Ducati Sees Connectivity and ADAS as Way Forward for Bikers

ADAS and connectivity are not always the first things on the mind of a prospective motorcycle customer but they are making inroads slowly changing consumer expectations.

That’s the opinion of Alan Jones, Ducati UK press and racing manager, who sees the advance of technology through motorcycles being a key part of future product development. Speaking to TU-Automotive at Motorcycle Live 2019 in Birmingham, Jones said: “Bikers are still more interested in performance but look at ABS – when it first came in there was quite a lot of negativity about it. Yet, now, it’s pretty much standard across the range and people expect it to be there. The same could be true with all the electronic rider aids that are now available part and parcel of the bike. For example, a bike like the new Streetfighter has so much power that you really wouldn’t want to ride it without the electronic aids.”

All of those aids are needed in full in the brand’s latest naked urban blaster which boasts more than 200bhp from its 1,100cc Desmodromic valve V4 liquid-cooled motor in a package weighing just 397-lbs dry. Features like a selection of riding modes with three different pre-set riding styles adapted to rider, track/route and weather conditions, changing the character of the engine, the electronic control parameters and, on the S version, also the suspension set-up.

Its ABS system features a cornering function, which keeps the ABS working even with the bike leaned over and that can be set at three different levels to suit rider preferences on racetrack or road and even under low-grip conditions.

Naturally, with all that power being fed through a contact patch little bigger than a human palm print, traction control plays a big role and this system is an offshoot of the Ducati Desmosedici GP18 racer and is already. Yet, sliding is a performance feature of modern motorcycles so the bike boasts Ducati Slide Control (DSC), developed jointly with Ducati Corse racing team.

It’s the effect of the brand’s success in the top-flight racing arena of MotoGP that is currently driving the uptake of ADAS technology. Jones said: “We always make the point that a lot of the systems we use have filtered down from our experience in MotoGP. It’s an important aspect of the modern motorcycle that the customers can see where the technology has come from and is being used to improve their experience of riding the bike.”

Connectivity is a bigger sales point for the long distance tourer/commuter who has come to expect it in their cars and so look for it on their motorcycles such as the go-anywhere Multistrada models. Jones explained: “I think these riders are more into the connectivity systems because, while a sports bike will always be more about the performance, the handling the braking, on something like the Multistrada people will be spending much more time on the bike. They will want the connectivity in terms of looking at text messages on their dashboard and receive and send calls. Also, the electronics to change the suspension settings on the move are features that the modern biker appreciates. At the same time, it is early days in terms of bikes but as with many current features people will become more aware of them in future and they will become the expected features of a modern motorcycle.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

 


4 comments

  1. Avatar Ronald de Haan 17th December 2019 @ 8:33 am

    Great article, talking about tools that take away some of the risk elements ‘connected’ to riding a motorbike. However, one remark resonates: “For example, a bike like the new Streetfighter has so much power that you really wouldn’t want to ride it without the electronic aids.” You could argue to choose a less powerful bike. But the following statement, in my opinion, completely disqualifies the article: “They will want the connectivity in terms of looking at text messages on their dashboard and receive and send calls.”. Driving a mega powerful bike, assisted by ADAS systems not to have a accident and then get the possibility to be distracted with text messages and the possibility to receive and send calls…. What is Ducati thinking about?

  2. TU-Editor TU-Editor 17th December 2019 @ 9:39 am

    I do agree that any level of distraction from technology can be an issue. However, MotoGP racers, living life on the edge, also have this technology to receive messages from the pitlane about how they are going in relation to other racers around them.
    That said, you may be confusing the two machines in question, because in the second quote Mr Jones was referring to the touring model, Multistrada, which would be used at very much lower speeds for long distance trips rather than the Streetfighter which has a lot more power.

    • Avatar Ronald de Haan 17th December 2019 @ 10:12 am

      I stand corrected. Of course you can compare professional racing drivers with Joe Average and of course if you are driving a 113 to 158 horsepower motorbike you can be distracted by texts and receiving and sending messages. Both a recipe to go off course…..

  3. TU-Editor TU-Editor 17th December 2019 @ 10:25 am

    I do agree but you have as much distraction from technology in the 200+mph hypercars you will see written about in TU-Automotive. Personally, I think it’s the responsibility of the driver/rider to prioritize their attention depending on conditions.
    I’m fairly old-school and barely look at the dashboard at speed, as highlighted by the last traffic enforcement officer who stopped me on my Ducati 999S….

Leave a Reply to TU-Editor Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *