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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.
 

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Lol good take on the Harley rider 😂😂 the Harley rider around here are just the same, they think a Harley jacket facemask and belt buckle = I'm as hard as nails lol 😂
 

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Harley Davidson. The most efficient way to convert the energy in petrol to noise without the byproduct of power.
He must have a modern one if it is 1990s tech, most of them are 1940s tech.
 

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One of the Harley riders where I work was getting off his pile of chrome when I pulled into the parking lot on the Supersport. He ambled over, eyeballing the Duc, completely clueless as to what he was looking at. Finally he says, "Ducati? That's a Yamaha, right?" I told him "No, it's made by KTM". Confused, he asked, "Is that American." "As apple pie", I told him. He was quite pleased and said "That's a great looking bike, bro". I think I lost an easy 10 IQ points in our 60 second conversation.
 

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One of the Harley riders where I work was getting off his pile of chrome when I pulled into the parking lot on the Supersport. He ambled over, eyeballing the Duc, completely clueless as to what he was looking at. Finally he says, "Ducati? That's a Yamaha, right?" I told him "No, it's made by KTM". Confused, he asked, "Is that American." "As apple pie", I told him. He was quite pleased and said "That's a great looking bike, bro". I think I lost an easy 10 IQ points in our 60 second conversation.
Only 10:wink2:
 

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One of the Harley riders where I work was getting off his pile of chrome when I pulled into the parking lot on the Supersport. He ambled over, eyeballing the Duc, completely clueless as to what he was looking at. Finally he says, "Ducati? That's a Yamaha, right?" I told him "No, it's made by KTM". Confused, he asked, "Is that American." "As apple pie", I told him. He was quite pleased and said "That's a great looking bike, bro". I think I lost an easy 10 IQ points in our 60 second conversation.
:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:......


Oh those Harley riders, aren't they just precious??!???!!! Just like a freshly layer dog turd on a scalding 100* day in July!
 

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I understand that most of a Harley is not made in the US these days but just assembled there. If I am wrong then could one of the American members enlighten me please.
 

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Harley is way more about the lifestyle than the bike, that's for sure. My father has been a lifelong harley guy, even has a harley wing tatoo on his arm from way back. Traded it in for a BMW 1200rt recently and is in heaven
 

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Harley builds fine tractors. They are the most common bike around here. Slow loud and heavy. Living in a tourist area attracts them like bugs to a light.
 

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Respecting everybody's opinion, here's mine.

On the other hand, bikes are all cool in their own way. "Better" is subjective and depends on what the reason for riding is. If Hogs had all the latest tech (and they're doing some things like fuel injection, keyless, water cooling, improved suspension, etc) then they would be moving into the performance market and there is already heaps of competition there. I guess a newer Hog is sort of the bike equivalent of driving a '57 Chevy or similar, but new and so maybe "better" if you want the look without spinning wrenches on an old bomb. I'd rather go for a burn/cruise/fizzle on a Hog than drive most cars, and if nobody was looking, probably so would most of us! ;-) Harley riders "suffer for their art" in a way, and isn't that what somebody baking in traffic on a Panigale is doing too? Just my thoughts.

I had a loan of a Road King once. It was a barge, especially when low-speed docking. But, once underway, the smooth and immense torque at the command of the right wrist was addictive. Took my adult son for a ride and you didn't notice the added weight of the pillion at all. He said it was like riding on a sofa! Brakes and suspension were good for the purpose. It tested your road craft too, because you had to PLAN your manoeuvres and lines through corners. You could find the sweet spot of the ride and if you rode the bike in that zone (quasi-legal road speeds) it was very satisfying. If you try to do what the bike is not good at, you'd hate it for sure!

I love the sound of a v-twin when the pipes are just right. The open pipe selfishness is just ridiculous, I agree. I also can't identify with the whole HD riding costume thing too, but hey, some people go to Star Trek conventions and dress accordingly!
 

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Having driven a Hayabusa at 160-170 following the friend who owned it that was on his other 'Busa, I can safely say they're the least comfortable bike I've ever driven. The proper riding position puts you so low and so slung forward that you have absolutely no visibility around you. The engine is a bottomless well of power once you've got it revved out, but try putting it in to a tight turn and you're going to need tugboat assistance to get the front end around. Don't even get me started on the tank slapper I nearly found myself in just putting the brakes on from 120.

The only value I find in them is that you can rip the engine out once the idiot owner wrecks it and put them in to far more interesting vehicles. I'm really tempted to stick one in an old 1960s Mini Cooper and set up paddle shifters behind the wheel. Could potentially be amazing with enough rubber on the rear.
 

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I have owned Indians mostly the smaller ones Scouts. They work well and like HD respond great to mods. Kinda, like the 57 chev, easy to work on. Having owned mostly Ducati, BMW and Triumphs - i was shocked at how a few mods could easily add 20% more power and smooth everything out. HD is going to get into trouble as their customer base ages and the ranks are not getting filled by younger riders. Guess they are trying to buy their way into 2017.
 

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I owned 4 Harleys!
2 Vrods, 1 nightster N1200 and the latest, a FatBiy S screaming eagle.
For obvious reasons there is no way one can make any sort of comparison as Harleys have their own character.
I really enjoyed them all for a very short time, only my VRod lasted 1 year, all the others had to go in 3 months. They are heavy, lack technology and all very uncomfortable. They sound amazing, they are pure iron and by experience, they only do well with riders with a bad macho attitude I could never enjoy riding them in a group of HOGs as I was always told! You don't ride a Harley! You ride a VROD and that is not a Harley, or you have an accent! And there you are out of the picture.
As weird as it is , it is part of the Harley culture. This, Harley never more.
I owned 2 Hayabusas, loved them, yes too heavy, lots of lots power output, but a bit dangerous as it lacks nimbleness!
My SSS, I can only say, my second Ducati, forts was a 848 Evo Corse, nice bike but SSS is simply another world, I can ride 3 hours comfortably and with plenty of power, this bike is one of the most amazing rides I ever had.
Happy with it once again.
Cheers
Luigi
 

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Whatever any of us think about anyone else's bike it's a kind of a pointless debate, as we're talking totally subjective. We all have different requirements and none of us are physically identical.

I've owned plenty of bikes, ridden others for work - and to work - and I actually enjoy the challenge of unfamiliarity. Plus a decent rider can be quick on just about anything. I remember a track day where a guy turned up an old Pan European ST 1100. He ended up in the fast group and went past a good few sportsbikes. I myself recently did another track day on an old ZRX 1100. I was a long way from proper fast on it (those old Tokico six pots can be a bit reluctant), but I enjoyed myself ;). We are all different. Its not a competition.
 

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I have three HD and while the tech is outdated, they are sort of classics in look and sound and ride. My CVO Breakout '14 is a beautiful chromed classic and it rides surprisingly well. Definitely less boat-like than my touring bikes. There is room for everyone and it's good when people ride anything at all. Riding in general is less popular among the Millenials and the more riders the better. I would encourage rather than criticize, even though at time the HOG crowd is quite aptly named.
 

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I owned 4 Harleys!
2 Vrods, 1 nightster N1200 and the latest, a FatBiy S screaming eagle.
For obvious reasons there is no way one can make any sort of comparison as Harleys have their own character.
I really enjoyed them all for a very short time, only my VRod lasted 1 year, all the others had to go in 3 months. They are heavy, lack technology and all very uncomfortable. They sound amazing, they are pure iron and by experience, they only do well with riders with a bad macho attitude I could never enjoy riding them in a group of HOGs as I was always told! You don't ride a Harley! You ride a VROD and that is not a Harley, or you have an accent! And there you are out of the picture.
As weird as it is , it is part of the Harley culture. This, Harley never more.
I owned 2 Hayabusas, loved them, yes too heavy, lots of lots power output, but a bit dangerous as it lacks nimbleness!
My SSS, I can only say, my second Ducati, forts was a 848 Evo Corse, nice bike but SSS is simply another world, I can ride 3 hours comfortably and with plenty of power, this bike is one of the most amazing rides I ever had.
Happy with it once again.
Cheers
Luigi
I agree! My wife and I have two Harley's. One of them is a Dyna Low Rider, the other is a Night Rod Special (V Rod), in addition to the SuperSport and a Honda Interceptor.

To use the term better you must qualify what you are using for evaluation criteria. If you want to come in loud, proud, and making a bold statement for the pure S's & G's of it, that's one thing. If you're looking for a rock-solid commuter to ride year-round on, it's a different animal. Those that are loyal to a brand will have a hard time understanding the unique qualities that give a motorcycle it's personality. If you appreciate motorcycles, you'll understand that they are all wonderfully unique for their own reasons and purposes but the term "better" is very subjective.
 

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Realizing these are much older posts. I’ve historically only ridden Supersport RRs: CBR 600 F2 Supersport and CBR 600RR. I love my Ducati SS compared to those. The smooth power delivery, riding modes and custom engine settings (although I keep it in Sport mode) combined with enough punch to not only get out of trouble but easily get into it is a bit fun. But compared to the CBRs, I’m not nearly as fatigued after a couple of hours on the Ducati as I was with the CBRs. I can’t get enough riding the Ducati as it so much fun . Plus, the CBRs while very responsive with the slightest bit of throttle opening are very “jumpy” in my opinion. I don’t mind raising the front end off the ground every now and then but always had some apprehension with the CBRs that with one slight over throttle and clutch mistake I was going to end up on my a$$ which was a bit nerve racking. Even at a little heavier weight, I find the Ducati eager to get into a lean and very stable coming out of a corner on the throttle. Not to mention the numerous “nice/awesome” bike comments I have got on the Ducati at redlights or folks pulling along side and giving a 👍🏻. Not nearly as many on the CBRs.
 
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