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Discussion Starter #1
I've only done 120 miles on the Cafe Racer but it's enough. I was very pleased when the guy at Ducati wheeled out the C R for me to loan while they did some work on my F T, but as soon as I sat on it I knew it wasn't the bike for me.

First of all the good bits. It comes with Diablo Rosso tires which give a smoother ride than the standard knoblies. I will be getting some Michelin Pilot Road tires for my F T when the time comes. Then there's the shock absorber. If my F T had come with this shocker I certainly wouldn't have changed it for the Nitron. It feels so much better than the standard F T unit.

Now the bad bits. I often lean forward on my F T when travelling at speed or cornering but I really hate the forward leaning position of the C R. The seat is slippery and has a slight downward slope, so I found myself sitting very far forward. I felt my knees were too far forward on the tank, which felt uncomfortable for me. It also meant that my legs were at a greater angle on the footrests, making braking or changing down the gears more difficult.

I know all the above is very subjective but I just thought I'd tell you about my experience with the C R.
 

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Thank you. That is really helpful. I appreciate your taking the time to write and post that. Since fit is an issue, would you mind sharing how tall you are and how much you weigh? I'd like to see how I compare.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
One other thing about the C R, when I got back on my F T I felt like I was sitting in the bike, not on it like the C R.
 

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I own the cafe and I love it. I'm 5' 5" 140lbs almost same as tlmfg. The bike fits me like a glove. I can actually flat foot with this bike, I am very comfortable and not crammed at all. The lean isn't as aggressive as super sports, and i look well proportioned on it. I saw a video with Jay Leno riding on it, and he dwarfed the bike.

I will agree on the seat however. It is very slippery and firm.

For us smaller guys/girls , the size of this bike is spot on to fit us. Its light weight is also a huge plus, especially when parking in awkward spots haha

I'd say the one thing I'm not a fan of is it's transmission. It feels mushy to me and getting it into neutral is a game on its own. Although I finally did find the sweet spot. My old Triumph Thruxton and Yamaha Bolt had a very solid feel to it's transmission. I knew when I shifted into a gear. On the Scrambler I feel like it may have have gotten into gear or it may just be stuck on gear 4.5.
 

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I've only done 120 miles on the Cafe Racer but it's enough. I was very pleased when the guy at Ducati wheeled out the C R for me to loan while they did some work on my F T, but as soon as I sat on it I knew it wasn't the bike for me.

First of all the good bits. It comes with Diablo Rosso tires which give a smoother ride than the standard knoblies. I will be getting some Michelin Pilot Road tires for my F T when the time comes. Then there's the shock absorber. If my F T had come with this shocker I certainly wouldn't have changed it for the Nitron. It feels so much better than the standard F T unit.

Now the bad bits. I often lean forward on my F T when travelling at speed or cornering but I really hate the forward leaning position of the C R. The seat is slippery and has a slight downward slope, so I found myself sitting very far forward. I felt my knees were too far forward on the tank, which felt uncomfortable for me. It also meant that my legs were at a greater angle on the footrests, making braking or changing down the gears more difficult.

I know all the above is very subjective but I just thought I'd tell you about my experience with the C R.
Fit on a motorcycle is a very personal thing and depends on a lot of factors.

When I sat on the CR, I was delighted by the handlebar position (particularly the width) and mirrors, but I found the seat's slope a bit too much. It also felt tighter on my legs. The FT seat to footpeg is more comfortable for me, but I find the bars a touch wide and the seat gives me bum burn after about 50 miles.

Going to the drawings and dimensions in the owner's manuals for the respective models, the CR bars are 29" wide, the FT bars are 33" wide. The CR shock is slightly longer, raising the seat and tail up an inch or so. The CR footpegs are an inch and a quarter higher, and the seat padding is cut a bit lower.

This all explains some of why the feel is so different ... small changes like this mean a lot on a motorcycle.

I bought the FT because I felt the footpegs are much much harder to tune to my size than seat or bars, and I need more room for my screwy legs. The seat and bars on the FT are pretty easily interchanged to tailor it to me. it would be a good bit more difficult to adapt the CR clip-ons if they're not in exactly the right spot. With all the aftermarket rear suspension units and fork innards available, there's no real limitation to getting the FT working the way I want it to. (Although the stock suspension is a little crude and non-adjustable, it's fine for me at the moment. I'd rather go to the Öhlins or other once I have a few thousand miles on the bike. :) )
 

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...
I'd say the one thing I'm not a fan of is it's transmission. It feels mushy to me and getting it into neutral is a game on its own. Although I finally did find the sweet spot. My old Triumph Thruxton and Yamaha Bolt had a very solid feel to it's transmission. I knew when I shifted into a gear. On the Scrambler I feel like it may have have gotten into gear or it may just be stuck on gear 4.5.
How many miles have you put on the CR? New, the transmission on Ducati engines tends to be very tight and imprecise. As they break-in, they become nice and the action becomes much more precise and positive; neutral becomes easy to find, etc. Same for the clutch: be sure the adjustment is correct and give it some time to break in properly. Also, proper chain adjustment affects the transmission shifting too.

I went through all of this with my 1992 Ducati 907IE and 900SS years ago. It's exactly the same thing I'm dealing with on the Scrambler now. :D
 

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How many miles have you put on the CR? New, the transmission on Ducati engines tends to be very tight and imprecise. As they break-in, they become nice and the action becomes much more precise and positive; neutral becomes easy to find, etc. Same for the clutch: ....
That's good to know. I'm at 700 miles with the first service scheduled next week.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Going to the drawings and dimensions in the owner's manuals for the respective models, the CR bars are 29" wide, the FT bars are 33" wide. The CR shock is slightly longer, raising the seat and tail up an inch or so. The CR footpegs are an inch and a quarter higher, and the seat padding is cut a bit lower.
Thanks for that, it explains why the CR didn't fit me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
How many miles have you put on the CR? New, the transmission on Ducati engines tends to be very tight and imprecise. As they break-in, they become nice and the action becomes much more precise and positive; neutral becomes easy to find, etc. Same for the clutch: be sure the adjustment is correct and give it some time to break in properly. Also, proper chain adjustment affects the transmission shifting too.
Totally agree. My FT was so difficult to get into neutral I sometimes had to stop the engine and reach down and select it by hand. Now I can select it normally every time. My only issue now is occasional false neutrals between gears as I go up the box but, they are happening less frequently as time, and miles, go by.
 

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That's good to know. I'm at 700 miles with the first service scheduled next week.
:D

The motorcycle is still a baby. I would say, based on my 907IE experience (most similar engine/transmission of the Ducs I've owned) that the transmission will be almost completely bedded in somewhere around 3,000 to 6,000 miles down the road. This is why I rarely try to write a full review of a motorcycle, beyond a surface impression and basic "do I like the seating position?" stuff, until I have owned and ridden it for about a year.

(And if that sounds like its a long way into the future, consider: my 1989 Moto Guzzi LeMans 1000 Mk V, which I purchased in 1995 with 12,000 miles on it, wasn't fully broken in and all operational bits feeling happy until it hit 20,000 miles or so. It felt a little awkward and clunky in some ways right up until then, and then all of a sudden it was like an old shoe ... it fit perfectly and was so wonderful to hop on and ride anywhere.)
 

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Totally agree. My FT was so difficult to get into neutral I sometimes had to stop the engine and reach down and select it by hand. Now I can select it normally every time. My only issue now is occasional false neutrals between gears as I go up the box but, they are happening less frequently as time, and miles, go by.
My experience says that if you're getting a lot of false neutrals, check the height adjustment on the gear shift lever mechanism. You need it to match where your foot and ankle sit and how your musculature works. We all have slightly different shapes to our legs, feet, instep, etc, and your boots/shoes also make a difference. I have very funky legs and feet so I've had to learn how to position all these bits just so to make my riding both fun and precise.

Also, don't "stomp" the lever when going down through the gears or "bang" them up through the gears at maximum speed ... A firm, positive motion at the right speed works best. Think of it as "selecting a gear" rather than just "shifting" ... :D

Sorry if I'm sounding a little preachy. My older brother and I have always been motorbike and sports car enthusiasts, he desperately wanted to be a race car driver in his youth. The problem was that he was fast, and had the drive and native skills to do it, but he lacked the 'machine simpatico' that would allow him to feel the machine's responses so finely as to get the most out of it. I had/have the machine simpatico in spades, find that I can with a little time and accommodation ride/drive anything reasonably well, and have often been faster on the track than he. But I lack the drive and motivation to win that is so crucial to being a racer ... I just love using the machines well, feeling them work as I meld together with them on the road, on the track, listening to their sounds and feeling them flex and move around as the forces of their operation come into play.

It's hard to teach someone machine simpatico—he was always breaking engines by pushing them too far past their limits inadvertently. It's equally hard to inspire someone to "Have to win!" if it's not a native part of their emotional makeup. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My experience says that if you're getting a lot of false neutrals, check the height adjustment on the gear shift lever mechanism. You need it to match where your foot and ankle sit and how your musculature works. We all have slightly different shapes to our legs, feet, instep, etc, and your boots/shoes also make a difference. I have very funky legs and feet so I've had to learn how to position all these bits just so to make my riding both fun and precise.

Also, don't "stomp" the lever when going down through the gears or "bang" them up through the gears at maximum speed ... A firm, positive motion at the right speed works best. Think of it as "selecting a gear" rather than just "shifting" ... :D
I don't get too many false neutrals these days but I'll look into the adjustments, thanks. I never get them changing down and I usually do clutchless changes from 3rd upwards.
 

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I don't get too many false neutrals these days but I'll look into the adjustments, thanks. I never get them changing down and I usually do clutchless changes from 3rd upwards.
OOooh ... don't do that! While that technique works, it puts enormous loads on the gear/shaft engagement dogs, accelerating wear ten-fold! You want to learn to pull in the clutch just enough to ease the loads on the gears and let them engage quickly and easily.

Clutchless shifting worked okay for racing use on smaller capacity two-stroke motorcycles because of their lower, more closely spaced individual pulse pressures through the engine/transmission system. But 400cc four-stroke cylinders generate a LOT of pulsed pressure ... they can wreak havoc on the gears and chain drive without a clutch to ease them through gear changes.

I bet that if you start using the clutch on all shifts, up and down, you'll almost never find a false neutral again ... and that your engine/transmission will last twice to three times longer.
 

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What a load of tosh. I think everyone on here will have some idea of how to change a gear.
Gear changes without using the clutch is better and smoother if done properly, no extra wear on the dogs, clutch or gears. This is exactly what the modern quick-shifter does that everyone and their dog is raving about these days. The only thing I would say is maybe don't put tension on the lever in anticipation of the change too early but wait until you actually plan to shift.
I've been professionally building engine and gearboxes for many years and can't recall a problem relating to clutch-less gear changing.
 

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^^ what he said.

When done properly, you use the lash in the drivetrain to unload the gearbox on shifting clutchless.

On upshifts that's really easy. On downshift it takes some practice on blipping the throttle at the exact right time.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Never tried it on downshifting but always done it upshifting. Just wind the throttle all the way back and select the gear. Never had a problem. Only found false neutrals when using the clutch and as already stated, not many of those these days.
 

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While your clutchless shifts may be fine for full power racing purposes, and may not increase wear, in day to day riding a [clutch assisted] shift would/should be smoother & easier. Probably less wear. Unless you have a perfect clutchless shift, it is clanky. When its perfect, sure its great.
Don't the quick shifters pause the motor for a miniscule for a good shift? Preloading the lever is key if you don't have a quick shifter.
Us less than racers (95% of road riders?) and lazy shifting, ain't gonna have perfect shifts. The clutch softens the impact.
Now we've all heard this debate before, and the clutchless crowd will say how perfect it is.
Do as you may.

As far as bedding in a transmission. IME a trans usually shifts its best out of the gate. I never had to ride 3000-6000 miles to break in a transmission. On or in anything (diff gears yes). My DS still shifts semi harsh at 3000+ miles. Although it is getting better.
I'm guessing a Duc is straight cut with no undercutting??? More of an observance rather than a complaint as I am learning the Ducati way (this is my first).
 
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