Sunday, January 19, 2014

What does life after a Ducati Multistrada look like?

If I have a hobby I’d have to say it is flipping cars and bikes; I’ve lost count of how many cages I’ve bought and sold in my life, but it would reckon it to be more than 20, and at least as many motorbikes.

Flipping cages is easier than flipping bikes, I can usually spot a bargain and make something out of it after a tenure in my possession and have done so with many of my cars. 
Some of them I’ve lost on and that’s usually buying new. A new car loses at least 10% the minute you drive it out of the yard.

But bikes… it’s really hard to flip bikes and make money, most of the time I get close to breaking even but my last few purchases have certainly levelled that playing field. I’m totally in the red on the bike front. So maybe less of a flipper, and more just flippant?

Okay, I just like buying and selling motorbikes. I usually buy a bike on a considered rationale of research (how well it will hold its value), features and a bit about my ‘passion' for the bike (how I feel about it). I have to get off my bike every time and turn around to admire it - and it has to speak to me when I first ride it. The simplest way I can explain this is to say that when I ride a motorcycle, I connect with it.

If something is wrong, then that connection can be lost. It could be the seating position, the bars, the pegs, or the way the bike delivers power to the back wheel. I might get off and not feel like looking at it. Even that is enough.

Oh and I definitely can’t sit on top of a bike, I have to sit in it. The Yamaha FZ1S I owned for a very short period suffered the sitting-on-it-syndrome. I never felt like I connected with that bike, I was always on top of it, just being hauled along for the journey.

I have to be a part of the journey, be able to hunker down and pull up and really get stuck into the road, feel the tyres, feel the bumps, feel that traction, connect… (I hope this is making sense). Perhaps that's why I'm not a big fan of riding Sportsbikes, you always seem to sit on top of them, not in them. If I don’t 'dissolve into the machine' and feel that sense of connection, then there just isn’t any way I’m going to own it.

I can see past some simple things, and some of what those things can be changed, engines can breath better, bikes SHOULD be wrenched on etc, and I am, I think, maturing in my understanding of what I really like in a motorcycle.

A great deal of that has also come from buying the DRZ 400 which has taught me so much about basic mechanics and what makes a motorcycle fire up, from the battery terminal through to the pipe’s tip, I understand it now, much like I understand creating a narrative arc in a communications strategy at work, it makes sense to me. The Dizzy has been my ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ bike in that way. Which brings me to my Multistrada. Ahh the Multi.


If you have been following along you will know that I love this bike. The engine is pure horn on two wheels, there isn’t a better engine on the market in this category IMHO.

There is heaps to love about this bike and although I have only travelled some 10,000kms on it, I feel like my time with it is drawing to a close...I call it my bike’s lifeline. Sometimes they have a really long lifetime because I do fall in love with my motorcycles, but sometimes for various reasons that lifeline can be shortened quite rapidly.

Some might even go so far as to call me fickle. Not mentioning any names, you know who you are. And so I feel like its lifeline has been slowly drawing to an end with me, for no real good reason, especially seeing how much I love that stonker of a donk.

I guess the big driving force is about what is happening to the value of it right now. With the new Multi being a completely different improved motorcycle, mine is taking a dive in value as I sit here looking at it writing this post. The new Multi is cheaper, better, more advanced. Mine is looking dated to me after the release of such aggressive looking new nakeds like the Z1000 and the KTM 1290 Super Duke.

So when do you pull the pin and cut your losses? I feel that at around about 25% of the value you paid for it is absolutely red line. Out of interest I took it into Ducati City all polished up and looking pretty sexy, and had it valued as a trade-in on the new Monster 1200 S, and what I was told was a 50% drop in value from what I forked out for it.

That stung, but it made me think about the bikes value NOW, and what it might be in another years time with another 15,000kms on the clock. That value is only going down I'm afraid, owning a Ducati isn't what it was 20 years ago when they were revered machines of the ultra wealthy. Now, with a look at the Red Book value on my bike I am in an interesting position because I could avertise it on BikeSales.com.au and ask pretty close to what I paid for it. But would it sell? I could take a hit of 10 - 15% off the original purchase price really easily, and be quite happy... and that would put it on the market at a really attractive price to anyone who knew what they were looking at. Could I be forked with dealing with the Ducatisti, the Readers, the Test Pilots, the Tyre Kickers and the Wannabes? Explaining why there is a small scratch in the headlight fairing a thousand times? Haggling over spares, receipts, test ride requests, Road Worthy Certificates and of course, the price. No, I really can’t, but I know it’s the best option financially and I am in no hurry so time is on my side. Juggling those ideas in my head brings me to the fun stuff. The stuff that ticks all of my boxes.  

Deciding what’s next!

 New bike, wahoooo!

But with a catch from the Global Financial Controller: I can only spend on the new bike, what I make out of selling the Ducati or it's no deal.

So I have to make this work. I’ve test ridden the KTM 1290 Super Duke R and you can read my thoughts on that here and it's out of my price range. I also went out and tested the 2013 model Benelli TreK yesterday, which is a really intriguing animal with a 1131cc Triple engine. Another exotic bike out of Italy? Maybe.. I like it and the fact that it has no Traction Control or fancy electronically adjustable suspension and a stinker of an engine hooked up to what is possibly the most sexy looking trellis frame on the market, and that tricked out double sided swing arm gives me a chubby.


Benelli are a Chinese owned, Italian motorcycle company that crank out limited numbers of pretty exotic motorcycles and this one is no exception. Interestingly right now it is priced sub $20K ride away (in range!) with a full set of Givvi touring panniers. That alone smashes the price of a new Multi, BMW GS, Aprilia Caponord and Triumph Tiger Explorer and makes it an enticing prospect to consider.

Let’s get this out of the way too. I have a deep desire for massive torque over massive top end speed. I'd like to get from 0-200 in under 10 seconds thanks. 0 - 100 in 2 or 3 is good. License shredding but highly satisfying (and completely unrealistic in normal conditions obviously). So I’m kinda wed to the idea that I need a big twin, or possibly a triple. But I don’t really do Sportsbikes. I like the upright riding position of Sports Adventure bikes and big motards. I have my motard in Dizzy, he’s set up and ready to rock back and forth to week every day of the week for the next ten years (that’s how I feel about it now, but it could change at any given moment lol) and I definitely like the idea of a big motard (again) so I went back to the KTM dealer in Melbourne and struck up a conversation about the KTM 990 SMR Supermoto.

I took it for a short blast and got a trade-in price out of interest, that didn’t interest me at all again, dropping about 40% off the purchase price but it's good to have a back up plan.

But the Kato didn’t speak to me for some reason. It’s a great bike, a massive hooligan machine that feels really solid and squats on the road with a really aggressive flat stance, that suspension is much stiffer in the front than the Multi or Dizzy - it really captures that proper motard feeling.

First thing I did was launch it into a roundabout, nuts up on the tank, front foot out, and tried to lose the backend a little. It wanted to for sure and I could imagine that in time backing this thing in would become second nature. But it might just be a bit of a one trick pony in that way. Could I take it to Adelaide in 40 degree heat comfortably for a four day jaunt?

I don’t think I’d be that comfortable.

And I just don’t like the SMT variant which is set up more like a tourer, at all. I believe that KTM are a few years off producing really finely tuned and refined road bikes and for that reason I’m back to thinking about the top end again.

Ducati, MV Augusta, Benelli, all exotic machines.

A new Multistrada Gran Tourismo (drool but can't afford it)? The new Monster 1200 S (coffee, anyone - a bit of a stretch $$$)?

I just wish they would leave some of the fandangled crazy electronics out of the equation and do a straight up big bore twin with a framework that begs to be modified. I don’t know if I am going to find the answer to the question very quickly this time around.

I’ve looked high and low at different bikes that tick my boxes, and so far none of them are really talking to me.

That’s okay, I’m in no hurry and the chase is the most exciting part.