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Harley1
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   Posted 12/7/2006 5:00 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Our guide to vintage bikes takes a spin on Ducati's latest attempt to recreate classic glory in a reliable new package. Tell us your views about Frank Melling's 2007 Ducati GT1000 – Quick Ride
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DUCeditor
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   Posted 12/8/2006 12:45 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
What is that saying? Oh yes, "tell us what you REALLY think.

Frank does, and he, in this writers opinion, hits the nail right on its proverbial head.

Yes, I remember the bikes of those times. The sound. The feel. The way they made power. The delightfil scent on ones' fingers after you tickled their dripping carbs. (2nd best sent your finger could have) The GT1000 has 'em all aside from the scent. (And with the way gasoline smells today that's a good thing) Doubt it? Ride a SportClassic yourself. And if age has left its mark, make that a GT1000.
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Geoffrey
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   Posted 12/8/2006 5:12 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
The GT1000 sounds like a nice bike. I just can't get use to all of the space between the rear fender and tire.


'05 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic
'96 BMW R1100R

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schwartzkm
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   Posted 12/8/2006 6:55 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

What's you're beef with the bonneville?  I think they look sharp and ride pretty nice.

 

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YellowDuck
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   Posted 12/8/2006 8:04 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
As the self-appointed QC monitor of all articles on this site involving Ducati 2-V bikes, may I point out that the forks are by Marzocchi, not Showa?

Otherwise, nice article.

Hey DUCeditor, welcome, nice to see you over here. (We know each other from the Ducati.ms site). You should consider hanging around a bit - it is kinda fun here.


Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre - Joe Klein

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EdbearNZ
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   Posted 12/9/2006 1:37 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Have to agree here. The only Duc's I've wanted to own up 'til now were the 750 and 900 SS's but the ride position makes them impractical for daily use for us old folk! As soon as I saw the GT I knew here was a Duc I could own! Now I just need to sell the house and...

Good write-up!


I tried one of those talking scales the other day. It said, "One at a time, please!"

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bkorfhage
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   Posted 12/9/2006 10:26 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I don't get the complaints about the TB either. Love that bike and other retro attempts by other manufacuturers. Nice to see an offering from Ducati with a little refinement.

I'm not a design expert, and I don't sit in on design meetings, but maybe manufacturers are gearing retro machines, not towards cantakerous old timers, but to a younger crowd who have only seen such bikes on film and are interested in riding a bike with a pointed, specific aesthetic. Myopia? Just a thought...


go ahead, ask me anything...

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Desmolicious
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   Posted 12/9/2006 2:12 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I actually thought the Kawi w650 was really cool with it's fork gaiters, kick start and the rest. Just needed a bit of fettling to make it run right (too lean from factory). it actually looked more "authentic" than the Triumph Bonnie.
This Duc Gt1000 is really nice, heard one with DP pipes and it was heaven. Really nice that it has "chokeless" start, just turn key and push the button. My issues with are are several though... 1/ the forks need some sort of protection from road debris on the sliders, otherwise they will get pitted and ruin the seals in no time.
2/ They shoulda used spoked rims that allow the use of tubeless tires. BMW does this on its GS, and Moto Guzzi had this on some of its models.
3/ Why no new 1100cc motor that is being used in the Multistrada for 07?
Anyway, a girl I'm seeing has fallen in love with the new cream/black paint job for 07. I'm not going to dissuade her! Great bikes.


Børk! Børk! Børk!

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hipsabad
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   Posted 12/9/2006 7:42 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Desmolicious said:
"I actually thought the Kawi w650 was really cool with it's fork gaiters, kick start and the rest. Just needed a bit of fettling to make it run right (too lean from factory). it actually looked more "authentic" than the Triumph Bonnie.
This Duc Gt1000 is really nice, heard one with DP pipes and it was heaven. Really nice that it has "chokeless" start, just turn key and push the button. My issues with are are several though... 1/ the forks need some sort of protection from road debris on the sliders, otherwise they will get pitted and ruin the seals in no time.
2/ They shoulda used spoked rims that allow the use of tubeless tires. BMW does this on its GS, and Moto Guzzi had this on some of its models.
3/ Why no new 1100cc motor that is being used in the Multistrada for 07?"

Completely agree!
I too, thought the W650 looked a bit more authentic and svelte than the overweight Hinckley Bonneville. They both suffered from being way too budget oriented for bikes that appealed heavily to the boomer age group - who should have plenty of spending power for such purchases. Go figure!

As to the Ducati, the sliders will be dinged for sure. Spoked rims would look so much more authentic. What's more my '03 CBR has upright forks that are as solid as rock at speeds in excess of the GT's capability. The Ducati would look way more traditional with right-side-up forks. The CBR's are 45mm - if they are beefy enough RWU's are fine and maybe even have a slight unsprung weight advantage.
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hipsabad
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   Posted 12/9/2006 8:20 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Frank Melling also wrote this recently:

"I have just sold my Suzuki SV1000 - the most competent motorcycle I have ever owned. It has a superb, 1,000cc V-twin engine that gives breathtaking power and torque.

The six-speed gearbox is sweet and fault-free and the hydraulic clutch effortless and reliable. In terms of handling, the alloy beam frame is superb and the brakes are so powerful they could be an invention of science fiction. The finish is impeccable. But after only 1,000 miles, it had to go.

A state-of-the-art Suzuki raises the most fundamental motorcycling question of all: why participate in an activity that is potentially dangerous and uncomfortable when compared with travel in a car?

If I worked in a city - a nightmare I could do without - I would be a two-wheeled commuter, but I wouldn't ride a motorcycle. The weapon of choice for urban traffic warfare has to be a large-capacity scooter. If you need a practical vehicle for a 50-mile commute, a super-scooter rides rings around any bike, let alone a car. So that puts motorcycles into the leisure market, where they have been for some time now.

Riding in Britain is not quite as pleasurable as the ads and the bike magazines would have you believe. Bikers are still the number one target for speed enforcement, for example, whether by means of the manifold cash-generating devices that now litter British roadsides or more expensive devices such as the jet helicopter used by North Wales's finest to pursue errant riders across the Denbigh Moors, at a cost of only £10 a minute.

Regardless of how disciplined the rider is, keeping to rigidly enforced speed limits is extremely difficult on any motorcycle with sporting pretensions - 100mph is available with the merest throttle movement and can mean an instant ban, while 130mph can land you in the slammer, hospital or worse. Any self-respecting 600cc sports bike will run up to 130mph without a flicker of effort.

This is the fundamental problem with a modern bike. In order for it to be fun, it has to be ridden at speeds that threaten your future. When ridden in a legal and sensible fashion, it is just too good for public roads.

Worse still, a modern bike is undemanding in a way that questions the very essence of motorcycling. Over the past few years, there has been a vast reduction in the skill required to ride new bikes at legal speeds. Engines are near faultless, gearboxes almost idiot-proof, brakes flattering to the rider and the handling under-stressed. What is the purpose?

For me, the SV1000 was the straw that broke the camel's back. It was fast, effortless and reduced me to a nervous wreck as I attempted to keep my licence clean.

In its place, I will ride my Yamaha SRX, a 20-year-old 608cc single that produces a mere 38bhp at the back wheel - not much compared with the Suzuki's 116bhp. So why take a step back in time?

Well, the fun starts before the SRX has even turned a wheel. It doesn't have an electric starter and, being a big, high-compression single, it has to be coaxed to fire and then caressed to avoid a stall, and there is a long sulk before it reaches working temperature. Getting it to tick over from cold is a real achievement.

By contrast with the Suzuki, an excess of power is not a problem. The SRX ambles briskly to about 70mph and then starts to let you know that this is in the top third of its capability. The motor needs to be kept in the happy part of the rev range. Too few rpm and it shakes and complains; too many and the vibration is chronic.

The joy is that, with skill, the old-fashioned single can be gently led into making satisfying progress. Equally, it can make life a misery for the rider. The delight is in knowing that you can get it wrong and that the bike will let you know it in no uncertain terms.

The handling provides an even more intense experience. Crude suspension and narrow tyres might seem a drawback compared with the sophistication of mono-shocks and upside-down forks, but the contrary is true. To take a sweeping country corner at 65mph on the SRX demands that the rider judges the line perfectly and is in complete balance with the bike.

The extremely narrow single is sensitive to the subtlest input from the rider and punishes gross body movements by wallowing through the bend like a sea lion chasing an ice cream van. Delicacy and precision are rewarded; hanging off the side in the style of a MotoGP rider is met with contempt.

The whole experience of flowing through the corner in one sinuous, liquid movement epitomises Francesco Bulto's view of the motorcycle as the two-wheeled horse, where bike and rider metamorphose into one entity.

Ride the SRX - or any other sporting classic for that matter - at legal road speeds and the demands are such that you are absolutely certain whether you have ridden well, satisfactorily or poorly. In the final analysis, that is the reason for riding a motorcycle rather than driving around in an air-conditioned box with a CD player.

Add cheap insurance, 70mpg consumption and zero depreciation, and the case for a classic is overwhelming, while modern bikes, with their hyper performance, look increasingly old-fashioned. Sign up now."

This is certainly a little more in the vein of old codger ramblings - 'things were better in the old days, we were men then, fought for king and country, etc.'
He makes some good points. But do we really want less reliability, cruder metallurgy, non-damped suspension? Why not just ride with solid rubber tires for some authentic vintage thrills? Or maybe remove one side of the handlebars - one-handed steering is fun don't you know. It is true though that the power of litre-bikes, like the one he owned, is exceedingly overkill in most situations for the average rider. Yet the horsepower race continues. The handling race I have no problems with. Same goes for the reliability race or the fuel-efficiency race or the corrosion-resistance race.

I used to own an SRX like his in the day. I recently had an opportunity to ride an old Honda CB400F, two of which I owned and adored in their time (1976). I was shocked at how underwhelming it was to ride them now. Sharp is not the word. Maybe sloppy or soft. Funny thing is, it didn't seem so in the day and I'm sure if I rode that bike all the time now I would relearn my responses and acclimatize as it were, which is maybe not an entirely bad thing. But then by the same logic shouldn't we all be riding 25 year-old Ducatis instead of new 1000GTs?
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Kevin Duke
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   Posted 12/10/2006 11:17 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

I, too, had a CB400F. Fell in love with it before I knew anything about motorcycles. Its stance and proportions were beautiful, and those most gorgeous of exhaust pipes were the icing on the cake. So I bought one about 13 years ago, after owning a CBR600F and F2. It was cool, and I'd love to have one to this day. But, truly, the riding experience has to be looked through a highly tinted pair of rose-colored glasses to be seen in the same light as modern machinery. The enjoyment our boy Melling gets from fettling with his SRX during cold starts doesn't entice me into the vintage bike experience.

As for the W650 Kawi, that was a nice bike. I once did a shootout comparing that bike to the contemporary Bonneville and to a 1970 Bonnie. The W650 won. It looked more like the original Bonnie than the new one. And despite having slightly less power, it felt more sprightly than the more powerful but heavier new Triumph. The old Triumph was terrific fun - for about 50 miles. The way I see it, I can't own a vintage bike without having something modern alongside, something that will inevitably pile on miles at a much quicker pace. 


-KD, MotorcycleUSA Editor

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hipsabad
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   Posted 12/10/2006 2:50 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Kevin Duke said...
I, too, had a CB400F. Fell in love with it before I knew anything about motorcycles. Its stance and proportions were beautiful, and those most gorgeous of exhaust pipes were the icing on the cake. So I bought one about 13 years ago, after owning a CBR600F and F2. It was cool, and I'd love to have one to this day. But, truly, the riding experience has to be looked through a highly tinted pair of rose-colored glasses to be seen in the same light as modern machinery. The enjoyment our boy Melling gets from fettling with his SRX during cold starts doesn't entice me into the vintage bike experience.

As for the W650 Kawi, that was a nice bike. I once did a shootout comparing that bike to the contemporary Bonneville and to a 1970 Bonnie. The W650 won. It looked more like the original Bonnie than the new one. And despite having slightly less power, it felt more sprightly than the more powerful but heavier new Triumph. The old Triumph was terrific fun - for about 50 miles. The way I see it, I can't own a vintage bike without having something modern alongside, something that will inevitably pile on miles at a much quicker pace.



"...pile on miles at a much quicker pace." Right on dat.
Modern bikes are rather brilliant to anyone who has made the long trek through the sometimes questionable progress over the last 40 years. I don't need every modern convenience on a bike but a smooth engine lets you ride longer and excellent suspension gives you superior control and greater comfort too. I would even say, in the case of my R1 and Blade, that massive power has its useful application at times in certain traffic situations. Most of the time it's 'unecessary', I suppose. On the other hand I love Yamaha's Vino 125 and BWS for urban scooting in traffic and parking in the smallest spaces. There's something special about scraping bits leaning through city intersections on these wobbly little guys. Suzuki's DL1000 has taken me across the continent twice without the hint of a mechanical problem. In speed and comfort (once you remove the windshield). Don't even get me started on the all-rounded beauty of a bike like the 599 - the modern CB400F ! At the same time I think that bike could be improved as well. I rode a W650 Kawi too and I agree it was more sprightly feeling than the offering from Triumph. I loved the way the bike's low, flat, diminutive nature made it disappear beneath you. Like a flying chair. Shades of yesteryear.
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OhioSteve
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   Posted 12/10/2006 4:46 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Yeah, it is a great bike. Ducati also claims that they are reducing the cost of their maintenance intervals substantially. If this continues, I may run out of things to complain about...


I am the foremost expert on my opinion.

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YellowDuck
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   Posted 12/12/2006 10:14 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
On my bike (same motor as the GT), the initial service (600 miles) consists of changing the oi and filterl and checking the timing belt tension and charging system. I did the first bit myself and whould be surprised if the dealer charged me more than $100 to do the other two.

Valve checks / adjustments are still required at 7500-mile intervals though - up from 6000 previously. On a 2-V Duc that service shouldn't cost more than $300 to $400 (including the other bits like changing the fuel filter, synching TBs, etc). At twice that mileage you also change the timing belts - add another $100. Maybe expensive compared to Japanese bikes, but compared to all the other costs associated with owning and operating a bike (initial purchase, tires, insurance, etc), why get hung up on a few hundred bucks a year more for service?


Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre - Joe Klein

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Cap'n
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   Posted 12/15/2006 11:40 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I believe that after my long year+ of waffling between falling in love with too many models to count, I will wind up buying a GT1000 once I get a job, in the spring. I absolutely love the new 2-tone. The Bonnies are great, but the little voice in the back of my head says "don't give up on fuel injection. Or the extra horsepower." And I truly do have Ducati lust.


82 Suzi GS300L
02 Kawi Vulcan 500
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"The first thing to learn about street riding is not to start on an R6." -Luke

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Kevin Duke
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   Posted 12/16/2006 10:24 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hey, Cap'n, just to make things harder for you, I'm expecting the Bonnies to be fitted with FI next year so they will meet worldwide emissions standards...


-KD, MotorcycleUSA Editor

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YellowDuck
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   Posted 12/17/2006 11:13 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Get the latest issue of Motorcyclist for a comparison of these two bikes. Okay, it is for the "cafe racer" versions (Triumph Thruxton and Ducati Sport 1000), but the mecahnicals are similar to the Bonnie and GT (except for rear suspension on the Ducati).


Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre - Joe Klein

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Desmolicious
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   Posted 12/17/2006 11:34 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
wot did they say?


Børk! Børk! Børk!

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YellowDuck
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   Posted 12/18/2006 9:41 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Both are brutal to ride (the Triumph less so) and have sub-standard suspension, but they liked the Duc a lot better, both because of the much greater performance, and also some vagaries about how the Triumph is somehow a mockery of the original (?). You need to read it yourself to get the flavor of the argument.


Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre - Joe Klein

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Cap'n
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   Posted 12/18/2006 3:30 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Kevin Duke said...
Hey, Cap'n, just to make things harder for you, I'm expecting the Bonnies to be fitted with FI next year so they will meet worldwide emissions standards...

AND go up to the 865 only, no more 700's.  I know.  Assuming I'm gonna finance a portion of either bike and pay it off within a year anyway, the extra couple of $thousand dollars doesn't really bug me.  I like the brakes better on the Duc (from what I have read, anyway), I like the extra power of the Duc, and dammit I've wanted a ducati of some sort for years now.
 
The clincher would be a test ride on the GT1000.  I've driven the Thruxton twice, and it felt a little .... "insubstantial" to me.  It was quick but not frighteningly, and by the second ride I was getting little hints from the brakes, engine, and chassis that maybe I was setting the bar too low.  And that was with the offroad pipes, on the sportier model (not the bonnie, though they're awfully similar), with Heli-bar risers. 
 
I'm thinking the GT is gonna have more pop, but still pass the wife's visual test.


82 Suzi GS300L
02 Kawi Vulcan 500
3 Yrs, 15,000 miles
"The first thing to learn about street riding is not to start on an R6." -Luke

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