Friday, December 26, 2014

Saving my knees, one piece of junk at a time...

After the past few doctors visits and the 3rd time they had to remove pieces parts from my left knee, I've been contemplating getting a new 29r with gears to replace the one I sold years ago when I thought one gear was all that was necessary.

It hurts to spend money on another bicycle so I have been working on a solution to Team Cheap, a budget geared 29'r and still keep my single speed.  After much deliberation and digging around in Gorman's Garage, going through all the stuff Turra told me to throw out years ago, I've come up with a solution I hope to test out Sunday.

1st, I had to find a way to get multiple gears on a single speed rear cassette.  I wanted 9 speed donor cassette to modify, but I found an old 8 speed I was saving as a back up for the Raleigh Ti. It sure beats cutting up a Sram Red 9 that only has 3 rides on it!  I rigged up a cutting disc in the drill press and started cutting away a little off the front...


Then a little off the back...


The freehub has quite a bit of offset on it, wasted space that only a cassette with an offset spider can use, almost as if they were made for each other.  


Thanks to Mr Drill Press, they are!  


Just enough room for a lock ring.  If I can find an old freewheel with a 14 or 15 tooth small cog, I can thread that on instead and make it a 6 speed


Problem 2, I have no derailer hanger, yet...


I found a bolt with the same thread pitch as a thru axle, I drilled it, tapped the inside with a 5mm thread, cut it to length and slotted it for installation into a Shimano Saint Rapid Rise Derailer.  I slathered the insert with anti-seize just in case I changed to a thru axle later on and it needed to come out.



The derailer is now part of my quick release.  No need to patent that adapter design, the rapid rise system was a doomed and Shimano canned it years ago.



Now all I need is something to shift it with.  I was going to use a 7 speed XT thumb shifter, but low and behold, Gorman's Garage coughed up yet one more useful relic from the bicycle parts high-rise crypt known as the wooden filing cabinet.  I found a nice little XT 8 speed shifter pod!














Anyone who knows anything about Rapid Rise Technology, knows it's bass ackward.  I'll only use the 1st five of the 8 gears on the shifter pod but 1st will be 5th and 5th will be 1st.  When I push the thumb shifter, it will get harder instead of easier.  You can bet your last dollar I will be huffing at max exertion trying to climb Mt Doom and push the wrong button and go from struggling to laying on the ground wondering what happened.

To be continued, maybe....





Sunday, July 28, 2013

Friends to the end.

Have you ever had that feeling you're passing up something good, but not sure?  That happened to me Saturday while I was pedaling home after splitting off from a ride with friends.  I was rolling out of Dalton on the trail to Massillon when I noticed a car with a flatbed trailer parked at the West Lebanon Rd Crossing.  It's not unusual to see someone hauling a bunch of bikes piled in a truck bed or tied down on a trailer, but this one was small, tidy and side-less. I rode on trying to figure out what they had on the trailer.

It didn't take very long before I saw what appeared to be two older folks riding down the trail on their 3 wheeled bikes enjoying the sunny afternoon.  As I passed by I bid them a "good day" and noticed something you seldom see, a tow strap between the two trikes.  The strap was slack and dragging as they cruised along making me think "why".  My best and probably only guess was rider No. 2 was too weak to pedal on his own and the lead rider was helping her best friend.  By the time I reached Deerfield Ave. my brain was in overdrive wondering what the story was behind the strap so I stopped and went back.




That is when I met Helen and Marion Helmuth and heard their story.  I felt odd asking them to stop and chat with me, but it didn't take long before the two were telling me their story, I just hope I have the facts correct.  Helen and Marion reside in Navarre, Ohio and lived near a young man named Ernie Lehman who went on to start Ernie's Bike Shop where they later purchased their trikes.  I asked them how long they've been married and Helen told me it was over 61 years, a landmark in my opinion.  To make the world feel a litttle smaller, I found out Marion is the brother of my friend David Helmuth's Grandfather, otherwise, his Great Uncle.  According to Marion, one of David's other relatives used to be a long distance cyclist many years ago.

Approximately two and a half years ago, Marion had a massive heart attack that required bypass surgery.  The attack left him weak and he wanted to do something to build his strength so they bought the trikes from Ernie to help him regain his fitness.  To help expand their riding to somewhere besides Navarre, they bought the trailer that I had seen to haul the trikes to the Dalton and Fredericksburg Trails.  So far they have pedaled approximately 200 miles this summer.

We talked about other bikes they'd seen like the side by sides and 2 seated trikes but what could be more interesting than the tow strap?  According to Marion, he struggles to keep up with Helen and to keep her from getting away, he tied a strap between the bikes and when he becomes too tired to pedal, Helen helps pull him back.  Helen told me it also helps keep her fitness also and it gives them something to do together.  They also ride them around town with their orange flags and slow moving vehicle signs attached making friends along the way.




I am very grateful I stopped to talk to them, they were the highlight of my week and you could tell that even after all these years, they still have a zest for living which you could see in their smiles and hear in their voices.  I didn't hear the typical resentments you hear these days when one spouse is dragging the other down due to health or fitness.  Thankfully, Marion's health is getting better and I have to believe that not only is it due to his pedaling, but due to Helen helping him along the way.  And besides, what fun is it doing it alone?

Having someone to do things with makes doing it that much more enjoyable.  We have a few senior ladies who come into Orrville Cycling & Fitness who spend their summers here in Ohio and the winters in Florida.  I recently assembled a special bike rack that holds one bicycle and one 3 wheeled bike for the car they drive so they can take their bikes with them when they travel back and forth.  And it's not always folks buying 3 wheeled bikes that stand out.  Since I started working at the Orrville shop, I've noticed the differences in couples that come in to buy bikes.  Those couples who both want to ride, whether they are new riders or just folks getting newer bikes, they seem to be more happy go lucky.  Last week I helped get all four members of a family set up with new bikes, they were fun people to work with.

So think about this the next time you wonder what your future holds for you, it's what you make of it.  You're  getting older, retired or darn close to it, you have your spouse and or best friend sitting there next to you, skip the the television that's polluted with fake reality and go ride!  As our 35th President, John F. Kennedy said; "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike".

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 28th, 2012 - The end of Chapter 2


As of 4pm Friday December 28th, I finished my last day at the County Engineers.  I was going to go to 32 (18 more months) but those at the retirement board made my decision to go early a tough one.

I enjoyed most parts of my job, especially the historical and cartographic portions.  It helped having a supervisor like Brian Cole to work for as well as the rest of the employees, both union and office personnel.

I remember parking my XL125 and XR350 behind the courthouse with the Sheriff's and Auditors motorcycles.  The old St Francis Motel building which I carried my bicycle up 4 flights of stairs to where my office used to be, is no longer there.  All that remains is the sandstone arch entrance.

The one thing I will miss is working with the maps.  Around 15 years ago I took the County Highway map which I used to edit and draw by hand, and brought it into the digital world.  I traced the centerlines of every Village, City, Township, County and State road in the county from aerial photography.

Working with the road records was another aspect I enjoyed.  Using every resource I could including deeds from the earliest life of Stark County and maps from various decades of multiple centuries I ended up drawing 95% of all the records from the 1800's in digital format.  It gave me a personal gimps into the history of Stark county that few will ever know.  If you saw the map I created, you'd be amazed where some roads used to go and places that no longer exist such as the Falls of Sugar Creek.  Big thanks to John Snively who helped me narrow down the location of the falls.

Learning the history and having access to the data I did, helped me to help some people find a part of history missing from heir lives.  One was a woman from Denver whom I helped locate the parcel of land where her great grandfather once owned a general store.    She gave me the lot number so I scanned and scaled an original plat of the town where his store was located and overlaid the plat on modern aerial photography.  She took that map, flew to Ohio and walked the land her ancestral grandfather did almost 200 years before.  That tract of land which was a lot in the town of Calcutta which used to lay at the foot of the Bolivar Dam outside Bolivar, Oho at the confluence of the Sandy Creek and Tuscarawas River.  The town does not exist anymore, it was abandoned about a century ago and later vacated from record.

Another that comes to mind was a woman who was born in  the early part of the 20th century.  She was trying to find what she thought was a rest area on what is now SR800 near where it crossed some railroad tracts south of Canton.  When she was a child back in the 30's, she remembered stopping there when the family would drive south to visit family.  After a bit of hunting, all I could find in the area was an orchard.  When I called her back and told her all I found was the orchard, memories came back to her and she remembered her parents buy fruit there.

All these old records and the County Map will now be left in the hands of my good friend and co-worker Andrew Koehler who will more than likely be taking over these two portions of my job.  While I don't wish upon him the extra work load, I know those old records will be in good hands.  Andrew also rode his motorcycle to work on my final day, then stayed after and waited for me to finish packing up my office to leave.

I'm sure it's going to be an adjustment but I am looking forward to the next chapter in the misadventures of MxMike164

Monday, December 3, 2012

The ascension of Haleakala

I've only ever did a few ride reports and some day I'll get around to doing the Arctic Circle Ride but for now here is a blast from the past...

Ever have one of those weeks when you try to cram everything into just a few days? My wife Turra and I took a trip to Maui in 2005. The hard part was the vacation was shared with her sister and brother-in-law. Nice enough people but…

We had enough of the shared holiday and decided to get away. We rented a Honda Shadow 750 Aero. In 3 days, 2 nights we piled a couple hundred site-seeing miles on an island with only a couple hundred miles on it.

The second day of our moto trips, I decided to see how far up the volcano we could make it. Being that Turra only had a sweatshirt and shorts on and the 85 deg. sunny beaches were 30 miles behind, we didn’t make it too far. When I started to see goose bumps form on her legs, it was time to turn around.

I normally don’t have many insane moments but every now and then I do something really stupid, especially when riding by myself. I wanted to see that volcano from the top so I got out of bed at 3:30am and hopped on the bike and headed out to see the sun rise at the top. Since I had to drop the bike off that morning, I took running shoes and shorts in a backpack along with a rain poncho just in case. I was in Maui, who needed winter clothes? Since I had no plans to ride while there, all I had was a flannel lined denim shirt (a flyweight jacket) for warmth and sunglasses for eye protection, which usually isn’t a problem unless you leave at 4:00am.

It was really warm and quiet as I pulled out of the parking deck and headed south along the ocean. If there is anything you’ll learn immediately about Maui is that there are very few major roads. Of those roads, they form a figure eight around the two volcanoes that make up the island. The ride down was so peaceful and tranquil that it seemed like there was no wind at all. I could easily hear the steady thump of the motor as I left the ocean and headed inland between the volcanoes to the only road that went up the big hill. Rumor has it this road is the longest paved inclined roadway in the world gaining over 10,000 feet in 40 miles.

I turned on to the park road that leads up into the Haleakala Volcano National Park. As you climb, they have the elevations posted along the way. It was still pitch black out and got even worse as I climbed.  The sunglasses didn’t help any so I pretty much peered over them the whole ride up.  I later found out that there are no outside lights inside the park. There is an observatory on top of the volcano and they want to keep ambient light to a minimum. The road kept climbing and I kept getting colder. I stopped at a tourist info / ranger station about ½ way up to use the rest room and the hand driers to get warm. Onward I went and as the elevation gained the temps dropped. By the time I got to 7,500 feet and I could no longer feel my ungloved fingers. My hands have been up my jacket sleeve for miles but it hasn’t helped. 8,500 feet and I am shivering uncontrollably banging my knees on the gas tank. I can barely lift my leg to get my foot off the floorboard to the brake pedal. The clutch and hand brake are useless since I cannot pull them in let alone hold the throttle on. I was having a hard time concentrating and felt my vision started to get hard to focus.

Do I quit or continue? I still cannot see the top let alone see outside of what my bike is lighting up and my brain says I am going hypothermic. I cannot wait any longer, as the sun will rise before I get there. I continued on tying my best not to do anything any dumber. Remember Dumb and dumber riding into Aspen?

Finally the top!!. I was so cold I headed straight to the very dimly lit restroom not only to relieve myself, but also to use the hand driers again. After warming a bit I headed out and was greeted by a tour bus driver who asked me if I had actually ridden up to the top? I didn’t want to be a smart ass and tell him I was carrying the helmet to pick up chicks or something so I politely responded yes. He told me that it sometimes snows up here. Luckily it didn’t snow for me.

Warmth was slowly, very slowly creeping back so I wandered back outside to see what could be seen. Nothing, nothing but pitch black is all I could see unless you looked up to where millions of stars shone bright. I tried to jog around a bit but I couldn’t see unless a car pulled into the lot. I stumbled around a bit to find a spot where a park worker said would be a good place to watch the sun rise. 

It wasn’t long as the sky started to show layers of color as the sun came up over the ocean. Immediately I started to get warm as the rays hit my face and then it happened. I turned around only to realize, 1) Two girls next to me were making out, cool from some men’s point of view and 2) SNOW AND ICE IN MAUI and I wasn’t at the top!! I still had about a mile to go before I was at the real top of the volcano. Since I wasn’t peeing ice-cubes anymore I walked back to the bike and off I went to the true top. The terrain was barren and looked like a desert as was the inside of the volcano. Zero to 10,000 in only 40 miles and the view was spectacular. The first thing I did was call my uncle on the cell phone from the top of the world

The trip back down was just as interesting and it made the trip up even worse than I had imagined. There were dozens of hairpin turns around the ends of volcanic outcroppings I couldn’t see over on the way up. Of course one side was lava and the other side was unprotected ledges and step hillsides that had no railings. I sure am glad I was able to make all those turns on the way up! The further I descended the warmer it got and I tried to get some pics while rolling. As I left the valley and headed north along the shore I became saddened by the thought that later that day, I’d be on a plane heading back to the frozen bowels of hell called Ohio. I dropped off the bike and got quite a stare when the manager read the odometer. Thank God for unlimited mileage! I told him where I had just come from and his remark was that no one else was dumb enough to try and ride up there that early in the morning including the locals.

I went in the back to change into some running clothes as I had about 5 miles to run to get back to the hotel where we were staying. My clothes were still ice cold when I took them from the saddlebags!! I called T and told her I was on the way so she jogged south to meet me. In less than six hours I had gone from toasty in bed to freezing my butt off to running drenched in sweat from the blazing sun along the beach. As I saw T approaching I had to wipe the drool off my chin as I had had been passing bikini after bikini on my jog home. How often do you get to ride up a volcano, see snow, ice and near naked sunbathers all in one morning? I put my “blinders” back on during our walk back to the motel and drank everything in sight before we headed out for a final swim.

The trip was memorable from both the exhaustingly cold ride and the spectacular view from the top. So if you ever get to the islands, make sure you take a good coat, gloves and clear glasses for you eyes. Touring an area like that in a car or bus sucked but the bike totally rocked! Especially if you take the road to Hanna, the road is only about 10 feet wide in some places and the edge drops into the ocean.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Misadventure of May


I can safely say my 640 does not like southern Ohio, at least the cooling system doesn't.  2 summers ago a rogue branch tore the radiator hose off and I had to run about a half hour with no fluid to get it fixed.  I thought it had just over heated until I added water and soaked my boots instead.

Got up this morning and headed out to meet some friends down at a restaurant called Peggy Sue's.   Form there the 3 of us headed south to Perry State Forest to do some off-road riding.  Why trailer when you can ride there?  Don't ask, today I almost wished I had.

Adam, Alan and Mike


We'd been only riding about 40 minutes when we decided to ride out and have lunch with Adam before he had to head home.  All I did was look back to ensure all were in tow only to look back ahead and see a 2" branch perforate my right radiator snapping it into pieces like a jousting rod.  After a quick assessment, lunch was definitely a must, especially if it were near a parts store!

Set the GPS to Somerset which was the closest but in the wrong direction.  I figured if the 640 could last over a half hour, it should make it a measly 10 miles.  It wasn't going too bad, I'd cut the motor on the downhills and power it up the hills.  After a while the dash started to flash which like before, meant I was running dangerously close to owning a very expensive paper weight!  I saw a woman mowing her lawn and asked to borrow her garden hose to which she obliged.  A spray down to cool the beast off and a quick refill and we were off.

We found Landmark Auto Parts on South Market where I started to dismantle the bike in hopes of some kind of repair while the guys headed off to get lunch.

  

The guys in the store had everything I needed, 2 feet of hose, a double barbed splice, clamps and fluids.  Now all I had to do was make it work.  The down side was I punctured the side with the filler and the fan switch so I had to figure out how I was going to fill the damn thing.  I figured if I routed the connector hose from the bottoms of the radiators and looped it up to the filler hose at the top and bypassed the whole thing I'd be golden.  

After a few minutes of debate, hit and miss, Adam and I got it figured out, bolted most of it together, stuck a screw driver bit in a small cross over vent hose, then filled the big hoses up and let it run a few seconds to purge the air.  I pulled it back apart at the splice and topped off both hoses before jamming them together and tightening everything up.  I really should have started it to see if it would hold but was anxious to get the hell out of Dodge and on the road.  Adam helped me get the tank back on before he headed back home.  Alan and Mike headed back to Perry to get their bikes muddier and I set the GPS to shortest distance home.

I was very nervous about doing this but figured what could go wrong?  Knowing what could go wrong I rode for a long time with one finger on the clutch in case the piston decided to merge with the cylinder wall locking up the rear wheel skidding me off the road.  To my surprise the temp gauge started to work and the bars started to build.  Evidently the temp gauge sending unit isn't the same one as the fan's in busted radiator.  Once the bars stopped rising and held steady at 5 of 7 I felt a huge amount of relief.  The bike was running so well I decided to take the long way home avoiding main roadways and enjoy the scenery.

 
It was while I was taking those photos that 2 more problems surfaced.  At first I thought I had blown a hose or something, fluid was dripping on the header and pouring out the bottom of the motor.  The header was being dripped on by fluids draining from the dead radiator when I tipped it over on the side stand, big relief! Now what the heck was coming out the back?  Gas!  My float was stuck open and was draining everywhere.  I have no clue how long but a little tapping and the fuel flow stopped. 

Back on the road and everything was going great until I blew a turn on a gravel road outside Frazyburg and slid off into the weeds.  No harm, no foul, back on the road heading north.  After a while I started getting cold and decided to stop and put on a sweat shirt.  I figured this was as good a place as any...



I kept working my way home trying my best to stay on gravel and ended up in Millersburg.  It was getting late do I decided to stop for grub.  That's when I noticed the right side of the bike was still wet, not from the gas which should have dried within a mile, but a nice spattering of 15w-40 or what ever I put in it last.  Seems like the seal behind the front sprocket shaft decided to loosen it's lips from the shaft resulting in a little drippage.  Well, maybe a little more than that, the chain was lubed better than it ever had but a quick look into the sight glass showed I was still full on oil so off to eat!

While I was sitting there I found out it was indeed slightly more than just a little drip, DAMN!


I finally made it home around 7pm and feeling confident that the motor in that KTM is way tougher than I am.  Never missed a beat and never over heated, even on one radiator and no fan.  A big thanks to Adam, Alan and Mike for making sure I made it to the parts store.  Probably the best $17 I've ever spent on a ride!


Monday, October 24, 2011

BMW MOA Rally by RevZilla.com

RevZilla, a promoter of the BMW MOA Rally held in Bloomsburg, Pa.  They're holding a contest at Revzilla.com and want to know what touring and adventure riding mean to me.


There is no better way to see the countryside than by motorcycle.  And it's even better when you see it from vistas and hill tops that the general public would never venture to.  Adventure and touring on rutted out dirt roads to cow paths and goat trails that crisscross the nation is where I enjoy riding.  For more information go to http://bmwmoarally.com/motorcycle-adventure-blog-contest and to www.RevZilla.com.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I’d been in the garage soldering the wires back together that had succumbed to winter’s fury, aka, road salt.  I was hot and cranky so I went down the basement to relax where it was cool. My butt no more than hit the couch when the phone rang, the voice from the other side told me to get my butt out side.  It was my good friend, Dr. Carl Peshoff of Northern Ohio Ducati in Akron Ohio. I went out and to my surprise sat a brand spanking new Ducati Multistrada 1200S Pikes Peak Edition with a whopping 32 miles on it!



The bike is beautiful with plenty of carbon fiber pieces including the carbon fiber cam belt cover complete with air duct to help keep the beast cool and a mini carbon wind screen that that has about 4” of vertical adjustment.  The fenders were also made from carbon fiber.  I liked that the turn signals are incorporated into the hand guards.  It  makes the bike a little more stream lined and removes one less piece to get ripped off the bike in a mishap.  I doubt too many of these bikes will be seeing heavy brush, saplings or tree bark, so I’m sure they’ll hold up better than fairing mounted signals. 



I was given a quick overview of key-less ignition and the controls for the suspension and engine modes.  There are 4 engine modes; sport, touring, urban and enduro that can be changed on the fly using the button located on the turn signal switch.  There is also a selection of suspension settings to chose from depending on whether you are riding solo, 2 up or if you are carrying luggage or not.  There are also a multitude of other screens and displays that show you gear selection, typical engine displays, gas mileage, miles until empty and more.  Once I thought I had everything covered, I hit the starter and heard the v-twin rumble to life, flipped down the visor and headed down the road. 

Fast! - I only had to go to the end of my one block long street to know, this bike was going to be a blast to ride!  The bike's weight is claimed to be 432 lbs, 40 lbs less than my 950 Adventure but felt even lighter.  Add the fact the motor has about 150 hp, 55 hp more than my 950 and you can only guess how fast this thing scoots down the road, and that was with me respecting rpm’s during the break in period.  With its 5.3 gallon tank and approximately 50mpg freeway rating, you should be able to get a good 4 hours in between fuel stops.

I was wondering what it would be like to ride with 150 hp in the dirt and gravel on a bike with the instantaneous throttle response this bike has and could see myself launching the bike into a ditch or worse yet, a tree.  I refrained from taking the Multistrada down my "short cut” Because I didn‘t want to be the one to put the first scratch on it or get it dirty.   I changed the engine mode to “Enduro” on the fly and immediately I could tell the bike would be far more dirt friendly using the Enduro Mode.  According to Carl, Enduro Mode reduces the horse power down to around 100 hp, a hair bit more than the 950’s 94 hp.  It may have reduced the power output but I also noticed the initial throttle opening became a bit smoother which should allow a little better throttle control riding off-road or in loose gravel.  In Enduro Mode, the bike is still quick but in sport mode, the bike is a rocket.

The engine seems smooth enough to ride all day without being buzzed or vibrated to death but a test ride longer than 20 miles would help me decide that.  We didn’t get to do a 2-up test to get Mrs. G's opinion of the saddle but I found it to be pretty comfortable even though I only got to ride it 20 miles.  There is more than enough power to haul 2 adults with full saddle bags comfortably down any freeway or back road.  The ergonomics didn't feel too bad even with the bars rotated back to fit Carl, but that's something anyone can easily fix with a wrench.  Unlike the other bike adventure touring bikes, the Pikes Peak edition has a smallish wind screen aimed more at protecting the instrument panel and taking a small portion of the wind blast from your torso rather than trying to protect your whole body. In some ways that is good as the larger wind screens can be intimidating as a guillotine when riding in technical terrain but a little cold if you ride all winter.  

The day before Carl showed up, I was out playing around at the local MX track on the 640 Adventure and I had been wishing for more braking power.  The Multistrada's Bosch-Brembo ABS system's dual 4-piston calipers and 320mm discs gave me all the braking power I could handle and I'm positive there is enough to spare for hauling down a loaded bike from speed.  Along with the ABS, this Ducati also has Traction Control as standard equipment.  Since I tried to ride the bike respectfully, I never felt either system activate and thankfully not the ABS.

I’m used to hydraulic clutches and the juicy clutch on the Ducati felt right at home in my hands.  The clutch is effortless and smooth but the transmission felt a bit notchy, more than likely due to being new and not fully broken in.  It also could have been the shifter being tipped down to fit Carl , but I had a little difficulty getting my foot under it.  However, the shift shaft has plenty of splines and the adjustable linkage will allow you to fine tune it to your foot.  All it will take is a few minutes of time and a couple wrenches to make it perfect.

The Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) by Ã–hlins is pretty sophisticated compared to what I am used to.  One of the things you will notice is the wiring coming from the tops of the fork tubes that control the suspension settings for compression and rebound.  The rear shock is also controlled by the same system however it also has an electronically controlled pre-load adjuster.  The ride was firm even though I had the suspension set up for one person with no luggage.  The initial stroke of the suspension was a bit harsh and my  guess would be as the seals and bushings break in, the stroke will loosen up to a plusher ride.  With the lack of a passenger and time, I didn’t get to mess with the factory pre-set settings for the rider and luggage combos I mentioned earlier or did I have time to figure out how to set the optional personalized settings to my riding style or weight which are slow and heavy by some standards.

Along with the firm suspension comes a very flickable and light handling bike.  Of the adventure bikes I have ridden in the past, the Multistrada by far turned the easiest.  It also had the most streetable tires (both 17") that looked like they’d be more at home on a Monster than an Adventure bike.  Speaking of tires, I also noticed there is more room between the rear tire and the single-sided swingarm than I remember there being when I rode my 1st Multistrada.  I remembered thinking how easily that area would get clogged with mud and debris, however this model has about 1.5” between the tire and the swingarm.  I’m not sure if the swingarm changed but the tire sizes are different or it could be my mind is feeling the effects of old age, either way, having more clearance is better if you plan to get this beast dirty.

Ducati claims this bike to be "A dream Ducati - 4 bikes in 1. A sport bike, long-distance tourer, urban and road enduro are only one click away."   I can easily see this bike being ridden all four environments as Ducati intended it to be ridden in but if I were going to be doing the long distance touring, I may want to find a way to put the windscreen from one of the other Multistrada models on the bike just for the longer trips.  As far as the "road enduro" goes, I'm not sure how adventurous you'll want to get during any off-pavement excursions with the front exhaust header hanging down and in harms way.  I think it will more than likely take quite a beating but I'm sure someone will build an aftermarket skid plate to help protect it.

The bike was a blast to ride and the Pikes Peak model is definitely aimed at the high performance sport riding end of the scale.  The bike feels the more like an adventurous sport bike or a big supermoto than the adventure bikes I've ridden.  There are 4 Flavors of the Multistrada to choose from starting with the standard 1200, the 1200 S Sport, 1200 S Touring and the 1200 S Pikes Peak.  Learn more about the Multistrada line here  or go to Northern Ohio Ducati and Triumph at 1915 Brittain Rd, Akron, Ohio 44310