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My new Panigale V4, part 3 0

Posted on May 27, 2018 by acruhl

First read Part 1 and Part 2.

It’s been a while since my last post. For unfortunate reasons. My bike was at the dealer for exactly 1 month for a coolant issue. The root cause of the issue wasn’t known until the week before last. Here’s the story:

While I was volunteering at Ducati Island for the Austin MotoGP race, I noticed by bike leaking coolant at the end of the day when I was going to ride back to camp. This prevented me from doing the Ducati lap with Claudio Domenicali which sucks, I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to do that again. Anyway, I rode it back to camp, less than 1/2 mile, and it leaked more coolant.

When the bike got back to Tucson (in a trailer, the same way it got to Austin), I called Ducati roadside assistance and they picked it up and brought it to the dealer. It leaked coolant on the trip back to Tucson as well as when it was being loaded on the tow truck.

The dealer found a damaged coolant hose. So they ordered a new one, which took a while to arrive, and installed it. This did not solve the problem. After more troubleshooting, they found that the thermostat housing was leaking as well. It took a while for that part to arrive as well.

This is my opinion, but what I think happened was a hose was installed incorrectly when the bike was assembled. This caused the hose to leak but also put pressure on the thermostat housing, which is a very lightweight plastic item, and broke it. There’s not a lot of room to work in there so I suppose I can understand it. But the bike being down for a month, probably half of that time waiting on parts, is frustrating. I missed the end of our good riding weather in Tucson. Darn.

So while the bike was away it also got the recalls solved related to the fuel tank cap and hoses under the tank (I think). And it got a new map. This new map is very interesting.

Ducati is doing cylinder deactivation with the Panigale V4 with the current map (as of 5/27/2018). (A member of the club told me Harley has been doing this for a while.) The dealer told me the reason is “rider comfort”. Wow. I was told the rear 2 cylinders will deactivate when the bike is up to temperature and stopped. I’m not sure if it only happens while stopped though based on stuff I felt… Anyway, when it’s up to temperature, you can definitely feel the engine note change. It changes from sounding vaguely like a twin (4 cylinders) to definitely sounding like a twin (2 cylinders). If you give it a little throttle or let the clutch out while in gear, you can feel the other 2 cylinders activate. First impressions are that it’s probably working. I sat at a few red lights in 90+ degree heat and my legs were not cooking (see parts 1 and 2 for my thoughts on my backside and legs being cooked by this bike). I need to try again on a hotter day I suppose. I guess I wonder why they don’t do this during deceleration at any point, why not? The transition between 2 and 4 cylinders is very smooth…

The first accessory was installed! A battery tender cable! Keen observers will remember that this is the only accessory I ever installed on my 1199 before I had to sell it, and before it reached it’s untimely fate at the hands of a drunk driver. But that’s another story.

I’ve been looking at suspension upgrades, rearsets, and exhausts but I’m not sure what I’ll do. A less restrictive exhaust might cut down on heat which would be a plus… Suspension is pretty good so far but I managed to fade the rear shock of my 1199 after some fast track riding, and it wasn’t sitting next to 2 very hot exhausts… I’m not much of an aftermarket exhaust guy but in this case if it flows better and cuts down on heat it could be helpful on many levels. Maybe a slip on + Jet Hot? The full Termignoni exhaust looks cool but it’s nearly $5k…(!)… I’ll wait until there are a pile of them sitting around for the price to become more sane.

Ok, this post is long enough. More later.

My new 1199 Panigale, part 3 0

Posted on June 06, 2012 by acruhl

(I went up to 7 cataracts this morning before work, it was nice.)

First read Part 1, then read Part 2.

Even more points in no particular order after 336 miles:

o It seems like everything is calming down. Or maybe I’m just getting used to it. The suspension isn’t as stiff, the low RPM surging isn’t nearly as bad as it was. But the seat is still a brick.

o The DQS (Duati quick shifter) cuts the ignition (and fuel?) for just a little bit too long. It would be interesting to know if the duration shortens at high RPM or WOT (wide open throttle). It’s kinda hard to test this when you need to stay below 6000 RPM. I’m guessing there is some race accessory which makes this adjustable. DQS does not work if the throttle is closed. If you want to downshift with it, it seems to work best if the throttle is in a closing motion. But using the clutch is better. Upshifts are no problem.

o I think I’ve put my finger on why the 1199 feels so uncomfortable to me, even though theoretically it shouldn’t because the bars are higher and closer to the seat. For one, I think my body just isn’t used to this position. But there’s more to it than that. There’s no gas tank to rest against, which would relieve some pressure from my hands. My feet don’t really rest squarely on the pegs, the heel guards point my heels outward. As a result, I can’t support my upper body with my legs very well. The bars are farther apart, which subtly lowers my upper body a bit. And then there’s this ridiculous seat. All of these things together don’t make for a comfortable ride. Like, at all. I could go twice as far between rests on my 998, no problem. The MV might still be worse though 🙂

o I’m about 5’11”, maybe still 6′, and I can’t put my feet flat on the ground without my left leg hitting the shock guard, and my right leg hitting the magnesium clutch cover on the right. These things get quite warm. If I keep my left foot on the peg I can lean the bike over a bit and keep my right leg off the clutch cover.

o Something I read in the Roadracing World report (from Dubai) is also happening on my bike. If you whack the throttle open really quickly, it stumbles and then goes. I can’t tell if this is an electronics problem or a “large carb” problem. This seems like the type of problem that accelerator pumps were supposed to solve.

o I filled it up before the fuel warning light came on this time. 74.9 miles, 2.316 gallons. 32.3 mpg? The bike is saying I’m averaging 37.9 mpg. I need a few more data points to decide if I believe the bike or the pump. Why do I care? I don’t, right? I cycle through the dash info to look at the mileage all the time. Ducati needs to bury this somewhere that’s hard to find so I’m not always looking at it! Or better yet, take it off this one and put it on my Multistrada 620. I actually care about it on that bike.

o The stand from my MV doesn’t fit on the 1199. The pin is just a bit too big. What a bummer.

o I don’t think I’m going to be able to install Angry Birds on the dash unfortunately.

o Speaking of the dash, I’m not sure it’s the right solution, but there isn’t currently anything better for displaying this much information. In bright sunlight, it’s hard to read quickly. I think I’d prefer an analog tach, a large LCD for speed, and an info screen for the rest of the info. My Ford Focus has analog gauges for speed and RPM, and an info screen between the analog gauges. I think this is a nice solution. There isn’t enough room for this though. The TFT screen is miles better than the tiny LCD readouts on other bikes for sure, but still not perfect.

o This thing is as different from the 1198 as the Desmosedici is. This is either good or bad depending on your outlook. I’m going to think about this and write something about it later. The line going back to the original 851 Superbike is definitely broken. But it had to be in order to keep winning.

My new 1199 Panigale, part 2 0

Posted on June 04, 2012 by acruhl

(That’s Dan’s Monster 1100 Evo and my 1199 at Windy Point yesterday. Sorry my iPod takes crappy photos.)

First read Part 1.

More points in no particular order after 209 miles (I took a detour onto Old Spanish Trail on the way to work this morning):

o This thing really roasts your legs in the Tucson afternoon heat. There seems to be quite a bit of radiated heat coming off of the horizontal cylinder’s exhaust and your legs are right there. I have to stand up once in a while to cool them off. Leathers would help. I might look into wrapping the exhausts in fiberglass exhaust wrap to keep the heat inside the exhaust. This worked pretty well on the MV.

o The low fuel warning light came on at about 109 miles. I had previously filled the tank to just below the rubber filler neck. I haven’t been riding the thing particularly hard, I can’t go above 6000 RPM after all. But I have held the throttle wide open up to 6000 RPM a few times to aid in breaking in the rings. The dash says it averaged 37.9 MPG. I stopped at 112.3 miles (using trip 2 to track this) and put in 2.977 gallons. This works out to 37.7 mpg. So statistically speaking, both of those numbers are pretty close to the same so they should be pretty close to correct, given that the 1199’s odo isn’t too far off.

o I haven’t figured out how to install Angry Birds on the dash yet. It should be possible though.

o This thing is LOUD. It’s definitely louder than my Multistrada 620 with the Termignoni slip on, and probably louder than my 998 with Termignoni slip ons. Even the boot up shimmy is pretty loud. I shudder to think that I would have to get the Termignoni slip on for the 1199 along with the matching map to make the thing run right, which would make it even louder. I feel for my neighbors.

o Akrapovic seems to be busy. As of a few days ago, they have a page for the 1199, but no products: Click here. I know of no other “major” exhaust manufacturers that are working on the 1199 as of right now. I’m only looking at websites though, I’m not researching it very thoroughly.

o I want the GPS data logger accessory. I had thought this would be the first accessory I buy for the 1199, but I may have to get the exhaust and map to make it run better. Maybe Ducati will have an updated map for the stock system that makes it run better at low RPM?

o Ducati’s accessories seem to be a conflict of interest in making better stock motorcycles. For example, I said in the above point I might need to buy the Termignoni exhaust and matching map to make it run right. I don’t want to have to do this! Especially when I have to pay close to $2000 for it. Also, there is really no excuse for how bad this seat is. Ducati just sold for something like 1 billion dollars, and they can’t put a decent seat on their highest spec bike? The reason is probably that they want to sell me a seat from the accessory catalog I’m sure. Why is it that a GSX-R can feel like a couch and this thing feels like sitting on bricks?

o It doesn’t like to start when hot. It sometimes takes quite a few attempts to get it running, and sometimes I have to hold the throttle open a bit which I always hate doing. Hopefully they can fix this with a new map soon.

o It seems to blow a bit of fuel smoke here and there. No big deal.

o 6000 RPM in 6th gear is 107 MPH. I only did it once. I had to know.

My new 1199 Panigale, part 1 0

Posted on June 03, 2012 by acruhl

(This is not me, I have a base model and I’m more of a squid, obviously.)

So I finally got my new base model 1199 Panigale. I picked it up yesterday, June 2nd 2012. I had put money down on it shortly after it was announced last year some time (November? I don’t remember).

Some points in no particular order after 157 miles:

o It is probably the most uncomfortable street bike I’ve ever ridden, although I’d have to take my MV Agusta F4S out again just to be sure. That was previously the most uncomfortable street bike I’d ever ridden. Why do I do this to myself?

o The first few miles had me wondering if I bought the wrong motorcycle. This thing makes no compromises or apologies. It’s the most hardcore street bike I’ve ever ridden, possibly excepting the Desmosedici. If you aren’t going fast, it isn’t happy. It’s just not much of a street bike. It’s a race bike.

o Like most newer bikes, it doesn’t fuel very well at low RPM. Since I’m in the break in period, low RPM is all I get so it’s kind of a bummer. It surges a lot. This is not something unique to Ducati though. The Termignoni exhaust with a new map would solve this I’m sure. I might look into other possibilities.

o It’s hard. As in, solid. I backed off the compression and rebound a few clicks all the way around and it improved the ride quite a bit. It didn’t seem to affect the cornering a lot on the street, although I might have had a wiggle in corners where there previously wasn’t one. I can’t ride it fast enough on the street to set it up properly (nor should anyone).

o It’s not a particularly quick handling bike. You’d think it would be with 22 less pounds and those wide handlebars. I need to set the sag before passing judgement, but I suspect a bit of ride height in the rear wouldn’t hurt.

o Once you get it cranked way over in a corner, all the above complaining is bull$hit. This has got to be one of the best feeling bikes when on it’s side. It might be the ultimate Superbike. After going through enough corners, it should make a believer out of you.

o This bike defines the term “race replica”. There hasn’t be anything closer to a race bike on the street other than the Desmosedici. Steve from Renaissance may have it right, he said it’s not a race replica, it’s a “race platform”. True words. I could take this thing to the track with the stock tires and minor suspension fiddling and probably get close to my fastest ever race laps. It’s that good.

Monster 796 test ride; June 26th 2010 0

Posted on July 03, 2010 by acruhl

Click on any image in this article for a larger version
I had a very good day on Saturday test riding the new Monster 796 at Renaissance Motorcycles.

I have not read any other reviews, and this was my intention so I don’t have someone else’s opinion to think about as I’m riding the bike.

If you’re the type that likes to go right to the end of an article and read the summary, I’ll save you the hassle: This is a really good motorcycle. Great, even. Much better than I thought it was going to be. It’s really a step above the previous air cooled Monsters. If you have an older air cooled 800cc or even 900cc Monster and you’re thinking of trading it in, do it. You won’t regret it.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, I can get into explaining why I came to this conclusion.

Walking around this bike definitely reveals that it is something new compared to the previous S2R. It looks very different. It’s very new looking, yet it’s still unmistakably a Monster. If you had the old one and you bought this one, you wouldn’t feel like you just have a newer version of your same old bike.

David brought me the key so I started it up, and it seemed to start even before I pressed the starter button to the stop. I let it warm up a few minutes so I could listen to it. The exhaust is actually pretty loud for a stock bike. It sounds good. I’m guessing the accessory exhaust is going to be really loud. My neighborhood is pretty quiet, and I think I wouldn’t want a bike too much louder than this if I was commuting to work.

So I get on the bike and do my normal routine when riding a new bike: Bounce up and down on it, pull the brakes, and pull the clutch and holy cow who took out the clutch springs? This one has the APTC (Adler Power Torque Clutch) slipper clutch which came on the previous 695 and it’s in the current 696 as well. It can get away with light springs because forward torque (the motor) assists in clamping the clutch closed, instead of just relying on clutch springs. If you’re familiar with a regular slipper clutch, it’s sort of like one of those but set up to slip from a standstill. It has another set of ramps which work in reverse and bind it closed once you put engine torque to it. Then it will slip once you take the engine power away and get back torque from engine braking. It’s really ingenious.

Pulling onto Speedway, I noticed that the engine has plenty of torque from idle to get started without revving it or slipping the clutch. This is handy. I turned onto Columbus and rode north toward Ft. Lowell on my way toward some twisty roads. While cruising up Columbus, I noticed that there is plenty of room to move around. I’m 6′ tall and I didn’t feel cramped in any way. The seat does kind of lock you into one position though, which is a bummer. It’s not what I would call an uncomfortable seat, but you probably wouldn’t want to do long distance touring either. The Monster 696 at Renaissance has the accessory seat which is quite a bit nicer. My heels were always resting against the sculpted cast aluminum footpeg/passenger peg combo which is also not really ideal, but you can simply move your feet outward on the pegs to solve this.

Steve asked me not to ride this thing very hard, but it feels so eager and fuels perfectly so it was hard not to. I did take it up to 8k RPM once and noticed that it never stopped pulling. It starts pulling quite hard above about 6k RPM and then kept getting faster after that. Is this really an 803cc 2 valve air cooled motor? It sure doesn’t feel like it. It felt as if it would wheelie without clutching it if I tried harder.

This thing feels really light, a whole lot lighter than the previous bikes. They seemed to accomplish this 2 ways: Actually reducing weight (only 369 pounds dry) and quickening the handling. The specs for handling look the same as before, but I could swear that they did something to make it turn quicker. It might be that they have the rear riding a bit higher than before, or maybe the riding position is different enough to make it feel like it turns quicker. The handling feel is what I would call stable but quick if you give it just a bit more muscle than normal. Quick handling is there if you want it, but stable at all other times.

So I continued to Ft. Lowell and went toward Alvernon and eventually Hacienda del Sol. By the time I got to the twisty parts of Hacienda del Sol, I was already convinced that this is a good handling bike. Once I actually got some lean angle and twisted the throttle exiting the corner, it was even better than I thought it would be. It is totally neutral from straight up and down to street levels of lean, and this doesn’t change if you use the brakes or hit the throttle. The front suspension is a bit tight compared to the rear, but it felt more like it was just new than the damping being excessive. A few corners later I was wishing this thing was fully broken in because I wanted to try to spin the tire coming out of corners. I think it would do it which is really incredible for an air cooled 803cc 2 valve motor. It really pulls hard.

Anyway, I got to Skyline and then went south on Pontatoc because there are more twisty bits on the way back to River Rd. The road is slightly bumpy and I noticed that the ride is a bit stiff, but not enough to be uncomfortable. It’s sporty without being harsh.

I turned onto River because there are a few nice flat corners where you can feel out handling without having to deal with bumps. This was really nice because this bike maintained neutral handling even with a bit more lean angle than before. I gassed it pretty hard at full lean exiting corners and it stuck to the road and drove through the corner without any drama.

Heading back to Renaissance I was thinking I could be really happy with this as a track day bike. I would prefer to have more adjustment in the suspension, but it’s good enough for most situations. I didn’t want adjustability based on my experience riding it on the road, I wanted it knowing that as the pace quickens on the track, clicking damping adjusters might help as limits are reached. But if you don’t plan on going to the track, it’s not an issue.

The brakes require one finger. They are really good, no issues at all.

Steve asked me to ride the new-ish Hypermotard 796 as a comparison, so I took it on the same ride as the Monster. I think you’ve gotta really want the Hypermotard to choose it instead of the Monster. The only reason I would choose it over the Monster is if I was riding in bad weather a lot, if I wanted to ride down dirt roads once in a while (the riding position and suspension are very dirt oriented), if I was taller, or if I was carrying a passenger a lot. Other than that, if you’re a street rider the Monster is going to do more things for you. Then again, I get why people like Hypermotards. They are different. If you’ve already got another bike, then the Hyper is really something fun. It’s a very different riding experience. You ride it through corners more like a dirt bike: Toss it in there, and let it do it’s thing (pitching around with the long suspension travel the whole time) until you come out of the corner. Apparently the Monster has a few extra horsepower than the Hyper due to the airbox volume, however I didn’t notice. The Hyper has a riding position which forces you to hold on harder under acceleration so it sort of feels fast because of it.

Anyway, to sum up, this is a good bike. If you’re thinking of getting a new street bike, you have to check this thing out. It’s light, quick, handles good, and it’s fun. And it’s a Ducati. Don’t forget about the cool “Logomania” color schemes you can get for it too!

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