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My buddy Chris got a shiny new S2R and decided to let me take it out around town last night; once we got the Arrow system installed (more on that later), I was on my way...

All these thoughts are related to being a current 996 owner and a previous Terblanche SS owner.

The overall fit and finish is very good; the OEM bar ends are a nice touch, the paint's good, the swingarm and wheels look great and overall, it doesn't immediately look like Ducati cheesed anywhere - great value for the money, IMO.

Ergonomically, the handlebars and seat position is good; for my height (6'2") I found the pegs to be a little awkward (maybe too low?) v. the SBK but not outright uncomfortable (although I did scrape the toe of my boot a couple times).

The seat padding is excellent; comfortable, compliant and pliable; it's also fairly grippy so you're not sliding around all over the place.

All the controls feel very direct and confident, the shifter is fair and the rear brake, lo and behold, actually works.

As to riding impressions and the engine/drivetrain as a whole?

The engine is very punchy, from 2500 to 5500 it's an immediate tug of torque that feels like it comes on all at once; which is good for around town, darty movements. Above 6000 rpm the engine runs out of steam but it doesn't fall all together flat - oh, and with the Arrow system, the bike sound ABSOLOUTLY INCREDIBLE. Really, really nice.

The S2RS slipper-type clutch system does work but it's not an outright slipper; however, if you get ham-fisted with downshifts it'll smooth them out and if you have an inclination toward blipping the throttle downshifts are 100% butter.

Dynamically, the bike feels like it could use some work on the front forks (they feel a little soft) and this particular bike hadn't had the rear sag/preload/ride height set so the suspension felt a bit lumpy but the S2R, nonetheless, felt extremely lithe, nimble and its point and shoot ability is awesome; the extra leverage afforded by the longer handlebars really make it easy to maneuver around random objects on the road, cars, pedestrians, police officers (just kidding
) etc. It's really feels great.

On the freeway, wind buffeting isn't as great of an issue as I thought it may be, and overall it seems that the OEM windscreen/front fairing does a fairly good job at insulating the rider's upper body.

The front brake setup feels well proportioned and has a decent degree of power; it doesn't haul you down like a set of goldlines, iron rotors and a 19x20 radial but they're not incompetent by any stretch of the imagination - of course more brake is never a problem but for a bike that's mainly a street going romper stomper, the OEM brakes are OK.

For the most part, Ducati hit the nail squarly on the head with the S2R and I'd love on to tour on and for around town duty - with an Arrow system, it rivals my 996's aural tenacity.

This is the first Monster I've ever ridden and had the S2R come out sooner, I'm unsure if I would have been an SS owner - the only critiques I have are the above suspension niggles that most of which, would be taken care of once the rear sus is setup; the powerband as mentioned is quite narrow and punchy, which isn't bad, but if there was a way to broaden the powerband and give it a little more linearity, it would be perfect ( I think with the 1000DS motor, it'll be where I'd like).
The ground clearance and footpegs is a point of debate; I'm inclined to think that you may scrape the lower parts of the pipes and that a rider with more sporting inclination might want higher up footpegs, but again, if you're going to use it for a street bomber, it's perfect.

Now the only question left to answer is ... why don't I have one?
 
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