Test Ducati ST 2

Test Ducati ST 2

Giro d’Italia

ST 2: Sport Tourismo, second attempt. Driven by the fresh wind of the new management, Ducati dares to venture into the most popular hybrid segment.

Bologna, April 23, 9 a.m. No wind, 20 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. Ducati Motor S.p.a., legendary birthplace of two-wheeled legends.

The northern Italian Desmo Twins have dominated the superbike scene since 1990. 916, monsters, SS guys, that sounds martial, like sport, like competition. And then that: IFMA 1996, suitcase-proven and comparatively good, the ST 2 stands there and defies all Ducatist uncompromising. Sports tourers, touring athletes, meat with fish. A Ducati that wants to compete with Japanese all-rounders à la Honda VFR 750. After all: The first press presentation was very promising. Let’s see what the series can do.
Handover of keys. Then you can start. Taking a seat on the most touristic Ducati means feeling good from the first moment. Comfortable, cranked handlebar halves, a narrow tank with perfect knee joint, the footrests not too far up or back. All of this is built under a cozy bench. Good conditions for tourist demands. Accompanied by the rattling of the somewhat stiff dry clutch, the large Desmo V-Twin willingly begins its work. The engine comes from the last – albeit unsuccessful – attempt by Ducati to establish a sports tourer. The water-cooled V2 in the 907 i.E. The current version inherited the 68 stroke, but grew by two millimeters in the bore. In addition, a larger pole wheel increases the rotating mass. The large valves (38 millimeters outlet, 43 inlet valves) remain, as does the Desmo-typical huge valve lift of 11.8 millimeters. The camshaft profile was changed. An airbox ensures stable pressure conditions in the intake tract. A modern Marelli ignition / injection management system regulates the mixture supply and the flaring so that the performance and exhaust gas are correct. So much for the theory. But how does that feel??
High torque and spontaneous – so just right for the Bolognese city traffic. The tachometer should not drop below 2500 rpm, but turbine-like thrust is available above this. Only at the top, over 8000 revolutions, is the Italian a bit temperamental. The gear changes would slide smoothly from the foot, were it not for the much too short gear lever, which was probably measured on Italian children’s feet. However, thanks to sufficient torque, you don’t have to change gear often to surf the Ducati through the Fiat-pregnant rush hour. In addition, the driver has a good overview, and with its low center of gravity, the machine can be steered playfully through the traffic jam. Then the city limits. Up on the »Tangentiale« around Bologna, heading south, towards the mountains. And the same applies to urban motorway traffic: the ST 2 handles cool gliding, occasional sprints in between. The spherical rear-view mirrors show the happy faces of outdated Italians in a wide panorama. The cockpit provides complete and clear information about the driving conditions. The engine also depends well on the gas in the middle speed range and reacts spontaneously to every command, as is typical for injection. The Bologna area is over and you have reached the exit to the highway. She turns wonderfully easily and precisely, the Italian – no wonder with the sporty chassis design. The new Metzeler ME Z4 zero-degree steel belted tires, neutral and handy, support good driving behavior. On winding country lanes it goes in the direction of the Futa pass. Sunshine, dolce vita. Briefly in the espresso bar, and then up the passport.
Bumpy, furrowed asphalt demands the Showa suspension elements, which respond sensitively and, despite the comfortable basic set-up, always remain in control of the situation even on very poor roads. The long spring travel and the sophisticated push rod lever at the rear are praised. The fork and shock absorber can also be adjusted in many ways. The ST 2 jumps greedily from turn to turn. Brake, flip, accelerate. The footrests and the main stand rarely touch the asphalt. Even at high speeds, the Ducati remains handy and neutral. The engine delivers its 87 horsepower, determined on the MOTORRAD test bench, up to around 8500 rpm, then that’s the end of it. Finally at the top of the pass, three things become apparent: there is snow on the roadside, the view is great, and your buttocks don’t hurt. Bella Italia! A few photos for the album and down. Now the brakes can show what they can do. Typical Ducati-Brembo front brake: braking effect okay, pressure point muddy. It is difficult to dose precisely. After all, it doesn’t slack off excessively. The rear stopper shows almost no effect.
A few more kilometers of country road fun, then Autostrada uno, towards Gotthard. Crouching, briefly ignoring the speed limit, accelerating hard through the corridors. The speedometer needle only stops at 230 km / h, the subsequent measurement confirms a remarkable 229 km / h top speed. The wind protection could be better for a tourer, for an athlete you are well protected behind the spoiler screen. The ST 2 pilot rarely needs filling stations, burning an average of six liters per 100 kilometers. When he stops, he can get upset about the insidious side stand, which often folds away suddenly.
M.Pay aut, get off the autostrada, up on the Gotthard pass. Because even after hundreds of kilometers, the ST 2 still makes you want to turn. Unfortunately, halfway up, a closed blanket of snow prevents the hoped-for pleasure. Too bad, so vignette after all. Through the tunnel and Switzerland it goes back to home highways. The comfortable seating position and the good light make the last 350 or so kilometers driven in the dark very bearable. Stuttgart, April 24th, 11.30 p.m., calm, 6 degrees, editorial building. A long day full of Italian moments is over.

My conclusion

The Bolognese have done their homework. The Ducati ST 2 is not only a real Ducati, beautiful to look at and with a strong character, it is also an all-round successful sports tourer. Traveling across the continent? No problem. Driving sporty, up and down the Stilfser Joch? Pure pleasure. The brawny Desmo-Twin never lets the hectic pace arise, spontaneously transforms every turn of the gas. That’s the way it has to be. The stable chassis always keeps the load safely on track with its comfortable spring elements. The ST 2 remains handy even at high speeds. Heart, what do you want more? Maybe a less insidious kickstand. Or practical foot levers. But overall: Bravo, Ducati!

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