red… with envy

September 20, 2008

after a month without a bike, i finally got a chance to ride today – not my 675 but my friend, richard’s, 1098. we stopped by crooked river moto to drop off some lap timers and also demo an 848. unfortunately, they didn’t have an 848 ready :(

so richard asked if i would like to take his 1098 out. they’re basically the same bike with different engines. at first i hesitated because my bike was out of commission (we’ll save that for another post…) but he still insisted.

man, the 1098 is a GREAT bike!!! it has so much character. the design, geometry, and engineering are top notch. and that unmistakeable ducati bark makes it fun just revving it.

my test loop consisted of surface streets in and around lakewood which spit me onto the shoreway. i then merged onto I-90 for the run back to lakewood. all in all, it’s about a 15 mi loop.

the 1098 isn’t in its element puttering around town. the engine chugs and surges at low rpm. seating position isn’t too bad. it doesn’t put any more stress on your wrists than the 675. it’s a little less compact and the seat is lower so i’m not on my tip-toes sitting at lights.

once out of town, the 1098 was able to stretch it’s legs. this bike is SCARY FAST!!! it accelerates with brutal force. you can feel the rear tire tearing the pavement with the every wrench the throttle. the 1098 made quick work of the shoreway confidently carving it’s smooth bends. the suspension soaked up the seams on the concrete overpass seams. dropping into inner-belt lets you appreciate the aural symphony that is a ducati engine. the bridges cause the exhaust to echo and reverberate everything around it. i made my way past a stretched hummer carrying a wedding party and all attention shifted from the bride to the approaching bologna bullet. this bike craves attention. a quick rap of the throttle and that mammoth limo is a speck in the mirrors.

i got to fully unleash the the demons on I-90 on my return run. the fast lane took on a whole new meaning. i dropped into 4th and hammered the go-grip and instantly i’m at ludicrous speed dispatching a heavily modified S2000 like it was standing still. the transmission is silky smooth and gears easily snick into place with barely any effort.

as i returned to richard’s 30 mins later, i had a huge grin on my face. i’m SOLD. if the 848 is half as fun as it’s big brother then i’ll be joining the ducuti fold as soon as the 675 gets offloaded. i’m thinking pearl white…