New found love – Ducati Multistrada

Running out of patience whilst waiting for the Gixer to arrive form Europe (it takes over 40 days on the water…), Nady and I test rode a few new models. Just “to see” of course, not going to get a new bike, don’t need one….yeah right!

Thankfully my mate at Fraser Ducati (Sydney) had a new Multistrada 1200 available. He could have it shipped down…or I could fly up and ride her back from Sydney to Melbourne. Just to make sure she runs ok, of course…

When I arrived, the hot Italian was already waiting for me…

she had some of her family members there as well, who were equally attractive…

I love this family! Slightly dysfunctional but full of gorgeousness, which makes up for it…

After one hour of introduction (Yes, I was shown how to start the bike…) I was on my way…

Getting from Sydney to Melbourne there are a number of ways to go…the most obvious is the Hume Hwy/Fwy, which is a 100-110km/hr speed limited, multi-lane road that trucks and most of the public use. Imagine riding an airplane landing strip at 100km/hr…exciting stuff. So the REAL choice was the scenic route via the NSW/Vic Alpine country…

Since the brochure said she can be used off-road, I had to give that a go…

The multi-purpose tyres handled the terrain beautifully! Since I took the long route (over 1,000 kms lay ahead) I had to go fast as I only had a day registration and no rego. plates, officer…I also had to test the range of the 20lt fuel tank…over 300kms with less than a litre left…

along the way passed some amazing scenery…

However, soon it got dark and the fun turned into an endurance event…

After some 1,200kms of Ducati lovin’ I arrived home about 4:00 o’clock in the morning. I can easily say it was the toughest one-day ride ever but it was worth every minute!

Motorbike Adventure – Australia 2012/2013

You may be aware that I am planning a few Australian rides scheduled for the end of 2012 / early 2013. Details about the ride is here

To make this the best possible event, I have created a short and anonymous survey to get your thoughts on the preferred format, such as number of days, kms, accommodation etc.

If you could help me with this survey, it would be much appreciated…Please click here to participate: Australian Ride Survey

Happy Easter Everyone!

This weekend is an excellent time to catch up with loved ones (that’s the two legged kind, not the two wheeled kind). Enjoy it people and cherish every moment! 

Ever so gently though, between stuffing your face with chocolate eggs and when no-one can notice, imagine how awesome would it be riding up this road…

Image

 

Transylvania: The Bicaz Gorge

We took off early in the morning towards Bicaz Gorge. It was still foggy in the mountains…

but no-one complained despite the previous night’s foolish behaviour in the beer garden…this ride had my adrenalin pumping so I could not sleep past 6am anyway…

Once we left the town of Udvarhely,

we rode through a few villages,

where storks nests such as this were common. It was amazing to see wildlife and civilisation entwined…

The stork is a migratory bird and every year they travel to Africa during winter but they return to their nests year after year.

As we left the villages behind, the surroundings turned green…

As we passed the peasants horses and carts it was like going back in time. That’s unless we saw them use their mobile phones which was a strange sight…This visual’s just not getting old…

As we got closer to the Gorge, and we got higher into the mountains, the landscape became more dramatic…and beautiful

before we got to the Bicaz Gorge we stopped by for a break at the Red Lake (Translated from Romanian, in Hungarian its the Killer Lake, it must be a Transylvanian thing…)

That lake and rowing boats looked too inviting for us not to try them out…

but all fun must come to an end and our gruelling task of riding to the Bicaz Gorge had to continue…it wasn’t too far…

And this is what greeted us:

This is what it looks like from the top:

Nice!

Which bike for me on the Tour of Transylvania?

Wow! The number of enquiries that I have received on the Summer 2012 Transylvanian tour has been overwhelming! I have tried answering each individually but one of the most asked questions is: Which bike is best for me on the tour?

So I will try to put my 2 cents’ worth here and hope to confuse you even more, since this is really a subjective topic…After all it also depends on the type of rider you are, size, weight, are you the cruiser type or sport bike nut, etc etc…

Personally, I found the:

a bit of an overkill…yes, there is such thing…especially when smaller bikes are going quicker in tighter corners… Whilst she hauls arse like no other (220km+ in 3rd gear), I rarely had the opportunity to open the throttle to the stops.

What’s more, in certain places, such as 1st or 2nd gear corners she did not have the agility of the:

Kawasaki Z750

as their wide bars allow for quicker and easier flicking into the tight corners…

And course if you are approaching this…

a super-moto, like this KTM here…

is a motorcycling wet dream come true…

That said, when I rode this bike, at certain revs it vibrated so much I could not read the sign on the back of a truck I caught up to…(true story!)

So, instead I’d recommend small upright bike, such as:

Yamaha MT03

But if you are a cruizy kind of person with the occasional “gimme some more speed now!” kind of person…then select one of these babies…

That said, if you really must have a sports bike…

I say go for it man!!! Since the fun factor is still maaaaasive! and of course you can also pull out some tree stumps along the way with them just for fun…However in my opinion its like cracking a nut with a sledge hammer…not that it’s necessarily  a bad thing…

That said if you are 200cm or taller on a small bike you’d just look wrong…

So there, I hope I confused you a bit more and helped you towards more sleepless nights thinking about this crucial topic…

Bottom line, pick the bike that is most suited for you and when you book let me know which bike you want so I can make sure it is available for you!

Breakfast in Transylvania

My breakfasts in Transylvania were always preceded by a quick fang on the Gixer…nothing works up an appetite better in the morning than fresh air and 20 kms twisted pavement…(actually, there are a few things but you can’t stay in bed forever… back to the story)

On this video below…

I ride the hills of Hargita county as I know of this great cafe/restaurant surrounded by pine trees and mineral water fountains…

where they serve the best scrambled eggs, home baked bread and garden grown tomato salad on this planet…

This, with freshly brewed coffee…and my day’s just begun…

Does life get any better than this? No?

Actually it does… You should see the ride we went onto later that day….more of that next time…

Motorcycle Racing: Transformation – Episode 1

During my last year’s trip to
Europe

I decided to decommission my trusty GSXR-1000 Suzie. After over 6 years of service, with almost 80,000 kms on the clock she served me well. She received tough love in abundance in the form of ride days…

all weather riding

above the snow line at the Grossglocker pass (Austria)

and long tours

Raining cats and dogs in Livigno - Italy

Regardless of where and how I rode, she did it eeeeasily and I am proud to say, never let me down. To farewell her road riding career, I want to show some of the highlights over the last 6 years…

Countless rides on the Great Ocean Road, especially with my old mate Balls!

Apollo Bay

Anglesea

The Halls Gap (Grampians) rides where Balls and I did about 1,000kms in a single day. There aren’t many people who were stupid enough to do that ride with me (that is until recently, say hello Daniel).

Sadly, not long after this photo was taken, on 15 Feb 2008 Balls lost his life. Not a ride goes by without me thinking of him….

more ride days…

even more ride days….

The Tassie rides of course…

she was always centre of attention


and of course I cannot stop talking about the Euro Tour…

Provence - France

Nice...that's the town in southern France, which is nice...

Mugello Moto GP - is nice! (check out the two dudes at the back...)

Lake Como - Italy

Stelvio Pass

Transfagarasan Mountain Pass

I also should (but I won’t) include speed camera photos, however that would take up too much server space…Those photos resulting in $ ‘000 in fines, 2 times loss of license, etc etc you get the picture…She is an awesome machine but boy did she hate riding on the speed limit…(that’s another story).

So, to make sure that she never has to go below  60km/hr (except in pit lane), I have decided to make her a track only bike. The transformation will be an ongoing process as I get faster and push her (and me) to closer to the limit with parts upgraded as needed.

But first, I got rid of her worn street clothes (already on eBay), I stripped her bare awaiting the arrival of a set of race fairings…

naked supermodel...

Stay tuned, next episode, I will detail the suspension upgrade, Daniel secures a sponsor (he is a talent that guy!) and we have the first track day with the race fairings…