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Old 05-23-2012, 03:23 PM   #46
rivercreep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by healeyblue View Post
I currently own both. A Guzzi Norge and a Ducati Multistrada (air-cooled).

They both have a unique personality and provide an "involving" experience that most other bikes simply can't accomplish.

However, they are on opposite ends of the spectrum from each other.

Guzzis, in general, appeal to an older demographic. Many Guzzisiti have multiple motorcycles and many years of ownership. The great majority enjoy working on their own machines. A Guzzi engine sings a song that stirs the soul. It has a bass throb unlike any other.



Ducatis are more sporting and youth oriented. The new Multistrada is exceptionally sophisticated, very powerful and full of electronic technology. Not having spent enough time riding the new liquid cooled machine I can't speak to the level of "involvement" one has with the bike but the air cooled bikes are certainly on par with the Guzzis. Ducatis are higher revving machines with lighter flywheels and quicker response to throttle inputs.


If you don't do your own wrenching the Guzzi will probably cost less to maintain. However, there are fewer Guzzi dealers in the US and proximity to one (a good one) is valuable if you are not a DIYer.

Guzzis are updated tradition, Ducatis are leading edge technology.

I enjoy both of my Italians. They have a character unique to themselves yet, at the same time, wonderfully Italian.

I have to ask if they're still using that funky valve-train on all of their bikes because if so....I have to argue the part I highlighted.
Honestly, after watching what a guy went through who had all the proper tools and shims (that he had to grind down to make an exact fit) (many yrs ago....my memory might be a little rusty) to set his valve clearances exact = I never even looked at another one.
Not knocking them...just want to learn.

Admittedly = I do lust after the Guzzi simplicity and sound.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:31 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivercreep View Post
I have to ask if they're still using that funky valve-train on all of their bikes because if so....I have to argue the part I highlighted.
Honestly, after watching what a guy went through who had all the proper tools and shims (that he had to grind down to make an exact fit) (many yrs ago....my memory might be a little rusty) to set his valve clearances exact = I never even looked at another one.
Not knocking them...just want to learn.
Ducatis do still use desmo valves, and they aren't all that complicated...just different. The new models even have 15K valve adjustment intervals, so they've gotten a lot better in that regard as well.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:46 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by JJGeo View Post
Ducatis do still use desmo valves, and they aren't all that complicated...just different. The new models even have 15K valve adjustment intervals, so they've gotten a lot better in that regard as well.
Good to know! Thanks!...now for the lottery, for any new bike.
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:10 AM   #49
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I've only had the pleasure of test riding a pair of bikes from each brand. An '05 Monster S2R 1000 and '01 750SS for Ducati, and a '11 V7 Classic and '03 California Stone for Guzzi.

To me, the Ducati's are brash, raucous, hot tempered and high strung and they demand to be ridden. The Guzzi's are more soulful, more casually confident, dare I say more mature... they too grab you by the lapels and tell you to ride. The lump and thump for their respective L/V-twin motors bore straight to the heart of what is motorcycling for those who live and ride more for passion than specs or sense. Character is something the Germans never figured out with relentless engineering and the Japanese only seem to stumble upon occasionally. These Italians have so much character and soul that they damn near run on it instead of gasoline, only Buell's and Harley's seem to be able to approach it.
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:53 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJGeo View Post
The new models even have 15K valve adjustment intervals, so they've gotten a lot better in that regard as well.
I would have bought a monster over my Buell M2 back in '99-'00 if that was the case back then. I was on the fence with the Speed triple, Monster, or a Buell. Ducati was in $$ trouble, Triumph was new to the market by me and parts delvery was long, so Buell won out (great bike for 11 years).

I think Ducati has finally figured out that owners love their bikes, but hate the service interval. Sounds like they are starting to go...irk...mainstream.

The NTX really has me on the fence about booting my FJR in the lineup. I've found myself not riding the FJR much because it is too much of a snooze fest.
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:36 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivercreep View Post
I have to ask if they're still using that funky valve-train on all of their bikes because if so....I have to argue the part I highlighted.
Honestly, after watching what a guy went through who had all the proper tools and shims (that he had to grind down to make an exact fit) (many yrs ago....my memory might be a little rusty) to set his valve clearances exact = I never even looked at another one.
(Highlighted part was "Ducatis are leading edge technology")

So, you're saying that, because the valve clearances take more time to set, it's not high tech? I'm not sure that I understand this.

I would note that every shim-on-bucket bike (many performance dirt bikes, all good sportbikes, and many more) also requires precision shims for setting valve clearances. Ducs are not special in this regard.

I don't see my Monster (the only Duc I have significant experience with) as at all "brash" or "high strung." It's a pretty relaxed bike that can easily go for a leisurely cruise, but you can also take to a track day or on a spirited twisty road ride. Those qualities may well apply to a 1198 or an 848 or something, but I think it's not true for Ducs across the board.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:20 AM   #52
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Desmodromics is not "leading edge".

Desmodromics is 1890s tech.

Dr. T started using Desmo in the 1950s, but the system had been used in racing automobiles from about 1914, in a Delage. But was described by engineers in the 1890s.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:40 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirb View Post
I think Ducati has finally figured out that owners love their bikes, but hate the service interval. Sounds like they are starting to go...irk...mainstream.
At some point they have to admit that the expense of valve maintenance is costing them customers.
They can take their fickle and oddball valve train to the grave, or they can evolve.

However, as a counterpoint, every hard part inside of an internal combustion engine is 19th century technology.
A piston sliding in a bore to make rotational force is just a step away from steam power.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:57 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocker59 View Post
Desmodromics is not "leading edge".

Desmodromics is 1890s tech.
I'm not sure that anybody said that it, itself, was leading edge; rather that Ducatis, in general (and in contrast to Guzzis) were relatively high tech as a whole. I am not arguing for or against this point, and it's clearly more complicated than that.

However, it's plainly disingenuous to act like it is "1890s tech" because it was first used or invented then. Motorcycles were invented around the same time period (late 1800s), that doesn't mean motorcycles can be accurately labeled as "1800's technology."

Clearly desmo valvetrains have benefits and downsides, and clearly they are not "necessary" (evidenced by other companies successfully not using them). However, they are certainly fairly complex, and it would seem obvious that the design used in modern Ducs is a design that, while based on 100 years of use, has been tweaked, modified, and upgraded to meet modern needs.

Let's note that the same is true for nearly every piece of equipment on a motorcycle. The idea, and all of the basic concepts, behind much of today's "high tech" components (internal combustion engines, brakes, suspension, etc) was invented 100+ years ago. That doesn't make it "100 year old technology." It is modern technology, in that it has evolved to improve to where it exists today.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:57 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraven View Post
A piston sliding in a bore to make rotational force is just a step away from steam power.
Yep, and we love it. Or, some of us do. Maybe most. I am not looking forward to the electric revolution, even though all sorts of stuff probably won't vibrate off then and valve checks will be as archaic as pumping the oil feed (for the engine) while riding.

My resistance to departing the Duc family is partly about departing the desmo valve train, to which I attribute some of that Ducati enticement. And these days, the maintenance is not so bad. For me, several checks, but only ever three valves adjusted in 43,000km. I keep getting told they might be loose at the next service.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:59 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraven View Post
At some point they have to admit that the expense of valve maintenance is costing them customers.
They can take their fickle and oddball valve train to the grave, or they can evolve.

However, as a counterpoint, every hard part inside of an internal combustion engine is 19th century technology.
A piston sliding in a bore to make rotational force is just a step away from steam power.
On the other hand, there are customers who buy Ducati because of the Desmodromics. Going valve spring might cost Ducati some current customers.

The Panigale has dropped Desmo, so now Ducati has both Desmo and non-Desmo choices. edit: corrected by kpt4321 in post #59.

Back when I worked at a dealer, 1999 or so, Ducati was considering offering valve spring models and sent out a survey about it. The answer was overwhelmingly to keep Desmo.
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:02 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraven View Post
At some point they have to admit that the expense of valve maintenance is costing them customers.
They can take their fickle and oddball valve train to the grave, or they can evolve.
I honestly wonder how much this is the case. "Normal" shim-on-bucket sportbikes need valve maintenance too, and while it's certainly faster/easier than Desmo maintenance, it's not easy. A guy who can do shim-on-bucket maintenance is going to be able to do Desmo maintenance too, and a guy who can't, is going to pay the dealer either way. In the end, it just means a 300 dollar service vs. a 500 dollar service, every 1-4 years (depending on usage, 15k miles on a sportbike is often quite a few years).

Maybe people are worried about this, but a few hundred dollars every few years just doesn't seem like a big deal. Especially when a set of sportbike tires (which need replacement every 5k miles) is $300+, and a tank of gas is $15 (which means you spend ~$1000 on gas in one 15k valve-check interval).

Quote:
However, as a counterpoint, every hard part inside of an internal combustion engine is 19th century technology.
A piston sliding in a bore to make rotational force is just a step away from steam power.
Beat me to it.

Acting like desmo is some sole holdover from the olden days is silly.
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:03 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpt4321 View Post
I'm not sure that anybody said that it, itself, was leading edge; rather that Ducatis, in general (and in contrast to Guzzis) were relatively high tech as a whole. I am not arguing for or against this point, and it's clearly more complicated than that.

However, it's plainly disingenuous to act like it is "1890s tech" because it was first used or invented then. Motorcycles were invented around the same time period (late 1800s), that doesn't mean motorcycles can be accurately labeled as "1800's technology."

Clearly desmo valvetrains have benefits and downsides, and clearly they are not "necessary" (evidenced by other companies successfully not using them). However, they are certainly fairly complex, and it would seem obvious that the design used in modern Ducs is a design that, while based on 100 years of use, has been tweaked, modified, and upgraded to meet modern needs.

Let's note that the same is true for nearly every piece of equipment on a motorcycle. The idea, and all of the basic concepts, behind much of today's "high tech" components (internal combustion engines, brakes, suspension, etc) was invented 100+ years ago. That doesn't make it "100 year old technology." It is modern technology, in that it has evolved to improve to where it exists today.
Like it, or not, Desmo is 100 year old technology. It was popular in racing vehicles up through the Mercedes racers of the mid-1950s.

Dr. T adapted it to Ducati in the mid-1950s.

In otherwords, Ducati's Desmo is 1950s GP/F1 technolgy.

We don't see much trickle down from 2012 GP/F1 technology...
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:04 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocker59 View Post
The Panigale has dropped Desmo
Not, it has not.

It has dropped belts in favor of a chain. The desmo system is alive and well, and Duc credits it with allowing them to run nasty cam profiles, supposedly part of why the engine makes power. Maybe true, maybe marketing hype.
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:08 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by kpt4321 View Post
I honestly wonder how much this is the case. "Normal" shim-on-bucket sportbikes need valve maintenance too, and while it's certainly faster/easier than Desmo maintenance, it's not easy. A guy who can do shim-on-bucket maintenance is going to be able to do Desmo maintenance too, and a guy who can't, is going to pay the dealer either way. In the end, it just means a 300 dollar service vs. a 500 dollar service, every 1-4 years (depending on usage, 15k miles on a sportbike is often quite a few years).

Maybe people are worried about this, but a few hundred dollars every few years just doesn't seem like a big deal. Especially when a set of sportbike tires (which need replacement every 5k miles) is $300+, and a tank of gas is $15 (which means you spend ~$1000 on gas in one 15k valve-check interval).



Beat me to it.

Acting like desmo is some sole holdover from the olden days is silly.

I love it when people who buy motorcycles that will see, at most, a few thousand miles per year worry about valve adjustment costs!

Ducati continually pushes the intervals out. The 750F1 of the 1980s was like 1,500 miles. What is Ducati advertising now? 15,000?

I mainly ride Guzzis, and thier screw adjusters are simple and easy to check/adjust. The very definition of "Ease of Maintenance".
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