AA 1,000-mile-long trip to Ireland allows Alun Davies to check out the Ducati’s touring credentials.
So, are you coming to Ireland or not’? Believe it or not, that was one of the toughest questions asked of me since I started ABR almost a decade ago.
It had been 10 months since I’d last swung a leg over a motorcycle and on that occasion, it ended with me lying unconscious by the side of the road prior to being airlifted into hospital. Whilst I was bopping around in the chopper, my wife, who was riding pillion (she’ll never forgive me for this) had to make do with a trolly in a standard road-going ambulance.
Anyway, a lot of things have healed over the intervening ten months, including an agonizing full rack of ribs, but there’s still some troublesome nerve damage around my waist, lower back and hips that appears to be permanent. My wife, fortunately, has had complete physical recovery but will never sit astride a motorcycle again.
Prior to the accident, my answer to the Irish question would have been swift and in the affirmative, especially so as the invite was to the ABR Irish Rally which was being held in the Sperrin Mountains near Draperstown, County Londonderry.
But now my answer was delayed; would my lower back and hips cope with the distance, would I be able to find a hotel or B&B nearby as camping, or lying on hard ground, was now not an option and, if I were to offer complete insight, would I still enjoy riding a motorcycle?
I’ll explain in a future issue about the significant psychological effects I’ve experienced following the smash and how they could be directly attributed to having a potentially fatal accident with my wife riding pillion.
But enough of this; my answer was ‘yes’, and I rolled the Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro out of the garage and immediately sang praise to the Italian designers who’d clocked that the previous version was too tall for all but the most young, supple and athletic of riders.
Displaying great wisdom, and hoping to appeal to a larger market, Ducati decided to lower the height and ergonomics of the current model to match with real-world riders and old multiple crash victims. I can now assure you that it is a far more manageable machine and slow speed, feet-down manoeuvres do not induce the high blood pressure of old.
As it happened, I found a superb B&B near the Rally campsite and rode just over 1,000 miles in three days. What I can say is that I found the new stance of the Multistrada 1260 Enduro supremely comfortable and re-assuringly stress-free. And believe me, with my new mobility constraints and at-rest pain points, my hips and lower back would let me know immediately if all were not well.
What’s more, I was seriously impressed with the semi-active Sachs forks and rear shock set up which the company markets under the ‘Ducati Skyhook Suspension Evo’. There’s a highly sophisticated combo of engineering and algorithms dancing out of view, but unlike a few electronic suspension systems I’ve experienced, you can really feel the difference when you change modes and the ‘touring’ set up complemented my ailments to a T. Ok, I’m ready, next question.