Update on some things

Having ridden the bike for a few more miles now, I am even more pleased with the new exhausts. They look great, a nice shiny stainless steel instead of dull grey alloy. The sound is a smooth low pitched grumble that is not too intrusive for the rider and compliments the quiet Schubert C3 Pro helmet that I bought for my Christmas present a short while ago. I can also say that the bike seems to have a bit more grunt at lower speeds, it will now rumble along at around 3000 rpm when it needed another 500 rpm before the exhausts were fitted.

I filled up with fuel today and can report a fuel consumption of 46 miles per imperial gallon, (6.1 litres per 100kms) and that has involved loads of messing around like a lunatic. I was a bit disappointed to find that the fuel gauge is showing 2 bars and the light comes on with about 8 litres left in the tank, that is over a third of the 21 litre tank. I will have to see if I can find a way to adjust that so that the light comes on with around 3 to 4 litres left.

I was following an active discussion on lighting on the Ducati ST2 Facebook page over the last few days. The subject was headlights with one member trying to tell people that you could just fit an LED bulb to an existing headlight and have a good beam, I don’t believe it. The standard ST headlight has a projector unit inside it for the dip beam, this comes with a 55 watt halogen bulb fitted. Watts are a measure of power consumption and not light output. You can fit a HID xenon unit inside a projector, but should not use one in a normal reflector headlight due to the increased light output being harder to control and causing dazzle for oncoming drivers. HID xenon units consume 35 watts but give over twice the light output. The next generation of lighting is LED lighting, and you can buy LED bulbs to replace the halogens, but they will not give enough light to ride at night with. LEDs at the moment cannot be easily of cheaply retrofitted to existing bikes and need a reflector especially designed for the LED.  I have found that Hella make a 90mm LED unit in the style of a projector that is a dedicated LED unit. And this is it: https://www.rexbo.eu/hella/headlight-1al010820021?c=700243. You will see that with a price tag of €600 it is not simply a case of fitting any old LED bulb to any old headlight.

I am an aviator as well as a motorcyclist and so am very interested when I see people talking about reducing the weight of their bikes, but it is very easy, and expensive, to go too far. Saving weight will do nothing for the top speed but could improve acceleration, having said that I have never felt the need to accelerate as fast as the ST2 is capable of. The standard ST weighs in at around 215kgs. Compared to my BMW K100RS that is very light. I have a quantity of aircraft grade titanium bolts in my toolboxes that weigh about a third of what a steel bolt weighs and are super strong. If I were to change a whole handful on the bike I might be able to reduce the weight of the bike by half a kilo. If I then spend a sum of money that would be equal or more than the bikes value, I could make myself some nice carbon fibre fairing panels and save another kilo or so. In total I would have saved two kilos. That is 1% of the weight of the bike, or about 2 and a half litres of fuel, or the weight of the tolls that are under my seat, and would I feel the difference in the ride? Not a chance. If I rode with the tank nearly empty and without the tools under the seat I could save about 15 kilos, and if I ride naked 18 kilos, but I doubt if I would feel the difference then apart from freezing my nuts off! So the moral to this story is that if you thing the ST is too heavy and want a lighter bike then sell it and buy something else, you know it makes sense.

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