Closet K bike envy
Guess I have to post to keep the Admin Deities happy (Hi Razel)
During this year's 49er rally in Auburn, my Ducati Multistrada decided to give up the ghost. Trailered home with all the symptoms of a blown motor. It's under warranty, but you can guess how much $h!t I'v cought from my bimmer riding "friends". :p
Like a frustrated, ignored house wife....I decided to cheat. A&S made it just a LITTLE too easy to score a test ride on the K1200R. I wasn't sure what to expect. I wasn't expecting to join a Kbike forum.
The K1200R from a frustrated Ducatisti:
This bike is the polar opposite of the Multistrada.
The brakes: I'm used to funny sounds when I pull in the clutch, the bimmer made funny sounds when I squeezed the brake. Servo assisted brakes? Not so sure I like that, just one more thing to break. But they seem to work, hauling the bike down from 140 indicated w/ no trouble.
About that 140 indicated....not entirely sure what gear I was in, but the bike was still pulling like a freight train. The MTS tops out about 130. Hmmm...THAT part I do like.
The motor. Couldn't be more different. The MTS is raw, a little harsh, very visceral. The k bike was absolutely silk smooth. In fact, at cruising speed, the fact that I was moving forward was the only indication the bike was even running. Call that a wash...while the smoothness is nice....I do love the "canon fire" of my Remus equiped 1000cc V twin. Power delivery was completely opposite as well. In the first two gears, I have to be smooth and deliberate with the MTS throttle or I'll find my front tire right about head level immediately. The KR almost seemed hesitant getting on the throttle. I would whack it open, the computer would translate it to German, send it to headquarters, recieve the go-ahead, then translate that to acceleration (albeit, lots of it).
Wind protection: Something odd happened here. I had forgotten my earplugs during this test ride. The air the KR puts on you is so smooth that even at 140 w/out earplugs, it was quieter in my helmet than the MTS at 80mph. (wind noise alone, not talking about motor noise now). I never really realized how much buffeting I get from the MTS windscreen until I felt the smooth air coming over the KR. WHen I get the MTS back from Munroe Motors, I'm pulling the windscreen off. I can remember riding my DR650 (no windprotection) and having sore biceps and abs after a couple hours, which is why I thought I wanted wind protection. The KR sits you just perfectly in that wind that it's no work at all. Very impressed.
Suspension: I was impressed....and I wasn't. ESA was set to sport, and the bike turned in and tracked FAR better than I expected a machine that heavy (relatively) and long to do. But in this dept. I have to give the nod to my MTS. Slightly more suspension travel, excellent feedback and good stable manners let me enjoy turn 9 at Buttonwillow as much as chopped up one lane "goat trail" roads.
Ergos: Hands down to the KR. Maybe I'm a sport biker at heart afterall. The MTS sits you almost literally like an enduro. I had played with the idea of rearsets and clip ons. I wouldn't change a thing on the KR. Maybe a slightly lower seat (I'm 5'8"), but even that wouldn't be necessary. Well, maybe I'd change the turnsignal switches...
The Verdict: It's up to Ducati on this one. If the motor is warranteed with no trouble, the KR's price tag will keep me off the K bike for the time being (I got the MTS with luggage and few other extras for $13K OTD) and I'll keep riding my shiny ugly bike. If not....I may have to mortgage the condo again and brush up on my German. But I won't forget the ride (that MOTOR!) and I'll popping my head in here from time to time regardless.