Ducati 944 ST2 test
Intro: A GT-SPORTS – LA ITALIAN
To a certain extent- the name Ducati is to the world of motorcycles what Ferrari is to the world of cars. A marque that offers prestige- creating exclusive and high-performance machines that continues to carve itself a niche among the roadsters. The 944 ST2 perfectly illustrates this point.
On the market for four years- it has been re-released this year. Ducati has knocked almost -800 off the price tag and has done away with the paniers now available as an optional extra. In direct competition with the big bikes such as the Honda CBR 1000 F and Kawasaki 1100 ZZR that rule the European market- the ST2 has everything it takes to steal the crown from the Japanese. -Jessica Paupinat-
Esthetique: A REAL ROADSTER
The shape of the 944 ST2 conjures up images of the marque’s sportier models- with a fuel tank strongly reminiscent of the 916. The poise- the shape. this is without a doubt an Italian bike- And it is most definitely a Ducati. The instrument panel has all the necessary accoutrements- digital fuel level display- engine temperature- time and analogue speedometer. The size of the rear-view mirrors distort the reflection a little at the edge to minimize the blind spot.
A U-lock underneath the seat is available as standard. The 944 ST2 is nothing short of a true roadster.
Ducati puts power first. That’s how the company built its reputation. The 944 ST2 has a two-cylinder V engine that delivers 83bhp at 8500rpm. The bike is no bullet from a gun- but with 8.5kgm of torque at 6500rpm- it offers impressive acceleration and a dynamic personality- – la Italian twin.
Even if it lacks a little flexibility under 3000rpm- things grow decidedly noisier and keener beyond this point. Weighing in at a record 209kg- 24kg less than the Kawasaki 1100 ZZR – the ST2 performs well- 228kph flat out and 1000m in 22.4 seconds from a standing start.
On the road: A NICE BLEND OF COMFORT AND EFFECIENCY
The Ducati 944 ST2 has protective features worthy of a GT sports bike- with the usual criticism of too little protection for the shoulders- despite a high windshield. The hard seat is a reminder of the marque’s sports heritage. The bike is a good balance of comfort and efficiency- no easy task on a motorcycle that wants to have everything.
The lively engine is occasionally hard on the supsension- which copes admirably. The front brake is effective but the rear is a little hard and lacks flexibility- to the extent that it can be a destabilising factor. Fortunately- the big engine brake makes up for this.
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