Ducati Demo, 2017

Though I was told at the convention this year that the Ducati demo truck would be coming to Moon Motorsports, the Ducati website said it was going to Motoprimo in Lakeville. After calling Motoprimo to verify it was true this past Friday, the 9th, I left work after lunch to have some fun.

 

This is the all-new Multistrada 950. Ducati made this machine to get in more people’s hands. Besides the engine size, there are a few downgrades to create a $4,000 price gap from its bigger brother. Anyone that knows me knows that I put small bikes behind me long ago, however the $4K savings was enough to make me curious this time. Over the Winter, I fed and strengthened that curiosity by reading and watching reviews. Lack of heated grips and cruise control were my biggest concerns, but could I get over those if the rest of the bike was as sweet as it sounded?

I am here to tell you that I was really impressed by the 950. Looking at the bike as a bystander or in the pilot’s seat, you can hardly tell it’s the 950 and not the 1200. Once my imagination came to fruition by the act of opening throttle for the first time, I noted it sounded louder than the 1200 but otherwise had a very similar growl. There’s also another thing that happens when you open throttle on this machine… oh, yes, an addictive substance blasts into your system. I am pleased and proud of Ducati to say that the 950 has enough power! And it has power all the time. You don’t need to wind it up; just twist your wrist and feel the kick and hear the purr. It was so good that, once I got off, I couldn’t remember if the 1200 was better enough.

The seat was decent but not like the Mustang on my Stratoliner. I’d call it average. It started to feel a little hard at the end of the 30-minute ride, and it was the first bike I rode. Any other downfalls I didn’t notice until I rode the 1200 immediately afterward. (There’s a hint there: If you love the 950 and can’t imagine what more you’d want, don’t ride the 1200 and you’ll be content.)

There’s the 950 in the rear and the 1200 up close. Pretty hard to see the differences at first glance, huh? I’m not sure I’ll be able to tell them apart when I see them on the road.

I was fortunate to be able to ride the 1200 immediately following my ride on the 950. This was perfect! I could compare them directly and decide for myself if the 950 was a more reasonable offering to fulfill my dreams of riding comfort, power, and agility. What I noticed first this time was the seat. Having gotten off the 950, the 1200 was a big improvement on the tush. It was quite comfortable. Next, still in the veins of comfort, the suspension was very noticeably an upgrade. I don’t always give suspension much mind, but it was too obvious to ignore this time. The ride was just better. Only 100′ out of the parking lot, and I already liked riding this one more due to the seat and suspension. So, what’s left? Oh, right, power. What did I say about the 950 again? It has enough power? Yes, that’s right. The 950 has enough power all the time. The 1200, on the other hand, has too much power. And that’s exactly what I want. I love too much power! Yes, I’m spoiled from my ZX-14 days, but this is how it is: I want to be the limiting factor, not the bike I’m on.

So, that rules out the 950 for me. But don’t forget I was impressed. The 950 was a better fit and more fun for me than many other motorcycles. The 1200 simply has upgrades that I’m willing to pay for.

If you get a chance to ride either of these bikes, or any late model Ducati for that matter, make sure you try the different ride modes. Your machine becomes more practical more often by the changes applied from Sport, Touring, or Urban riding modes. No, it doesn’t turn your machine into three, but where you wouldn’t ride your overly powerful Multistrada in the rain is overcome by Urban mode for example. It is current tech and Ducati does it right.

Next up was the Monster 1200. I’ve wanted to try a Monster for a long time, just not enough to sacrifice other models at limited demos. This bike is very fun. Coming off the big Multistrada, the Monster’s engine characteristics were pretty familiar, which means fun. But it’s the wrong package for me. The seat was kinda narrow and hard. The suspension was very tight. The forward lean on my wrists was not aggressive yet still undesired. Everything else about the ride was great. Cornering, braking, accelerating was all fun. It sounded sweet. It’s just not enough of an all-around-er for me. The Monster is a (sweet) city bike.

I’m a little ashamed that I didn’t get a proper photo of the Hypermotard. You can see one in the corner of the 950 picture way up top.

I really wanted to try this bike out, especially since I was seeing them on Craigslist at quite obtainable prices. It looks like a bike made for pure fun, ignoring all critics. I can tell you that’s what this is. I would personally choose the Hypermotard over the Monster 1200. Why? This thing is like a frog. Want to get in front of that bike that’s next to you? Hop! Done. Never have I so easily power wheelied through a turn (yes, maintaining your turn without frontal contact). 😀 So, my expectation was met. This bike was a blast. What surprised me? At 70 MPH in 6th gear, it’s smooth and comfortable! I was shocked. I literally looked around for a windscreen I failed to notice. There wasn’t one, yet I felt like I could have gone on for miles and miles comfortably, until my bent legs got tired at least. That 6th gear turned the bike from a pouncer to a glider. If I was looking for a city bike, I would choose the Hypermotard over the Monster hands down.

The only downside? I have a feeling my driving record would take a dive.

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