Getting the Hang

Six weeks later and not only have I not fallen off, but have managed to put about 1500 miles on the thing, it’s had it’s first service and I’ve more or less worked out the difference between it’s capabilities and mine: A lot.

Fuel consumption is startling — I seem to be getting over 50mpg (imperial) out of the thing. I’m obviously not trying hard enough.

I’ve also had to deal with running the thing in.There seem to be two schools of thought here — to follow the instructions and carefully build revs and load over the first few hundred miles, or to thrash the thing unmercifully from new, presumably so that it gets used to the idea at an early age. The second option seems unecessarily cruel, in the Victorian manner of character-forming abuse, so I’ve kept strictly to the gentle development of capability. That also suits my engineering upbringing. That said, keeping it below 7000rpm was no great problem, given that 7000rpm in top is well into three-figure speeds and that I was also running in myself as well as the bike.

That first thousand miles has really brought home to me the difference between the old and the new — it’s less the greater power of modern bikes, something that should always be amenable to that direct, fear-driven channel from hindbrain to throttle hand, than the advances in handling, brakes, suspension and tyres. That continues to catch me out — every time I think I’m starting to push it, I find the machine simply sneering at me — I’ve still got a good centimeter or so of “chicken strip” around the edges of the rear tyre. Those’ll have to go. And ground clearance is effectively infinite — touch down on one of these and you’ve probably already fallen off.

I’ve also hooked up, via the ducati mailing list, with a local group of mainly Ducati owners. Been on one rideout with them, very much as tail-ender, although getting separated and then beating them to Petworth, courtesy of local road knowledge, was amusing. Current theme then is: Still slow, but working on it…

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