Well, I didn't ever expect to have a partnership announcement with Ducati on my iCal, but here we are, and say I am excited to partner with such an iconic brand in the two wheeled world is an understatement. I actually think we should drop two wheeled off that last sentence and just leave it at 'in the world' period.
Ducati is a brand that has always been known for an immaculate aesthetic and attention to detail and that for me is the constant north that I am trying to push toward with the podcast. 'Love is in the details' is a quote that has always resonated with me and Ducati as a brand embodies this, and it is born into each of their motorcycles.
The subject of this partnership with Ducati is the Hypermotard 950 RVE and that same level of attention to detail is so obviously infused in this monster of a motorcycle.
The blacked out chassis and motor, with signature Ducati red, signify the intent of this bike. The RVE model is inspired by urban graffiti and coming from the world of action sports it fits just right with me. The silver accents of the subframe, along with the yellow shock spring, add just enough color to break up the black and red. The graffiti decals are implanted during the painting phase and it is truly impressive if you are one to get meticulous about the combination of art and engineering. Everything from the way the front fender bleeds into the headlight and dash to the two tone color way on the wheels delivers a bike that not only turns heads, but inspires you to ride.
Coming from the world of dirt the other thing that sits just right with me is the riding position on this bike. In the first 1,000k's of riding the Duke, I have not felt out of place at all with the upright 'moto' positioning of the RVE and the rider triangle of bars, seat and footpeg took no time to get used to.
So now let's talk about the thing that I am NOT used to... 114 horsepower... Wow.
This bike is a f*cking animal and I love it. At 950 this bike for sure isn't a toy. To wrap the throttle anti-clockwise on this bike, in any gear, is exciting. It doesn't matter if you are coming out of a slow 180 turn with all of 71 foot pounds of torque, or ringing it out higher in the rev range this thing has real power. Addictive power.
I think the thing that makes this bike so fun though, is the technology that is inside this bike that lets you put all that power to the ground safely and stop on a dime. The RVE features 3 different riding modes (Sport,Touring and Urban) as well as wheelie control, ABS, traction control and the insane Ducati Quickshift. I had no idea what to expect before my first real ride on the bike, but all of these elements really do work together flawlessly to really let you become immersed in the act of riding the motorcycle. It feels fast, it feels safe and oh my it is just so damn fun!
NOTE: The Ducait Quickshift is an amazing and addictive piece of technology! Good luck finding a piece of road to do it on, but when you get the chance to hold this bike wide open from 2nd, 3rd and 4th and feel the transition between gears as the Quick Shift does its thing you will be blown away. I feel like my old mate Millzy!
I got my motorcycle license when I got my car license, and I have jumped on a road bike here and there; but it wasn't until our first trip to Vietnam that I really developed a love for linking together turns on the pavement, and the way that exploring a great piece of road on a motorcycle can become a powerful segway into the present moment.
It was a few days in on the first trip that we were presented with over 3,000 consecutive turns on the Western Hochi Minh trail and over the hours we spent winding our way through the prehistoric landscape of Vietnam I 'got it'. The feeling of grip and lean that you can achieve while linking each apex is an art in itself and I wanted more.
My first real ride on the RVE transferred me back to this mental state as I rode through the border ranges of QLD and NSW. The difference this time around though was the quality of the machinery underneath me, and it can't be overstated how much the kind of bike you ride can enhance the experience. I lost myself as I tried to connect each turn with the perfect apex and roll on the throttle earlier while breaking harder and later.
A couple of things that really stood out for me was the insane power that came from the 950 and just how good the brakes on this thing are. Up front the stopping power feels like it would be at home on a car, and the level of performance from the ABS is mind blowing. I really noticed the benefits of this on the rear of the bike.
I am lucky enough to have a 3 month love affair with the RVE and I can't wait to spend more time with this incredible machine. I want to spend more time trying to extract that magical elixir while pushing it in the twisties, and as much as that; I can't wait to spend more time with it in Urban Mode while I ride along the Gold Coast highway on a fresh winter morning to get coffee.
This is a bike that can be enjoyed in so many different ways and I'm excited to make the most of all of them. This is just the first piece of content to come from this new partnership with the legends at Ducati Australia and I am keen as for what’s to come!