Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why I won't buy another Ducati with a keyless ignition

I've got a bone to pick with you Ducati. If there is one thing you do wrong, it is this. Keyless ignition. I just don't get it. A bike needs a key.

It's the one sole thing that dampens my spirit about the Multistrada. I've lost one key. It was a horrible experience. Luckily I had been told about the PIN emergency start feature or I would have been forked.
Even that system is stupid. If you have forgotten to reset it at the dealer anyone can walk up and try the default, start the bike and take off. I mean, WTF? But the keyless entry really bugs me.

Sometimes the key still doesn't register from my jacket pocket and I have to take it out and wave it about the dashboard randomly until it flickers into life. The easiest thing to do is leave it in the seat lock. For some unknown reason it doesn't make sense to put the key in, unlock the seat, and take the key out.

I put the key in, unlock the seat and go about my business, then leave the key in the lock. You put the seat back on with a click and take off. I just forget that the key is still there. The dash will tell you eventually that there is no key present and it dawns on you, you left it in the seat. Pull over, take the key out and start all over again. After you have done this, it also makes no sense to put the key back in your pocket.

You feel like you just made a mistake by leaving it in the WRONG lock and you want to put it back in the IGNITION. BUT OH NO THERE IS NO IGNITION. So you put it in your pocket and feel like a dick on an exotic motorcycle. I hates it. My precious, I hates it but I loves it. Must have it. Precious. It makes no sense and I can't think of any positives. My Hypermotard had the most erotic looking, lust-worthy ignition and key I have ever owned. It was pure function and never failed. Bike. Ignition, key. Go.

It's this kind of user experience motorcycle designers should keep in mind when creating fancy technological features that users don't want, and can't intuitively understand. It goes against my hard wiring and I don't get it. I can't come to grips with keyless ignition on a motorcycle. The key itself is a big cumbersome wedge that looks like it unlocks Optimus Prime's face, and herein lies a further problem.

There is no hole anywhere in this bulk of a thing to put a fob on. So no fob, big fat key, and a very cage like pop out shaft. It's almost an exact replica of a Volkswagen GTI's key. Yet a car, it is not. If I look for the positives in all of this, and sure, it is security. The painful flip side of that safety feature is.... if you lose your key. There is a red master-key and this unlocks the ability to program the system, or reprogram a new key.

But this is a slippery slope as I know all too well, the transmitter, or aerial I think they call it, in the dash is I believe intrinsically linked by special Ducati chromosomes and once that bond is broken, you're up shit creek. Nothing will ever be the same. I know, I know, don't lose your keys dipshit. My solution? Get a billeted key case that doubles it's bulk and then put a key ring on it so large and ridiculous that I'll never lose sight of it, even if it is hanging out of the seat lock.

Beautiful ain't it? I won't forget it's there now. But guess what? That alone is enough to put me off every buying another Ducati with a keyless ignition system. Are you listening Ducati?