As way of background, I'm 6'8" (2.03 m for you Euros out there) tall, so choosing the right bike has always been a bit of a challenge. 13 years ago, a buddy told me to check out the Multistrada 1000DS. I fell in love and despite a brief fling with a 749 we've been faithfully hitched ever since. 13 years though is a long time, so two months ago I went to the local motorcycle show where I saw a gorgeous white Supersport. I've been out of my mind ever since. After pestering every dealer within 500 miles, I took my first ride on a base model Friday. Like many have said, it is nearly telepathic. It just goes where you want it to go. I was following one of the sales reps on roads I'd never ridden, on a bike I hadn't had time to familiarize myself with, and it didn't matter. It was just perfect. We rode in both Sport and Touring modes and I really couldn't tell much difference, although, we didn't ride it too fast (maxed out at 80 mph I'm guessing). The thought that kept occurring to me was, "I could do anything on this bike."
Of course, there was the matter of me being 6'8". Because of my long arms, I was nearly upright from the waist, which to me, was a positive. The windscreen in that position did very little. Raising it or lowering didn't matter as either way it was below my sternum, but like on my Multi, it was better than nothing. My leg position was another matter. The fairing is built in such a way that your thighs can only go so high until you are stopped by the bodywork. (I later tried a Panigale and this was not the case with that bike.) Due to the bodywork stopping my legs, I had trouble upshifting (several failed shifts to 2nd) and depressing the rear brake pedal. I simply could not rationalize getting the bike with these shortcomings.
I had assumed this would be a problem and was already resigned to the fact that if I didn't fit on the Supersport, I would "just" get a 1200 Multi. I had heard nothing but good things about that bike, so I figured I'd be fine with a new Multi. The dealer then lent me a 1200 base model for a demo ride. Almost immediately upon leaving the parking lot, I was sure I wouldn't be buying the bike. It just felt loose and tall (taller than my 1000DS) and in no way a sport bike (despite the claims that it is 4 bikes in one.) I will admit that the engine is impressive, but I felt like I was riding a lightweight BMW GS, not a Ducati. Frankly, I like my old 1000DS better than the new 1200, at least in terms of the ride feel. Admittedly, I had just gotten off a Supersport, so this must have affected my opinion of the new Multi. In any case, I left the dealership frustrated and in search of a completely different bike, Aprilia, BMW?
The next day I went to the BMW/Ducati dealer. Overnight I had decided I was going to see if I could make the Supersport work. I walked into the dealership and said, "If you can fix the positioning of the controls and pegs, you have a sale today." This seemed to motivate them and they moved the gear shifter and the rear brake to the full down position. They were unable to modify the peg position and don't expect to be able to due to all the components attached to the rearsets. I then took a demo ride on this adjusted red Supersport S. What a difference!! Same bike, but now I could comfortably access the controls. The only further observations I would add are that it's very comfortable at high speeds (110 mph), comfortable and locked in two up, easy to access the preload controller, it gets a little hot between the legs although this wasn't noticeable except at stops, and the exhaust note seems pretty quiet. Oh, and the mirrors are nearly as useless as my current Multi. At the end of my second demo ride, I put money down on a base model.