After a arriving late to the show my wife and I pushed our way through the crowd to the first booth; Northern Ohio Ducati Triumph & the Ducati manufacturer’s booth. Last year the Northern Ohio guys brought some cool bikes and nice merchandise to look through. This year was about the same, but with the crowds it was difficult to tell. I typically stop in the local Triumph dealership a few times a month so apparel isn’t a big concern of mine right about now, (even though I love that Ducati red & white. Isn’t it sacrilegious to wear brands you don’t own?) So we move on to the bikes.
Right around the corner was the new Multistrada and Hypermotard. A buddy I ride with has actually had both; having spoken with him I’d gladly take either given the opportunity, but I don’t think I have the coin for the time being. Ducati is what started it all for me, but for now “realism” has to take precedent. Don’t think for a minute that I didn’t sit on both of them while I was there. This is actually where the fun begins between my wife, and I; she loves riding (almost) as much as I do, but our taste in motorcycles differs some. The more I ride, the more function drives what looks “good” on a bike. Sitting on the Multi she says “What’s all this crap?” talking about the hand guards. “Awesomeness” is pretty much my response. My wife has taste in motorcycles, there’s no denying it, she appreciates the elegance of custom paint and chrome; something we agreed upon until just recently. Now I’m a big fan of hand guards or “bark busters” considering that I routinely ride below freezing. I’m also a proponent of “less is more”, so the turn signals being integrated into the hand guards is also another plus for the Ducati “Adventure-esque” bikes in view. I’ve read reviews talking about how the hand guards are flimsy and break if dropped and so on; sorry, I’m not under the guise that these bikes are meant for off-roading in their factory configurations; it’s looks and function folks. In my dreamworld, I see the Hypermotard in my garage (the garage is also in the dreamworld…); I expect that the Hyper is probably one of the best around town bikes anyone can have, but with aspirations of dirt, and the fact she’s so damn gorgeous, I don’t think it can become the utilitarian machine I’m presently pursuing.
Ducati is obviously doing something right, to my surprise the Diavel caught my wife’s eye. I saw one for the first time during the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride last year, if nothing else, it’s certainly a unique design. If I wasn’t looking to get off a cruiser, I could see myself riding a Diavel in the future; it is a beautiful bike. I know people are rolling their eyes every time I call the Diavel a cruiser, but seriously, what is it, a standard bike? At any rate, I’m still shocked it somehow grabbed my wife’s interest, right up until she realized it’s a 1200 and decided that’s a bit much for a new rider (probably a novel concept among American riders). The same friend that has the Multi, had the Hyper, also had the Diavel at one point (I’m sensing a trend here). He said it was an absolute gas, but wore out tires; it’s a torque machine apparently, who knew?
The new Scrambler is probably the Ducati I’m most excited to see this year. I’m a sucker for Cafe Racers and classic desert sleds; suddenly the factory cafe racer has become all the rage, just fine with me! Motto Guzzi has the new V7, Triumph has had the Scrambler for a few years now, now Ducati has thrown their hat into the ring; hopefully newer riders will reap the benefits. “Beginner Bike” is again a misnomer, the Scrambler is nothing to sneeze at, 803 cc L-Twin, 50 ft-lbs. of Torque, 75 Horse power, and a 424 pound curb weight; my 865 cc Speedmaster only has 60 Horse, 53 Ft-lbs. of torque, and weighs 550 pounds. Starting at $8,499, the Scrambler Icon is right on par with the Triumph Bonneville & the Guzzi V7. My wife has been looking over several bikes that she might want “someday”; and thus far the standard white Bonnie has been at the top of the list, probably until just now. She also has blind expensive taste, last year she told me that the 1199 Penigale was the bike she liked the most; so needless to say she’s also been star struck by the Italian supermodels. She’s 5’4″ and petite, so the scrambler is totally manageable; the bike is lightweight, especially for an 800, the seat height is totally reasonable, and foot controls are neutral, which I recommend for beginners. My wife also likes the cafe styling, but the comforts of modern amenities, and like me, we’re both anxious to see how it performs on the road. Right after she stepped off the demo model, she asked me where the closest dealer was to take a test ride; maybe I will see two bikes in my stable someday?