Okay, so, I own this Ducati 749 Dark. I love it- yet I ride it less than I wish to. There are a few reasons for that one being that I’ve usually another bike in the garage which I’m test reviewing. Another is that I use my KYMCO scooter around town – a lot. The 749 is not an everyday motorcycle – it works well on the track. But then there are its running issues. It’s mostly the computer and immobilizer system. Sometimes it runs, but then at the next turn of the ignition, it doesn’t. I’m anxiety stricken when I reach for the ignition key- will it run or will I be stuck here? Every summer I go back and forth to my special Ducati expert mechanic (GP Bikes) where each time a challenge is resolved until the next one presents itself, usually as early as on the way home. But those are the intricacies of owning a Ducati -though my earlier Ducati’s didn’t behave this way; nor did they run controlled by processors.
On this one particular lovely Saturday, I decided to take it for a good run so I planned a meet up with a former motorcycle student and friend. Our rendez-vous was at GP Bikes about 45 minutes east of Toronto. The Duc started up and as always when I’m on it, I’m thrilled. I love the way it performs and the rumble in its ride. I was feeling incredibly happy. After arriving at the dealership, and getting our fill of sitting on numerous Ducati’s and Triumph’s – we went outside to get on our way. I turned the key of my Ducati, and … nothing. Nothing happened! Really?, I exclaimed – again! Fortunately I was at the shop – but the day’s ride was a bust. Seeking a solution I thought, let me ask Jerry (owner) of GP Bikes for a demo bike. Fingers crossed!
I found Jerry in-between customers- it was a usual busy summer Saturday all around the shop. I told him of the situation and before I completed the sentence surrounding my plea, he interrupted me asking…“what would you like… a Monster? Or maybe an 848?” …I was thrilled!
In Ontario, the avail of a demo bike is not a commonality. It’s a challenge for every dealership due to the stringent liabilities and insurances (the ‘SUE factor’ in North America). In Europe, taking any bike out for a test ride, including the one you’re about to purchase- is standard practise. Furthermore, it’s not common in Ontario that a dealership have a ‘demo fleet’ so to speak such as GP Bikes has. But it seems Jerry does; providing a truly impressive investment for customer satisfaction.
Though Jerry is aware of my activities in the motorcycle industry, I’m also just a plain ‘ole regular customer. The immediate ‘no questions asked’ assistance extended to me gave me an overwhelming feeling of importance and trust. It had been a long time since I’d had such a terrific customer experience.
So I signed the waiver, took the 2013 Ducati 848 in matte black,- coincidentally the successor to my discontinued 749- and off we went. We rode along the Loyalist Parkway which follows a pioneer colonial route bordering the Northern shore of Lake Ontario. The area is full of winery’s and spa retreats and terrifically winding roads. We enjoyed taking a ferry across the lake and of course – I had great pleasure riding the – start every time – 848!
The day was saved by Jerry and GP Bikes, the motorcycle dealership who continue to give me all the reasons to never stop doing business with them.
Now, about that 848…