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2017 is the Year of the Ducati Supersport

I had mixed feelings when Ducati announced Project 1312, which turned out to be the "SuperSport," Ducati's return to sport touring.
 I love the ergonomics of my ST3, which was unfortunately killed off by the introduction of the Multistrada in 2007.  Though their capabilities overlapped, the Multistrada isn't the same, offering aa more upright riding position, and which never really felt like a sportbike.
The new Ducati Supersport, similar to my ST, is supremely comfortable, while still positioning the rider in a fairly aggressive position, and it rides like a superbike.  With only 113hp at around $13,000, the Supersport also won't break the bank.  
I'm still not totally sold on the double-bug-eyed alien lights, which kind of just look like a Panigale with double-vision, but overall I'm a pretty big fan of the bike. 

© 2017 Tigh Loughhead

Sharpie Edition Ducati Monster by Jody Whitsell

I met Jody at last year's DESMO BBQ, the 16th annual New York Ducati enthusiast's summer party. I had seen pictures of her bike before, but never had met the artist,  Jody Whitsell who one day took a Sharpie Marker to one of the most beautiful Ducati motorcycles ever built, a Ducati Monster S2R.
Sharpie Edition Ducati Monster S2R by Jody Whitsell
The funny thing is that I had the exact same idea to do to my Ducati 996, and even bought a set of cheap Chinese plastics, which I either wanted to vinyl-wrap, or paint or draw upon myself. 
Sharpie Edition Ducati Monster
Alas, I'll have to be satisfied with chrome rims on the 996, as I doubt I'll be doing any major art projects any time soon.
However, I totally understand the compulsion, and Jody is available for hire should you want a bike, helmet or anything else illustrated.

© 2017 Tigh Loughhead


This year, Ducati released a 90th Anniversary Panigale 1299S. Of the 500 made, only 200 were shipped to the USA, and two of them now belong to members of my club, the East Coast Ducs.

Baby Multi: First Ride on a Ducati Multistrada 950

I had the chance to take the 2017 Ducati Multistrada 950 out today, a baby version of Ducati's all purpose touring motorcycle.
The weather was uncharacteristically warm for February, and I rode my Streetfighter up to Rockwell Cycles, to see if anyone else was out and about.
After hanging out with the new shop pup (Arthur?), who is fairly well-trained for 3 months old,
 I decided to take the new baby Multi out for a ride.
The Multistrada is Ducati's flagship adventure-touring machine, which is incredibly powerful with a 1200CC engine. I don't really care for the look of the bike, (not to mention they killed off my beloved Sport Touring line of STs about a decade ago), but there is no dispute that a Multistrada is not a versatile bike.
This year, Ducati launched a smaller model, with a 950CC engine, and about $6000 cheaper than the 1200.  The bike is actually taller than the bigger bike, but doesn't come with all the fancy electronics of the top-of-the-line 1200.
The bike is super-smooth, and the upright riding position is so comfortable, something I'm not used to on my Ducati superbikes.  As my brother-in-law describes his Cagiva Gran Canyon, "...the bike does everything right."  You can stand on the pegs for hours, but perhaps the biggest takeaway is that at 113hp, there is no lack of power. 
 In fact, I think this would be far more manageable than having a racebike engine on a long distance journey.  Overall, I really liked the new Multi, and perhaps I'll add one to my paddock next year.

After I got back, I met up with a friend Fred, who took me back on some slick, salty twisties on his Hypermotard SP over to 7 Lakes Drive.  Fred is a seriously good rider, who just came back from the Moto Tour Rally across the south of France. 
 © 2017Tigh Loughhead

International Motorcycle Show NYC 2016: Ducati Edition

 New York City "Progressive" International Motorcycle Show

One of my best friends from college, who I hadn't seen since he got married about two years ago, is coming down from Boston for the weekend. Now he's not a rider, though he wanted to come, so I bought him a ticket.  His bus didn't get in till late, so we didn't get a chance to go to Javits for too long, and I didn't get to meetup with too many people, or take as many pictures as in years past.

Dirtbikes in Deep Creek Maryland

I was a little worried that the riding season had come to close early this year. I had missed a bunch of events towards the end of September and October last year, although California was amazing.

West Coast Day 4: Lost Coast and the South all along the California Sea

Today was one of the most magical roads I've ever ridden, traveling across the Lost Cost through Capetown to Petrolia, and then back through the fog, most of the way down Route 1, all the way back to Santa Rosa. 

West Coast Day 3: The Best Roads in Northern California

West Coast Day 2: Ukiah to Eureka California

I got up early today a little miffed. My goal had been to get to central Oregon, and the lack of available hotels had pushed me back down south and inland several hours the night before.

West Coast Day 1: Riding Out of Dreamforce on a Ducati

 This morning, after speaking at Dreamforce, and meeting a truly staggering amount of people, I rented a Ducati Hypermotard to ride up the California coast. Many more pictures and video are forthcoming, but I have spotty wifi at the moment, and will add some pics as I can.
I got a bit of a late start today, and stopped in Santa Rosa to see family, but I managed about 300 miles today, most of which were incredibly twisty, on some of the most incredible roads I've ever seen.

The trip out of San Francisco

I had done quite a bit of research before choosing a bike rental outfit called EagleRider, one of the largest motorcycle firms in the country
 After contemplating renting first a Triumph Bonneville, and then an Indian Scout, I decided to take advantage of the technical nature of the roads out west and rent a sport bike.  Although a Bonnie or a Scout were about half the price (about $80-109 / day), the roads in California present a unique opportunity to challenge your skills as a rider, and a few of my friends back in NYC peer-pressured me into considering a Ducati (big surprise, right?).
 I had a few DOC and friend referrals to a a guy named "Mo" running a place called Eaglerider San Francisco Bmw Ducati Honda Motorcycle Rental, about a half an hour south of downtown SF.  Although I was a bit nonplussed with my inability to negotiate any type of discount, Mo turned out to be a really nice guy and I decide to rent a Hyperstrada.
I really wanted a bike with a bit of balls, but moreso something that would be comfortable in a variety of different situations, as I was hoping to ride as many different kinds of roads as possible (urban, technical twisties, choppy or dirt mountain), and the Hypermotard is the closest thing Ducati makes to supermoto style bike. 
I fell in love with the bike as soon as I got on it.  Firstly, I was a little afraid that the Hyper would be too high, but the Hyper"strada" sits a little lower, and is slightly tweaked to be a little more of a touring bike rather than an aggressive enduro-style motorcycle. 
Secondly, the handling is incredibly responsive, and the geometry totally different than the last couple crazy superbikes I've been riding. Instead of trying to hang off the side of a 160hp machine, the travel of the front suspension meant that you maneuver the bike largely by pushing down on the front forks. As a result, while the power is quite a bit less than my own bikes, I got the feeling that the Hyper was considerably more nimble, perfect for bailing me out around a 15mph corner on some deserted mountain road. 
I took off early, and immediately headed over the Golden Gate Bridge, hopping on Route 1 only for a second, to take Mountainview road up through Muir Woods up to Mount Tamalpias. 
 The sky was cloudless and the mountain views were dazzlingly spectacular.  If I hadn't had to watch out for blind corner after blind corner, weaving between speeding bicyclists, weekend warriors in SUVs and sweeping precipices dropping hundreds of feet into rocks and the ocean, I would have probably gotten a little weak looking at the natural beauty.  
I didn't take a ton of pictures, but have a TON of video, which I'll include in a video playlist each day (below) after my ride report.  

 After reconnecting to route 1, and heading up Bodega Bay, I headed back inland to meet up with some family for lunch at Russian River Brewing, one of the fabled beer Meccas of the world.
 I picked up a few Plinys, and at the recommendation of one of salesman at the brewery, headed back out towards the coast. taking 128 to Cloverdale and Booneville towards Albion and the coast, where I'd pick up Route 1 again and see how far I got north.  Hopping on 128 was incredible, as when I first got on led to about 40 miles of sweeping 25mph back to back corners, teaching me the first lesson I was to learn about California riding.
The foothills of any mountain are just about the best, and you can power up carefully until you reach the crest.  You might wind around the top, but peak roads are likely to be a little blind.  I made it down to Albion and then past Mendocino to Fort Bragg by about 7pm, where I lost all cell phone reception.  A little spooked, I found out that all hotels within 75 miles seemed to be booked on Saturday night, so with the aid of some spotty wifi, I booked Motel 6 all the way back down in Ukiah, CA, about an hour and a half back down an inland.  
I arrived in the dark around 9pm wearily, got some local Mexican food, and passed out promptly on my hotel bed with the TV blaring and all of my clothes on. 

First Day NYDUCATI West Coast Videolog Playlist

© 2016 Tigh Loughhead

Ducati San Francisco

Unbelieveably, in all of San Francisco, I'm staying about two blocks from Ducati San Francisco.  I've stayed for a couple of days in Portrero with a friend of my girlfriend, and then I'm crashing with a friend of a friend in the Mission, literally right down the street from Munroe Motors, the official Ducati shop in SF.

Motorycling San Francisco California

Off with the suit and onto the road...

Marketing guru and motorcycle fanatic
Ok, so I'm writing this a bit after the fact- but only by a couple of days.  I've been itching for this trip on many different levels, even to the point of leveraging my love of motorcycling into my presentation at Dreamforce.  See above for the third slide in my talk, which I was rehearsing at daybreak overlooking the Bay in Portrero.
Packing up my dry cleaning and riding gear
California has always seemed a bit like a holy land for biking.  One of the friends I was going to stay with during Dreamforce was a friend I had made going part of the way cross country on superbikes nearly four years ago.
Your humble author, Tigh Loughhead, at Dreamforce
I can't seem to shake this inkling feeling that riding here will be totally different from anything I've ever experienced.
 California has a totally different culture and respect towards bikes than any place I've ever been.
 In the first place, lane splitting is legal and it's tough getting used to "legal" lane splitting, while respecting other laws as well. Speaking of the law, police ride all sorts of motorcycles...
There are the traditional Harley Davidson police cruisere, but I see supermoto bikes and adventure machines as well.

 San Fran is quite affluent, but still craving authenticity, (much like Brooklyn,) and there are any number of Bonnies or cafe'd BMW Boxer bikes outside of the top coffee-shops.
 But at it's core, I believe that San Francisco is more of a biker-centric culture than the East Coast,
Drivers actually make way for bikes, and all different manner of people ride. 
I'm looking forward to taking off, though I haven't yet picked a route yet...
 I have a bunch of advice though, from a number of friends and club-mates back home,
as well as a few referrals to locals here. 
 Most of all, I just want to take off and go; leaving this crowded civilization behind.

© 2016 Tigh Loughhead

DESMO DOC 2016 16th Annual BBQ

I've been running around like crazy this weekend.

Superleggera at The Tuscan Gun

East River Sunrise

1299 Panigale Dark Ducati

Riding around on my Ducati Streetfighter this weekend was a blast, filled with that sickly sweet mixture of power and fear that makes your skin tingle and your throat tighten up, wondering about your mortality in the back of your mind (cue Song of the Sausage Creature...)

Ducati Lima in Peru

Motorcycle Culture in Peru: Andes to the Ocean

There are thousands of bikes in Peru, though mostly 125cc motorcycles.  Roncos, Pulsars, FZ125 and Yz125’s abound, and people use them for everything; from commuting to carrying pets to all-purpose delivery vehicles.  

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