Talk about an adrenalin rush!
I got to take a Ducati Diavel out for a test drive Saturday. Cycle World magazine was hosting a promo after awarding the Diavel their ‘Best Cruiser’ award. They had a private invitation for riders to register but when a no-show opened up an extra slot, I got to go. Needless to say, I was pretty excited.
I’d never ridden a crotch rocket before. I felt a respectable fear as the time drew near and I suited up to take the tour. I signed all the necessary releases of liability, showed my motorcycle license and insurance papers and prepared for a thrill ride on a monster bike.
My group of 8 sat through a seductive video explaining all that the bike and technology will do, then got our orientation on the motorcycle. This bike goes for about $20,000. It’s got an 1198 cubic centimeter engine with 162 horsepower and weighs in at 460 pounds. My Harley weights 750 pounds! This little gazelle was going to fly!
In addition, you can select the type of ride you want, which throttles the horsepower back to 100 hp for URBAN riding, then cranks it up full to 162 hp for TOURING and SPORT while tightening up the suspension for the last two choices.
Thankfully, we started out slow coming out of the parking lot and onto the highway so I had a chance to let my feet find the shifter and brake pegs. Response was immediate when goosing the throttle or braking. I was tense and alert and nervous. It took several miles before I felt comfortable with the power that the bike had. I wanted to be sure I had my balance and my wits about me before turning this puppy loose. We went through a residential area first where speeds were down at 35 mph.
Then we entered the freeway. By the end of the on-ramp, I was up at 80 miles an hour! Holy Speed Demon, Batman! That thing took off. I hit 85 mph before backing off, but at least half of the others in the group kept after it and zipped way ahead before we all re-grouped again. We headed off on some country side roads doing zigs and zags, starts and stops and playing with the ride selection choices.
Towards the end of the ride, I felt good enough on the bike that I started leaning hard on the curves and really feeling what this bike can do. I didn’t scrape any pegs or drag a knee, but it felt like I was about to do so. Those huge wheels really grip the road and invite you to keep your speed up in the turns. A couple of the fellas popped wheelies, but I wasn’t brave enough to do that. I was already having a hard time controlling my heartbeat as it was.
I loved the way my body wrapped around the motorcycle; the way my legs merged right into the heart of the frame. I discovered how the wind in your chest helps hold you up as you hit higher speeds, relieving arm pressure and making a comfortable ride even though you’re leaned forward over the tank. Visibility was very good. I didn’t care for the shifter peg on the left and I had to keep fishing to find the little lever. But overall, it was a thrill of a lifetime to ride that Diavel. It took me most of the rest of the day to calm down. It probably took 2 hours before I felt like eating or talking about anything else.
The Ducati team had snacks, photos with the babes, and a very nice parting gift of pictures they’d taken of us all nicely loaded an a Ducati flash drive. My hands are shaking even now as I re-live that afternoon.
What an adrenalin rush! I swore I’d never get on one of those things again. It begs you to go faster and faster, to lean harder, to constantly press the edge of the envelope. I’d imagine it’s like cocaine or some exotic stimulant that keeps you wanting more and more. I think I’m better off with my Wide Glide. I’m a thrill seeker, but I’m not a maniac. I’ll stay off of that vixen! But oh, what a rush that was!