First Ride – Ducati Panigale 899

Once you’re on a Duc, you never want to go bac’

My initial feeling – there was something about the tall gearing. Or maybe it was the clutch.

This was the first time I’m riding a Ducati. As I gently left the showroom with my new Red-hot sexy baby, I immediately sensed the bursting energy that lies beneath me. Not that I can unleash any of the claimed 148 horsepower anytime soon. To play it safe, I had actually set her to the “Wet” riding mode. Presumably this suppose to calm her down by at least 30%.

Yet I still need to feather the clutch to maintain some form of smoothness. The showroom was surrounded with small lanes, residential road and busy shop-lot front. I was practically stuck in gear 1 and 2 as I slowly manoeuvred ourselves out from the neighbourhood.

Even then I was certain I had made the right choice! But it wasn’t until the next morning that it finally struck me what I had gotten myself into.

You see, as a born-again biker I didn’t ride for more than ten years. Hence to make the bold decision to immediately get myself a 899 inherently came with a lot of What-Ifs. Obviously it will be a financial disaster if I discovered that I can’t ride her both physically and mentally. By then it would have been too late to regret. My only Plan B was to make her as my RM90,000 masterpiece inside my living room.

All the What-Ifs were thrown out the window the moment I hit the open road. There’s a reason why this baby was voted as the No.1 by GQ in their list of “The 100 Best Things in the World right now” for 2014. The route that I had chosen was the LATAR Highway toward Kuala Selangor. I was literally grinning, laughing, screaming and shouting inside my Arai’s helmet.

photo-2 copy

All these while I was still in the “Wet” mode! I continue to ride in this mode for at least another week. Wait until she’s hit the B-road. Hilly and winding back roads are supposed to be where she is most fun.

Yeah, one other thing – she’s literally hot. The heat furnace under the crotch area is bordering bearable especially in hot tropical climate. To be fair I don’t feel it most of the time so long I’m wearing a proper riding pant. But she needs to be cruising on a decent speed. Anything below 80km/h and the temperature will hit 100 degree celsius in no time. It will get worse especially if I’m stuck in the town traffic. Hence I wouldn’t consider to use her for daily commuting because it’s no fun. The only salvation is I have lost count how many thumbs up, polite horn and people posing beside her on the street.

This attention grabbing trait is something that I’m more than welcome. It means other road users notice us and that is good for safety and awareness.

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