RideApart 7: a European adventure

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What’s it like to go on a date with pampered Italian models in the wilderness? Grant, Jamie and Wes ride the best mountain roads of the Los Padres forest on the Ducati Multistrada 1200 S and Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX adventure bikes to find out.

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  • paulo

    hah love it, keep it up Knuckleheads !!!!!

  • JMS

    Killing it with these RideApart features!

    They’re even better now that we can hear everything you are saying haha

  • Dylan

    Great episode guys! Glad to see you out on a bike in the video Grant. Looked like a bunch of fun.

    Wes, In a couple of shots I saw you had a Scala Rider on. Is that the older G4 or the new G9? Mine got lost in my accident recently and was wondering if the G9 is worth the extra dough over another G4

    • BigRooster

      Take a look at the Interphone F4. Less expensive and very good at what it does. I only use mine to listen to music from my iPhone and with the stereo headset the sound is pretty good with speach clearly audible to about 85 mph. I dont really use any of the other features other than the speakers so I cant really comment on all the other things like phone support or intercom connectivity.

      • Dylan

        I’ve tried an inter phone system out and didn’t like it nearly as well as my scala rider g4. Didn’t pair easily with my phone and the calling system didn’t work very well with my phone. But the biggest drawback is I have 4 close riding friends who all have Scala’s so I’m stuck (for the better in my case) with Scala.

      • BigRooster

        I jinxed my InterPhone! Right ear stopped functioning today – crap cord from the device to the ear speakers. Warranty service has been horrible so far – shit call center support staffed by retards. Looks like I may be buying a Scala.

        • Dylan

          You won’t regret the scala. Really good service and it’s nice to get updates to the firmware that add new features from time to time

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      That’s Jamie running the Scala, says he likes it.

      We’ve got new Senna SMH10s now and love them. Great range, audio clarity, simple controls and easy/reliable bluetooth connect to your iPhone.

      • ike6116

        Ditto on that. Works with Siri, could not be more simple to use.

        Just a great product all around, glad I took RevZilla Anthony’s advise on it.

        • Eric

          The lower spec SMH5 is awesome. Plays music, does intercom, works great for phoning. I like that the components are Velcro backed so they can be moved from helmet to helmet if desired.

          • Sean Smith

            Ashlee and I have them too. Same as the 10 but with half the range and a smaller overall package. I can’t believe how well they work.

      • Dylan

        Oops my bad. I thought it had been on your helmet. Ill definitely check out the senna also

        • Eric

          Wes, bring back the dazzle helmet! I love that thing, as soon as I saw it I wanted to paint mine up the same way.

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            That’s been retired (before I could wreck it) and hangs on my bedroom wall as a warrior totem/objet d’art.

  • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

    Nice vid, it’s good to go in depth comparing the bikes. Shame about the music in this one!

  • Jericho7

    Bravo! Bravo! (I liked the music)

    • Kevin

      Me too… sweet jeebus, everybody’s a critic.

  • DavidMG

    Guys? Guys! Guys! Two fingers!

    LOL

  • Campisi

    So… Top-heavy much? The bikes, I mean. Also, how much of the Adventure 990′s off-road ability came down to its tires? The tread on its tires looked much more aggressive than that of the tires on the Moto Guzzi or the Ducati.

    I was hoping for a better showing from the Stelvio. The cornering clearances can be dealt with, I suppose, but considering Guzzi’s V7 manages to be so much lighter than Triumph’s Bonneville I was hoping the Stelvio would pull off a similar trick. Oh well, I really shouldn’t be surprised; Moto Guzzi seems to be taking the “heavyweight” motorcycle moniker seriously, and not every motorcycle company has to chase outright athleticism. More aggressive tires and a bit more off-road focus would probably make the Stelvio a good adventure-bike choice for those uninterested in all-out speed.

    • PenguinScotty

      From what i’ve noticed, the tires are a very large part of the equation, but you also need to consider the wheels and Suspension.

      The Öhlins of the Ducati are really really nice, but are definitely set up more for the street, even when switched to offroad mode.
      It’s the exact flip side with the KTM, for example. The 21″ front is made for dirt and the suspension is long and soft, compared to the Multistrada and KTM SM-T.

      In the end, it depends on what you do more, really.

  • The Blue Rider

    Great stuff, though I agree that the music wasn’t as good in this episode.

    I appreciate the big-picture summary at the bar, since I have a hard time wrapping my head around the many varieties of adventure bike. One day you read that bike X can be ridden around the world, next day some killjoy on the internet says it’s not a “real” adventure bike… It’s confusing if you’re trying to take a measure of these machines without having spent time on them.

    For example, what’s the difference between the Multistrada and something cheap like the Versys, besides obvious things like performance and parts/service/repair?

    [I'm wondering about the Versys in particular, because European marques are out of my price range for the forseeable future, and I'm a bit of a Kawasaki nerd.]

    • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

      The versys is based on the Er6n, it’s a good bike but it’s very entry market, so cheap suspensions and brakes.
      The engine is a nice twin with some torque but it’s 72hp so for canion carving on your own, no problem, to go on a road trip, fully loaded with a pillion, depending on load and both your weights it might be a bit short on the power…

      I had a little scare two weeks ago in corsica on a rented diversion, partly loaded with my GF, passing a bus on a steap uphill road. I’m not used to 4cyl 600′s and was surprised by the lack of power.
      I was hopping the NTX would perform better (the previous feature seemed really positive) but i guess the weight is a reall issue (particulary for a puny human of french descent like myself), next favorite on the list is an SMT (the MS is nice bud damn pricey), problem is you can’t really plan a test ride with luggage and passenger in a dealership and nobody rents them around here… Anyone here got some real world experience with it?

  • 10/10ths

    Great episode. Good insight, great video, and the music worked.

    Bravo!

    Carry on.

  • PenguinScotty

    Great episode.

    In the beginning, i was definitely worried that it may be another standard Adventure bike review, but i should know better by now. You guys hit it spot on.

    One thing i would be curious about is a comparison between the KTM SM-T and Multistrada, simply because those two are more comparable than the 990 Adv. BUT, i understand what you guys did in this review.

    Again, great episode, please keep it up! Real life reviews and tests.

    Cheers!

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    really glad to see more of Jamie Robinson. The 3 of you have good chemistry-dare I say, like in Top Gear?

    • The Blue Rider

      I agree that Jamie is a great addition.

      Wes, Grant, and Jamie aren’t an exact duplicate of Top Gear’s Crank/Nerd/Enthusiast triad, but there is definitely fun being had.

  • Kevin

    I’ve put in almost a year and 12,000 miles on my 2011 Multistrada, and it is a great performer. So here’s my mini owner’s review:

    Downsides for me are the wind noise, the seat height (I’ve got a 29 inch inseam) and the confining seat. No cruise control. And why, on a $20K motorcycle, can’t we have a spring-loaded gear shifter?. Tried a warranty repair for the rear brake, which is still useless for anything much more than holding the bike on a hill. The side cases are puny and oddly shaped, especially the right side case due to the exhaust. I often ride without them and keep the top case on.

    But if you came up with a list of ten great things about the Multi, five of them would be different aspects of the engine. Also love the electronically adjustable suspension. And the dash–it’s just about perfect. All the information you need, right there, visible in any lighting condition. Really good build quality. I keep the bike garaged and clean, and except where I plunked it on its side at zero mph and the worn grips, it looks brand new. Gets compliments everywhere, even from Harley guys oddly enough. Runs better than the day I bought it. Snarls like an absolute badass over 5K RPM. Returns nearly 50 mpg in steady highway riding (which will plummet to the high 20s/low 30s when you start riding the bike the way it was meant to be ridden in the twisties).

    Other guys have reported some issues with the electronics and the front end, but I have had zero mechanical or electrical issues. Starts up and runs every single time without a flaw.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      It’s totally stupid that the gear shifter is a one-piece forged affair that breaks easily. It also feels bad and offers very little feedback — no matter which of my boots I’m wearing — so it’s too easy for me to mis-shift. I haven’t broken my shifter (yet), but I’m considering the Palmer Products stainless shifter that purportedly bends before breaking. (The various aftermarket CNC shifters are stratospherically overpriced.)

      Regarding the crap rear brake, my rear brake will hold me on hill, but it requires a heckload of my weight on it to prevent rolling down a hill when stopped 2-up.

      The Ducati sidecases are a joke. Plus, the rubber bumper things that the sidecases slide onto fall off the bike if you don’t glue them on.

      But my biggest beef with my Multistrada was the poor low-RPM fueling — surging, puttering, and whatnot — until I added a pair of Fat Ducs to the O2 sensors. Now I’ve got a smooth, torquey low-end that makes city-riding much easier.

  • Gingerbeard

    “I work with knuckleheads”–Harley mechanic?

    Great episode. Good information on the three bikes and the adventure market. And you definitely have a format and a dynamic among hosts that works.

    I only saw a lifting technique for smaller bikes–for bigger ones, start from sitting with your back to the bike: http://team-oregon.org/resources/lifting/
    I don’t know if it will work with a fully loaded adventure/tourer but it should allow you to lift a heavier bike than you can facing it.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      I still remember learning this use-your-back-and-butt lifting procedure in my MSF class long ago. We were all given a chance to lift one of the class bikes.

      It was very very easy to lift the learner bikes. (Little Suzuki 125s, if I remember correctly.) But our instructor told us none of us would have a problem lifting a big-ass Harley bagger using this method.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

        When it comes to big ADV bikes, there’s also the Pretend-You-Can’t-Lift-It-So-Your-Buddy-Does-It-Instead method. I find this tactic to be incredibly useful and not tiring at all on the longer rides.

        Because who wants to dead-lift 500-650 lbs. when you can get a sucker to do it for you?

        • JVictor75

          LOL

        • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

          Ha!

    • RSassi

      I was going to ask the same thing. I find the reverse pick up is way more efficient. Legs are stronger than arms.

  • Gavin

    40 seconds of dead air at the end, otherwise another solid episode.

    • wwalkersd

      Yeah, I missed the funny out-takes and such the other episodes have had.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

        You can thank DRIVE for not having a sequence during the credits.

        • ike6116

          Sour grapes?

  • ontheroad

    Great episode guys, really seems like you’re catching your stride.

    I was grinning from the onset, when Wes freaked out about the Multi. I had virtually the same reaction the first time, probably with a bit more profanity. It really is crazy as a sport rider to wrap your head around just how FAST that bike is, while at the same time completely practical for everything short of proper offroading.

    Stelvio was a bit dissapointing but not unexpected: a GS competitor from Guzzi has never really made sense to me. Bikes like the V7 are much more authentic and fitting of Moto Guzzi.

    • http://www.faster-faster.com fasterfaster

      Once upon a time, Guzzi was a tech leader in the market and a contender in GP. There’s a lot that they could draw from while remaining authentic to their roots. That said, bikes like the 990 ADV, GS, and Multi are truly exceptional at what they do… it would take an awful lot to compete with them, let alone best them on their home turf.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      I was LOL’ing from the intro. The almost-hit-each-other-knucklehead comment right at the beginning really helped to set the whole tone of this episode (and the whole series in general). You guys are doing a fantastic job.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      And yeah, the Multistrada is fast (and not just straight-line fast)… but for someone like me, who’s never ridden a proper sportbike… it’s also crazy comfortable as well as confidence-inspiring.

  • Vincent

    I want to hang out with you dudes.

  • GGno

    No chinese rebranded bikes :(

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    At least the Stelvio is… ugly. Oh, wait. Not much going for that bike.

    Great episode, and I agree that Jamie is a great addition.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      The bike is fine once you’re not comparing to the 990, which is one of the most capable machines money can buy.

      Also, Jamie later turned off the Stelvio’s ABS and said the breaks immediately came to life and made the bike far more controllable and easy to ride. I guess the factory has some nuance and refinements to work on, but really, that engine is a pleasure to ride.

      • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

        Good to know about the ABS, and you’re right, I can’t discount the positives of the engine.

  • Tommy

    I wish you would have hated the multi, so I could stop dreaming about one day being able to afford one. Guess I am better off starting to save for a 990.

  • Devin

    Hmmmm, so when the squid gets better does that mean Jamie will be the HFL equivalent of the Stig?

  • http://respectthetrade.tumblr.com/ KR Tong

    Jesus the filming alone is getting so much better. This was the best one so far.

  • Wolfgang Romero

    I’m no film or photography expert but this episode looked even more refined specially the part where you are In that restaurant/bar. By the way is that the same place from the first episode? As allways pure quality and fun, Thanks guys.

  • smoke4ndmears

    Best episode yet! I’m now looking forward to each weeks new episode. You three have a great chemistry -keep it up!

  • BigRooster

    What is the correct way to pronounce “Guzzi?”

    Goozy or Gootsie (like Pizza)? Since getting my Griso, I’ve been corrected a few times to pronounce the pizza way, but I noticed you guys say it the other way. Just wondering what the consensus is on the preferred English pronunciation.