Here's a few of my initial impressions after about 110 miles this morning.
Under seat exhaust heat is a non-issue for me, at least at 75 F. A couple times I felt some heat, mainly on the underside of my left thigh but not a big deal. This summer might be different.
Exhaust is LOUD, no need for a Termignoni here, it's deafening even at idle. I don't know how they get these things through inspection. It's got a nice, deep throaty roar under acceleration...glorious!
The bike started easily hot or cold. The starter does turn quite slowly but it lit off without issue each time and settled down into that off beat big twin idle.
I made it home, then geared up to go back out for a ride in the twisties. When I restarted the bike, an orange ABS and warning icon begin flashing on the MFD......aargh! I had to call the Ducati service department and a tech told me this is the ABS initializing and it goes out as soon as you start rolling. He was right and I calmed back down....lol!
Fit and finish is first rate, the bike is drop dead gorgeous.
The switch gear is a little different in tactile feel compared to the Japanese stuff, not bad, just a different feel.
Mirrors are fixed and essentially useless. If I pull in my right elbow and lean forward and down a bit I can see enough of both lanes behind me to move over. It just takes a bit of getting used to.
Rider ergonomics are decent, maybe a little more pressure on my wrists than my other bikes but almost a Japanese feel overall.
Power, I'm keeping it between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm during break in, redline is 12,000 rpm, a lot for a twin, so there's power there but it needs to spin. I'd say the power at 6000 is decent but not overwhelming. I'll have more to say once I finish the break in and unleash the full payload of ponies. I'm guessing it will slot in perfectly between my ZX-6R and my CBR 1000RR. Early dyno reports are showing 130 rear wheel HP, ZX-6R is 110 rear wheel and my CBR is about 150 at the rear tire so it splits the difference nicely. By the way, if you have experience with high powered sport machines, have your salesmen put it into Race mode, not Sport or Wet mode before leaving the parking lot. The throttle response is much better and a ten year old could handle it, very smooth.
Rear stand is impossible to kick down with your boot, I have to lean over and pull it down with my hand or get off the bike and push it down with my boot.
I haven't played with the traction control, ABS or engine braking control yet, NASA put a man on the moon with a smaller owners manual than this. I selected Race mode at the dealer which defaults to level 3 of 8 on the TC, level one EBC and level one ABS. This seemed to work very well and I probably won't mess with it for awhile.
The EBC is effective, the bike doesn't pitch forward under engine braking when you roll off the gas in level 1 so all's good.
Throttle response and fueling is crisp, no on-off throttle touchiness noticed. Ducati has caught up with the Japanese here.
The Ducati Quick shift gives flawless full power, clutchless upshifts, just nudge the shift lever and it's in the next gear without any drama.
The gearbox is buttery smooth but the throw is more than I'm used to, need to adjust the lever a bit as I have to lift my boot slightly to hit the next gear.
No clunk when dropping into first from neutral but pulling away, the bike shudders a bit due to those big pistons firing every 180 degrees. You can't ride this big twin at low speed in first gear without shuddering unless you feather the clutch. My inline fours don't do this due to 180 degree firing impulses, again just different.
The slipper clutch is super smooth and one finger light.
The Brembo Monobloc 4.2 brakes are strong without being overwhelming, comparable to what I have on my ZX-6R, 10R and CBR1000RR. I felt no lever pulsating from the ABS under heavy braking in level 1.
The bike handles well but a bit differently from the Japanese stuff, initial turn in is a bit slower but it is super stable once cranked over on it's side and it tightens the line well without feeling your going to lose the front.
I was a bit surprised after hammering my favorite twisties as my other bikes run right down to the edge on the front and rear BT-016 tires but the Pirelli Corsas on the 959 had about a 1/2 inch left in the rear and maybe 3/4 inch in the front. Maybe I'm not cornering aggressively enough yet or the profile on the Pirellis have a wider foot print. Don't know yet.
Suspension is taut but well controlled, on a smooth twisty road the bike felt great. In some chop, I could feel a little kick back from the suspenders, not bad, maybe need to soften the high speed compression damping a touch. I'll sort that out later, Road Racing World tested the 959 and gave some good baseline suspension settings.
OK, that's about it for right now, I have to get packed for a trip and won't be able to ride again until next Friday.