerance: level one is programmed to offer the least amount of interaction for sport-oriented riders, while level eight uses the most amount of interaction for complete confidence.  DTC levels are factory pre-set in each of the three Riding Modes, but can be individually customized and saved to suit the rider by accessing the new user-friendly set-up menu. A “default”
  • Ride by Wire – The twistgrip no longer has a throttle cable connected directly to the throttle body butterflies, but instead delivers a signal to a control unit, which in turn operates the butterfly opening electronically. The RbW system uses three different mappings to regulate the power delivery: 162hp with a sports-type delivery, 162hp with a progressive delivery suitable for touring, and 100hp with progressive delivery for city use.
  • Keyless Ignition – The motorcycle recognizes the dedicated key code and automatically enables the bike’s systems. The electronic key externally doubles as a mechanical flip-key, required to open the seat and fuel tank cap.  When parking the motorcycle, an electronic lock can be actuated on the steering simply by applying full steering-lock and pressing the ignition-off button a second time.
  • Semi-Active Suspension – The current Multistrada 1200 ‘S’ versions are equipped with 48-mm front fork and Sachs rear monoshock, both integrated with the Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) system. In addition to providing compression and rebound damping and rear suspension spring preload adjustment – either automatic adjustment integrated with the Riding Modes or customized through the on-board computer – the system is characterized by semi-active suspension adjusted continually to ensure perfect vehicle balance, so that the bike seems to run off the ground, gliding in the air.  Suspension travel is longer (170 mm front and rear) than is typical for road bikes. This makes for a comfort ride even when carrying a full load and allows to tackle off-road terrain in full safety. On the ‘S’ versions, comfort is further enhanced by a DSS function that enables the rider to change setup conveniently and quickly to suit load conditions and type of trip: riding solo, rider and luggage, riding two-up or two-up with luggage

With all this technology one significant item is missing.  CRUISE CONTROL!  I understand that would be silly on a Superbike or sport bike, but on the Multistrada 1200 (especially the Grantourismo model) or the Diavel, it’s a glaring omission.  Especially when we are talking about a switch that costs less than $10.00……

Hey Ducati! How about it?


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