There is definitely something to be said about sports bikes…! I’ve never been a fan of them, I guess it’s because they are scary, usually painted in fluorescent colours and look terribly uncomfortable. This does not mean that I would say no to a ride on a pocket rocket (or whatever they call them).
This is exactly what happened. I didn't say no to our friend Scott's offer to take his Ducati 750 Monster for a spin along the northern shores of San Francisco. To be fair, I have always liked the looks and sound of the Monster; aggressive look yet very minimal, with it's exposed frame, and a fantastic throaty Vtwin engine noise that should be trademarked! (the Ducati 90 degree engine makes the best noise in my opinion).
First impression when I lifted the cover was that this bike is made with cheap fittings (look at the console; The 80s called and want it back!) and mid-range finish. It also looked like it was going to be an uncomfortable ride, with that small saddle and a position that put my knees right up by my chin. However, as soon as I fired the engine up all this was put aside. The double Remus exhaust Scott had fitted on his bike brought it to life with an epic sound of thunder that the gentrified neighbourhood of Mill Valley might not have appreciated. But I did!
Leg over the saddle, revs up, first gear engaged and here we go. On the road the Monster lets me know instantly that this is no cruiser. Anything under 3000rpm or below 25mph necessitates clutch action in order to keep the engine ticking. My habit of cruising along lazily at near idle will not work with this bike. Instead what the Ducati wants is to be revved; give it some go and it will reward you with incredible torque fast acceleration and precise handling. This bike really comes to life when pushed hard. Hardcore. Exactly the kind of qualities you're looking for when carving through the amazing CA 1, also known as the Shoreline Highway. Past Muir beach, Reyes Point Station was the best road possible for this bike.
I spent 100 miles on this superb bike and loved nearly every minute of it. It's such a fun toy to have and blasting through the Golden Gate bridge on this Italian naked bike is quite memorable. I would definitely add one to my dream garage if I lived somewhere where I could put it to good use.
In the meantime, I'll be nursing my knees and wrists…this bike certainly gives you loads but you have to suffer to get it.