SS v. HD v. Hayabusa Comparo
How's this for a comparo?
Every day at work I park my baby next to a guy with a 2013 Hayabusa. We've become friends just talking about bikes. Then yesterday, your classic Harley rider showed up. First ride of the season for him and it's June 29th. I'm sure he'll visit at least three different bars on three separate weekends this summer and that will be the extent of his riding for the year. As an aside, did I ever mention how embarrassed I am of HD even though I'm American? Ugggh, we can definitely do better.
So around lunch time I found myself in the parking area and Mr. Harley owner was there with some friends of his. He decided it would be a good time to start his HD to show everyone how loud it was. He fired it up and I thought my eyeballs might start to bleed. It was cranium-shaking. I'm relatively sure he has no baffles in his pipes. When he turned it off, I made a comment about it being obnoxiously loud and he just spouted the Harley mantra, "Loud pipes save lives." I think HD makes its buyers say that phrase 20 times before they take possession of their overpriced marvel of 1990s technology.
While Mr. Harley was rehearsing his mantra, Mr. Hayabusa walked out and proceeded to start up his bike and rev the engine. After the racket produced by the HD, the Hayabusa was slightly pitiful. Very smooth, but very quiet. When he revved it, it sounded like a slightly menacing whine. Not "I'm going to soil my pants" menacing, but it wasn't a small child whining for an ice cream either.
The HD owner seemed confused about how a bike could be so quiet. Knowing he knew very little about bikes, I pointed out that the 'Busa was a 4 cylinder and would therefore be very smooth and quiet. He asked if the SS was so quiet. I chuckled, and said, "Oh no, not at all." One of his friends was slightly more knowledgeable about bikes and while elbowing his buddies, said, "Listen to this. This is a Ducati." I just grinned and started the SS. It sprang to life and rumbled with a purpose. Then I revved it and I'm pretty sure it said in Italian, "This contest is over." When I turned off the SS, the Harley rider said, "Wow, that's a man's bike." Priceless.
On to the ride:
Shortly after the exhaust expo, the Hayabusa rider offered me his keys and insisted I take his bike for a spin. Mostly out of courtesy, I did. Keep in mind I haven't ever ridden a Hayabusa and haven't ridden a Japanese bike of any kind since 1996. The experience was...illuminating. In short, the bike has a hard seat, a bit of throttle lag, it's heavy, very smooth with plush suspension and comfortable at dangerously fast speeds. Although I only took it up to 110 mph, I can definitely see going 140 mph and not being the least bit fazed. Lastly, the riding position is aggressively forward and my knees were nearly up to my armpits. I felt cramped within ten minutes of starting.
After I parked the Hayabusa, I immediately rode away on the SS. As soon as I started, I literally began laughing inside my helmet. The position seemed extremely high, almost Hypermotard-like in comparison to the Hayabusa. The back-to-back rides highlighted just how different the SS riding position is compared to a standard sportbike riding position (assuming the Hayabusa riding position mimics a standard sportbike riding position. I don't know if it does.) Other observations: 1. Exhaust sound on the SS is just more...interesting 2. Less throttle lag 3. Much comfier seat 4. Much lighter/more flickable (not surprising considering the weight difference, but still noteworthy) 5. The SS definitely vibrates more than the 'Busa, but it is a pleasant vibration (I hadn't ever noticed the vibes until I rode it back to back with the 4 cylinder). I guess all these characteristics add up to the famous "character" of a Ducati.
Anyway, I just wanted to share the above stories as I found them pretty entertaining/instructive. Sometimes when you ride the same bike every day you forget the positives and negatives the bike has and it helps to compare it to a different bike.
1992 BMW R100GS
2004 Ducati Multistrada 1000DS
2005 Ducati 749
2017 Ducati Supersport Classic