Something new

My wife and I went for a drive today and ordered a new bike to add to the stable. A black 2018 model Ducati Monster 821. We will keep the ST2 for now as it is comfortable with the Supersport, the 250 single and the BMW K100RS in the garage.

The new 821 comes with some interesting updates, the same 110 bhp engine, but things like colour TFT screen and riding modes similar to the Supersport, improve the bike. She is having the higher “comfort” seat fitted due to having long legs.

When Judes niece comes to visit on her red version of the same bike, it will make interesting outings.

Some of the things planned at the moment are: A noisier lighter exhaust which might include elimination of the catalytic converter, perhaps flatter bars to alter the riding position, a small screen to improve the looks of the bike, exhaust flapper valve removal, and other things.

Watch this space.

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Test of the R&G heated grips.

Well it is a chilly 8c here in this part of France today, but the roads are almost dry. Time to test the grips.

Togged up with my thermal merino under garments (thank you Trish) and my 15 year old BMW gloves, off I went. I set the grips on four out of five LEDs showing, so not the hottest setting, and was rather surprised that after abut half a mile the heat was coming through. The controller is a push button that goes through the sequence of one to five LEDs and is very easy to operate with gloves on. If you leave them switched on when you turn the ignition off, as I did to refuel, then they will be switched off when you turn the ignition on again. This is a very useful feature as they are not drawing power when you want to start the bike.

In use, with the extra insulation of a pair of hands inside gloves wrapped around them, they are both of about equal temperature.

I took power for the grips from the bluetooth module plug under the seat on the Ducati Supersport as I am never going to have a bluetooth module fitted on my bike. There are four wires in the plug and the black and the red ones are earth and power that is switched with the ignition. I used the inline fuse that R&G supplied with the kit, but cut down the very long cable that came with it.

When fitting the grips the right hand plastic throttle tube needs the bulge trimming off the end as per R&Gs excellent instructions. R&G also supply individual parts such as just one grip should one get damaged in use.

I must say that I am very happy with this modification and am impressed with the quality of the parts.

R&G heated grips

This was intended to be a post about fitting aftermarket grips, complete with pictures and wiring routes.

R&G is a UK company that supplies many aftermarket parts for Ducatis and other bikes. I looked at their stand at the recent Motorcycle show at the NEC, and saw the many products that they sell.

I bought the R&G grips because they had a good write up in Ride magazines tests, but I would not recommend them myself. After very careful fitting I found that the left grip was noticeably cooler than the right grip. I removed all the connectors and refitted them only to find that it made no difference.

I phoned R&G in the UK, but there is no one to answer the phones, All options end up with an answering machine. No problems, I sent them an email asking if there was anything that I should check to see if I had a faulty grip. Ten days later I am still waiting for an answer.

Conclusion: Steer clear of R&G products as there is no after sales support.

UPDATE:

I managed to contact someone on their Facebook page. It seems that the left grip being cooler than the right is quite normal as the left is fitted to the metal clip on, whereas the right is fitted to the insulated plastic twistgrip. This means that when initially switched on the left will be cooler until the metal underneath warms, and then after a while they will both end up being the same.

I will sort the photos and post another thread with the fitment instructions at a later date.

My niece has just ordered a Ducati Monster 821 from Ducati Winchester. She also ordered the R&G tail tidy to be fitted on delivery. When her bike arrives and I have looked that the tail tidy, I might order one for the Supersport too and will do a post about fitment.

Thank you R&G.

 

A small experiment

I say experiment because I have known of these items for years and at last decided to try them. They are Grip Puppies. These things fit over the standard grips in a bike and do a number of things, they make the grips thicker and more comfortable and they add padding so that vibrations are damped when wearing thin summer gloves.

I bought them from ebay LINK, and they were here within a few days. They take 10 minutes to fit over the existing grips with a little soap and water and then are left to dry.

I went out for a ride with them fitted and was instantly impressed with the feel of them.

My wife likes them too so another set will be ordered for her ST2.

Day 8 with the Supersport

Today is the 8th day of ownership. As the first few days were so wet that they could be described as tropical, it has taken me till today to clock the magic 1000kms. I had to go out for a quick 70km thrash this morning to get there so that I could do the first oil change. The dealer would normally do this, but as he is a 280 km round trip away, and I prefer to do things myself rather than let some apprentice mess with my bike. I had bought the necessary Hiflo HF163 filter and the 10w50 synthetic oil last week.

This shows the mileage at 1022 kms with the service indicator on. The right window is showing the average fuel consumption over the last 130kms or so, in litres per 100kms, this has improved over the 3 or 4 tanks of fuel as the engine gets looser.

Because the oil filter and the drain plugs are very accessible there is no need to take any of the fairings off to do the oil change, having the bike on a hydraulic life makes it even easier.

I did take the fairing off though, just to check everything underneath them. I also needed to take a power lead from the battery to feed a relay for the new horn that will be the subject of a future post. While I was on the right side I also retrieved the flying lead that Ducati fitted to power a GPS. It was tucked under the frame just to the rear of the steering head.

I also took the time to fit some red reflective rim tape to the wheels while the bike was on the lift. I am not a fan of black wheels on a bike, and since the 848 had rim tape fitted which made it look better, I splashed out 99 pence on an ebay kit.

The rim tape just adds something to those very black wheels.

According to Ducati I can now take the engine to 6000 rpm, ¬†bt the bike has so much torque from low revs that I will not be in a rush to get there. The handbook tell me that I should use less than 5,500 rpm for the first 1000kms, but I did the same as I have with every other new bike and car that I have owned, I started low and built the revs up over the miles. It has only been the last 100kms that It has got anywhere near 5000 rpm. I was lambasted by a couple of ‘know it alls’ on the 939 forum, but it seems that I have the last laugh as my mirrors don’t vibrate like others seem to.

I have bought many new bikes in my time, some sporty ones but mostly big tourers, I can easily say that this bike is the nicest all round “Sports Tourer” that I have ever ridden.

The first pictures.

Today is Sunday. I collected the bike on Thursday in the rain and it has rained since apart from a brief spell yesterday afternoon. My wife and I pulled the Supersport out of the garage to clean it and take some pictures. While it has been in the garage I have spent some time going through the various settings and modes on the bikes electronics and display, and have removed the rear footrests as they will only be needed when a certain person visits from the UK. I have also cut down the large rear number plate hanger that is too big for our French number plates.

Here are the pictures:

The front of the bike looks quite pretty while at rest, I thought that the 848 was a piece of art, but this one is too.Then when the ignition is turned on the daytime running light illuminates. It is an array of LEDs and makes the bike look more aggressive.

These two side views show the lines of the bike, note that without the black rear footrests and their hangers above the exhausts, the lines are a bit cleaner.

It looks like it should be quite an aggressive (uncomfortable) riding position from this angle, but that is not the case, it is very comfortable. The long part that holds the rear number plate will be changed for a shorted on in due course.

The business end. This instrument has a wealth of information. The two boxes on the bottom left and right can be scrolled though to show average speeds, fuel consumption, distance left on fuel in the tank and much much more.

The selectable riding modes, “Sport”, “Touring” and “Urban” are also selectable and programmable to give various throttle responses, engine power settings, traction control and ABS settings. If it sounds complicated then it is not too bad once you have read the huge instruction manual.

More to come.