Comparison test Ducati Monster 900 i.e, Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura, Yamaha BT 1100 Bulldog


Comparison test Ducati Monster 900 i.e, Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura, Yamaha BT 1100 Bulldog

Comparison test Ducati Monster 900 i.e, Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura, Yamaha BT 1100 Bulldog

tingle in the belly

Three very different twins with an eventful past are looking for tolerant lovers? and will find them. Guaranteed. Also included: the brand new Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura.

At some point you get caught. Most certainly. Even if you were previously so convinced of the towering, superior four-cylinder. Then they cast a spell over you, this two-cylinder, this Italian creed? and won’t let you go With that thump, with that pounding, snorting start of a Moto Guzzi V11, the incomparable staccato of the Ducati-Desmo of a Monster 900 i.e .. Or the rich bass that a Yamaha BT 1100 Bulldog pushes out of its two silencers. Yamaha? Wait a moment. That doesn’t really fit into this scene with rattling dry clutches and the scent of the finest Agip synthetic oil. A Japanese woman crept into this very own Italian domain. Right. But only half. The Bulldog was conceived by Belgarda, the Italian Yamaha importer, and that’s where it is built. Smart move by the Japanese to produce this wanderer between cruiser and naked bike worlds in Italy. Somehow they got it out of there in the south with anything two-cylinder. Each manufacturer in its own unique way.
The Bulldog, lovingly crafted, with beautiful details, vies for the favor of all motorcycling connoisseurs who don’t want to paddle around on the thick running board at the mere hint of a sloping position. Nevertheless, she cannot and does not want to deny her cruiser genes. After all, its V2 comes from the 1100 Drag Star, and its drive, in turn, is directly related to the blessed TR1. Today, at least one secondary air system takes care of reduced pollutant emissions. The massive air-cooled twin has not increased in performance over the years. Measured 61 PS are not exactly lush by today’s standards. But it is not the performance alone that is decisive, but how it is presented to you. And the Bulldog knows how to impress with its start from the lowest revs. After that, however, the easy-to-shift six-speed gearbox has to be stepped through, because the two-cylinder already works lethargically from 4500 rpm.
Speed ​​regions in which the V2 bumper of the Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura really comes to life. Quite untypical for a two-valve twin, it does its job accurately, but clearly and unequivocally means that it is thirsty like a four-valve twin for revs and, in the case of this test model, for a good portion of gasoline. Above 5000 rpm, the engine then underpins its performance with really rough vibrations. Stop. A Guzzi doesn’t vibrate, it pulsates ?? at least from the point of view of the avowed fan. This lively Scura doesn’t like to stroll around, she wants to run.
A Ducati Monster 900 i.e. Likewise. She regards speeds below 3000 rpm as a personal insult and acknowledges such a rowdy driving style with clear indignation. If the tachometer jumps around 4000 rpm in regions, the picture suddenly reverses. Satisfied with itself and the world, the two-valve engine finds its center and purrs powerfully and almost vibration-free. Three very different character actors who don’t care about sheer top performance, but only feel obliged to one thing: pure driving pleasure.
Before the start of the regular test round on the Swabian Alb, the testers were justifiably concerned about whether that would be neglected on the Yamaha. Because on the dynamometer separate the Bulldog a few horsepower from the Ducati (78 hp) ?? and above all from the 91 hp twin of the Moto Guzzi. But after just a few kilometers, the Yamaha proves that it can keep up wonderfully. Especially in narrow and tricky passages, she plays her trump cards time and again. For example, their upright sitting position, which helps to keep track of the game. For the vast majority, the Bulldog’s ergonomics are a very good fit. Of course, not everyone immediately gets used to the fact that one is fixed in the deep and comfortable seat recess almost as if rooted to the ground behind the beefy, high tank. And the narrow handlebars should also be slightly less cranked. The Guzzi rider has to stretch a little to get to the deeply strapped handlebars via the long tank. And the Ducati tells you with its sporty forward-facing seating position and accordingly high-placed footrests that it counts as part of the attack department? and despised slow sweeps.
The Yamaha twin, blessed with a lot of oscillating mass, pushes out of tight corners in an almost provocatively casual way, and can be directed very easily and precisely. The Ducati seems a bit awkward in these passages, and the Moto Guzzi also requires significantly more concentration. Nevertheless, no matter what curve radius, the Scura amazes time and again. It’s amazing what tight arches are possible with this not exactly light-weight Italian. But it only spoils those who know how to take it. It quickly pulls the tooth out of hectic people who like to storm corners hard and at the supposed last minute: Harsh cardan reactions then ruin the targeted line. This rough and archaic looking motorcycle wants to be treated with feeling. So carefully sort the right gear in front of the curve, engaging the clutch gently, only giving a little double-declutching, otherwise the back torque of the heavy, lengthways crank drive throws you off course. And because of the rear-heavy weight distribution, brake slightly at the rear, do not let the engine speed drop too far. Apply the gas again evenly but firmly at the apex of the curve. The Guzzi is already buckling towards the next corner.
This also works wonderfully with the powerful Desmo of the Ducati, which is a bit hard on the gas, after all, the Monster offers a great performance especially in the middle speed range. In addition, it shines again with the lowest consumption. Ducati has its manifold injection under control like no other manufacturer. Unfortunately, as in previous tests, the suspension throws a spanner in the works. The fact that the monster demands a lot of physical effort from the driver, that shifting, clutching and braking require more power than the other two, fits in with their stoic character. There is a lot of grumbling about the difficult to dose Brembo four-piston brake system. As is so often the case with Brembo, there are clear functional differences that are difficult to explain. The almost identical Brembos of the Scura work flawlessly. But Ducati also has to put up with criticism because of the hard-sprung and insensitively appealing Showa fork. A further complication is the front tire with a 60 mm cross-section, which has little self-damping. The monsters rumble awkwardly over undulating sections, which does not exactly promote confidence, especially when turning into faster corners. The rear Sachs strut should also respond more sensitively.
The Yamaha Bulldog is leaning in a completely different direction. It’s easy to live with its softly coordinated hindquarters, but the completely underdamped fork clearly doesn’t offer enough reserves when riding lively. Which is mainly at the expense of the freedom of leaning in right turns. Especially downhill, with a lot of load on the front wheel, the Bulldog reaches its limits, and an exhaust manifold that scrapes hard over the asphalt demands moderation. Too bad. There is an urgent need for action for Yamaha. Harder fork springs and a fork oil with a higher viscosity would support the Bulldog’s athletic talents in a moderate way. Your great braking system, known among other things from the YZF-R1 series, would be ready for real great deeds in combination with a better coordinated fork. She would not lose any of her casual character and could move even closer to her much sportier colleagues.
The V11 Sport Scura presents itself at the top level on the chassis. It’s nice that Italians are fighting tenaciously to maintain their traditional companies. A few years ago, the furnace in Mandello seemed to be finally out. Then Aprilia bought the ailing company. Since then it has been going uphill again. The latest evidence: the aforementioned Scura. It consistently continues what was announced with the new edition of Le Mans last year. Superlatives should be used sparingly. But this motorcycle is quite simply the best Moto Guzzi that has ever left the venerable halls on Lake Como. Everything fits, except for tiny little things like a fiddly trip meter that cannot be adjusted with gloves. Starting with the impressive design and good workmanship, the Scura convinces with these wonderful chassis components. Only the finest that Ohlins has delivered. This elegant fork with its wide adjustment range alone is in a class of its own. Sporty, firm and yet sensitive, it offers an almost seamless and trouble-free transfer of the respective roadway condition into the hands of the pilot. That creates almost limitless trust. Just like the steering damper, also from Ohlins of course. Not a fashion stunt, but a necessity, because when the damper is fully open, the Scura twitches nervously with the halves of the handlebars on bumpy roads. When turned ten clicks, it effectively prevents any kickback, but otherwise does not adversely affect driving behavior. The Monster, on the other hand, wedges hard when accelerating over waves, so it could do with such an effective steering damper. All in all, the Ducati deserves kudos for its stability. Although the Guzzi technicians have taught the V11 better manners with a reinforced frame, it still oscillates at top speed and stirs around the steering axis. Safe, but noticeable.
D.he Bulldog, like the monsters, does not let himself be disturbed. Not only in terms of their impeccable directional stability, but also not of the significantly better performance of their competitors. She just does her thing. And wins this comparison, quite rationally and on points. Those who got hold of one this spring can count themselves lucky, whoever wants one now has to get to know many Yamaha dealers. The BT 1100 is officially as good as sold out. The Moto Guzzi Scura isn’t yet. But this will change. Most certainly. If only because there should only be 600 pieces of the special series worldwide.

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Comparison test Ducati Monster 900 i.e, Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura, Yamaha BT 1100 Bulldog

Comparison test Ducati Monster 900 i.e, Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura, Yamaha BT 1100 Bulldog
tingle in the belly

1st place – Yamaha BT 1100 Bulldog

Not top performance, not the often stressed character decide this test, but, as so often, the balance. Congratulations, Yamaha BT 1100 Bulldog. A fine offer for everyone who just wants to have fun while riding a motorcycle without stress. With a tighter fork, however, it would be significantly larger.

2nd place

Thank you Aprilia for saving Guzzi. Otherwise this successful motorcycle would have been withheld from the loyal fan base in the end. The V11 Sport Scura is not a special offer. But in view of the well-coordinated Ohlins chassis and the powerful V2, it is certainly an asset. And always remember: a Moto Guzzi doesn’t vibrate, it pulsates!

3rd place – Ducati Monster 900 i.e.

You don’t need the much more expensive S4 to fall for the Ducati Monster with skin and hair. The 900 i.e. always. The icing on the cake: your air-cooled two-valve engine, which offers good performance and is very tight on fuel. At the same time, the Monster is anything but a perfect motorcycle. The insensitive fork should be revised as soon as possible.

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