Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ducatis, Diavels, Dawn & Dusk.

I hate plans...
Always have, the best New Year's parties I've had have all been unplanned. And I live my life that way for this very reason.

I prefer to choose whether I go to a track day at 1.00am on the morning of the track day, just in case something better comes up. 😉

So, the other day, when I was out testing, playing and working on Smithy's Panigale, I fully intended to go for breakfast at the Metz, in Canungra, and then go home. But the best made plans...

Everyone's eaten by the time I roll in, but once the old bacon and egg roll and flat white have been disposed of, I decide to tag along with the boys. Just for a few k's you understand...

A good mix of bikes today, and in no particular order (apart from slow to fast), a Panigale, a Superduke, an MT-09, a ZX6R, a Diavel and a 600RR. 

I had no idea where I was by this stage, but Nathan looked like he was all over the situation. This was where I had my first go on a Diavel. Nearly thirty years of riding without having been on a Ducati, and then two of them in two weeks.

My eyes were opened. Like Marmite, the Diavel's looks are love it or hate it, but I'd heard great things about it from a riding point of view. And I was duly converted.

I don't think I've ever felt such a punch of torque from no revs since a 500cc two-stroke 'crosser. It pumps! 

Once you're in this thing, it's very mellow. Comfortable, it's still a bit hard to describe. I feel like my feet should be upfront, but it's half upright tourer, half cruiser. The bars are probably higher than I'd like for long rides, but it's not uncomfortable. 

Obviously, all the designers had an input here. I imagine they took a glass of wine, a 1098, a Multistrada, another glass of wine, a Hypermotard and a Monster, chucked all their dimensions into a super computer and let a CNC machine work it all out from there. 

Whatever they did, and possibly due to the wine they consumed, someone came up with a bit of a weapon. 

As we left whatever town it was we'd just had a beer in, Bridgey (on my bike) and Smithy (Panigale) took off like scalded cats. Not being too fussed at being left behind when it comes to riding, I open the throttle in fourth to get by a couple of cars and, shit the bed, I thought the front was about to come up and launch me off the back!

That, in itself, is ok, but not what I was expecting from the Diavel. And I was slightly more wary after that. The back tyre is as wide as my driveway so doesn't lend itself well to quick direction changes, but this thing actually bloody handles well! 

I feel like I'm riding a Harley with one-piece leathers on, and now getting a bit carried away with the roll-ons. Sixth gear must be for hyperdrive, or chasing the Millennium Falcon, 'cause all I need is fourth and I'm getting heavily addicted to this punch. It's instant, and I want more. All day more! 

Pretty happy with this comfy seat, no wonder Rick likes to go for long rides. I noticed he wasn't game to ride the CBR though, and took Dave's KTM instead. Must be V-twin snobbery. Yeah, they hold their noses high, but know an inline-four is where it's really at. 

The more I ride, the more I come to the conclusion it really shouldn't be doing the things it's doing. But it does, and it makes it really very easy. On a sports bike, you would need to stay absolutely on the pace to keep this at bay. Let off for a few corners and this would be in your mirrors again. And would annihilate you in the roll-ons!

It's growing on me now, and for rides like this, perfect. No vibration either. By the time we got into the afternoon, I'd have ridden this home quite happily. 

It has proper brakes too, very predictable, very capable. The 50mm forks look huge, but it's a big bike, and probably well advised. 

The familiar trellis; Ducati really shone at making a steel frame work... framework. You know what I mean. In a world where everyone has gone to massive aluminium castings, this simple trellis still holds the wheels perfectly in line. That is impressive (to me at least).

That 240/45/ZR17 tyre is massive, I'm not convinced you'd get to the edge if it fell on its side. 

It actually takes a 200ltr compressor, at 9CFM, 33 minutes to fill it to 36psi... hot air balloons are filled quicker. (That maybe a lie).

The Zard pipe is a nice touch. Italian-made, is this an optional extra?

Sophisticated Italian meets Authoritarian Austrian... but both ridden by Australians. Strange world. 

Pretty well matched in the acceleration/roll-ons too. Smithy wasn't impressed. Tapping away with different modes ain't gonna help buddy, you need to pull the throttle quicker. He'll be ordering the acceleration kit before we even get home.

Just checking out what I didn't get a go on. Whats going on there? Next time maybe. I like to compare the 600's now I've downsized. 

Nice new MT-09. Looks good now they've gone full transformer MT-10 style. Love this colour scheme too.

Finished off back in Beaudesert. Fill the bikes, rehydrate, and then a brisk ride home. It was a blinding day, sorting the Panigale, loved the Diavel, just popped out for breakfast, got home at 5.00pm. You can't plan for these sorts of days...