Taking the 848 Streetfighter to my Pacific Ocean Loop

Everyone has a favorite road for sightseeing, to go for a drive or in my case to go for a ride. I created a 200 mile loop for when I don’t have a specific destination for a ride.  The loop is the destination itself. It starts at my house and soon I’m on nice country roads with very few cars and nice views.  Then some mountains on the coast range until I hit the Pacific. Then it goes for several miles of Hwy 101 with nice ocean views with a few options of good places for lunch along the way.  Then back through some more of the coast range mountains and more country roads before heading back home.

May 12th, 2011

Perfect for a relaxing and fun day ride.  It offers variants as well. Except for the basic route, I don’t think I’ve done two trips that looked exactly the same. This time, though, I went for the basic route. It was, after all, the first time I did the loop this year.

May 12th, 2011

The ride I report here took place Saturday, May 12th, about a week ago. The day before, May 11th, I had taken this bike to its first ride. Now it was time to go deeper. I started at about 10 in the morning. This Saturday was one of those typical days of Spring, when everything aligns perfectly well in terms of weather. It is bright sunny, and the temperature is on that magic not-cold-but-not-too-hot zone.

Getting ready to leave the house. May 12th, 2011.

Even before I bought it, I had been thinking about trying this bike on this loop, that I call my loop, for quite some time. You know, different bikes make you like different parts of a same route differently. As a matter of fact, it might make you see a set of curves for the first time while making you miss landscapes for the first time.  I started on the usual counter-clock direction by going north on Territorial Rd. towards the back roads that lead to Philomath. From there, there are several options. I took the easiest, as the bike is still on the 600 mile break-in period. Soon I was on 101.

Bike’s first view of the Pacific. May 12th, 2011.

This is the first time the Streetfighter saw the Pacific (at least when outside of its box). And the temperature continued to be ideal. In the summer, it is always cooler by the Ocean than in the Willamette valley. In the winter is the other way around. Today it was showing we are getting closer to the summer, it was cooler by the ocean.

May 12th, 2011.

On the Ducati Streetfighter forums and boards I’ve read posts of people complaining about “surging” at the 4,000 rpm level on the 848 SF. On the first 250 miles my bike was plagued by the same surge.  Someone had mentioned that turning the DTC off had solved this problem on his bike. Others are going the usual “full termi” route to solve this common problem. I consider it an absurd for someone to have to pay $2,000 to have a bike work as it should have worked from factory.

Nice views of the Ocean along the way. May 12th, 2011.

Many bikes of other brands, and which have fuel injection, have had similar problems. Welcome to the result of finding a way to make a bike perform and, at the same time, reduce fuel emissions or pass fuel emissions tests. This surge problem, which is basically an engine hesitation, is usually attributed to bikes whose motors are running very lean fuel to air mixtures. Of course, this problem can be compounded by other factors as well. But usually it is the result of fueling programming that needs to be adjusted for real life settings.  The people who buy into the “full termi” are actually solving the problem not by what the new exhaust brings in terms of freer flow of ehaust, but via the modified fuel map, the so called ECU kit, that comes with the Termignoni exhaust.

May 12th, 2011.

As I was riding and experiencing this issue, I was thinking about everything I had read on this subject. I remembered coming across the post of a person who turned DTC off on his 848 SF and claimed it worked for him. I had been riding the bike on DTC Level 8, the default setting. I had noticed the red DTC lights on the dash, the ones indicating the traction control had engaged, would come on very often. The tires were new, so they are supposed to be a bit on the slippery side.  I would see the red dashboard lights on almost every slow corner on which, off the apex, I got on the throttle with slightly more twisting of the throttle than my normal exit. Obviously Level 8 is very intrusive.  So perhaps DTC could be behind the surge or hesitation problem. So I stopped the bike and turned the DTC to OFF.  As I started riding again, I did not perceive any changes to engine performance, the bike performed as usual with the hesitation there, still especially notable at 4,000 rpm. So I stopped gain and turned the DTC back on, but this time I took it down to Level 7 (level 8 is the maximum, most intrusive level, the default setting from factory). No changes either, except that DTC would engage, but  a lot less than at level 8 for how I was riding.

At some point after having turned DTC off and changed to Level 7, I turned the engine off for about an hour when I had lunch. When I left the restaurant, I realized the hesitation was gone! I don’t know if it was taking it down to Level 7, or if it was that I had turned DTC off and than back on and then had the bike re-set its computer when I turned it off at lunch time. Could have been something else as well.

May 12th, 2011.

What matters is that the clear hesitation is gone!  Not even at the 4,000rpm level I notice anything. Brilliant. By the way, although some people say the “surge” happens at 4,000rpm, at least on my bike it happened all over the RPM spectrum that I could use (limited to 6,000 rpm). It just was more noticeable at 4,000 rpm when you are riding at a steady speed, especially when on 3rd or 4th gears.

Lunch time! Yachats, May 12th, 2011.

Back to the story, by the time I was passing through Yachats I was really hungry, so I decided to stop for a burger. After lunch, a little photo shoot session by the ocean. This bike is such a hot model.

May 12th, 2011.

There is no wrong angle.

May 12th, 2011.

It even makes me look good.

May 12th, 2011.

Well, not really.

Hey, what’s that small thing on the side of the tank?

May 12th, 2011.

A lady-bug, a good luck charm. I found one of these on the tank of my Triumph once as well. This is quite a friendly looking little bug.

Ladybug. May 12th, 2011.

Time to lift camp and head back to the fort. If you don’t know Hwy 101, take a look at the video of this stretch of road. This is just a small sample and not the best at it. The Oregon coast is phenomenal. But I should not advertise that.

I stopped by the Mapleton gas station to fill it up with non-ethanol gas.

May 12th, 2011.

The fuel light had come on at about 129 miles on the clock.  I took it really easy to make it to this gas station. I filled the tank at 155.7 clicks with 3.798 gallons. It makes for 41 mpg. Not bad at all.

May 12th, 2011.

And soon we were home. Mission accomplished. 218 miles completed, making a total of 338 miles, 262 miles to go for the first service and completion of the first step of the break-in period.

May 12th, 2011.

I had a work trip coming up. So it was good to arrive early, as it was time to rest and get things ready for my trip to American Samoa the following morning, starting at 5:30 am.

But before I end the story, here are some impressions of that ride. This bike made me see parts of this route I’ve ridden so many times but had missed or not paid attention to before. It made me understand the expression “to carve a corner”. Of course, I’m not talking here about race performance. I’m an average rider and I’m not taking this bike to above 6,000rpm, and I’m riding on public roads. But whenever the conditions were perfect and I pushed it to its 6,000 rpm on slower corners, she responded with more than what I had asked from it. I haven’t felt this good about my riding ability on the road. The merit belongs to the clever team who made the modifications to this bike to make it perfect for the average rider like me. But I’m sure it is not going to feel tame for the aggressive rider who wants to push it to its limit. After all, it has 132 hp, it has plenty of room for aggressive riding. I don’t have the skill nor the interest to make use of all of it.

Back home. May 12th, 2011.

This bike is growing on me. It is a Ducati, it looks great almost by default; every detail of its design makes sense and it is surprisingly balanced considering its nonconforming looks. But when you turn its motor on and you hear that rumble and then slowly get it going, there is that sensation of something that is rough on the edges, unfinished.  It feels more like a Formula 1 race car of the 60’s than a high revving F-1 engine of today. It won’t scream at you like sport bikes with an inline four do. It will pulsate like a heart at its peak performance. It is a more organic feel.

Cesar

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16 Responses to Taking the 848 Streetfighter to my Pacific Ocean Loop

  1. SonjaM says:

    Oh my, your Italian girlfriend looks svelte and pretty in contrast with the blue sky and ocean. It looks like a Ducati commercial. Better stop advertising your Oregon roads, otherwise people might actually want to go there…
    Although I am really in love with the Street Triple your experience with the Duc make me think… I guess I have to test-ride it one day.

    • cesardagord says:

      Thanks for reminding me that I should not advertize Oregon. Everyone, please remember: it rains a lot here. The roads could be nice or not. But rain is a certainty.
      About your seat question that I forgot to answer from your previous comment: it is not so bad. I did about 260 miles last Saturday and it was fine. I would like to increase the seat to peg distance, though. And would like a two-inch raise on the bars. The ergos on a StreetTriple are better (less of an aggressive stance).

  2. bobskoot says:

    Cesar:

    I love yellow and the Duc compliments you. Most bikes have surging problems due to emissions control. I installed a Retard Eliminator to change the fuel mapping in gears 1-4. I recognize your rest stop by the lighthouse. I think if you look over the ledge there are sea lions on the rocks below, right ? you don’t have to fool us, we already know that “Oregon has the best roads” . I just can’t imagine owning a bike with soooo much power, I would get twichy throttle . . .

    enjoy your new baby

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    • cesardagord says:

      Hey Bob,
      Thanks for the hint on the Retard Eliminator. But it has been running well since that one lunch stop after I changed DTC from L8 to L7. About getting the twitchy throttle… it has been a torture to ride this bike with that 6,000rpm break-in period limit. But it is now ready for its first service. There is one more step after that and then I will be able to know more about this little bike.
      Cesar

  3. bobskoot says:

    Cesar:

    one more question, that place where you had lunch overlooking your bike. We also had lunch in Yachats (wish I knew how to actually say that, sort of like Yachts, or YaChats). I remember that road along the bay just off the main drag one block and on the corner was a small house converted to a cafe. That’s where we had lunch the last time we were down that way. There was also a place on the corner, I would guess behind you that looked interesting. I have to get my food options organized for “next time”

    thanks,
    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    • cesardagord says:

      Yachats is pronounced Ya (as in German’s Yes) then hats with the “a” sound as open as the a of Ya on a German pronunciation of their “yes” and not in the American pronunciation of the word hats. And you can forget there is a “c” in there. It would be Ya-hats, with the German “a” sound for both “a”s (or the a as it is sound in Irish, Scotch, or Welsh…). Go figure… It took me a while to learn it too.

      And yes, the restaurant was in Yachats and it is on a house converted to restaurant and there is another restaurant behind/above it on the other street.

      I like Yachats. It is a nice town to visit. Next time I will try the other restaurant. This one was good for sitting outside and being able to enjoy the ocean view and the bike was parked right there, next to me.

      But they had only one cook and one server and at lunch time they were overwhelmed and took a long time to serve me. And the burger was so so.

      • bobskoot says:

        Cesar:

        I had the same problem with very slow service in Southern WA. I think it was Elbe a small town and I saw a large group of motorcycles on the left so I thought it must be a good place. The rail cars across the street were empty. Anyway I ordered and an hour later I was getting ansi as I should have been on the road. The hamburger was like yours, so so. I knew there was a trick in saying Yachats. The do this on purpose to spot the outsiders

        I think I had lunch at the other one around the corner. There was no outside seating. I like your patio instead, the one with the view

        did I say that I love yellow.

        bob
        Riding the Wet Coast
        My Flickr // My YouTube

  4. Aron says:

    coolest video I ever saw

  5. Daniel says:

    I just watched the video and am yet to read the rest, but thought i would write a comment while it was fresh on my mind.

    I would just like to say that the scenery in the video looks quite amazing and you are lucky to ride such roads on such an amazing bike.

    I live in western australia, and while we do have amazing coastal roads and some decent windy hills roads (national parks, etc), we aren’t really an area for mountains and hills. A very large part of our city/state/country is flat.

    In my state, we have displacement restrictions on our licenses. up to 250cc for the first year of riding, and after that year, we must go for another practical examination for our “open class” licence.
    I’ve still got 6 months left on my 250 license (been riding for 6 months), and i haven’t looked away from this bike. I’m trying to stay away from the 1098 simply out of lack of experience and expense. (1098 is about 30k australian dollars/31k us dollars – stupidly expensive i know), therefore i’m reading alot about what the 848 has to offer. This is a very good article, and i’m glad to have read about the misfiring/surging issues and your solution.

    Anyway, i’m starting to write a short story, so i’ll stop there i think. Great post!

    • cesardagord says:

      Hi Daniel,

      We are very lucky here with the landscape, the curvy roads. You can ride all year, if you don’t mind the rain half of the year. It gets cold, but not too much, not enough to freeze roads in the valleys. And the dry season is very predictable, so you can count on solid three months of rain free, relatively warm days.

      I hear about other countries restrictions on licenses. I guess it is part of the learning process. I started on a 250 with less than 20hp and graduated to a 650 with less than 60hp before I felt I had the maturity to ride something more powerful. Sometimes I still dwell on that. The 848 is pretty much close to being as powerful as the 1098. When looking at the road test numbers, the 848 is marginally slower than the 1098. I would think it is already too much for a first bike, unless you are a mature person (maturity has nothing to do with age, in my opinion). If you are unsure, go with the 848, or even yet, try a Monster.

      About the surging issues, it is not a misfire, it simply is a lean condition. It is not as severe as what you would encounter on the 1098. But it is there on the 848. It makes for a some hesitation on slow curves and stop and go traffic. If this is something that will be important to you I would recommend waiting for the new Hypermotards. They have an evolution of the 848 motor, running at 820cc, with dual sparks, not too different than what the 2013 Multistrada has. If the 820 shows the same smoothness as the new Multistrada 1200cc motor, the new Hypermotard will be one kick ass machine. It should cost about the same as the SF 848 and you can get it in one of three versions, including an SP version, a regular version and a Hyperstrada version, with bags and windscreen.

      Wishing you luck!

      Cesar

      • Daniel says:

        Thank you for the reply!

        By “marginally” slower, you’re saying it is a small difference? A dealer was telling me that the 1098 takes you beyond all the other Ducati liter bikes in terms of speed, but those words haven’t sat too well with me considering he is a dealer after all.

        I personally believe the 1098 is unnecessary for me. I mean, our roads are terrible for high speeds (Just today i got speed wobble at 100kph simply from a bump in the road surface), and even then, I’m still not too sure as the 848 is still an 848 – more powerful than most midrange bikes which a lot of bikers stay with.

        The streetfighter just does something for me however. I think it’s the naked sports look – or showing off the frame to the riding position. I sat on one, and noticed the instrument display is essentially flat with the tank, although my feet could just sit flat on the ground haha

        I think at this point in time, all i can do is focus on my riding, and wait until i get on a big bike, and then see how it feels. Hell, i may not even like it! haha

      • cesardagord says:

        Well, your dealer is right in saying the 1098 is faster.
        So let’s put it differently, by looking at four scenarios:

        1) if you take the bikes to a track, and all riders on the track are at a same level of performance, then the 1098 will be faster than the 848, no questions.

        2) if you are just riding for fun, and take some spirited rides on curvy roads in the mountains once in a while (not pushing the bike to its limits), the 848 would only be marginally slower than the 1098. Yes, small difference. But the 848 has a more tractable engine than the 1098, which, in the end, may result in better performance than what the 1098 could unleash. And to note, it is a lot more fun to ride a bike pushing it close to its performance limits than to ride a powerful bike far from its performance limits.

        3) if you will only be riding in the city, far from pushing the limits of the bike, then the 848 will be a better option.

        4) if you need to show you are bad-ass, if you get the 848, as powerful as it is, there will always be guys on 1098s looking down on you. If you can’t live with that, don’t get the 848.

        But since you are beginning as a rider, just be careful. Whichever bike you pick, 848 or 1098, these bikes will be a lot more powerful than the 250 you will be riding. You could start with a Monster, enjoy that bike for a while, and once you’ve grown up from that level, upgrade to a Streetfighter.

        Cesar

  6. Daniel says:

    Cheers. Yeah, i agree with you in saying that it’s more enjoyable to use a bike to it’s potential rather than using a fraction of what a race bike has to offer.

    Thanks for your comments mate!

  7. Patrick says:

    Hi Cesar,
    Great review!! I got my sf 848 2013 from your
    Review !! So thanks , i realy love this bike 🙂
    I got it in red. I up to my 600 m Check up

    I experience the same hesitation on constant
    Speed … So its still on 2013 model ..
    But the dealer told me to set the DTC to 5
    (It was on 8 before for the same reason you did , new tire , break in .)wow the hésitation was gone !! So the DTC is in cause … I only Will be setthing it to 8 on rain days .
    The dealer told me that ducati is working on a
    Update to fix this .

    Im very happy !! I just love my SF .
    Thanks cesar

    Option – duc performance touring seat
    ( very confi ) 245$ cnd
    duc performance tank bag
    ( cool… but no window..)
    476$ cnd
    duc performance wind screen
    ( Well … It to small … And dont
    Look good .. I use it for long
    Trips) 215$cnd

    • cesardagord says:

      Hi Patrick
      The 848 is a wonderful machine. And by the way things are going with Ducati, settling their bikes to better fueling and with a more “civilized’ approach to how motors are designed, eliminating the SF1098 from their line up, the SF848 has become the remaining true naked sport bike in the Ducati line up. This bike is it! Congratulations Patrick!
      Cesar

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