All humans have the gift of the 5 senses - sight, hear, touch, feel and smell. But a few of us, lucky enough to ride a motorcycle experience a unique and heightened state of these senses - the growl of the engine, the bark of the exhaust note, the smooth curves of metal and rich leather, the G forces we feel while accelerating and cornering and the addictive smell of fuel and rubber. Ask any serious biker and they will tell you - when you are on a motorcycle, each of your senses is at a higher level….it's like a shot of adrenaline has been pumped into each of them….that is what I call AdrenaSense - the state of being one with your motorcycle.
There are many types of motorcycles made by many brands. The typical genres are - classics, roadsters, cruisers, tourers, off-road and sport. Each genre has a unique purpose. Then within each genre there are sub categories. For example tourers have sport tourers and adventure tourers. The former are made to go fast on tarmac while the latter can also be taken off the beaten track.
One example of a sport tourer is the Ducati Multistrada - an all purpose bike (multi strada means different roads) built by the Italian marque Ducati. But at its core, it is a sport tourer. The sort of bike that you can ride fast and hard for long (say 500 km) on open highways as well as winding backroads and mountains. Now there are many variants of the Multistrada - there is the Base, the S with its fancy electronic suspension, the Enduro with its off-road bias and then there is the Pikes Peak - the sportiest of them all. The Pikes Peak has about 155 hp (that on a Ducati feel like 200) and about 95 ft lb of torque delivered through an L twin engine with DVT (plan speak for a very powerful yet very smooth engine). With forged wheels, carbon fibre body parts, a slick ohlins suspension and a factory fitted termi end can, the Pikes Peak weighs about 20 kg less than the stock Multistrada.
I picked one up a few months ago and have been absolutely mesmerised by it. I've ridden a lot of bikes over the years but this one to me is absolutely the best sport tourer out there today. Now that is a tall claim to make. So why do I say so?
I've ridden my Pikes Peak for about 3000 km now. Included in that are 2 long trips - the first was a run up to the hills near Shimla and the other was a recent ride to Udaipur. In both cases I rode the bike for a good 400-500 km a day. The ride to Shimla was in the intense heat of June with non-existent roads once you crossed the Kalka bypass. The one to Udaipur was in intense rain with slightly better road conditions. In both cases I was riding with a few riding buddies of mine (4-5 guys in total)
My Take on the Pikes Peak
From the moment I rode the bike out of the showroom, I knew this was a special bike. But now that I've done 3000+ km on it, I can give some perspective on why I feel that way
First is its engine character. She barks like nothing out there. When you start a Ducati it almost sounds like an auto rickshaw, but when you twist the throttle under load, she has a bark like I've never heard before. It's sort of a combination of the engine and exhaust sound that produces this bark. It's absolutely intoxicating. I found myself twisting the throttle all the time, even on a straight road, just to hear that bark.
Next is its pull. Even in touring mode, she pulls so hard that you feel your arms are going to get ripped off. This is the magic of a V twin and it's even more special in Ducati's L twin version. When you pull the throttle, the bark and the pull completely take over your senses and the magic of AdrenaSense starts !!
Then comes the handling. Its forged wheels (less weight) and Ohlins suspension shine here. It's extremely nimble and easy to corner. The electronic aids (IMU, 8 stage traction control, EBD etc) all work in tandem to keep it extremely safe in our road conditions. There are many times I've opened the throttle a bit too much during a turn, sometimes even with sand or gravel or slush on the road, but she corners like she is on rails and the electronics safety net is incredible.
Then come the rider ergos and comfort. The seating position is clearly sport oriented but the ergos are so comfortable that you can easily ride for 400-500 km a day. The seat height is great. I'm 6 feet tall and can easily put both my feet down with some flex in my knees. The short wind screen (also made from carbon fibre) does a great job of wind protection for all day comfort. The heat management on this bike is excellent. On a 45 degree summer day the temperature is very manageable even in stop and go traffic.
The piece de resistance of the Pikes Peak has to be its suspension. The Ohlins unit (fully adjustable but not semi active ….as in you have to manually adjust it) is absolutely brilliant. It handles all our road conditions with ease always keeping the bike planted and the rider extremely comfortable. When you have to do this on a cruiser that will run at 100-120 km it's easy. But when you have to do this on a sport tourer that will run at 150 (sometimes even 200+) and corner hard, this task is very difficult to accomplish on Indian roads and the Pikes Peak really really shines here - it is the stand out feature of this bike, period !!
The one downside of the Pikes Peak are its forged wheels as they are prone to bends especially if you're riding hard (I already have a small sing in both my front and rear wheels).
So in a nutshell the Pikes Peak is a piece of art (every Ducati is) that barks and pulls like crazy, handles and corners like it's on rails, has all day riding comfort, a suspension setup that allows you to ride hard and fast on our broken roads and the most modern electronics to keep you safe while doing that.
For her sheer brilliance I'd give her an AdrenaSense score of 9/10 and i can't wait to get back on her for a long ride.
What she will do on the track is yet to be explored - but maybe after I do that she might just score the perfect 10!!
The author is a complete ‘Petroheadnerd’ and bike junkie, which is apparent from his testimonial to the Multistrada. BigBoyToyz expresses heartfelt thanks to ‘Petroheadnerd’ for this amazing piece.