My Ducati Enduro Experience
Ducati is the leading high end motorbike brand. Ducati the brand is more than just a motobike its a brand that has heart and soul. Its brand colour red, sums up its heart pumping adrenalin motorbikes. Voted the sexiest brand in the world because its dominated motorbike racing for years and has the most beautifully designed bikes on the market.
One thing that it has not dominated is the off-road enduro which has been dominated by BMW bulldozer, panzer tank motorbikes, built for reliability, strength and comfort.
That's now changing as Ducati are changeling, BMW and other bike manufacturers such as KTM in the on-road off-road market. Ducati entered the market with the Multistrada (many routes) a bike offering both on-road and to a limited extent off road capabilities. Over the years the bike has seen many improvements, making it a challenger to bikes which have previously dominated the touring, and adventure seeking customer market.
Its a big and growing market, with customers looking for more than just a quick blast down the road, its a bike aimed at people that ride long distances, on a range of roads, that demand comfort, power, speed and coupled with the ability to carry lots of luggage and a pillion.
Ducatis approach has incrementally move people from head down speed junkies to, give them speed and power on any road. The big thing of course is to retain that quality of design that has for years set Ducati apart from other leading motorcycle brands.
There is no doubt that the Multistrada has created a a niche for itself. A few years ago no one one have considered buying a Multistrada for an adventure trip. The BMWs and other manufacturers dominated. That change with the introduction of the Multistrada Enduro models, redesigned for more demanding customers who want the go anywhere do anything experience.
The bike is a work of art, coupled with a design fashioned by off road experience of the Ducati technical team. They have created a bike that can go anywhere and do anything!
Its has technology build in that makes the bike capable on road or off road. It has the capabilty to travel over 300 miles on one tank, carry tons of luggage, and handle any road condition.
That's where my Ducati Experience starts...
Over the years I have biked around Canada, USA, Europe including Greece, and Morocco on Triumphs Tigers, Sprints, Harley Davidson Electra Glide, and my own BMW K1200s. I decided that I wanted a more comfortable bike for long trips, and changed the beemer for a Ducati Multistrada 1200 in 2017. It performed magnification on my last of over 4,000 mile round trip to Romania.
I can safely say that the Multistrada is an amazing bike its fast, comfortable, and very easy to ride.
Africa I have to experience this
A friend who I had previously traveled with posed on Facebook a tour he was on in Africa organised by Globe busters. It looked amazing.
Like all these things you say “ I have to do this” so I booked my trip across Africa. Just one problem the expedition includes 4,000 on-road and 2,000 miles of off road! It was pretty clear that the bike I had although billed as a multipurpose bike was probably going to struggle.
Will the Multi cope?
The answer was pretty straight forward and it involved upgrading to an Enduro version, bigger tank, spoked wheels, more front fork travel and more low down torque.
So the bike was was not an issue the main issue was how to ride a bike of this size off road. That's where the Ducati DRE Enduro course came into play.
DRE Enduro off road course
One thing that is apparent is the bike is big and its powerful. Riding it on the road is fun and exciting. Off road is another matter.
With a trip of 2,000 miles off road the ability to handle the bike is pretty important. That's why I enrolled in the DRE course in Tuscany.
The big factor is fear! Fear is borne out of the unknown. A training course for enduro riders is pretty much a must. Getting the confidence to handle the bike of this size off road, handle potential obstacles, and terrain including deserts, and challenging African roads was and is essential.
Having received an invitation from Ducati I enrolled on the DRE course. Not cheap. But … they made it appealing the Ducati course is run in Tuscany, beautiful rolling hills, vineyards and you can stay in a Castle. It appealed … and it had a wow factor.
Arrived to a row of Ducati Multistrdas 1260 2019 models. Ducati flags and a warm reception.
After the initial introduction we were given a presentation about Ducatis off-road credentials, history, It was pretty much a sell, which was probably wasted as most of the riders owned ducatis anyway. There were a few BMW guys I guess they were thinking about flipping to Ducati.
The riders came from Europe, mostly Italy I was the only Brit, and one lady from Norway. The presentation was in English and Italian which worked fine for me.
After the presentation off we went of these amazing bikes. I was confident and felt having rode a multi for 2 years this would be a breeze.
Wrong after a few minutes managed to stall the bike,and fall off! Caused a minor issues with other bikers falling of too. Confidence shaken!
Back on the bike .. off we went down some pretty narrow tracks, luckily managed to get onto the training area.
Here we were split into two groups, those that had off-road experience and those that didn't. That's when we started to learn the basic skills of Enduro riding.
Slow turns, weaving in and out of cones... you get better … it was hot very hot. Then we moved onto emergency braking … rear brake then both brakes.
Key thing throughout the enter exercise is getting your body position right. It eventually kicked-in and life became a lot easier.. let the bike do the work by getting your positioning right. Despite the fact these are big bikes they turn and easy to control. I was never afraid of the bike just my ability.
Back for lunch down the track and oops.. fell off again. The rider in front was overcautious and I had to brake. Lesson learned don't get behind un-confident riders, leaver plenty of space and use your back break in a more controlled fashion to avoid locking the rear wheel. These are big bikes to pick up, the Ducati instructors rode shot gun,helping riders get back on track.
That's one of the main issues … its big and you really need 2 to get a multi upright. Thing is when you get to pick your bike up multiple times you get used to it... so mentally the fear of falling off diminishes and you ride more confidently.
Lunch in the castle was light … but good. Then back on the trail. This time we went back for a quick refresher around the course, through the sandpit (could have done that bit a few more times). The bike performed well. The tyres just munched the sand, again builds confidence.
Next we zoomed off the the next training area. Here things got a bit more interesting! The training is on the side of a slope here we practiced emergence breaking, This time it was much harder and we did lap after lap. It was hot work. Luckily there was drinks and shade where we could re-hydrate.
Then we moved on to controlling the bike on slopes, braking on the up and down slopes. Now starting to get into this.
Hard work, the hardest part was the wives and partners, watching a bunch of bikers go round and round in circles! They got a bit cheesed off. My wife was disappointed that she could not have a go.
That's one mistake that Ducati made in not running a course for the ladies. They were all bikers! Perhaps they should offer some of the new scramblers to have ago on. Women ride bikes too.
Back to the Castle, wash and brush up ready for dinner where we were treated to some fine Italian wine from the winery and really nice olive oil splashed liberally over the food. Best olive oil ever! Than you Frescobaldi estate!
Spot of breakfast and early start. Off to the slope, more practice on a different section that tested your skills on a narrow track and traversing. Not as easy as you would think!
Next we jumped on the bikes and off we went up a mountain, now this was a Ducati experience!
It was tricky … narrow paths through the Tuscany mountains, rubble. rocks, slopes, gravel, trees, tight corners, drop off's, trcators, kids and dogs in the small hamlets.
For me this was the best bit. Eventually managed to get a handle on the rear brake, more importantly foot positioning on the pegs, and body position.
What you get to know is body position, peg position and the feel of the rear brake... something a rarely use on road because the Multi has amazing corner break system can make you a biy lazy. Sothing you have to re-consider off road, having said that the front brakes still are useful and I used rear and front.
The way down was pretty eventfull with other riders, falling, off or just running out of track.
We all got back safely and I have to say its was really very good. The weather helped it was hot and dry.
Arrived back for a quick dust down, straight onto the awards for surviving the 2 days. Got my scertificate .. I'm now certified.
The Ducati team were top, really very friendly, spent a lot of time maving sure you got asttention when you nmade mistakes. Could not have been better. I have experienced some training in GB and the quality was nowhere near as good.
These guys and ladies are professionals!
Spot of lunch said our good bikes and back to Florence, a short train ride away.
The Ducat Experience Conclusion
Worth very penny. This is a great experience and I gained a lot of knowledge and importantly confidence. The bike is big but actually it is very easy to ride and despite multiple drops, it came back gleaming with no damage. Again riding one in Africa you need something that is robust. We shall find out.
Only complaint was no bikes for the girls.
So thats the start of the process we will keep you up-dated on how the bike performs in Africa,