11 June 2017

The Ducati Saga Continues

Yesterday I mentioned the fun we are having with getting the proper parts for the top case mount for the Multistrada to mount our Givi top cases.

Today we wanted to mount the new MRA VarioTouring windshield that is custom made for explicitly this Multi (2015/2016 model) and what did we find? It didn't work. The instructions say to use the original mounting parts, but of course – they don't fit. The OEM windshield is mounted in rubber grommets via a shouldered screw, the MRA windshield has the holes in the correct pattern but much too small to fit the original mounting equipment.

Now, as I don't want to put a drill or file to the brand new windshield, more back and forth with the shop where we bought the windshield and the manufacturer is needed.

Hmpf ...

10 June 2017

New Motorcycle – A New Challenge To Get It "Just Right"

Motorcycles are unfortunately neither as comprehensively equipped nor as adjustable as cars. There are often accessories missing that need to be purchased from the manufacturer or aftermarket to make it "complete" for ones own use case.

This fact has created a healthy system of aftermarket parts and some manufacturers are jumping in to gain some after sales money as well. Neither BMW nor Ducati are different in this regard, although the availability of 3rd party accessories for the GS is way beyond what Ducati could ever hope for.

Now, since we have the new 2016 Multistrada 1200S Touring in the garage, we had to add a few parts well:

  • Protection bars, so that a simple tip over isn't going to hurt the expensive plastics all too much, just the also expensive stainless steel Touratech bars that are sold as Ducati original equipment.
  • A brake light that flashes a few times (4x) and then comes on solid to gain more attention from following traffic.
  • A tank bag for convenient storage of wallet, keys, (sun) glasses, phone, ear plugs and so on.
  • Ducati offers a top case kit including the case but we opted for just the carrier as we already have Givi cases and didn't need another one. This has been quite an adventure so far, read below ...
  • A Crampbuster – Andrea loves this even on a bike with cruise control as it is really comfortable  once you are used it.
  • For wind protection the Multi is actually pretty good, but there is some buffeting for Andrea and a lot of buffeting for me. So we are trying to lower the amount of buffeting with a different windshield.
So far installed are the brake light, the Crampbuster, the tank bag and the protection bars. We have the windshield and will give the new one a try tomorrow, we also have most of the parts for the Givi top case, but not all yet.

Top Case Adventure

The 1200S Touring already comes with side cases which we decided to keep even though we don't like them all too much, but it didn't come with a top case or even a mount plate for one.

The kit Ducati offers includes the case and the mount and needs an additional set of painted parts to complete the look. We already have two top cases that are perfectly fine and didn't really want to add another one so we decided to buy the mounting kit as parts. 

Yes, you have heard correctly. Ducati does not sell the top case mount as a kit. Only together with the top case. Completely ridonkulous in my opinion, but okay, here we are. 

What did we do? We ordered "the kit" as parts, just without the top case. Or so we thought. When the parts arrived this was the state:
  • One large rubber piece was completely missing from the order.
  • The Givi plate didn't come with the little rubber spacers which prevent the case from rattling. 
  • One set of bolts needed 4 but the dealer only ordered 2. 
  • One set of bolts and one set of nuts needed two each, dealer ordered 5 each.
  • A set of spacers should include 4 but only 2 were ordered.
  • The dealer ordered 1 special screw (shouldered), but 2 are needed.
Wow. It's been going for over three weeks now and we are still missing parts. Is it really that hard to just offer a kit and prevent the above frustration?

I'm looking forward to finally receiving the remaining parts to find out what else is screwed up in that area. 

More to come – including photos. 

04 June 2017

Installing a New Brake Light on the 2016 Ducati Multistrada

I went through the procedure to install a 3rd party brake light from Custom LED on Andrea's new Ducati Multistrada to get the "four flashes then solid light" behavior I have on my GS. We both like this feature a lot as it seems to attract a lot more attention from the driver(s) behind.

As the light came with just the information that it is installed just like the OEM brake light without any further hints, here are the steps and some tips.
Disclaimer: Know what you are doing, this procedure can and will break something on your massively expensive motorcycle. I will take absolutely no responsibility that the below steps are correct, in the correct order, even close to what you need to do or whatever else.

If you mess up, blame yourself!

Make sure you also document the steps you take so you can reverse them properly, don't break expensive stuff and take a bit of time.

And please don't tell me you followed my procedures and broke something – that's your problem, I told you so!
1) Remove passenger and rider seat. Place a towel or such on the rear tire / hugger / spring so you don't drop small pieces into inaccessible areas (hmpf).

2) Disconnect the cable connector:

3) Remove the two bolts underneath the fender, be careful there are two friction washers between the lower and the upper fender, you don't want to drop them into "nirvana" (ask me how I know):

4) Loosen the four bolts under the passenger seat, do not remove them just yet, just loosen them so that a few turns remain:

 5) Once all bolts a loose, press on them from the top as the lower part of the fender connects to the upper part through four rubber grommets and the friction, especially on a new bike, can be high enough to make it feel like you'll break it if you just pull from the bottom.

6) Now remove the four bolts and set them aside while holding the lower fender carefully so that it doesn't drop. You can carefully pull it out of the four rubber grommets if it doesn't come off by itself (and gravity).

7) When you lower the fender a little bit, you'll find two "friction washers" where the two bolts from below came through. Make sure you don't miss them!

8) Drop the fender lower and carefully thread the disconnected cable through the plastic opening. You'll see it when you do it, it's straightforward.

9) Now that you have the fender in your hand, remove the the license plate and three bolts underneath the license plate.

10) Remove the four bolts from the underside of the fender, then you can carefully pull of the "lid" from above:

11) Disconnect the tail light:

12) Remove the three screws that hold the tail light in place, note that the ones in the picture below are the new ones needed for the CustomLED tail lights larger plastic openings, I didn't take a picture before mounting this one:

13) Take note of the cabling (see #11) and carefully pull out the tail light. It sits in three rubber grommets. 

14) Install the new tail light by reversing the process outlined above. 

Some tips:
  • Be careful during steps #3 and #7 to not drop the two friction washers. When re-installing, it might help to attach them to the fender with a drop of silicone or so.
  • Do not over-tighten any of the screws/bolts. Most of them are just "hand warm".
  • Use a zip tie or so to tidy up the cabling inside the fender before re-installing. 
  • You don't need to hook up the signal or control cables for the Custom LED tail light to get the "four flashes" behavior, it's the default setup.
  • Don't drop the signal lights, they are only "rubber grommet mounted" between the fender and the "lid"(see #10)
Here's a video of how the brake pattern looks, in real life this is MUCH brighter than the camera makes it out to be.

Regarding the Custom LED kit:

At first I was little put off by the fact that there were no instructions, then the three OEM screws that were supposed to fit the new tail light didn't fit (too small) and I saw the note about "programming" the light with the grey cable and thought I'd definitely had to do that. 

After a slightly miffed email from me to Custom LED, the good folks there explained the lack of instructions with the fear that customers break something and will sue the company; the wrong screws (or rather the too large opening in the lights plastics) with miscommunication during beta testing with their first customers, and the programming to be not necessary if the four flashes default pattern is what the user wants. 

They also gracefully provided me with three screws that fit perfectly as you can see above.