Why I ride a Ducati
I started riding when I was a kid, mostly a good friend's dirt bike. Eventually we all graduated to riding on the street. I have always thought dirt bike riding was and still is a good way to be a good street rider.
My first big bike was a 1973 Honda CB750 that I brought new that spring. The first 3 months of owning this bike, I put 12,000 miles on it. Plus, I worked evenings to pay for it.
Later that year I moved to Australia and I just had to take my bike. So, I found that I could have my bike shipped there so I would have "my bike" to ride. The only problem was I would be bikeless for 6 weeks. The good news was it only costed me $200.00 to ship it by boat.
Back in 1973 and living in the Eastern Townships (Quebec) my CB750 costed me $1800.00 including a crash bar and helmet.
The bike scene in New South Wales, Australia was big and very diverse. It was big because you got to ride all year long (well if you were a Canadian) and really disverse because of all the european brands that were more prevalent. I had never seen so many Italian motorcycles on the road before. In the summer of 1974 in Newcastle, New South Wales was where I saw my first Ducati. I was on my CB750 waitng for the stop light to change and this rumbling sound came up beside me and stopped. We were both waiting for the light to change to green and checking each other's bikes out.
His was a brand new 1975 Ducati GT750, it was gorgeous and the sound coming out of those two pipes was amazing. It was love at first sight.
The following weekend some friends and I rode down to Sydney to check out these incredable Ducati motorcycles. The shop was small but on the floor sat five of the most beautiful motorcycles I had ever seen. There were two 900SS', one 750SS and two GT750's. I think we all turned into babbling idiots. I knew then that one day I would own one.
Fast forward to the summe of 1979, I was living in Edmonton, AB at the time, married and bikeless. At the time I think I had every bike magazine that had a Ducati article in it. That summer I brought my first Ducati, it was a 1979 900SSD. I had really wanted a 900SS, that's was what my deposit was for. The dealer was Northern Cycle and at the time he couldn't give me a date as to when the 900SS might show up. Many years later when Sport Cycle was a franchised Ducati dealer, I remembered that feeling that our customers had when I told them I wasn't sure when their bike would show up.
Anyhow, I didn't want the summer to go by. So, in the end I decided to buy one of the 900SSD's that the dealer had. To this day I have never regretted that decision. I rode that bike for many years. Of course, it never made the HP that the Japanese bikes made but riding it in the mountains, nothing could touch it. Riding a Ducati has always been about the feel, how you feel connected to the bike and how well the bike handles on your favourite twisty, bumpie mountain road. Let's face it, we live in Canada and our extreme weather does bad things to our roads.
It was the confidence that I got from riding the Ducati on those roads, it never let me down.
In the early and mid eighties I did road race and I raced on 2 Suzukis because that was what I could afford. It was fun and I learned a lot about myself and about riding something a little different.
In 1992 I bought another Ducati. At that time we were a Ducati Dealer and when the new revised 851 came out I knew I was going to have to buy one of those! At the time I was still riding a Ducati but the chassis was made by Harris out of the UK. Once I had ridden the 851 my Harris Ducati was parked.
There was a lot to learn about the 851. It was fuel injected, 4 valve heads, duel overhead cams, water cooled, had real adjutable suspension, great brakes and this amazing motor that just went on and on. Of course , I had read about the 851 but never realize how good it really was until I started riding it up in the mountains. This bike had everything, looks, feel and that Ducati sound of a 90 degree V-twin.
Riding a Ducati has always given me a certain level of confidence that I never felt on anything else. For many years the Showa (fully adjustible) suspension fitted on a Ducati was really good, it's just a matter of taking the time to set the suspension up to the rider. The 90 degree V-Twin makes good power over a broad range that's linear and with lots of torque. When you look at a Ducati, they are narrow because of the motor, they have a light feel because of the low center of gravity (the motor is hung from the chassis), a short wheel base, good steering geometry and well balanced. This all translates to giving the rider a lot of feed back and ultimately a good feel of the bike overall. Let's face it, most of our twisty, technical roads are not smooth by any stretch of your imagination. These are all pluses to my way of thinking and riding. A well set up Ducati will instill confidence to it's rider and ultimately allow that rider to concentrate better and think about what he and or she is doing and not worry about what the bike is going to do at the next bump in the corner.
In 2007 and part of 2008 I did road raced again but this time on a 2005 Ducati 749. It was something that I had wanted to do for a long time but couldn't because of time, money or the right class to race in. However, in the fall of 2006 a new class would be created for the coming race season and that class was the "Ducati Cup". That class endured until the demise of Race City in 201?...,
In the end, this is just my opinion from riding Ducati for many years, a Ducati is not everyone's cup of expresso. I get that. I can even admit that I'm not to crazy about the way the new Ducati motorcycles look but then again I'm not 25 years old anymore either. However, It's always good to keep an open mind because you just never know, you might have an opportunity to ride a Ducati one day. Over the years I have been fortunate to ride many different types and brands of motorcycles. Some I have owned and many were customer's motorcycles.
These days my riding alternates between a 04 Multi that I have tweed a little bit, a 01 996 that was suppose to have been raced in the Ducati Cup and my 999R.
In 2016 I'm going to ride a 1098 for a season or two. All I need is more time to ride everything.
As for owning a Panigale, probably won't happen. Ducati has moved away from the look, feel and sound that has captivated me for so long.
In my opinion, what's really important is getting out there and riding because it's fun and life is too short.