Sunday, 13 February 2011

Hounds from Hell (Ducati Bikes Review)

Ducati recently opened in the UAE, at MotorCity, location of the Dubai Autodrome for you track days junkies!! 

It certainly tickled my interest and that day finally came, Test Drivin' Ducatis!!! 

Ducati 1198S with Termignoni Exhausts

Ducati Streetfighter 1100

headed out to their shop, with the cheerful Martin (mind you, slavic, the size of a building and buffed as hell), the smile always on his face and guardian of the hounds.

Process is quite simple, you hand in your valid motorbike license, sign a waiver of responsibility, you are to pay up to AED2k for any damages to the bike, careful for the speed traps and you are set!

The first bike up for me was the sensational, sexy, terrifyingly powerful Ducati 1198S with Termignoni Exhausts.

Where am I to start :$ ...

The S edition comes with some juicy extras:

- Traction control with 8 levels adjustments (kinda won't need it if you are hardcore)
- Carbon Fibre front Mudguard
- Rear Ohlins Suspension
- Seven spoke Aluminum forged Marchesini wheels
- This one was even fitted with the loud musical Termignoni dual exhausts
- everything reducing the wet weight (ready to ride) to a mere 185 Kg!!! 
- finally 170bhp on the right handle !!! 

Gettin on the bike, it feels much lighter than my Honda CBR600RR (195 Kg) to get off the stand... first gear in and off we are..

First impression is the tight driving position, the tank is small and you must grip it tightly with your thighs if you dnt wana keep sliding inwards..  what can you expect from a track ready bike! 

The acceleration is out of this word, 4th gear and you already hit the last end of the tachometer, you wonder why they added two more gears to the whole thing! The nice thing about Dubai's outercity parts, the huge corners you find on the overpasses, well they are great to bend down the Ducati, and bow does she sways!!! almost having the knee down, had to be extra careful since did not have a suit on!! 
One great thing must be said about the exhaust, the amount of backfire you get on ever gear change is like a symphony in itself, apart from the striking chorus the bike screams out! 
The slipper clutch in the Ducati is a valuable asset to have, with the track days available now on Yas MArina Circuit and Dubai Autodrome, what better way to feel like you are racing for real!!! 
The water-cooled based engine is the main driving force behind this machine, propelling it to triple digit speeds in a blink of an eye, with still plenty of torque and power at any rpm level, marvelous! 

Finally, the bike is Satanic!!! yet very forgiving, for advanced drivers that is... Considering the stretches in Dubai and the places you can ride free on track with your bike, it is a sound investment,, however, it is kind of a hassle in traffic as it is not as nimble as you would want it to be,, and you'll be super scared on gettin it bumped, so avoid it if you are fan of the JBR and Jumeirah /Beach road cruising ;)

The next bike i took out was the Ducati Streetfighter:

This bike is something else!!! the first streetfighter type i ride and boy what a difference...

- 214Kg wet weight, but you can barely feel it with the power it holds in (1099cc)
- 155hp
- cool stopwatch function in the dashboard

The riding position is a challenge i must say, you are more upright, much more,, the handle bar is wider.. no windscreen and higher ground clearance...
Being conceived for the street more, i thought i'd put it through its paces throughout dubai... I must say thought that the drive from MotorCity to Dubai SZR was tiring !!! The wind resistance you face on this kind of bikes is pretty challenging to handle, you feel all your body tense up and your neck is battling and battling...

Once you get to slower traffic (0-120km/h) you can feel the difference in wind resistance, very bearable. And here is where this riding position gets in handy!!! you tower a bit more over car windows than the 1198 and other superbikes, the handling becomes much easier in tight spots between cars on traffic light stops, more comfort with the wider seat on the speeds bumps, easier to park it on the sidewalk with the higher clearance it offers... ALLL that with immense power between your legs, considering it is air-cooled, to be able to pull out 155 horsies from it it quite astonishing! 

The Streetfighter might be one of the best suited bikes for the dubai scenery for the newbies and comfy seeking riders. You get the power and speed from a superbike, with better city-mannered handling and accessibility.

My eyes are set on the 1198 actually, need to fix up my bike first, sell it and start financing a Ducati maybe? tempting, and hey you only live once right?!

P.S: For more info please contact Martin at Ducati Dubai on 050-658 09 56

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