Saturday I went to Athens, GA for Ducati Demo Day with the intention of riding several new Ducatis to see what all the fuss and brand loyalty is about. I have always thought Ducatis were cool but have some trouble reconciling the pricing and maintenance requirements with my fundamentally frugal nature.
Anyway, when I got the Dealership I found that most of the bikes were booked trough most of the day. I also found some nice folks working there and a more than pleasant crowd of like minded folks hanging out to ride fancy bikes.
I signed up to ride the HyperMotard 796 which has always appealed to me but has also always seemed incredibly impractical. I have always been wrong. It took me a few minutes to get used to the really powerful brakes and adjust myself to being back on a tall bike that likes to be ridden dirtbike style, but adjust I did and I really enjoyed the 30 minute ride. There were no super twisties or really fast sections but there was plenty enough easy going to get a feel for the bike. As I described it to my buddy Lloyd later - it's like riding an 80hp DR650 with Great Brakes and Firm Suspension. In other words the bike was a hoot even though I complied with the no-wheelies or stoppies rule.
Wheelies and stoppies seemed just a flicker of a decision away and the bike just felt alive under me. Tons of grunt and short shifting works awesome. I have tasted the Kool Aid and the Kool Aid is sweet and addictive.
The MultiStrada - besides being completely out of my price range for any bike was booked up so I was spared the pain of riding a bike I am likely to love but unwilling to buy. Still, I really want a bike capable of two-up cruises and 500 mile solo days and the Hypermotard doesn't quite fit the bill.
Saturday evening and and night found me stuck on a conference call for work and revisiting the KTM SMT which I also like quite a lot. THEN I got an email - a link to the HyperStrada. Hmm. Ducati goodness, 110hp, ABS and DTC. Let the rationalizing begin. I figure bikes won't be available till Spring so I have a few months to convince myself that I can be a Ducatista if I want to...
Stay tuned and thanks for reading - Mike