Right! So it's time for a 900 mile review!
I've managed to put down about three rides so far - two pie runs and a midnight run to burn off a few miles to get to my 600 mile service.
So here are my thoughts. The bike is light, way light. It handles like a DREAM! It's almost too light - diving into corners so much faster than I ever expected. I've really had to slow down my motions and reduce my steering inputs dramatically. Body weighting the pegs and hanging off really moves the bike around a lot so getting super smooth in my motions is really the name of the game.
The power is just about perfect for the street. Once again I'm looking for a couple extra RPM's but the gearbox is quick and smooth shifting. It's simply a matter of adjusting my riding style to reflect the bike. What I do like a lot is how communicative the engine is. The power peak signs off at 7500 RPM and hits the limiter about 1k later. The good news is that you can feel the sweet spot and just know exactly when to shift by feel.
For the record, the 85-ish HP at the rear wheel is plenty adequate with a 430# bike!
Traction control - heck, I've set it on Level 4 (the most intrusive) and haven't set it off yet. Granted, I'm not exactly peg dragging at the track, but it's not going off on normal riding. Seth (riding friend) did have it go off in conjunction with ABS and an accidental stoppie and said it was pretty harsh. Unexpected might be the better word. Regardless, I'm glad to have it and will report more when I know more.
The OEM tires (Rosso II's) appear to be quite decent and have plenty of traction. No problems there.
The seat is plenty comfortable for 325 mile days and my knees aren't showing any issues. I think 500 mile days as a stock bike/saddle are fully doable. On the other end, the tank range is barely 140 miles and I'm filling up around 120. With no tank bag to worry about gas and go stops are super fast. It's delivering a super consistent 40mpg and I'm not really being nice on the throttle. Gotta break then engine in right ya know!
Iíve changed to a 14 tooth front (OEM 15 tooth) and itís made a HUGE difference in the rideability of the bike. It spins up much quicker and the power is spot on. Big plus that 6th gear is actually useable now.
The bike surges. Iím sure this is a part of the super lean Euro-3 emissions that are strangling the bike. A lot of people are recommending either a power commander or FatDuc O2 module. Iíll have to figure out if these things affect warranty. If not, Iíll do a FatDUC and see if that helps. Regardless, under 5k you can definitely feel the bike hunting around on maintenance and partial throttle.
The looks: this bike has massive garage appeal. I constantly find myself walking into the garage to look at the bike and wonder ďwhat will I do nextĒ. Itís a dream machine and I canít wait to start doing some longer distances (500+ mile days) on it.
So, Iíve read a lot about people complaining about tank range on the bike. Really, it hasnít been a problem. Iím sure itís going to limit me in some ways (round trips to out of the way places and the Haul Road come to mind).
Suspension is quite decent but certainly not up to maximum pace standards. It needs stiffer springs (Iím already maxed on spring pre-load up front and itís still 10mm too much static sag) and thereís a lot of stiction in the sliders. On the other hand itís fully adjustable up front and Iím sure a solid track day will work wonders on settings.
The rear shock is ideally suited sag-wise right off the shelf for meÖbut is only rebound adjustable. I ďthinkĒ itís ok about 1 click soft of mid-setting for street riding but I suspect itís going to lack on the track and move around a lot. Iíve managed to put Ohlins or something on each one of my bikes for the past 12 years so itís not like Iím expecting this one to be any different. Iím leaning towards a Penske shock this time aroundÖand some kind of diamond slicking/springs on the forksÖperhaps a lighter fluidÖgotta play the track game first!
Other miscellaneous notes: This bike gets LOOKS. Great looks from people all over the place Ė itís a fine looking bike and actually quite easy to ride. Ducati increased the steering lock quite a bit and itís not been a problem (like a specific previous edition I rode onceÖ). Rev limiter is not the brick wall the previous gen was. The exhaust has a great raspy snort to it that just sounds great at stoplights and starting up.
Wind management: notice I said Management and not protection! The wind is smooth, the seating position works with the wind, and I didnít feel tired or beat up in spite of 180 miles of Orange County freeway speeds (ie: thatís called moving fast!).
Biggest single drawback to the Monster? I feel the horrible need to buy leather and ditch the ĎStitch! But finding some kind of slightly classic looking leathersÖwith knee sliders is a challenge!
Next big ride should be a Monterey Run and about 1100 miles on a weekend.
Current Farkle List:
1. Gerbings e-Plug on the top of the gas tank (for accessories)
2. Gerbings e-Plug on the bottom left corner of the tank (for actual e-vest hookup)
3. Garmin Nuvi 500 on a quick-release RAM setup with a spliced Gerbings e-Plug connector (specifically, RadioShack N-Series male plug)
4. USB plug spliced to a N-Series plug for any USB related recharging such as IPhones, etc.
5. Spliced an N-Series plug into my Beltronics Radar power cord.
6. Removed the Carbon Cannister (*with the intent of converting it into a flat repair storage kit because there is no room under the seat.)
7. 14 tooth front sprocket. (Really, this should be standard.)
8. Flat repair kit under the seat (and Iím not kidding, I can BARELY get 2 CO2ís under the seat. Itís that tight.)
9. Dual Ram Balls Ė one under each mirror stem.
Future Farkle List:
1. Heated Grips.
2. Throttle lock of some kind. My right arm is awfully stiff from the accident. It seems to keep going WOT on myÖ
3. ErrrÖthatís all really!
1. Bags Connection CargoBag for touring
2. Bags connection Reverse bag on the tank for touring
3. If I really need to, Wolfman Tank Panniers to load balance a bit and add some wind protection on the knees. Iím not thinking this will be necessary though.
There are no intentions to run any form of bags for normal day in riding.
Itís definitely not the right bike for everyone. But itís certainly the right bike for me today!