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Why I love my Ducati Multistrada - I just had a reminder

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by RoderickGI, May 22, 2009.

  1. So the Multi had its 30,000 Km service yesterday. I'm still maintaining a reasonable average usage, after 33 months of owning the bike. :D

    The dealer hinted that I may get a 1098 as a loan bike, but alas, it had been sold, so I was given a secondhand 2007 Honda Hornet 900. (My dealer sells Honda and Ducati.)

    Boy, did that bike remind me why I love my Multistrada! :shock:

    I enjoyed the smooth torquey power of the Hornet at low revs during the brief ride home, so I decided to put a little petrol in it and take it for a bit of a ride on the way back to the dealer. I am able to take some twisty roads by taking the long way back, so I did. By the time I was half way there I had had enough!

    First, the steering geometry seems to have been designed by children for children. I guess the rake is steeper than the Multi or something. All I know is that when you wobble the handlebars just the front wheel wobbles. When you turn the handlebars to countersteer into a corner it doesn't mean that the bike will lay over and turn into the corner, as is expected. I could see that a lowside due to the front wheel just turning, and then sliding on the road would be really easy to achieve.

    When I wobble the bars of the Mutli, the whole bike moves. When I countersteer, the bike lays over into the corner I am negotiating beautifully.

    On a dry but cold and maybe slightly greasy road, at less than 70 Km/h on a mild corner, and lean angle both the front and rear tyres of the Hornet slid sideways a considerable distance. I was having to hang off a bit just to get around mild corners. While the Hornet did have some worn Battleaxe 56 tyres on, it should not have been so easy to slide sideways.

    Later, on a road that has seen some resurfacing and repairs, resulting in grooves and lines on the road, and slick tar surfaces in the wheel ruts on corners, the Hornet moved about with every little road defect. I was worried the damn thing would just track off the road. It was quite an effort to keep the bike balanced and on course. I was watching the road surface like a hawk, trying to avoid the worst of it.

    On top of that, the suspension was quite hard, with much less travel, and even though I was gripping the tank with my knees and holding the bars lightly, I felt I was in a boxing match! Not to mention I would hate to have a bad back and try riding that bike. My lower back was getting a pounding from the rear suspension. :(

    On the way home, down the same road, the Multi just went exactly where I wanted it to. I only felt the very worst of the edges caused by repairs, and the tyres (Michelin Pilot Power front and Road 2 rear) both tracked exactly where I wanted to go. The Ohlins suspension with new oil in the forks did its job wonderfully, as it always does. I could ride hanging on with my knees, or hanging on hard to the bars, and still didn't get a work out.

    I'm not saying that the Hornet is a bad bike. It was very easy to ride in traffic, being upright, with a soft clutch and smooth gear changes. The Multistrada is much harder to ride in traffic. You have to work at riding it, with a stiff clutch, notchy gears and lumpy power at low revs. It was just that I felt so much safer on the Multi. I could exceed the Hornet's capabilities on those tyres easily. I doubt I will ever exceed the Multistrada's capabilties.

    I guess the Hornet is just a work horse, and cost half the Multistrada does (including half the service costs: AU$800 for the 30K Km service :shock: ) but I reckon if it was someones first introduction to a motorcycle, they could well be put off for life.

    I just thought I would share. :D [ Flame suit ready at my side. :LOL: ]

    PS: As a result of the service, I have confirmed the bike needs:
    A new chain and sprockets. $$$
    A new clutch pack, but not a basket. :) $
    A new rear disc (undersized) and pads. $$
    New tyres. The rear is unroadworthy . . . again! $

    Ah well. 8)
  2. If it was someones first introduction to a motorcycle they wouldn't even know there was a problem and would probably love it. We all get used to our bike's nuances to a degree.
  3. I have ridden quite a few different bikes. I wouldn't have called this a nuance.

    But I'm not completely canning the bike. Just saying how much nicer mine is. :grin:
  4. BT56 - there's your issue. Some people think there's something positive to be gained from fitting bowling ball tyres and then doing 30,000km on them. But I think they're sacrificing grip, safety and enjoyment for the sake of a few dollars - and there's cheap ways to get good hoops on, too.

    H9s handle fine with nice tyres - BT002s, supercorsas, any of the nice stuff. Ground clearance does become an issue, though. I've never ridden a multistrada, I'm sure they're a fine bike too, but I'm here to tell ya I've ridden hundreds of bikes and the H9 has a lot going for it.
  5. Hey Loz. I'm sure it does have lots going for it. I quite liked the engine, as I said, but the steering geometry felt all wrong. Nothing like a CBR600RR for example, which felt beaut and handled even better. I've been told that the H9 has a light rear end that tends to slide out as well.

    But I take your point about the tyres. I only know what was on the bike because I took the time to check, suspecting that they were rubbish.

    I would give you a ride on the Multistrada so that you can learn the joys (although it is an acquired taste), but it's Wombat season, and I'm not sure the old girl could handle your loving. :LOL:
  6. And we don't forget the 'stradas amazing performance in the fuel economy stakes. :LOL:
  7. Yeah, I did end up pulling the forks up through the triples a bit to steepen it back when I had mine - but you'd be amazed the difference a tyre can make on the steering feel. That's why I keep wonking on about Bridgestones. You wanna feel how hard the ZX9 is to steer on anything else!
  8. it was nice to have a chat Roderick :wink:
  9. G'day RoderickGI,

    I know how you feel, I still love my MTS 1000 nonS, having just racked up 50,000 km in about the same period, it is a great "allrounder", solo or 2 up, long distance touring or flogging thru the twisties. Although I also love the GSXR 750, I don't think you could get a greater contrast, also a great bike solo only and not as versatile.

    cheers George.
  10. Apples with oranges? I test rode a Multistrada once that was so bad that it scared me. It was all down to the condition it was left in by the previous owner. I realised eventually that there were specific problems with that particular machine, rather than the design as a whole.

    Your post confirms that your model is actually very good, but could you have just got a bad H9? (Or tyres as Loz says).
  11. I would put a lot of the problem down to the tyres, but I also think the steering geometry left a lot to be desired. Possibly that would be fixed by raising the forks through the triple clamps, as Loz did.

    I thought that the H9 was a second hand bike that may have had a hard life, but it was actually a demonstration bike! It wouldn't make a good impression right now I'm sure. Of course, it probably has had a very hard life, being thrashed by all comers. It had about 5770 Km on it.

    It has also been suggested to me that the H9 is (or would be) much bettter if it has wider bars on it, since the stock bars are high but fairly narrow. I don't know since I haven't tried it, but wide bars is a big reason for the Multistrada being so good in the twisties.

    Mind you, the wide bars make fast sweeping corners a bit dicing some times. The Multistrada certainly doesn't feel as solid on those corners, probably because it is so sensitive to very small steering inputs. When the going rate is 80 cents, and you are paying $1.60, the Multistrada can't match a full sports bike for tracking a smooth, solid line through a sweeper.

    GreyBM: One day you will get what's coming to you! :p
  12. We like what we like, but not everyone cries about what they don’t like.
  13. Loz, or anyone else for that matter, would you recommend having BT-016's fitted for the Hornet? I'm due for a new pair of treads and they've been mentioned as a replacement. Any views on them or suggestions, good or bad appreciated.
  14. As Loz said changing the tyres on the H9 makes a massive difference. I gained a lot more confidence in the bike (and myself) when I put on a set of Pilot Road 2's. The BT56's are sketchie at best and bloody scary in anything less than perfect conditions. I had too many dodgy moments in the wet at resonable speeds on the BT56's so I changed them after 6k kms.
  15. It depends what sort of riding you do... For medium pace road riding I reckon they're probably excellent - although you may need to pay attention to warming them up at the start of each ride. All that means is you have to do a few hard starts and a few hard stops. The hard starts can be accomplished by means of a wheelie. :)

    For hard twisty and track riding (at least, my version of hard riding) I prefer the super sticky 002s, and apparently the 003s are the shiznit as well according to Flux. If you ride fast in the twisties but you want mileage too, maybe an 003 on the front/016 on the rear. But then you might find ground clearance is more of a problem than side grip on the Hornet - I know that when I put my first set of 002s on a CB900, the pegs started getting in the way a fair bit more than usual.
  16. R4mR0D, I currently have Pilot Road 2s on them since I picked her up last August and as they're the only ones I've run on, so have nothing to compare to as yet, have been happy with them. As for my riding, enjoy the twisties but at a "medium pace", so am fascinated that tyres can make a shedload of difference.

    Would love to go harder in the bends, but that will come with time, the more I get out to them. Loz, I'd have to say your version of hard riding is beyond my ability at the moment. Will probably go with the BT-016's for now and see how they go. Will now have to work on my wheelies.

    Cheers for the pointers.
  17. Don't f#ck around miss matching sets of tyres. Just slot a set of 014's in for the best set of all round tyres one could wish for. Good wet grip, excellent dry grip and pretty reasonable tyre life. They break away gently into a slide but you've got to be trying pretty hard to do that. Harder than one should really ride on the street. Anywhere between 4 and 7000kms is possible depending on how one rides. Can't comment on the 016's as I've never tried them. A mate that rides similar pace to myself saw them shagged in about 3000kms. What profile front does the Hornet run?
  18. Front is 120/70-ZR17, Rear's 180/55-ZR17.

    Overall what I'm after is "Good wet grip, excellent dry grip and pretty reasonable tyre life", and something that will inspire a bit more confidence in the twisties (aren't we all). On my current set have put on 12,000k's since August, (currently do most of my commuting on my Spada or wifes' scooter) so to hear that these may last anywhere between 4-7,000k's :shock: .

    Don't get me wrong, happy to buy the tyre irrespective of milage on them, within reason. Oh the choices.

    Again, thanks for the feedback.
  19. I've got the BT-016's...they are a good all round tyre.
    I've thrashed them, spinning up out of corners or front end drifting around others at pretty brisk pace, and for general riding, I can't really fault them.
    On the track I found their limitations at a reasonably good pace, but they were forgiving and did'nt just let go abruptly.
    Others who ride harder than me found them to be very good at their respective 80% pace but were unable to keep up when they ran harder.

    The thing is...I commute to...so I can't really go for a higher grip tyre, otherwise they would flatten off too quickly.
    So far in the wet I've found them grippy enough...certainly not lacking.

    Mileage varies for everyone, but they are a good solid tyre for a wide variety of riding, including a day of very brisk road riding..

    I might go for the BT-03 next, but I beieve they might not hold up to the commute too well, even though the fun stuff will be much better.