I believe I have taken my Ducati Monster as far as I can. With last year’s challenge, the Grand Tour and 8000 kilometres crossing Europe, Spain-Sweden-England-Spain I really put myself and my Monster to the test and we made it. It was hard, of course, but it was amazing!
I had decided to dedicate the summer of 2012 to Spain and especially the north of Spain, which I think is so beautiful but had given it a miss last year. However, when the invitation to the Austrian WIMA rally arrived, I realised that there is no way I can’t go there. I just have to go and meet these amazing biker ladies again and ride far, far away!
My secret plan had been to keep my Monster for this summer, when touring Spain, and possibly for as long as I live in Spain and then a change of bike would come naturally when moving. But now, planning for the journey to Austria and riding 6000 kilometres, I know I need a change sooner than that. My legs are not as bendy as when I was younger and I need more legroom to not suffer when riding. Also, I want the possibility to pack more than two changes of clothing, I guess that too is something that comes with age.
So, I am going to trade in my Ducati for another bike. And this will mean a dramatic change since this is also likely to mean stepping out of the Ducati world after 12 years and three Ducati Monsters.
So now I have been pondering what I really want from my new bike-to-be and I have come up with the following requirements:
Multifunctional: I need a bike that is good in traffic and for commuting, as well as for journeys.
Comfort: I want good legroom and an upright riding position.
Outfitting: I want to be able to mount a topcase and hard panniers as well as a tank bag.
Economy: Mid-range engine, between 600 and 800 cc, preferably 2 years old.
Health: Minimum of high frequency vibrations.
With my criteria for a new bike I have found my options in the adventure category. I have visited a few shops in Madrid and done a lot of reading on the internet. I am contemplating the following models:
Triumph Tiger 800
Yamaha Teneré 660
Kawasaki Versys 650
Aprillia Pegaso Strada 650
Suzuki V-strom 650
BMW G 650 GS, F 650 GS & F 800 GS
So far I have tried the Tiger and the V-strom, (sitting on them – no one offers test rides here, unfortunately) they had good riding positions and great opportunities for luggage. I’m not sure about manouevering them in city traffic though – they both feel huge to me. Might be a question habit of course.
The Versys and the Pegaso seem smaller in the front and give a more petite impression. I have not yet had the opportunity to sit up on the Versys. The Pegaso was on my list of possible bikes last time I was going to leave the world of Ducati behind. I never got the opportunity to ride it but I seem to recall it was comfy to sit on.
The Teneré is, according to specifications, a bit high for me but I would still like to try it.
All the BMWs feel a bit intimidating but have fine specifications. I did try the 650 GS a long time ago, it was the bike I rented for the WIMA rally in New Zealand. I didn’t like it one bit, the one cylinder engine was annoying and therefore I definitely need to get a test ride on any single cylinder bike before seriously considering it.
Unfortunately, Ducati removed the Multistrada 620 many years ago. Otherwise I could have considered it.
So, the first phase of planning for the WIMA Austria rally is the search for my new companion.