I wanted to buy a “dual sport” bike to do some long distance touring in South America. The choice came down to the tried and tested BMW1200 GS or the relatively unproven (except on the race track) Ducati Multistrada.
The BMW has a proven track record, it’s bigger, stronger, heavier, devoid of character and ugly as sin. The Multistrada is unproven in tough environments (like the Andes), temperamental, and comes from the shop floor with a few built in glitches before you even start … For example, a fuel gauge that insists you are out of fuel just after you top up the tank and a butterfly valve in the exhaust system that has no function other than to affect (reduce) noise – but regularly sticks, causes rough running and generates computer error readings.
I decided to buy the Ducati. You see, life is too short for Germanic engineering excellence at the total cost of character, and the Ducati is a thing of beauty. The minute you throw a leg over the Ducati, you become entranced by its charisma. It has lost NONE of the racetrack pedigree that is synonymous with its origins. At the same time, those clever little Italians have put in a computer that gives it three ‘other’ personalities… Press the appropriate buttons and it offers urban mode, enduro mode and touring mode – all of which calm down the sport mode – which was my first experience and the cause of my attraction …. With all of it’s 150 horse power. The BM can do all that too of course …. Except it’s still a big panzer tank and it’s never going to be pretty.
Right then. Wrong decision made, and happily justified …. ‘No victims, only volunteers’ as a good friend of mine regularly observes in life. Im not revisiting that decision either – I can’t live with a bike I hate the look of..
So. Having explored how I can get rid of that butterfly valve in the exhaust …. The news is not great …. That computer I mentioned doesn’t like it if you just mess around and disconnect it. A full ‘cat-free’ exhaust system is about 10 Kgs lighter (significant) and there are kits available on the market which bring their own solutions to fooling the computer into believing the butterfly valve is still there and working. It’s an expensive option at about $2,000, but that 10 Kg saving combined with a free flow exhaust system is attractive too …. Jury out until I can convince myself it’s worth it.