Staff Blog: Finding time for the Hyperstrada

By Michael Neeves -

First rides & tests

 06 June 2013 12:02

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I’ve never known it to be so busy in MCN Road Test land, so I find myself away travelling lots. It means that sometimes I’m riding my Hyperstrada every day and occasionally weeks will go by where it sits in my garage, untouched.

But now things are slowing down a touch. Lots of the new bike tests are fizzling out and I’ve got more time to ride my lovely Ducati – when I’m not away racing, of course.

I’ve still managed to rack-up over 2500-miles in the six weeks I’ve had it. In that time I’ve ridden it to work and over to Donington where I sometimes instruct at the Ron Haslam Race School. The cross-country road there from Stamford at 6.30am is sometimes better than the track itself.

I’ve already fitted new rubber. I’ve dumped the dual-purpose Pirelli Scorpions and replaced them with Michelin Pilot Power 3 sports tyres, which are excellent. I’ve got a set of Pirelli Angel GT sports touring tyres to go on, which I’ll use for my trip to Portugal on holiday in a few weeks. I’ve done a trackday at Anglesey, too, which the Ducati handled with ease, once I dialled in a load of rear preload to increase ground clearance and stability.

Last week I took the Hyperstrada down to the south coast to see Shaws Harley and to the Haslam School. Both days were torrential rain and freezing cold. I haven’t been so miserable on a bike for ages. I found out that my soft panniers leak, which I knew they would anyway – I guess that’s why the panniers and top box come with waterproof inner bags…

The worse thing about riding in all that rain is the state the bike gets in and being so exposed, it’s really hard to get in all the nooks and crannies to clean it. One little trick I’ve got is to remove the screen, which is only four bolts, so you can get in behind it. Other than that it’s been plain sailing, except for the two times I’ve bent my ignition key by leaving it the top box lock after removing it from the bike and putting it on the floor.

I’m loving the Hyperstrada’s playful side, its smoothness and comfort, although some who’ve ridden it think you sit too far up the front of it. Once you stiffen the back end it handles well, but I could do with some adjustment on the forks. My biggest regret is not fitting it with heated grips. I’m racing again this weekend, on my BMW Park lane S1000RR and next week I’m riding down south again to meet up with my brother, for a trackday at the Nurburgring in his car (sorry!).

 

You can check out my second long termer video blog here soon.

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