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'17 VFR v. '17 Ducati SuperSport S (MCN Comparo)

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I'm fairly certain Ducati made the SS Titanic..........

 

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If it was about beauty alone, it would probably be a close call between the Ducati and the VFR for me. However, my real motorcycle life is more about two- to three day trips to the Alps, including the occasional bad weather and returning back home late at night.

So, beside the looks, the power, the brakes and the suspension, the equally important question is: Will the bike get me home, always?

My own experience with Ducatis leads me to answering the question with a „no“. My experience with VFRs lets me safely assume that the answer is a „yes“.

When reading and watching all those reviews, keep in mind that hardly any of those moto journos will live for a longer period with the bike in question. Those guys are flown to a press launch, ride the bike for a few hours, they might even get the chance to review the bike for a couple of days at a later time - but that is it.

My point here being: It is easy to like a Ducati if you just ride it for a couple of days. It is equally difficult to like a VFR if you just ride it for a few days. The longer you live with those bikes, the more you will appreciate the VFR and the more the „high maintenance super model“ character of the Duc will annoy you.

My 2c (personal opinion backed with torn timing belts)

Thomas



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8 minutes ago, tom.gessner said:

My 2c (personal opinion backed with torn timing belts)

 

Well said Tom.  Dare I ask what it cost you to fix a torn Ducati timing belt?  Unless it was still under warranty I'm guessing it was quite a bit more than 2c :tongue:

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Yes, well said there, that man! :beer:

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32 minutes ago, tom.gessner said:


My point here being: It is easy to like a Ducati if you just ride it for a couple of days. It is equally difficult to like a VFR if you just ride it for a few days. The longer you live with those bikes, the more you will appreciate the VFR and the more the „high maintenance super model“ character of the Duc will annoy you.

My 2c (personal opinion backed with torn timing belts)

Thomas



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I agree with you almost 100% except the part about the VFR being "difficult" to like after a few days.  I think if you are handed the keys and ride the bikes back to back, one might immediately like the Ducati's added sportiness because it feels more fun.  I believe the VFR is very easy to like right from the start because it demands so little from the rider.  It just does what it's suppose to do without too much drama.  But I do believe the Ducati ratchets up the excitement factor a bit more and that's what tips people in its favor the first hour of riding it.

 

I also believe the reality (here in the US) is very few people will be taking these bikes on long trips.  Most sport bike buyers here commute to and from work on occasion, then ride to their local sportbike hang out (or the Starbucks or Bike Night).  At most maybe 150 mile day ride.  For that kind of work, the Ducati will excite the rider more and impress their audience more.

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Regarding legendary Honda reliability, I believe there is a thread somewhere on VFRD regarding regulators, rectifiers and stators...

 

Sorry, couldn't resist.

 

I'm pretty sure that there aren't too many on this site that have consumed more Honda Koolaid over the years than I have--cars (Civic wagon, CRX, several Accords, Acura TL, Element), VFR's (85, 02, 10), hell, even my 10 year old lawnmower is a Honda. So no offense intended. But you really haven't lived until you've babied a fried 6th gen home for over three hours while never dropping below 5000 rpm! 

 

Anyway, 2018 is my first year in the last 30 without a VFR. 4K miles on the Multistrada so far, no problems yet. Japan still has the edge in reliability, no argument,  but Ducati is not the train wreck they were 10-15 years ago. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, St. Stephen said:

Regarding legendary Honda reliability, I believe there is a thread somewhere on VFRD regarding regulators, rectifiers and stators...

 

Sorry, couldn't resist.

 

While it's true there is such a thread "somewhere on VFRD" (which isn't applicable to the 8th gen that is the subject of this thread), let's keep things in proper perspective: The Ducati SuperSport forum literally has an ENTIRE SUBFORUM devoted to "Issues, Problems, and Complaints" :tongue:  Shockingly, it's already filled with pages and pages of threads - LOL.  Sorry, couldn't resist - I actually feel kind of sorry for their owners after perusing some of the threads - here's a link:  http://www.ducatisupersport939.net/forum/689-ducati-supersport-939-issues-problems-complaints/

 

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Well said Tom.  Dare I ask what it cost you to fix a torn Ducati timing belt?  Unless it was still under warranty I'm guessing it was quite a bit more than 2c tongue.png


Thank you! The story with my Duc was that I heard a funny RPM-related sound from underneath the belt cover on a tour (thankfully near my home town Munich). I removed the cover to find that one belt literally was held together by a few millimeters of material, the rest of the belt was gone. So, I actually found the issue b4 disaster struck.




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4 hours ago, St. Stephen said:

Regarding legendary Honda reliability, I believe there is a thread somewhere on VFRD regarding regulators, rectifiers and stators...

 

Sorry, couldn't resist.

 

I'm pretty sure that there aren't too many on this site that have consumed more Honda Koolaid over the years than I have--cars (Civic wagon, CRX, several Accords, Acura TL, Element), VFR's (85, 02, 10), hell, even my 10 year old lawnmower is a Honda. So no offense intended. But you really haven't lived until you've babied a fried 6th gen home for over three hours while never dropping below 5000 rpm! 

 

Anyway, 2018 is my first year in the last 30 without a VFR. 4K miles on the Multistrada so far, no problems yet. Japan still has the edge in reliability, no argument,  but Ducati is not the train wreck they were 10-15 years ago. 

 

 

You forgot to mention the RC.............I think you need more of that Honda red Kool Aid.............

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I'm not arguing that Honda isn't more reliable, especially the VFR, with a motor designed back before extreme light weight and compact dimensions ate into longevity. None are without problems, but Ducati wouldn't appeal to anybody but snobs if they were the crap heaps described here. You can find plenty of people putting miles on their Multis and Monsters. They've made a lot of effort to improve on their finicky nature. Even the race reps aren't quite the torture racks of the 90s and early 2000s (though still no R1 or pre-2017 Fireblade).


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Audi has done good things for Ducati in terms of reliability. But I would hardly compare having the R/r go bad the same level of unreliability as finicky electronics that will leave you stranded or high-maintenance valves. Then again, nothing like the murmors I hear about the MV F3 675, which people recommend changing valve springs every 2k if you are doing track or agressive street riding. :blink:

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4 hours ago, GatorGreg said:

 

 I actually feel kind of sorry for their owners after perusing some of the threads - here's a link:  http://www.ducatisupersport939.net/forum/689-ducati-supersport-939-issues-problems-complaints/

 

 

Probably because, compared to most riders, VFR owners know how to ride and maintain their bikes (and they resist trying to unleash factory power, of course!).

 

For the record, IMHO, although it may be a bit underpowered, the 8th gen might be the best looking VFR yet.

 

1 hour ago, RC1237V said:

You forgot to mention the RC.............I think you need more of that Honda red Kool Aid.............

 

Haha, you're right--the RC!

 

...and that other, older, ratty, used Civic wagon. And the even rattier Honda 350 Scrambler I bought in college that died in a month. And the 2001 Odyssey. But I digress:

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3652.JPG

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Make no mistake, I don't dislike Honda. Four of the 5 internal combustion engines I currently own are Hondas, plenty more in my family, including a 2001 Odyssey that's beat to hell, but still running strong with well over 300,000 miles. They've got some damned good engineers, but I've had plenty of fun with other makes that were supposedly less reliable as well, all owned for at least a few years. The only one I didn't really trust was a '98 Firebird with the 3800. Bulletproof motor, but it had plenty of other problems.


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33 minutes ago, St. Stephen said:

For the record, IMHO, although it may be a bit underpowered, the 8th gen might be the best looking VFR yet.

 

IMG_3652.JPG

 

I agree and oooh that's a nice pic!  There's very few things in life more enjoyable than riding a Honda at the beach :cool:

 

IMG_1798.thumb.JPG.81daf8489e5854c5463e0367fb0766a6.JPG

 

 

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4 hours ago, jhenley17 said:

You can find plenty of people putting miles on their Multis and Monsters. They've made a lot of effort to improve on their finicky nature.

 

You can also find plenty of Multistrada and Monster owners who disagree - see embedded vids below - some of their situations are downright frightening (e.g., rear wheel unexpectedly locking up, engine randomly cutting off on highway, etc):

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MF996juVdwU (Note:  this link is NSFW because the poor Hypermotard owner drops about fifty F-bombs - I'd be pissed too if my headlights went out while riding at 1:30am! :tongue:  For some strange reason YouTube does not allow it to be embedded but it's "must see TV" for anyone considering a new Ducati)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have a 2004 Ducati Monster with over 40,000 miles.  Bought it new and it has never broken down.  I still ride it today.  If a Ducati is properly maintained,  it is a reliable bike.  I ride with other riders in the Ducati club and I can't remember anyone having problems on a ride.  I think a Honda would be more reliable but a Ducati is not unreliable.

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16 hours ago, FastM said:

I have a 2004 Ducati Monster with over 40,000 miles.  Bought it new and it has never broken down.  I still ride it today.  If a Ducati is properly maintained,  it is a reliable bike.  I ride with other riders in the Ducati club and I can't remember anyone having problems on a ride.  I think a Honda would be more reliable but a Ducati is not unreliable.

This is my general experience/opinion, as well.

 

As much as I like making fun of Italian "stuff," I don't think Ducatis...at least since the early 2000s...deserve the reputation some folks do and would ascribe to them. Do they require more routine maintenance (than a Honda or Yamaha, Zuk, Kawi)? Yes, most likely. I cannot say for sure as I've never had one nor do I think I ever will...and that certainly isn't because I don't think they aren't good looking bikes (depending on the model) nor unappealing. I just happen to think other makes (Honda, Yamaha, BMW, to be specific) offer products that, pragmatically speaking (to me), align with my sense of function, sensibility, and fit my persona (whatever that means). Duck guys are duck guys...and I'm not a Duck rider. 

 

With respect to the videos posted above by GatorGreg (I believe)...not to rain on anybody's parade but what's posted on the internet is, in my experience, generally that of people most dissatisfied with a product or taking an extreme. For every video of a Ducati (or Honda VFR, Yamaha FJR, whatever) with a GIVEN specific problem 6 months after purchase, there's bound to be countless thousands (if not tens of thousands) of other customers that are perfectly satisfied/have experienced zero problems who don't post videos or on message boards describing their completely satisfied, trouble-free experience with their product. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, ZCD76 said:

With respect to the videos posted above by GatorGreg (I believe)...not to rain on anybody's parade but what's posted on the internet is, in my experience, generally that of people most dissatisfied with a product or taking an extreme. For everybody video of a Ducati (or Honda VFR, Yamaha FJR, whatever) with a GIVEN specific problem 6 months after purchase, there's bound to be countless thousands (if not tens of thousands) of other customers that are perfectly satisfied/have experienced zero problems who don't post videos or on message boards describing their completely satisfied, trouble-free experience with their product. 

 

To be clear, I merely reposted the Multistrada and Monster vids above to provide some "fair and balanced" info and perspective in response to a post by jhenley about his perceptions of those particular bikes' quality :tongue:  (The scary thing is It only took me about 10 seconds to find them and there were plenty to choose from - but I decided to limit it to only 3 vids per bike.)  To bring us back to the bike that is the subject of this thread, I'm still amazed that there is an entire subforum on the Supersport forum with pages of threads devoted to "Issues, Problems, and Complaints" -  remember that this is a bike which has only been for sale for about 9 months!  http://www.ducatisupersport939.net/forum/689-ducati-supersport-939-issues-problems-complaints/

 

As for your comment I quoted above about "what's posted on the internet", I might have agreed with this in the past.   But it's 2018 now and these days it seems like everyone and his uncle posts random motovlogger vids on YT just for the heck of it (including me).  So the argument that most of the people who are in the vids I posted are "extreme" doesn't hold water IMO - they are just random motovloggers who happen to ride Ducatis and captured various problems on their GoPro cameras.  I don't think they have any particular vendetta against Ducati - in fact I know that "Snewj" and "Snowcat" actually bought additional Ducatis after posting their problem vids.  And you know what I say?  If that's what makes them happy - good for them!  They ARE beautiful bikes - just not for me.

 

One additional problem I have with Ducati is they only have ONE dealer in the Orlando area (with a 2 star rating) and it's on the complete opposite side of town from me - would take me about an hour to get there (assuming the bike was even operable - LOL).  The next closest Ducati dealers are hours away in Tampa, Ocala, and Daytona.  In contrast, there's about a half dozen Honda Powersports dealers I can choose from in my area - that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

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Vloggers pretty accurately represent the general population, didn't you know? The above statement about negative experiences is why I don't really use sites like Yelp. I'll check things out myself or talk to people with experience that I trust. The internet is full of people who can never be satisfied and are ready to stand on a soapbox with a megaphone to cry about anything. I've known plenty of people with modern Ducatis that didn't break down first ten miles or for several thousand miles after and a few people with cameras or that don't know how to use a screwdriver aren't going to convince me otherwise.

 

As far as dealers, I've got a decent relationship with my local Honda/Yamaha dealer. Beyond that, the Ducati and Aprilia guys are usually much more helpful than any other power sports dealers. They're rarely needed, I could actually completely get by without a dealer after the sale if I didn't want to keep money in local, brick-and-mortar shops, so driving a few miles isn't a big deal to me. They don't have shops on every corner because they don't produce a million units a year, including dirt bikes, quads, side by sides, PWCs, and generators. It's just not possible.

 

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Right, their market share is increasing in spite of their bikes all catastrophically failing within a year.


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I've had two Ducatis in the past, a 2000 900SSie and a 2002 748R. The SS was totally reliable and problem free, a very nice bike. The 748R was a homologation special for the Supersport class, with full Ohlins suspension, shower injection, slipper clutch and other goodies. The engine never ran perfect, it was misfiring, stalling and generally suffered from bad fuelling which was never fixed by the dealer. They had it in the shop for days but the verdict was "Well it's a racebike, what did you expect?". It worked well on track days with full throttle opening. When I turned full lock left the cable harness was squeezed against the frame with short circuit and blown instrument cluster fuse as a result, very annoying until I found the cause, cable wrongly routed from the factory. But chassis wise, the suspension and brakes worked perfectly and it was a dream to ride, very stable and confidence inspiring.

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On 1/9/2018 at 5:08 PM, jhenley17 said:

Right, their market share is increasing in spite of their bikes all catastrophically failing within a year.


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Jhenley, no offense but, Mini's sales keep increasing too but if you look at the JD Power and Associates ratings for problems in the first 12 mos of ownership, the Mini is way down there at the bottom of the barrel, sharing the same space as Volvo, Range Rover, Fiat, VW, & Chrysler.  How can that be explained?  Simple:  They make cars that excite people AND their sales numbers are nowhere near as big as say, GM, Toyota, MB, etc.  So when taken as a whole, they are expanding sales and taking market share but it's marginal compared to the total industry.  A good example are H-D.  Their bikes are no more reliable than KTM.  Yet they have the Lion's share of the market.  Unreliability in and of itself doesn't spell doom for a manufacturer if their products have a lot of other redeeming qualities.  Chrysler has had a bad reputation for reliability yet they sell every truck, JEEP, and full size car they make.  That's because the Chrysler boys (and girls) know their $hit and what people want to buy.  Period.  They just choose to buy parts cheaper than say, GM or Ford so failure rates are higher.

 

Finally, nobody is saying Ducati's are unreliable.  And nobody is saying Yelp is perfect.  But you have to look at the overall rating.  Yes you will have issues with every brand.  But when there are enough issues within a brand, it's time to take notice.  Catastrophic failures are rare with Honda VFR...that's just a fact.  But they do occur.  Same with Ducati's.  But "Honda Reliability" was not created in vacuum.  It was earned over decades of consistent reliability overall.  Meanwhile, Ducati unreliability was also earned over 2.5 decades of owner experience.  So perhaps they fixed their major issues after a certain year.  Just keep in mind public perception takes much longer to fix than quality issues from one year to the next.  

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I don't disagree with that. It's actually what I was trying to get at before I started talking to a brick wall. Even mentioning that Hondas have also had problems (and, I had no problem conceding, at a considerably lower frequency) gets met with "other guys obsessed with hearing their voice on YouTube videos don't say so, so it's not true."


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1 hour ago, jhenley17 said:

I don't disagree with that. It's actually what I was trying to get at before I started talking to a brick wall. Even mentioning that Hondas have also had problems (and, I had no problem conceding, at a considerably lower frequency) gets met with "other guys obsessed with hearing their voice on YouTube videos don't say so, so it's not true."

 

LOL - I assume I'm the "brick wall"?  You're being ridiculous - I don't recall myself or anyone else in this thread or anyone in any of the vids I posted claiming that "it's not true...that Honda's have also had problems".   In fact, I posted a link to the Consumer Reports survey of 10,000 riders that found ALL manufacturers had problems (just that Ducati's rate is almost three times worse than Honda's :tongue:).

 

What I do recall is that your original position on page 1 of this thread was:

"I really don't think there's a Ducati in production you couldn't trust to get you coast to coast for roughly the same operating cost as a Honda."

 

After I called you out on that utterly absurd claim and provided overwhelming proof to the contrary, your NEW position on page 2 of this thread is that:

I had "no problem" conceding that Honda's have problems "at a considerably lower frequency" than Ducati.

 

Can you say "flip-flop"? :tongue:

 

Funny_Pictures_when-talking-politics-and

 

 

 

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