A Yellow Ducati
Some people have funny ideas about what colour motorcycles should be.
I have one friend, who will only have black bikes, only wear black gear, and there is no compromise whatsoever regardless of brand, make, model etc.
It’s ok to have highlight patterns or colour schemes, as long as the predominant colour is black… the bikes themselves, total black.
Ducati’s come in many colours. From the day I met my beloved she was adamant Ducati’s should NOT be yellow, never mind its one of the staple liveries they have had since re-entering the common market in a big way back in the nineties.
So when my mate Bruce took particular notice of a lovely ST4s at Motomart in Lower Hutt while we happened to be there, it also caught my eye.
It had full luggage capacity, with Ducati panniers and a Givi topbox. Custom bars risen significantly higher and further back than the standard ST4 configuration for comfort, 36,000kms travelled, 996s engine, Ohlins suspension (factory fitted)… it was a stunner…but it was…YELLOW!
Bruce took a look at the bike, decided it wasn’t him and bought a Multistrada instead. This meant that the St4s was still available at a ridiculously low price including on-road costs… oooohhh so tempting!
Now I had an ST4 myself up to a year ago, fantastic bikes. My previous one was the 916 version, same year as the yellow one (both 2003) yet the ST4s has significantly more going for it in extra’s and a more powerful motor, also reputed to be a more reliable motor as well.
One of the issues we had with my last ST4 was servicing and maintenance costs were horrendous.
My fiancé and the light of my life had decided no more Ducati’s they cost too much to maintain. This is true if you rely only on dealership servicing, circumstances are now such that I have other mechanical options.
However, as I looked at this ST4s in bright yellow, despite hearing echo’s of my baby steadfastly stating ‘Yellow is JUST WRONG on a Ducati’ and ‘the bloody things cost too much’ I could feel myself being drawn back into the fold again, longing for the pull of a big lazy twin under me on the open road with no particular destination in mind, plodding along to the dulcet tones of a well tuned L-Twin and that idiosyncratic rattle of the Ducati dry clutch system… could I resist? Must I resist?????
No…I could not resist…. I took it for a test ride and parked it at home to see how my beloved would react.
And…..deadpan is how, she just pretended not to see it. She carried on hanging out laundry, even when I asked her if she had seen what I rode home, just ignored it and me… uh-oh!
So I cajoled my beautiful lady, love of my life, into coming for a ride to pick our Suzuki back up and reluctantly she climbed on the yellow bike, commenting on the difficulty of having to navigate over the panniers and the closeness of the givi box.
‘Easy’ I say, ‘it’s only for the touring rides or long weekends so it’s not that often you have to climb on…I will even side up to the kerb to give you an easier step-up’. This was not received well. Even that the panniers are removable, still not good enough. It’s both a Ducati and it’s yellow, points against it both ways, sigh.
God I love her
We rumbled off down the motorway back to the dealership and handed the keys back, with the boss giving poor Todd the shop owner the evil eye the whole time.
We admired a few more Ducati’s and various other bikes on display, then carried on riding for the day on the Suzuki. She loves the Suzuki. Reliable, cheap, Japanese, I also love my RF900.
But there is still something about the Ducati’s that is just….oooohhhh….
What I could not get through to my dearest, beautiful, gorgeous and most benign fiancé is the craving this short ride left me with.
There is something sublime about riding Ducati’s, the firm yet supple suspension, the feel of the big twin just lazily plodding along, ready to burst into ridiculous speed at a mere twist of the wrist, feeling all the power in the world underneath you and the feeling of freedom that no other machine has ever produced for me with quite the same intensity.
So it led to the situation of, how do I tell her I agreed to buy it?
I wonder what she will say when it appears in the bike port next to our two Suzuki’s (she has a lovely little 650cc cruiser of her own) in a month or so….
Watch this space…. I may need some ice and bandages soon…and space for a Yellow Ducati!