The day I had been waiting for since grabbing the Ducati Multistrada Enduro’s keys finally came – off-road training! But I was still a little apprehensive, due to the Multi’s bulky size… and the fact I struggle get on and off it (thanks to my height deficit).
So I booked onto a one-to-one training day at the Black Desert Training school in Wales, run by Dakar racers Craig Bounds and Tamsin Jones, to get me over my fear of heights and figure out how to handle this beast off-road.
The Multi is fitted with Michelin Anakee Wild dual-purpose tyres. After fiddling with the pressures to find a perfect 33psi front and 36 rear – they handled the 200-mile motorway ride to Wales with ease. As soon as I arrived, we stripped off the panniers, top box, lowered the pressures to 20, pulled out the rubber in the footpegs and flicked the Multi’s rider mode to Enduro.
Craig took me through the basics of body positioning, where to look, how to grip the bars and tips and tricks for getting on and off a bike off-road. All incredibly valuable knowledge, but what I really wanted to know was how to turn such a big bike in tight circles, as I always find myself heaving big bikes like this into sweaty three point turns.
So I couldn’t believe it when, halfway through the day, I was riding with the bars fully locked, at 2mph on wet grass in perfect circles thanks to Craig’s tuition. And I couldn’t help but laugh when Craig encouraged me to take a foot of the peg while turning to prove the bike’s stability. Soon I was making figures of eight with the bars locked as if the bike didn’t weigh an ounce.
It’s amazing what difference a day of dedicated training can make. Now I can’t wait to hit the trails and prepare for a big trip!
Catch the full story and find out what Andy learnt from Craig in this week’s MCN, out Wednesday, August 24.
With thanks to
Craig Bounds at Black Desert Training. The off-road school offers everything from beginner classes in small groups or one-to-one, to training on your own bike, rally navigation and adventure bike maintenance. A one-to-one class on your own bike is £185, with a hire bike is £285. Visit www.blackdeserttraining.com