Article posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2014
DEMO'D: Streetfighter 848 Test Ride
Article by Matt Carr.
Back in my late teens I worked construction and the boss would tell me to "demo" a part of a house. This meant my goal was to destroy it. My demo ride of the Streetfighter848 would be a complete 180 to those old days. As always, my goal was to have fun but not destroy the F848 in any way, shape, or form.
This particular Sunday that I chose to ride was a nice 60degree October day. I left the dealership and headed out west of Zionsville. I got about 15 miles out on the farm roads when I decided to turn back and head to the Service Department to change the front sprocket from a 15 tooth to a 14 tooth (SuperLite Sprocket $39.99). Tommy suggested to swap out the stock sprocket cover with the EVR sprocket cover ($89.99). I decided to roll it up on the dyno and do the work there. It only took about 8 tools to change the front sprocket and retension the chain before I ran it on the dyno. I did a couple dyno runs and all in all I had about 40 minutes into it before I was ready to get back out and test ride some more. What I found was that the Termignoni Slip-on Kit gave us about 8 horsepower. Taking off one airbox intake gave about 2.5 more. If it matters, I took the left intake off for the dyno testing. In the coming days we are either going to modify our F848 intake or order some carbon fiber intakes with largermouth screened inlets. I really wanted to ride the bike with the extra 2-3 ponies but it would have to wait until the intakes were sorted.
Back out on 465 with the F848 headed out towards 86th street the gearing had me in 6th gear going 70mph @4500rpm. The 14T front sprocket brought the revs up about 300-400 from stock. Some of the bigger Ducatis like the 1199 and Multistrada will run a bit lower rpm than this in 6th gear but for this bike I was pleased. The bike sounds absolutely amazing cruising on the freeway and when you twist the throttle in top gear the acceleration is very brisk. I was continually surprised by how much thrust the bike had in the top 2 gears. To be honest, the 14T and the torque of the F848 provide a rush of acceleration in any gear.
Getting off on 86th street I headed west and wound my way into the country. After I took a few pictures I decided to do some tweaking to the suspension and I turned all the damper settings to full soft. I rode it like this and surprisingly the suspension did not feel the way I thought it would. A few of the roads I was on had sharp 90 degree corners; the ones that just show up along country roads west of Indy. With all kinds of bumps and gravel and different pavement all in one corner, I liked the way the soft suspension felt. It didn't feel loose but it was soft and compliant, even on an the occaisonal sweeper out on the northwest side of Indy. My first thought is that this would not work at the track when you really load up the suspension in the corners with massive amounts of throttle, but it was working just fine on a 60degree day in October back on country roads. When I would grab a handful of brake the front would dive quite a bit with the compresson adjuster all the way out and this was expected. I dialed more compression into the fork and then added a little bit more rebound also, just to be safe. I ended up 2.5 turns from full in on the fork compression adjuster and 1 turn out from full in on fork rebound adjuster. On the rear shock I ended up with 2 turns from full in on compression and 3/4 turns from full in on rebound. Your results may vary and I encourage everyone to find there own settings. In my honest opinion if you aren't adjusting your suspension to find out what you like, you should be.
I had the guys help me measure the sag on Tuesday and it was 40 front and 35 rear. This felt pretty good for me out on the street and farm roads where I am never even close to race pace. Most of the time when I am out on the street I just want a comfy ride but when I pick up the pace I want a stable ride with plenty of feedback and grip from both the front tire and rear tire. I like the riding position of the F848 and it is much more comfortable than a lot of sportbikes due to the handlebars. The handlebars also offer an edge in manuevering a streetbike through tight turns due to the incresed leverage of the handlebar. This leverage is noticeable and it really helps when the road throws at you a sudden off camber decreasing radius turn. As anyone who rides the open road knows, this happens all the time. I was very confident while riding the bike with whatever the road had to offer. I really can't stress this enough, the engine and chassis worked in harmony for me and I felt I could up the pace safely with the tires glued to the road under an extremely stable chassis. When a Ducati is dialed in right, this is what they have always been about.
My ride on the Streetfighter848 was further enhanced by The Ducati Traction Control(DTC) which keeps the bike in line and under control. The DTC has 8 levels with 1 being the least amount of traction control and 8 being the most. Of the 8 levels I prefer level 2. It is easy through a menu in the dash to turn the DTC on and set the level and at the dealership we start the DTC on 4 for most test rides. Pages 62 and 63 of the owners manual give a detailed explanation of how to select the DTC setting to suit your riding style and road conditions. In short, levels 1-2-3 will still allow the tire to spin and levels 7-8 are for rain riding. 4-5-6 are intermediate levels and a good place to start out.
Nate decided to put a Ducati Performance Quickshifter on this bike and that made it so much fun to ride with full throttle clutchless upshifts and it sounds amazing when the bike shifts that fast while pulling hard. It still works at higher degrees of part throttle also but it was deigned to "Allow full-throttle clutchless upshifts for faster acceleration." That is straight out of the Ducati Performance Catalog. The quickshifter is turned on from a menu in the dash and it is really easy to do so.
As I rode around the countryside I was really impressed with torque of the engine and how smooth it was a the same time. I am being totally honest here in saying that the 11deg Testastretta 848 engine in the Streetfighter is very very smooth yet is still has an awesome character. On the freeway or out on the backroads it has a soothing sound that is pleasing to the ears. Customers who own an F848 or demo this F848 often comment on how smooth and pleasant sounding the engine is at all throttle positions and loads.
The engine ran fairly cool with a combimation of higher average speeds and cool ambient tempeartures. The dash uses a column of bars to record temperature. The temps go something like this: Most of the time you ride around at 3 or 4 which is about 140 to 180degF. If you get up to 5(about 208degF) it is probably just hot out and you are going slow. If you are at 6(about 220degF) you are on the fans and when they kick in it should be back down to 5. This 5 or 6 bounce should only be happening if you aren't moving or moving slow on a hot day. If you hit 7(about 250degF) then you should be on high alert because the only higher reading is the dash flashing the "HI" signal at you to let you know you are overheating. That is just an explanantion of how it works. Our demo F848 is running great and even in the summer the fans keep the temperature in the right spot when at a stop or moving slow.
I am Streetfighter fan and I owned a Streetfighter1098 before I sold it for to shovel money into racing. I never would have done that if I could have afforded to have them both. I see the appeal of the Streetfighter848 and I would like to own one. I rode it again today into work and I was doing the numbers in my head to see if I could own it. Of course you could say I am biased as part of the family that owns the dealership, but I got into this because I love Ducati Motorcycles and this bike is a great example of why. The F1098 was a brutish bike that was an amazing fit for some people, my self included. The F848 is a refined middleweight which does everything well and the valve adjustment interval is every 15,000 as opposed to the 7,500 interval of the F1098. Come on by and ride the Streetfighter848 demo whenever you get a chance. Make sure you let the sales guys know you are coming so they can call me and get the bike back here as I am probably out testing the new rear sag of 30mm for a rider who weighs 210lbs in gear. :)
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