I have had made a number of bad decisions in my life, some of which have come hand-in-hand with my duties here at Asphalt & Rubber. Hindsight is always 20/20, and I can certainly think of a couple machines that I have naively swung a leg over with enthusiasm. Unsurprisingly, the word “prototype”, used in only the loosest of definitions, has been involved in these endeavors.
With rare occasion though, I have been able to see trouble coming ahead of time, and have either had the prudence to step out of its way, or the foolishness to forge ahead with a “what could go wrong” attitude. I would add MotoCorsa’s TerraCorsa project to that latter category.
A proper 195hp superbike, designed by Italians to win road races, the Ducati 1199 Panigale is an alphabet soup of features designed to make a rider go as fast as possible on asphalt. So when MotoCorsa’s Arun Sharma gave me an opportunity to ride his “track bike” Panigale S, which he painted in Desert Storm beige and shod with Continental TKC 80 tires, well…I of course uttered “what could go wrong?” and graciously accepted.
On its face, the whole idea of taking a superbike off-roading is preposterous. No doubt, you are already making a list of all the things wrong with this idea, while pouring a cold glass of Hatorade in the process. And you’d be right in doing so.
The suspension travel is too short, the Panigale’s 1,199cc Superquadro v-twin engine has too much power, the riding position is all wrong, and let’s just skip over mentioning that the machine is a rolling bone fide crime against motorcycling. Ducatisti, pour out an espresso for this fallen Bolognese, but be forewarned that Arun and the TerraCorsa feed off the hate that this concept brings.
But before you sharpen your pitchforks and storm the castle gates at Borgo Panigale, let me explain briefly how putting knobby tires on a purebred superbike isn’t as bad of an idea as you think. If anything, the gods must be crazy, because it is surprising how well the whole thing works. These crazy Oregonians are onto something…
Part of the motivation behind the TerraCorsa is a response to the whole adventure-bike movement. After all, if a 573-pound BMW R1200GSA is the bell of the ADV Ball, then the Ducati 1199 Panigale is positively a supermodel by comparison, what with its 367 lbs dry weight.
Motorcyclists have this strange notion that in order for a motorcycle to go down the highway, as well as a fire road, double-track trail, or even a mild stretch of single-track through the woods, that the machine must be one of these burly ADV bikes — that is after all why the Ducati Multistrada 1200 was made
The TerraCorsa is out to prove that theory wrong, and to show that with maybe half an hour’s work, you can go from track to trail with the same machine…and it doesn’t have to be a proper enduro to do so.
You see, motorcycles are all pretty much the same at their core — an engine and a chassis. If you look back far enough into history, you won’t see much differentiation between the machines destined for the street and those meant to be ridden off-road (roads back then were practically off-road by modern standards, anyways). A bike was a bike, end of story.
And while I won’t argue that to get the 10/10th’s out of a machine requires some specialization and fine-engineering, the fact is that a pair of tires gets you maybe three-quarters of the way in the direction you’re going. To that end, the TerraCorsa finds itself to be an entirely competent trail bike, by virtue that you can find dual-sport tires for its wheel size.
Geared to go nearly 100 mph in first gear, shifting is just something you don’t find necessary to undertake, though I can say with some certainty that the Panigale cooling system does not enjoy being taken through the rev range at such slow speeds.
Wearing off-road boots though, shifting becomes a moot point, as the action is just something that can’t be done effortlessly while in a sport-bike position…braking is hard enough.
In some ways though, the cramped seating position of the Panigale is an advantage, especially with the TerraCorsa’s relatively lower weight and seat height, compared to other ADV bikes.
If you have ever stopped on the trail, only to find your legs do not reach terra firma, the TerraCorsa might be for you, as it makes poking a leg out through a turn or a stop, a very confidence inspiring endeavor.
The confidence comes with a trade-off of course, as the 4.72 inches of forward wheel travel (5.12″ in the rear) can be quite limiting, even with the TerraCorsa’s front forks pushed down to the limit within the triple clamps.
That being said, the TerraCorsa did not once bottom-out during out testing. We weren’t bombing around at the same pace we were on proper enduro machines, but we weren’t going slow either.
I would argue that the suspension isn’t the limiting factor on the TerraCorsa, but instead it is the clip-on handlebars. Pushing you far forward into a road racer’s crouch, with your weight already braced in your arms, taking crests, bumps, and yes jumps, is a jarring experience on the TerraCorsa (or any sport bike, I would imagine).
A flat bar with a few inches of rise could do wonders for the TerraCorsa, both in terms of comfort and rideability. It would also make turning easier, as I rode in constant fear of pinching a thumb between the handlebar and fuel tank. The extra rise would also make getting out of the saddle easier, especially on bumpier sections, and add perhaps a bit more familiarity for the dirt-biking inclined.
If all that is the bad, then the good is quite sublime. Thanks to Ducati making the Panigale with a near 50/50 weight distribution, the TerraCorsa turns predictably, even in the muddy single-track sections we hit on our first outing.
If you have the chance to find an open fire road, ridiculously unsafe speeds can occur, which irked the ire of some Oregonian loggers, but brought a small to my child-like brain. In this regard, the TerraCorsa already fits the bill of many ADV rides, although does it with far more panache and something resembling stability.
Getting your hands dirtier though, one finds that braking the rear loose, pushing the front, and riding with blips of the throttle are hair-raising undertakings on the TerraCorsa, to be sure; but Ducati’s liter-bike is as predictable off-road as it is on the street, and only begs you to explore the limits further with each try.
Pretty soon you find yourself railing berms without a second though, and looking for new places to explore the relationship between the coefficient of friction and tangential momentum.
A single-thought summary of riding the TerraCorsa is the pursuit of the ridiculousness. Each minute on this knobbied Panigale is spent finding how far the silliness will go. Can I take that jump? Can I spin it up around this bend? Oh look, a puddle…you’ve never had more fun with your clothes on, unless you’re Mormon.
If motorbikes are supposed to be fun, then the TerraCorsa takes motorcycling back to its roots…you know, back when there was really only one type of motorcycle, and you had to ride it in all conditions. There is a football-in-the-mud aspect to riding this machine…where you know you’re going to get yelled at by mom for doing, but every minute was worth the endeavor.
I guess if you were so inclined, you could toggle Ducati’s rider maps and put the TerraCorsa in rain mode, thus sending a slightly more sane 100hp to the rear tire. But this is ‘murica, and we like our dirt bikes to have a full 195hp, right? Traction control is for sissies (not to mention completely useless), ABS too. The only thing sophisticated about the TerraCorsa is its khaki outfit, courtesy of a Rustoleum rattle-can.
If you want to talk modifications, the list is pretty small. Ducati has used the TerraCorsa to experiment with some different fuel-injection options, but we rode it with the basic Panigale maps. A skid plate has been added, to help protect the Termignoni exhaust system that’s been fitted, and the front fender has been raised to accommodate the TKC’s.
The suspension is the stock Öhlins pieces you’d find on a Panigale S, which is what the TerraCorsa started life as originally. A bar end mirror replaces the stock units on the fairing, and then of course there are the knobby dual-sport Continental TKC 80 tires. It’s a simple recipe, really.
You may have already seen MotoCorsa’s TerraCorsa at events near Portland, Oregon, like the One Show, Alley Sweeper Ride, or Dirt Quake USA. You can also find the TerraCorsa in its more native habitat, like a Portland International Raceway track day, or its domicile at the MotoCorsa dealership. Interested in joining the fun? It’ll cost you about $300 in tires.A
I doubt we’re going to see ADV riders trading in their bike machines for a sport bikes with knobbies, I haven’t completely flown over the cuckoo’s nest after all. But, I hope bikes like the TerraCorsa inspire street riders not to fear a path less followed. You would be surprised by what your Street Queen can handle off-road, and you will be even more surprised by how much fun you will have in the process.
From our friends at Asphalt & Rubber
There has never been a production superbike like the Ducati Superleggera. The bike’s specs read like a flashback to Chemistry 101 and trying to memorize the periodic table of elements: Mg, Ti, W, Al, and C. With its magnesium monocoque chassis and forged wheels, countless titanium fasteners, exhaust, con-rods, plus a carbon-fiber tail section and bodywork, Ducati has delivered a liter-class sportbike that weighs a scant 390 pounds (claimed) fully fueled. But the Superquadro engine is equally exotic and tuned to produce just shy of 190 rear-wheel horsepower. The combined result delivered 150-mph, fifth-gear wheelies on our exclusive ride at Italy’s Mugello Circuit. This isn’t the finest production superbike of the year. It’s the most incredibly trick superbike ever made.
The Corsa Crew celebrates a mindblowing week of new additions to the family. Five members of MotoCorsa got new Ducatis in one month!
Rob, Parts Specialist at MotoCorsa, bought a legendary 899 Panigale and couldn't wait to show off his new trick with the Corsa Crew! The same week that Chuck picked up his amazing Ducati Streetfighter, so we helped him pick it up in the Red Room.
Miles, the Parts Manager, has a Diavel already, but he couldn't turn down the gorgeous Diavel Carbon!
Burnout in The Red Room! Jarrod couldn't wait to turn the tires of his new Multistrada 1200!
The whole Corsa Crew grew mustaches to help celebrate Christian's new 1199 Panigale S! MotoCorsa is having the month of a lifetime in true Italian style.
We can't wait to see what happens next in The Red Room!
Need new tires?
Purchase & have new tires installed, and we'll help you scrub them in with a $25 gas card!
Our used motorcycle shop across the street, Turn2 is getting some love this summer.
With a wide variety of used motorcycles like this Ducati Sport 1000, it's no wonder so many people are taking to the streets in true two wheeled style.
Ducati Scrambler Caught at WDW 2014
Ducati has just finished up the desmodromic orgy that is World Ducati Week 2014, where thousands of Ducatisti gather to celebrate all things Ducati. One of the highlights of the festival this year was Borgo Panigale’s showing of the Ducati Scrambler.
A mix of yellow shipping containers, cabanas, and sand, the Scrambler reveals were held for about a dozen Ducati fanatics at at time, in a controlled room where no cellphones were allowed.
It’s hard to say whether Ducati thought it could prevent photos from the event from leaking onto the internet despite these measures, or if the Italian motorcycle company just likes putting up a good front for its marketing buzz. Either way, some images have come out from the event.
(Originally posted by our friends at Asphalt & Rubber)
Originally featured in Cycle World Magazine
Before we tell you what the Monster is, let’s tell you what it isn’t. It’s not a stripped-down superbike like the Streetfighter 848. Nor is it a bare-knuckle hooligan bike like the Hypermotard. Rather, the new Monster 1200 S is a sporty roadster that’s more at home on a winding back road than strafing curves on the racetrack. And it’s equally comfortable commuting or bopping around town.
All new for 2014, the 1200 S gets the 1,198cc Testastretta 11-degree engine, which in different states of tune also powers the Diavel and Multistrada. In this application, the engine uses smaller 53mm throttle bodies and a higher 12.5:1 compression ratio. The result? Great low-end oomph and a wonderfully shaped torque curve without a single dip in sight. Power builds in a smooth arc, signing off about 500 rpm before redline.
On a twisty road, this engine’s flexibility really stands out. In many situations, two or three different gears will work just fine; it just depends on how much of a hurry you’re in. With Sport mode selected, throttle response is crisp and instantaneous, while Touring softens the hit a bit. For cruising around town, Urban reduces peak power and softens response even more, which also masks the tiny bit of driveline lash and the slightly grabby nature of the hydraulic clutch leaving stops. Fueling is great in all three modes, and the DTC, ABS, and response settings for the three drive modes can be customized via the menu to satisfy your preference.
Despite the Monster’s long 59.3-inch wheelbase (it’s 3 inches longer than the sportiest nakeds) and fairly roomy ergonomics, the 1200 S somehow still feels compact from the cockpit. The minimalist dash, and the fact that most of us can’t see the bike’s front tire, helps create this sensation. Longish wheelbase aside, the Monster really handles well, with light and precise steering, firm (but not harsh) action from the Öhlins suspension, and tons of midcorner stability. It’s sporty without the compromises a track-ready machine puts on rider comfort.
Speaking of comfort, not all is perfect with the ergos, at least where your legs are concerned. Ride with your feet flat on the pegs and leg comfort is decent. But if you like to get up on the balls of your feet, the brackets for the passenger pegs splay your heels out at an uncomfortable angle. Other nitpicks include a rear cylinder header pipe that dumps a ton of heat onto your inner right leg at long stops (and while riding slowly in traffic), plus a slick TFT dash display that’s very hard to read in bright sunlight because of the glare.
Nevertheless, this 1200 S has to be one of the best, if not the best, Monsters ever. Yes, we loved the old air-cooled models, too, but the 11-degree Testastretta is a wonderful motor for a Monster. With liquid cooling and an excellent electronics suite, the powertrain is fully modern, yet it produces exactly the kind of power and accessible torque that these Ducati roadsters were meant to have.
Compared to the three naked superbikes tested in this issue, the Monster 1200 S might seem a bit tame. But if track performance isn’t a high priority, the Monster 1200 S is a great choice that remains true to the name’s heritage.
From our friends at Cycle World Magazine
By Blake Conner
Photographer: Jeff Allen
Our TerraCorsa just keeps going and going! After transforming a 2013 Ducati into our version of a ridiculous "adventure bike," we wondered what else could be done with this amazing machine. When we heard about our friends from See See Motorcycles hosting an "Inappropriate Street Bike" class at the legendary Castle Rock Flat Track, we were in! Who says you can't flat track a Ducati superbike?!