Tag Archives: Ducati Multistrada

Time Travel, Powered by BMW Motorrad

A BMW R1200GS Adventure Test-ride recently (which I will talk about in a future post) reminded me of the fact that about one year ago I went with some mates to a SpeedDate with BMW event to try out a couple of their new bikes.

I went for the S1000XR and they went for the R1200RS, R-nineT and F800GS. The only thing I can say about the S1000XR is that it is a brilliant bike! Compared to my Ducati Multistrada 1200S it lacks the low down punch of the V-Twin that makes it want to wheelie coming out of every traffic light but it makes up with a much more refined feel and more equipment (like Cruise Control). The engine feels basically the same as the one on the S100RR and I think I would only really tell the difference when riding the the two back to back, the brakes are as with all the S1000 range, very near perfect and the whole bike feels really well sorted. Except…it isn’t! One tiny, niggly fault that would probably stop me from buying it: The infamous vibrations at motorway speed that simply numb all of your limbs!
I’ve been told it is solved on the newer 2017 bikes and that on the older ones a set of heavier bar-end weights helps a lot but what I can’t stop wandering is what kind of test-riders BMW hired that did not spot the obvious issue trough all of the testing??

Anyway, here are the photos:

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Washing your motorcycle when you live in an apartment.

One of the things that changed when I moved to the Netherlands was that I now live in an apartment and have no access to a hose or a place to properly wash my motorcycle. Adding to that the fact winter is much colder here and the roads get salted the poor bike suffers and at some point there is the need for a deeper clean.

How to do it? Most of the times I just go to a regular car jet wash and give it a general cleanup avoiding using the high pressure jet in more sensitive areas (like electrics, etc) however this does little more than to remove the most obvious soiling, leaving the rims and all the nooks and crannies in and around the engine still filled with dirt, dust and oil residues.

Wouldn’t it be great if the car jetwash places had an extra bay with a simple hose and the possibility to rent the place for 20 or 30min to allow you to properly clean the bike using a sponge, bucket and proper bike washing liquid?
If something like this exists I would love to know! For now I have to make do with my makeshift solution: – a manual pressure sprayer.

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The one I have is a large 16L unit with wheels that I bought a couple of weeks ago at Aldi for 29,90€, but you can find them in sizes from 1L and 5€ to 10€. Keep in mind, this is no where as good as a proper hose, the pressure is limited and the flowrate is quite low, but it sure beats using a bucket to rinse the bike and having to go back to the apartment to get more water every 30s.

With this, a bucket a few sponges and a good bike detergent you can with a little bit of patience properly clean the bike.

If you’re wondering why did I decide to dedicate a post to bike cleaning, well that’s because I need to change the oil on the Multistrada and when I removed the bash plate I could see how incredibly dirty the bike was (even after having washed it at the car wash).

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After about half an hour the result wasn’t as good as I wanted but it started raining and I ran out of detergent, so this will have be a two step process. I just ordered new bike detergent and I’ll leave the rest of the cleaning for next weekend.

And this brings me to my next subject: what bike cleaner to use?

For a long time I used regular car washing liquid, it’s cheap and easily accesible in every supermarket however it’s quite ineffective at removing chain oil residues and all the muck that gets cooked around the engine, so a while back I bought PROCYCLE Gel Reiniger from Louis.de

Procycle Gel Reiniger

It’s very well priced compared to the alternatives and because it comes in gel form it adheres to the surface allowing it to settle for longer, dissolving the dirt instead of just dripping to the floor.
To be honest, it’s not perfect and although it works well at dissolving oil residues it needs to be left for quite a while to work (at least 5min, ideally 10 to 15min). The spray bottle isn’t great either and doesn’t do a perfect job at spraying the gel, so given I needed a new cleaner I was planing on trying one of the more famous alternatives: S100 or MucOff, that is..until I saw the price!

A 2,5L package of S100 costs at least 30€ and a 0,5L concentrate refill package of MucOff costs 25€ (enough for 2L of direct use product).

In comparison the Procycle Gel Reininger is currently for sale with 50% discounted price at 3,99€ for a 1L spray bottle, 9,99€ for a 5L canister or 14,99€ for 10L. That’s 15€ for 10 years worth of bike washes!
Adding to this strong argument I looked up a few reviews online and it seems the PROCYCLE is actually more effective than the more expensive S100

It’s decided then: I guess I’m sticking with the PROCYCLE and for a total of 31€, shipping included (the price of a 2,5L canister of S100) I ended up ordering a 5L PROCYCLE refill, a tube of Hylomar M Sealant, a tube of Autosol Metal Polish and another of medium strength thread locker!

The Northward Route – 2014 Trip to Norway – The Video

It’s here, finally here!

After a long time in the making (I’m fantastic at procrastinating when it comes to video editing) here is first of a two part video from our 2014 trip to Norway and Sweden.
It was launched exclusively yesterday at The Rider’s Digest Facebook page and here it is for you now, I hope you enjoy and who knows maybe it will inspire more people to ride to Norway, it is a trully amazing country.

Feel free to share, like and comment.

Norway 2014 – Day 10 – Kristiansund to Oslo

The route (blue)
The route (blue)

Loooong day. From Kristiansund to Oslo around 560km on what is probably one of the busiest roads in Norway with speed limits of 50, 70, 80 (and for a mere couple of kms) 90km/h).

7h46 minutes of riding with an average speed of 76 km/h, plus the much needed stops to stretch our legs and decompress the bum.

Not a particularly good day, the riding was tiring and boring and also we reached the point at which we left the Fjords while what we really wanted was to turn back and stay there indefinitely!

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Norway 2014 – Day 9 – Alesund to Kristiansund

[UPDATE: 03/10/14] Finally updated with some more photos and text.

Sorry for the lack of updates but being on the road doesn’t leave much time for blogging. I’ve been uploading some photos to Instagram whenever I can and I promise when I get back home I’ll write a bunch of (relatively) well organised posts.

For now here are some photos of today’s ride trough the famous Atlantic Road and the view from the most beautiful place I have ever stayed in: Sveggvika Hotel in Averoy. An old cod fish factory turned into hotel and managed by a lovely Dutch lady.
The view from the restaurant deck is absolutely breathtaking and can’t wait to get home to see the photos I took with the LX7 on the computer screen.

Tomorrow we have a loooong ride south to Oslo before heading to Sweden. Today was a short day basically going North on the Atlantic Road (which I found only has those distinctive bridges between islands very near to the end. The rest of the road is nice but without anything really distinctive until you get to the last few kms).

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Norway 2014 – Day 8 – Stordal to Alesund (and the Trollstigen)

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For the 8th day of the trip we planed a relatively short distance, covering from Stordal to Alesund via the famous Troll’s Path (Trollstigen) Trollstigen road being at the top.

We arrived to the Trollstigen from the South so were actually on the top of the mountain looking down at the famous switchbacks because I usually prefer uphill corners than downhill there was only one solution, to go down, then up and then back down to continue our route. I had to explain my pillion I wasn’t going up and down that hairpin filled road for my own pleasure, it was for scientific purposes and only to be able to write to you about it after!

Like many other “Bucket List” roads this one was relatively crowded and the buses and caravans specifically made it hard to get a rhythm going and I actually ended up having the most fun on my first downhill run. Now…I am going to confess that I’m not that much of a fan of this road…or Stelvio…
Yes hairpin corners can be good fun, but the problem with famous roads is they are always more crowded than others nearby and the 180º turns are just to tight and narrow to actually get any rhythm going on anything other than a Supermoto.
The fact is (like in Stelvio) I had a lot more fun on the roads that led to Trollstigen, were you can find sections of roads with hairpins alternating with larger radius corners and wider roads with less traffic and better visibility allowing you to ride harder without the iminent danger of a head on collision with a bus stuck in the middle of corner doing a 3 point turn.

Do I recommend heading to Trollstigen? Definitely! Just not for the 11 hairpins, but for the amazing views and the great roads on the way there! (especially if you are coming from the south)

Our hotel for the night was a very nice B&B (Glede po Reis) owned by a very nice British couple who gave us the suggestion of heading to a nearby sandy beach.

And what great suggestion it was! You access the beach by a dirt road next to a farm and end up directly on the sand.
Spent a while taking some photos and relaxing on the beach but I could resist the temptation to try the Multi on sand!

Now, the Multi is not a bike that crashes well, too much fiddly and pretty plastic bits. And I don’t even have any crash guards yet, so the prospect of dropping my brand new bike 3000km from home was not something I took lightly but the opportunity was just to good to resist!

So after removing the side cases I went for a first experimental run on the hard packed sand, followed by a second slightly more adventurous runs on looser sand before stopping for some photos.

Caution was obviously my main concern but still I there was some fun to be had! And I was really surprised with the amount of traction the PR4s had on the more hard packed sand and how easy and agile the big Ducati was. Just wish I had a beach like this near home to try it again after installing some crash protection!

Norway 2014 – Day 7 – Laerdal to Stordal

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Amazing scenery today!

Riding from Laerdal to Stordal the long way. Heading north to Stryn before turning East to FV15 and some awesome corners that tested the MTS’s ground clearance before turning to the Old Strynfjell Road with it’s amazing sights, bumpy corners and unpaved stretches. This road is made from big trailies! (yes, even if for mine which is basically a Superbike disguise)

The plan was then to catch the ferry across the Geiranger fjord to Helesylth and climb the mountain via FV60 to Stranda before crossing the fjord again and head to Stordal, but a slight guidance problem led me to the more direct route via FV63. I can’t therefore tell you how good the FV63 may be, but I can tell you I don’t think I missed much, considering the awesome views and fun corners on the FV60.

But from all the great things the day had for us, my favourite has got to be the awesome picnic table we secured for our lunch. On a small floating dock to the side of the road and on top of a turquoise colored lake. WIN!

Lunch stop
Lunch stop

And to end the day we had our own cabin at Stordal camping with the Ducati parked right in our porch. Not to bad. 😉

Norway 2014 – Day 6 – Bergen to Laerdal

The inital plan for the 6th day of the trip was to leave Bergen heading west on E16 to Voss, but because I made a mistake on the previous day and actually rode this rode instead of the E7, we opted to leave instead via E7 to Eide, before turning back to Voss on E13.

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This option proved to be a brilliant one, as it would have been a shame to ride the E16 a second time instead of the beautiful E7 and miss one of the most amazing lunch stops of the trip: a picnic area by a crystal clear water bay. Beautiful!

After Voss and a section of road works that left us and the bike covered in mud we stopped at the Tvindfossen Waterfalls for some photos and a session of boot washing on a creek.

We then rode to Gudvanger to see the Naerofjord, which at 500m wide and 15 meter deep in places, is the narrowest and shallowest navigable fjord in the world. It is also part of Unesco World Heritage Sites.

At this point because it was already past 17h30 PM the plan was to ride to Flam and try not to get to the mountain pass FV243 too late, but after a very enthusiastic recommendation of the Naerofjord Ferry Cruise by a gentleman at the Gudvanger Souvenir shop we decide to take the 2hour long ferry that would leave us directly in Flam. At 440 NOK it is a lot more expensive then regular ferries (usually 75 or 80NOK for bike+rider+pillion) but it’s more of a scenic cruise not than regular transport, and it was worth it. A nice 2 hours of rest and nice views.

Getting to Flam you have the choice of riding the Laerdal Tunnel, the longest road tunnel in the world. But one thing I can tell you after riding my bikes trough hundreds of kms of tunnels, including Mont Blanc Tunnel is that it is….very boring!! Nothing to see for miles and limited speed all the way. So MRDisorder’s Top Tip, wenever there is a big tunnel there is usually a awesome Mountain Pass that goes over and the bigger the tunnel, the more awesome the Pass.
Laerdal is no exception and the FV243 is one of the most stunning roads I have ever ridden!
You start by winding your way up the side of the mountain with the Naerofjord at your side before stopping at the Stegastein Viewpoint for a breath of fresh air before continuing uphill until you reach the amazing Plateau void of vegetation and filled with massive rocks and small molten snow lakes.

The ride down the other face of the mountain to get to Laerdal is twisty and bumpy. MASSIVE fun on the Multistrada, bringing out the amazing capacities of the OHLINS suspension, firm enough to allow for a committed ride but absorbing every bump allowing the bike to hold a line perfectly and keeping the Pillion’s back in one piece. This road trully made me fall in love with the Multi’s handling.
I have several years of riding Hyperbikes (1100XX, K1200S, ZZR1400) and it took me some time to get used to the more upright position of the “Trail” MT1200S but I can tell you that on this road (actually on this whole trip) there wasn’t absolutely any bike I rather be riding.

Well, I think I’ve written enough, just look at the pictures, they’re a lot less boring than me! 😉

Norway 2014 – Day 5 – Roldal to Bergen

[UPDATE] 11/09/2014 – New photos

Tunnels, tunnels and more tunnels, that was the main focus of the day. In Norway you have short tunnels, long tunnels, spirao shaped tunnels and even roundabouts inside tunnels! Just take your pick.

There was a lot more then tunnels of course, but the fact I made a mistake and rode a 7,7km tunnel twice, while it was being resurfaced with air filled with dust, did made it memorable.

Second day heading North in the Fjords and the impressions of the previous day are even stronger. It is gorgeous! It’s has if God mixed the West Scotish Higlands with the Alps: huge seaside mountains followed by mountais filled with fresh water streams, lakes and waterfalls.

Again, the photos speak better for it then I can.

As for the Ducati, well after a couple of days of not really feeling comfortable with the bike on the twistier roads, today I can finnally say she is starting to please me!
First it was a matter of misaligned lugagge unbalancing the bike, then low pressure on the front tyre the rest it’s really just me adjusting to riding a trail bike (even if it is a bloody quick and road focused one) fully ladden with luggage and pillion, after a few years on a much lower bike with a very diferent riding position and steering feel.

There are however three things this bike is a lot better than the ZZR1400:
– Comfort
– Holding a line mid-corner trough bumpy and pothole filled road surfaces
– Lifting the front wheel in the air in 3rd gear!

(more photos on Instagram and Twitter)

Norway 2014 – Day 4 – Stavanger to Roldal

[UPDATE] 10/09/2014 – New photos and some text.

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First proper day of riding in Norway and the first glimpses of the Fjords. It is beautiful beyond description!

One minute you are at sea level with huge “rivers” of absolutely peaceful salt water, the next you’re on a mountain plateau with a snow and a a river flowing into a waterfall.

The ferries are quite fast (around 30km/h) and stable so you don’t need to secure the bike and the roads are wonderful with very little traffic for the most part.

And have I mentioned the waterfalls? Then even have naked ladies bathing in them! (see photo…)

The Multi has been performing faultlessly and the only problem was a loose screw in the rear mudguard…but this is my fault because I changed from the smaller to the bigger mudguard before the trip and didn’t use thread lock on the screws.

[NEW PHOTOS]

You can also see more photos on Instagram or Twitter (on the side bar of the blog)