Happy New Year! Its the middle of winter for the majority of our readers (but not for me as I’ve escaped the winter by moving to New Zealand) How about some New Year Ducati Resolutions? After the jump you will find the Top 10 Ducati Resolutions for 2012 that range from free to tens of thousands to suit every budget and aspiration.
10 – Learn more about Ducati History
With the rapid growth of Ducati as a brand in recent years, many new to the marque know very little about the exciting history of the brand. Ducati has a rich racing history filled with near miraculous tales such as the return of Mike the Bike Hailwood to road racing and victory on a Ducati at the Isle of Man after a decade in retirement or the stunning victory in the Imola 200 by Paul Smart that catapulted Ducati into the big bike big time.
Then there are the other non motorcycle Ducati models that you’ve probably never heard of. Ian Falloon has written a number of excellent books on the history of Ducati. If you don’t have at least one, you really are missing out. Click the link for some other good Ducati book choices.
9 – Setup your Suspension.
These days the suspension on Ducatis is of a high quality even on the base model machines. However suspension settings need to be idealized for the weight, riding style and situation of every individual rider. If you haven’t at least set your static sag for your weight (in full riding gear) for the everyday low price of Free, then you are almost certainly not riding a machine that is as good as it could be.
So read up about the basics of setting up suspension and get some friends around to help you transform your Ducatis performance by simply twiddling some knobs.
8 – Join an Official Club
There are literally thousands of Ducati fans just like you who you can meet if you join an official Ducati Club. Clubs hold rides, social functions, track days, tech sessions and more for their members and usually charge very modest annual dues. I’m already missing my buddies from the Atlanta club Wild Ducs. You can find your nearest club using Ducati’s Club Finder.
7 – Get Some Swag
Just like Ferarri, Ducati has a thriving business in merchandise that can allow you to subtly or not so subtly advertise your affection for the beasts from Bologna. If you are in the Northern hemisphere and not riding it gives you the chance to keep something Ducati close to you even if you aren’t riding.
Ducati helpfully provide their entire catalogue for 2012 online and Ducati News Today holds the leather Ducati wallet and Breil Ducati Watch amongst its most cherished items.
6 – Get Some Rider Training
Motorcycling is demanding, dangerous and rewarding. How much of the mix is danger depends in some part on our level of technical skill and mental attitude to the task at hand. Just like with any sport, everyone can benefit from expert tuition even just to practice rusty skills.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation now offers a course custom made for sports riding on the road and if well worth the modest price of admission. The MSF Advanced Sportbike Techniques Course takes a full day and is a mix of classroom and riding sessions.
5 – Do a Track Day
With modern road machines offering the performance of factory Superbikes of just a decade ago it is impossible, illegal and extremely dangerous to take more than a gentle lick of the performance envelope of our impressive machines on the street.
The answer? Do a track day. Numerous organizations exist all around the country that will allow you to ride you bike at your own pace on a closed circuit free from oncoming cars, unexpected shingle and speed limits. A track day allows you to explore more of the performance of your machine whilst at the same time honing your braking, cornering and throttle control skills.
Track days usually follow the same formula. Riders are split into three groups representing differing levels of ability and experience like Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. The Novice group is for riders with little to no track experience or for those who ride at a more gentle pace. Control riders usually orient the group to the track and passing is strictly controlled. By contrast the advanced group is for experienced riders and racers where overtaking is allowed even up the inside into turns, with the intermediate group somewhere in the middle.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming the groups only relate to motorcycle performance or that you should jump straight into the advanced group because you are handy on the road. At a track day you will find 60 years olds on air-cooled machines lapping handily in the Advanced groups along with Desmosedici’s in the Novice group and everything in between. Few experiences are as exhilarating as being on the track. Most regular track day riders subsequently take it a lot easier on the road as a result. US Desmo offers track days focussed on Ducati riders.
4 – Modify your Ducati
Ducatis used to be rare but nowdays you don’t have to go far to see one just like yours, unless you happen to own a Desmosedici. For the rest of us, aftermarket parts from either Ducati or a host of alternative suppliers supply us with an opportunity to customize our bikes to suit our unique needs and make our bike definitively ours.
Obvious choices are a dashing of carbon fiber, aftermarket exhausts, rear sets, clutch covers….the list really is endless. Here are a few links to get you started.
3 – Sort out the Fueling
Noise and emission laws have made it increasingly difficult for Ducati to deliver us motorcycles with finished fueling systems. If you suffer from surging, rough or abrupt throttle response at lower revs then there is a solution but it isn’t necessarily cheap. The solution on the Ducati News Today Monster S4Rs required a full exhaust system, Ducati Performance ECU, a Power Commander and a custom map but the results were transformational. You can read all about it in the Modding the Monster series.
2 – Lose Weight
Before you come out swinging, I meant the bike okay! Less weight means your bike accelerates, turns and stops better with exactly the same horsepower. Lighter bikes are more fun and Ducati has been one of the many manufacturers supplying us with ever lighter bikes over recent years.
One of the best, trickest and most expensive modifications is to swap out your wheels for some carbon fiber ones. Carbon rims are not only many lbs lighter but the lower moment of inertia provides additional turning, accelerating and stopping benefits beyond the weight loss. They cost around $4,000 for a set. Gulp.
If you’d prefer a taste of lower weight where it counts most but for a lot lower outlay, try a set of Michelin Power Pure tires which weigh 2lb less per set than the competition!
1 – Buy a New Ducati
Compared to just a few years ago, Ducati now offers a broad enough range to suit the majority of riders. The range spans from the 2-valve Monsters and Hypermotards through the testastretta 11º powered Multistrada 1200 and Diavel to the new for 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale Superbike. Our pick would be the Streetfighter 848 but you really can’t go wrong with the current lineup.
What do you think? Share your Ducati New Years Resolutions. Chime in with your views in the comments section below.