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BitSar's Naked Ambitions (+ Motard)

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by BitSar, May 6, 2012.

  1. Hello NR

    Over the last couple of weeks I have been in test-pilot mode in consideration of my next machine.

    I had a heap of fun riding these bikes and thought I'd share each bikes' lasting impression as an informal, informative tidbit.

    I am still yet to test Aprilia Shiver 750, Husqvarna Nuda 900R and Triumph Tiger 800 - they were due to be completed this weekend but Melbourne weather had other plans

    Enjoy (y)

    Ducati Hypermotard 796

    Motor/Throttle/Clutch + Gearbox
    The 796 L-twin is a free revving engine which provides usable power and torque from low down.
    Vibration was minimal, almost non-existent - at highway speed the power is smooth and quick to react to throttle changes.

    The throttle response was as to be expected, not snatchy, not lazy, just right and when paired with a wet slipper clutch the action feels very natural as the clutch pays out with a relatively low friction point.

    This bike was simply awesome to ride – the front end provided so much grip – it felt welded to the road and was very confidence inspiring.

    The brakes and suspension, although not top-shelf, are just right for the bike setup and made sense.

    All in all this bike was massively fun to ride, easy to use, and very addictive.

    The seating position is obviously very upright giving a clear view of the road ahead and allows you to see through the traffic while filtering and splitting (it would be a weapon as a commuter)

    One draw back I see is that the seat is quite narrow and which maybe a problem for longer rides or touring.


    Ducati Hypermotard 1100EVO

    Motor/Throttle/Clutch + Gearbox
    Unlike the L-twin of the 796 the 1100 was less user friendly. The engine makes lots of torque, which is nice, however it changed the attitude of how the power was delivered. The throttle response was a little snatchy which tended to upset the bikes handling and overall road/rider feel.

    Instantly, the EVO felt much more serious, not as fun as the 796. The hydraulic clutch behaved like a pop clutch making the bike lurchy in low speed traffic – the gear box was not a nice as the 796 either, not as tight and I managed to find false neutral between 2 and 3 on more than one occasion.

    Due to the clutch/transmission set up and the added weight of the 1100 L-twin the handling suffered a little – not too much, but enough to be noticed.

    The bike is very stable in a straight line and feels confident on the road – it doesn't change direction as quickly or directly as the 796 – you need to shove this into a corner, the 796 was coerced into a bend almost by telepathy (YES, the 796 was that good!)

    The suspension and brakes are a step-up from the 796, again they make sense on the bike – with the added weight and stronger transmission – the suspension and brakes deal with the additional stresses being asked of the bike.

    Like the 796 the seating position is upright and comfortable. However the seat itself is much harder and would get pretty tiresome pretty quickly.

    If you wanted to go for longer rides you'd really have to change the seat – even the dealer agreed that the race style seat on the EVO is a little serious for a road Hypermotard.

    Aprilia Dorsoduro 750


    Motor/Throttle/Clutch + Gearbox
    First of all – the engine is a donk.

    The 750 V-twin makes more power the 796 and only 3hp less than the 95hp of the 1100 Duc – not as much torque as the 1100 but more than the 796 (which is actually an 803cc capacity but remains named as 796 for historical continuity) – so yes, the V-twin of the Aprilia is wonderful.

    This is where things went wrong.

    The throttle response is very poor indeed. Aprilia use a 3 mode ECU mapping and drive-by-wire technology on the Dorso giving you three choices:
    1. Sport - snatchy and far too aggressive, the front comes up without any real warning making the bike impolite on the road
    2. Touring – lazy and uninspiring
    3. Rain – don't bother

    Essential this bike is a ball-tearer or nothing.....there is no in between which feels right.

    As with the EVO1100 the Dorso has a hydraulic wet-clutch. This is a much better setup than the Ducs dry clutch setup – shifting on the Dorso was clean with a short throw and the clutch friction point was not too high, not too low.

    Being nice and light the bike tips in from the front no problem – it just doesn't behave itself.

    Although the suspension was good, it was not good enough to make the bike feel connected to the road. Under compression when cornering the front-end tended to wander a little more than I would have liked – the back was no better – Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad bike by any means and the handling is not poor – it's just not as good as the Ducs or as good as it should be.

    The brakes are nice and strong with good solid bite and good feel through both hand and foot controls – no problems here at all.

    Again, an upright motard style riding position giving you a clear view of the road and good vision through the corners.

    The saddle is actually a little wider than the Ducs and maybe slightly more comfortable – probably still inadequate for lengthy rides or touring without some sort of modification or accessory.

    Triumph Street Triple R

    Motor/Throttle/Clutch + Gearbox
    First things first – that engine! What a peach!

    The in-line 3-cylinder of the Striple is simply intoxicating. The power and torque curves feel superimposed on one another. From down low the familiar triple free revving whistle provides very usable power and torque for low speed traffic filtering making the bike stable – no lurching or surging whatsoever. At highway speed the motor feels even better. In top gear it will pull no problem from 4,000rpm and spool up rapidly......but kick it down into second and the 3cylinder revs like a little Ferrari giving you the most satisfying feeling of torque and power – not to mention ham-fisted wheelie capability!

    Did I mention the engine is intoxicating yet?

    The throttle is a simple cable setup and feels natural and smooth to use – coupled with a lovely transmission with a positive neutral finder, shifting gear is completed with a satisfying click and positive feedback. The clutch pays out a little higher than I expected but something I got used to immediately then forgot about instantly as it became natural. Validation enough of the setup. I wouldn't change a thing.

    Considering its test partners, the Striple R is in a league of its own when it comes to handling and road manners. It is mind blowing.

    At low speed it is stable, light and nimble – very controllable – as a commuter I really don't think there is a better machine for finding gaps in between cages.

    Increase speed and you can feel the race bred frame geometry of the Daytona tap you on the shoulder and say “go on, tip it in.” And tip it in you do. This bike countersteers on a knife edge – the suspension is firm but fair making the bike change direction from the nose like nothing else. Continue to increase speed, the bike remains stable, the suspension soaks up poor road surface and the whole package works in concert.

    The brakes are fantastic – a little trail braking and the front stands up before letting the lever out and flicking the nose in another direction. I played a little with hard braking – setup and brake. The bike was well mannered and pulled up hard with linear and predictable deceleration. No complaints here.

    Now, this is where I am a little disappointed. It's not that the seating position is bad, it's just not as good as the rest of the bike. I suppose you'd get used to it, but with everything else being spot on I just wish the saddle was too.

    My only concern with the seat is for long ride capability and touring. I just can't see either happening with a Striple R – it's a great shame and I hope I am wrong.

    ROUND 2
    Aprilia Shiver Sport 750 Vs. Husqvarna Nuda 900

    ....ding ding.....


    Aprilia Shiver Sport 750

    Motor/Throttle/Clutch + Gearbox
    The Shiver is blessed with the same 750 V-twin as tested in the Dorsoduro – however unlike the Dorso – the Shiver has got it bang on. Very smooth, better fuelling and 3 extra HP to boot!
    Output is now 95HP – the same as the 1100EVO.

    Again, the Shiver has three throttle modes and drive-by-wire, and again the three choices are the same as the Dorso: 1- Sport, 2-Touring, 3-Rain.

    These maps are much better suited and work in tandem with the improved fuelling of the Shiver – I played with both Sport and Touring and they were both vast improvements from their counterparts on the Dorso providing lots of torque and smooth roll on of power. No problems with the throttle.

    The gearbox is tight and shifting is short and well indexed. The gearing itself is a little tall – I was cruising at 80-90km/h in 3rd @ ~2,500rpm which makes hi-way miles a breeze – however roll on throttle and there is no hesitation as the V-twin's torques kicks the Shiver along and you GTFO.

    The hydraulic wet-clutch is light and very usable with a low friction point – it provides good feel and is well matched to the transmission.

    At low speed the bike is manageable and hides what little weight it has well. As speed is increased the Shiver remains extremely stable.

    The Shiver has very good road manners. It changes direction wonderfully from the nose and stays online when pitched over. The upside-down front fork provides good front end grip and feel giving a comfortable and responsive ride.

    The brakes are excellent with dual wave rotors and four pot callipers on the front and a single wave rotor, single piston on the rear. Both sets of anchors are given braided brakes lines which accentuates the initial bite and continues with linear and powerful deceleration.

    The seating position is upright and relaxed. The bars are wide with a neutral body position – I felt no pressure on my wrist or shoulders and had a clear view of the road ahead as well as the instrument cluster on the dash.

    The seat itself was excellent. Nice and wide and very comfortable with a generous pillion shelf. You would be able to complete long distances in the saddle without any accessory or adjustment – from the current suite of bikes tested, the Shiver has the most forthcoming touring capability.

    Husqvarna Nuda 900

    **I had originally booked a 900R – ohwell.......


    Motor/Throttle/Clutch + Gearbox
    So what does a bored out BMW F series 800 feel like?

    Ride the Nuda 900 and you'll find out! This parallel twin 900 is relatively free revving and very strong indeed. Output is ~105HP and torque is on tap all through the rev range. Vibration is a common trait of parallel twins – however the Nuda has this sorted and vibration was no issue whatsoever.

    In sport mode the throttle is quite aggressive and a little snatchy – especially when rolling on in 1st and 2nd gears. Throttle action is much smoother and predicable in touring mode, power is still available on tap and the torque curve seemed to favour the higher rev range, this arrangement makes sense and the bike benefits from it.

    Although the gear box was good, albeit with short gearing – the clutch was very heavy with a stiff action – even in the short test it became tiresome. A longer pull-arm on the clutch case side of the cable would help – but as it is, it's not nice.

    Gearing is quite short requiring a higher gear at hiway speed to keep RPM at an acceptable level – however the gear box itself is very usable with a clean gear selection, neutral is located no problem.

    Being a Motard, the seating position if very upright – the seat is quite tall giving you a great view of the road – however I did find that the sky was reflected on the instruments which made them a little hard to read.

    Handling was as expected – very nimble, very agile. This bike makes you want to be a bit silly – something I couldn't ignore at one point as I took the shortest path through a roundabout (straight over the top :demon:) However, as good as the handling is – I still think the Ducati 796 has it beat, I even felt more connected to the road on the Shiver – the front end of the Husky was a little vague for my liking and can probably be attributed to the lower spec front forks.

    Again there are braided brake lines on the dual front rotors and single rear – and again, the brakes are great. Good solid initial bite which continues without fade.

    The seat is actually relatively comfortable – I might go as far to say that out of the tested Motards, the Nuda has the best saddle.

    The pegs and bars are perfectly positioned – standing up on the pegs over rough ground (and when traversing the roundabout) felt natural and allowed me to control the bike through both the pegs and the bars. Other than the small 12L fuel tank – I think you'd be able to do long rides on the Nuda without an issue.

    Still to test:
    Triumph Tiger 800
    Suzuki GSR750

    + Any viable suggestions from NetRider's welcomed :D

    BitSar (y)
    • Like Like x 10
  2. Great right up! Have you considered the Speed Triple?
    Hope you find the right bike.
  3. BitSar - the current issue of Australian Motorcycle News has a big spread / test rides on the Benelli R160 1130, MV Augusta Brutale 1090RR, BMW K1300R SM, Aprilia Tuono V4R APRC and the Triumph Speed Triple R.

    Might be worth a read or you could just look at the pictures when you are alone.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. So what was it about the Striple ride position that bothered you? The position itself, or did you find the seat uncomfortable? Because you could always put on a gel seat which is a factory option (as playing with the Build Your Triumph feature many many times has shown me :p).
  5. Hahaha - very true - I might have to take a look at that :D
  6. The seat itself was comfortable enough - it was the angle of the seat which felt a little off to me. Not upright, but not fully pitched forward or as committed as a Supersport - it's somewhere in between and felt a little strange........again, I'm sure you'd get used to it.
  7. I have considered the Speedy - I haven't tested on yet - may very well be a contender (y)
  8. I would be interested to see the Z1000 and Superduke in your test group too.
  9. Stop wasting your time and buy the Street triple already...

  10. Haha - you know me mate - fastidious 'till the end.

    How's your ride treating you?
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Nice write ups BitSar, love your work :)

    As you know, I am leaning strongly towards the TripleR, on paper it looks like the bike for me, just need to find some time and go ride one. I will watch your other reviews with interest.
  12. Cheers Ultram - it really is a magnificent bike.....

    It will be interesting to see how the others stand up (or fail to for that matter)

    See ya soon (y)
    • Like Like x 1
  13. I'd definately agree with that. I still find myself sliding forward from time to time. If I have a few days in a row on it though, I find the muscles remember what is going on. If you ride everyday it won't be an issue.
  14. I'm sure you could fix that with an aftermarket seat, or even some sort of spacer under the front of the seat?
  15. Good to know - cheers mate....

    What is the longest distance you've completed on the Striple?

    Very possible I would imagine
  16. One of the guys I rode back from Adelaide with (in 1 day) rode a Striple. I can't remember him having any particular issues and, aside from me, was on the smallest capacity bike yet kept up fine too. So what's that? 700ks or so?
  17. I have been thinking about this and I have the answer. This is only going to be a problem when you have 2 wheels on the ground. Obviously the bike has been designed to spend most of its time on one... 8-[
  18. Haha..... Not too far wrong!

    FYI - I have re-booked the remaining test rides for this coming Monday (took a day off).
    If Melbourne weather plays ball I will update the 1st post with the additional reviews.

    Thanks for reading y'all (y)

    Tablet talkin'
  19. Had fun reading the reviews.

    Are you going to test ride the Ducati Monster as well? And maybe the streetfighter 848 as well.

    The MV Agusta 920 is getting rave reviews as well (AMCN) so might be worth trying as well. :)
  20. Hi Lazy,

    I won't be testing the Monster - never really appealed to me.
    The Streetfighter is too far out of budget so I'd rather not know how incredible it is :D

    RE: MV.........I would be more likely to test a Brutale than and Agusta - keep the naked ambition alive (y)