Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Have a Diavelishly Good Christmas

Here's wishing you all a Diavelishly good Christmas. The weather in SoCal is cooperating with temperatures in the mid-70's, so why not take the bike out for a mini-run?

Christmas decorations designed to be seen lighted, don't ever look quite right in the daytime, do they? The Diavel prefers this particular photo (left) if only to illustrate the diavelishness possible during the Christmas festivities.

This is how it went down. I drove around and most of the inflatable Santas and elves were deflated on lawns, so there weren't any good Christmas scenes to take photos of the bike with for the sake of the blog.

Looking north, toward the fire pit.

THEN it occurred to me that when I took the scooter back, before I parked it in the garage, I'd drive it around back and take some snapshots in the back yard. I have a pool fence, which ruins the view of the pool and spa, but it's likely that the grandkids will want to go swimming when they come over on Christmas after they open their presents and before supper. So I didn't take it down even for glory shots of the bike. And that says something about me being lazy or not vein enough or something - not sure what.

Yes the patio is wet. It rained last night and the deck hasn't dried out completely. We've been lucky in SoCal for the most part. It waits until night if it's going to rain. Luck, or maybe we're paying the 'weather tax' here?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Jet Bike

Log Item: This is the sort of jet bike that I have in mind. Sadly, the production units would seem to be unavailable at the moment and I'll have to content myself with the Diavel, which is the next best thing. However, when the Ducati jet bikes finally are realized, I urge people to drive more responsibly than they did in the video.

This Harley Davidson jet-powered bike might be a good interim
machine but it falls far short of the ideal.

Kawasaki's entry (right) into the jet bike market should be pushing Ducati - but I'm not feeling the love from Italy at the moment.

The need for more horsepower and the flexibility to pop over cars and trucks that pose a barrier on the highway is an important concept. It's embodied in the jet bike.

It's obvious (below) that the Suzuki jet bike has taken the concept and run with it. 

It gives a whole new meaning to the term, "rice rocket".

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The X-Diavel is Coming

Log Item: The X-Diavel is coming in 2016, which has me reaching toward my wallet simply as a reflex action. The only reaction I have to the up-engineered Diavel is, "sick".

The power plant, a 1,262cc version of the Testastretta engine, offers a longer stroke (71.5mm vs 67.9mm in the 1200) with the same 106mm bore. Ducati’s variable valve timing scheme and ride-by-wire electronics is the same. The torque is now 94.8 pound-feet at 5,000 rpm. So it's not all THAT different. How much power do you really need?

I'm not the sort of guy who rolls scooters over for the next year's model, but this one is clearly an eye catcher.

Speaking of eye catching, check out the Diavel drag bike (right). The front end has been lowered significantly through a suspension modification. It's a straight-line bike for a flat track, so you can run it with clip-ons (cafe-style handle bars) and limited front-end travel.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Old NFO meets the Devil

Log Item: Fellow blogger and famous author, Old NFO* joined me for lunch today as he transited through the Orange County, California Area on his way to do bigger and better things.

He received his official "I met the Devil and lived to tell about it" ball cap, which he wore proudly.

He took one look at the Devil and said, "What a Beast!" Most ladies take exception when referred to as a "beast" or a "monster", but the Devil takes it as her due.

We had a fun lunch and are looking forward to the next lunch in Texas, somewhere east of Amarillo. Will I rent a Harley to ride out to his dude ranch and gun range (From Denton, TX)? Maybe. I think that I should first look into renting a Ducati, if indeed they'd consent to parting with a locally rented Diavel for a day or two.

When he saw the Devil in her glory, his first comment was, "Oh, I see where you can mount the M-4". It makes perfect sense when you see the rig in person, but it's tough to explain on the blog. He commented that the California Highway Patrol and many municipal agencies have M-4 rifles or short stroke shotguns on their motorcycles, which is a fact. Jihadis avoid armed citizens.
*NFO=Naval Flight Officer. Old NFO and I are both retired officers from the World's Finest Navy. He was a brown shoe type, I was in the camo navy, but we all bleed navy    blue. He's retiring again from his post-retirement career. I still dabble with things but on the whole am a useless lay-about, surf and scooter bum, firearms enthusiast and adventure junky.
Maintenance Item: It's time to lube the chain again in about 50 miles, which means before I take the Devil out again. I try to keep it right at about 600 miles between lube and tension check.

Log Item: Driving out to meet Old NFO today, I had the Devil up in the carpool lane, had just shifted into 6th gear at about 95 mph and the scooter was at about 4K rpm with a red line at 12K rpm, which is to say that it was idling, and my love of the power and speed is - intoxicating. It's a lot like skydiving in that way. The speed is real, but it doesn't feel quite real. Maybe you have to be a motor head to appreciate that. But all you really want is more speed. 

When you're running the Devil, everyone wants to race you. Even cars...hahaha. Slow sleds. Sometimes guys on tractors (Harley D's) want to race as well. I usually don't unless I feel that they need a lesson in humility. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Basic Question

Is it OK to sit on another man's motorcycle?

Not ever.

We had a bit of a problem with a moron who was getting his fingerprints on the Diavel while I was in the store at the gas station. I don't have photos, but you get the point.

Women can ride on the back, but they need an invitation.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Devil Sex

Log Item: I received a very nice e-mail from Bob Weaver, a new reader on "THE DIAVEL MADE ME DO IT". It made me think that while I extol the virtues of the Ducati Diavel (and point out its few weaknesses), I haven't posted photos of the total sex that oozes from the machine.

You sit well back from the handlebars, and there is a long fuel tank cover (the actual tank is under the cover) that you reach over. It's not at all a cafe bike or a classic sport bike. It is a performance cruiser without the cumbersome nature of traditional cruising machines.

And in this, it reminds me a bit of Bob's beloved KZ900 K-4, because of that general feel of the bike when you're sitting in the driver's seat. Naturally the seat is much more comfortable than the old 900 stock seat - times have changed. Riders demand comfort.

The instrument clusters and idiot lights are very easy to see and are very driver friendly. You can toggle between various items while riding and I don't find it particularly distracting. What you need is displayed, items such as distance to empty and air temp. are toggle items. Oil temp. is not a toggle item and the principal display keeps you informed of that at all times. 

The scooter has an oil cooler and the engine is water cooled. Ducati added the cooling elements with real panache. Gone are the old bolt-on intercoolers and flat, bulky radiators. They've made them part of the machine.

You would expect no less from Ducati.

I am not trying to sell Ducati machines, however because this is a blog that is dedicated to adventures on a Ducati Diavel, I have to tell you that six months after buying it, I only love it even more.

I am not one of those "look at me" types where I need a machine for validation. I wanted the machine to ride - my style of riding - for shorter jaunts of 0-5 or 6 hours. I'm not going across country packing a suitcase and gear. I ride for the joy of the meld of man and machine. I like to feel the power but I also love the feel of the machine, which handles impeccably. (Ducati reputation)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Hot Dog Run

Log Item: I believe that there are three great eating cities in America - Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco. Whatever else you may think of the cities, the food there is distinctive and very good over all. The only place to get a hot dog in my opinion is Chicago and so it was that the motorcycle wanted a hot dog for lunch. I went with the program, and since it was too distant and too cold to make a Chicago run, I settled for a hot dog from Portillo's in Buena Park (near Knott's Berry Farm).

The weather was perfect for a motorcycle ride. Brisk enough but not cold. Which means that while it wasn't perfect beach weather, it was perfect for a motorcycle ride along the beach, after I fortified myself with a hot dog.

You'll note that I took a bite out of the hot dog before I photographed it. A Chicago dog is a hot dog with mustard, relish, tomatoes and a pickle on a kaiser style hot dog roll. The I eat the green peppers and pickle separately. I don't know why I do that, I just do.

And if you're going to have a hot dog, why not a few onion rings? Why the heck not? You can off-set it with a Diet Coke instead of a regular Coke. Can't you?

Then the run from Buena Park to Long Beach outbound and Pacific Coast Highway back south all the way through Surf City USA (Huntington Beach), Newport Beach and Laguna, up Crown Valley Parkway through Laguna Niguel (or Laguna Nigel...)

All in all, it was a good run for the scooter and burned the better part of a tank of gasoline. I have to forestall global cooling and I think that I did my part today by burning fossil fuel.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Log Item: The She-Devil missed me. The exposure in the photo (right) isn't the best, but that's what she looked like, purring in the driveway after a morning run to shake the cobwebs out of my head.

I have a few take-aways after riding the Harley Davidson on Oahu:
(1) It does drive like old grandpa's tractor,
(2) It's double the weight of the Ducati,
(3) It's slow -- ponderously slow,
(4) HD braking characteristics are dangerously bad when compared to the Ducati.  

When you ride the Diavel in sport mode (full horsepower), it's like riding the air. The Harley D is just a --- tractor. A heavy, ponderous tractor. I hadn't realized how much of an old dog it was compared to the Ducati until I arrived home and jumped on the she-devil for a romp. 

This morning it was underscored once again.  All I can suggest for people who want to buy a Harley Davidson is this: Do not drive the Diavel first. You won't be able to tolerate old grandpa's tractor.

Friday, November 20, 2015

190 Days from Now

Glencrutchery Road
Memo:  A goal unwritten is only a wish.  

There is a bucket list event coming up.

190 Days, 6 hours from now (May 28 through June 10) the TT will begin on the Isle of Man. I was there before (at least a million years ago). Is it time to return? And can I scam some sort of pit slot with one of many Ducati racing entries? During the TT, the price of everything in the Manx homeland is triple or more, so I need to marshal my zloties to see if I can swing the adventure. While it's fine going as a belching tourist, it's always more fun if you can spend some time in the pits.

I'm not presently certain how to make this work the way that I want to, but since I'm actually a part of an official Ducati Factory Riding Club now, there may be a way to worm myself into some sort of interesting position. Politics and cash (the universal lubricant) work... the question is how much lubricant (a possible tax deductible/advertising expense Consulting Services sponsorship for the bike and team). I just called up my partners and am urging them on to greatness for this very outcome that we can all enjoy.

I've (apparently) successfully scammed a trip to Leeds and Edinburgh through my work with IBM and UNT this spring. Karma would seem to be on my side.

It would be another trip that the Diavel would have to sit out  back home in the garage. As utterly COOL as it would be to ride my Diavel at break-neck speeds down that course, I'd likely kill myself, bend the scooter --- or both.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Surf, Sun and Grandpa's Tractor

Log Item (follow up): The beginning of the Hawaiian Pro surf competition at Haleiwa, had been put off because there was no surf. That changed today and so I took grandpa's tractor to visit the sights and sounds and stayed on the beach at Haleiwa until after noon.

Even though it's a big event in the surfing world with $250K to the winner, the Triple Crown of Surfing (Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline and Haleiwa) doesn't draw many people. I've attended several times before. The demographic breaks down this way: Surfers, friends and family of surfers, media types, sponsors, a handful of tourists, adventurers who used to be cool but are now long in the tooth, locals who are hard core surf bums and don't work, and trust fund babies from Europe, who bounce from one international event to another. You see them at auto and motorcycle racing events as well.

When I arrived there may have been a dozen people on the beach in addition to photographers (another dozen or so). When I left at noon, there may have been 250 total along a hundred fifty meters of beach frontage. 

But you want me to get to the bikes, because this is a bike blog. There was just the tractor (seen pictured above, right) until a GSX showed up, dropped something off for somebody and then left. 

Which brings me to the question of why only one lonely hog (the bike, not me) was there. It rained a bit at one point, but it felt good and it always rains on tropical islands -- daily event.

Early in the competition

People arrive in ones-and-twos

Later in the day.
If you want photos of surfers, I had my cell phone, not a long-lens to capture the action way out where they were fighting for scores in moderate surf. The surfers would look like ants.

Somebody else's photo from today.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad that the numbers were few. I'm glad that the tractor didn't have any competition from fast, nimble bikes. 

I'll be back tomorrow as the competition rolls forward for a few hours until the sun bakes my skin into hard leather. But I won't have the tractor. I'll have to make do with a rental Nissan Altima. Maybe by doing that, the Diavel will more readily accept me upon my return one day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Not a Diavel

Log Item:  I'm not sitting on a Diavel.

It's a 2015 Harley Davidson Softail Heritage. The location is Oahu, not far from Dillingham Airport on the northwest shore of the island. 

Q Could you have rented a Ducati?

A Yes, but the speed limit on most of the island is 35 mph. Riding a Harley, 35 is normal. Riding a Ducati, I couldn't get out of second gear.

Q Why aren't you wearing a helmet?

A Because (a) helmet laws suck and (b) there is no helmet law in the Hawaiian Islands. However for those of you who are malignant hectors, I did get a wicked sunburn...and had to buy aloe to fix it.

The leward side of the island was beautiful with perfect weather (temp 82-85). The windward side of the island was very wet and I ended up soaked. I stopped at Mike's Chicken (north of Kaneohe on the main highway) for lunch and dried out before driving back over the hills on the H3 and was really pasted by rain. 

I don't know that I'd keep my Ducati if I moved here because there is not any place to really let the devil have her due (of course, the devil is a woman).

Q What is the difference between riding the Diavel and the Softail Heritage?

A The Diavel runs like a Ferrari. Riding the Softail is much like sitting on grandpa's old tractor. It accelerates like a tractor, it's heavy as a tractor, the gears clunk in to place like a tractor when you shift and it just feels like a tractor.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Catching Up

Log Item: This past weekend I spent Saturday with kids and trick-or-treating related Halloween stuff. Sunday offered a bit of a respite so utilizing the Archimedes solution to an axel bolt with 167 foot pounds (226 Newton Meters)** of torque locking it down to factory specifications, I pulled the mufflers, pulled the tire and tossed it into the back of the truck.

     **Note, Ducati factory specs quote Newtons, not foot pounds

As I get my life ship shape and Bristol Fashion and make all preparations for getting underway. The tire should be replaced tomorrow morning sometime. I'll pick it up in the afternoon on the way home from running around. 

None of this galavanting has anything to do with work. It's all personal life catch-up and button up. Which is bad because I bill for hours and I'm not doing that. It's also good because a number of needful things are being addressed in order.

And yes, I put the tire in the back of the truck without a towel around it, but no, I'm not going to leave it like that. I will keep everything neat and clean. In a way it's good to have the tire off the scooter because I can get in and clean some road grime away from places hard to reach when it's in place. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fits and Starts

Log Item: I was under the weather for a few days and that led to a fall-behind and accumulated work that I had to see to. Mia culpa.

Tire Repair by the numbers:

Pull the pin

The fancy star socket

Breaker bar

And that's as far as I got because I had to stand on the brake while pushing the breaker-bar and it didn't budge. Archimedes 101 "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world." I need to buy a strong 7/8" diameter (1/2" hole) piece of DOM to extend the length of the 18 inch breaker bar to kick the "Jesus nut" that holds the wheel on off the axel. I have a place to go to buy one, but ran out of daylight today mainly because of phone calls, arranging tomorrow's schedule now that I'm "healthy".

The drama continues.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Limping Devil

Log Item: All suited up and ready to roll, I walked out to the garage and noticed that the Diavel's rear tire was flat. Not a tragedy, a flat tire. My plans for the day were shot.

I hadn't given much thought to changing the rear tire, and the owner's manual that Ducati provides gives no hints on the matter...neither does YouTube. Closer inspection revealed that I will need a special socket to pull the rear tire. Are they available -- anywhere? Apparently not. Ducati is reluctant to sell them. They would prefer that I have a flat bed tow truck haul my bike twenty miles to the dealership so that they can do it for me.

While I understand rice bowls and their interest in protecting Ducati's, this one is ridiculous

For the record, I understand that the actual removal of the tire so that it can be patched involves quite a process. I don't plan to do that at home, but simply throwing the bad tire (mounted) in the back of my truck and driving it to the dealer is much easier than flat-bedding it to their shop.

At the moment, I'm frustrated, and will be casting about on the internet for the proper "star socket" so that I can pull the tire.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Bike Wash Photos

Log Item: There was a carnival atmosphere today at the Ducati dealership in Brea, CA, and the Foothill Ducati Owner's Club was there to participate in the bacchanalian atmosphere of free food, horsepower on two wheels and women washing bikes for fun and profit.

The Foothill Ducati Club is officially sanctioned by Ducati (Italy) and has about 55 members based on the latest count. Of the 55, three have Diavels, and mine is the only Devil which is completely flat black.

If you want suds, they give you suds. If you want to pitch in and help the young ladies wash your Ducati, they don't mind.

Getting wet is half the fun, and when the guys get a bit dirty, the solution is to wash them too. You'll notice from the audience in the background, that the bike owners present were almost universally male. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Breakfast on Bikes

Log Item: The Harley types do this (I guess), but we've got a Ducati breakfast bunch thing that is starting. Guys who drive Ducatis on the weekend sort of fell into eating at the same joint because it offers a chance for us to compare, and contrast machines before joining the human race. 

Yes, it's a bit of an 'old bull elephant' get together since it's a weekend thing that we do before we conform back into pleasing people other than ourselves, but it's fun. 

It really doesn't matter where you work. If you ride the same machine, there is something to talk about. 

Log Item: Ducati is launching its new bikes. Never fear, I'm locked at the hip to the Devil/Diavel. But this is the shape of things to come.

Ducati Viper Concept

Four Cylinder Ducati Panigale scheduled for 2017

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Muffler Dragging Ducati

Ducati Streetfighter
I thought of taking photos of the Foothill Ducati Club meet/greet tonight, but it took place at an outside patio on a restaurant at night and the bikes weren't parked in the light. Suffice to say there were about twenty people with the age demographic surprisingly between 35 and 55, so I didn't stand out as old. The weather was too warm for leathers and nobody wore them, which speaks to age and wisdom trumping the need to look "cool". It's a sanctioned Ducati Factory Club. I'm not sure precisely what that means except that I'll get free Ducati swag for joining.

There were Streetfighters (848cc), vintage Ducati 1000's and even a couple of unlicensed (street illegal) track bikes showed up. There are three Diavel owners in the group. Mine is the only totally flat black Ducati Diavel.  There was interest on the part of a few people in buying a Diavel for themselves and they checked out what I did. All of them wanted to ride two-up (with a passenger) and the Diavel lends itself to that better than the other Ducatis.

After dinner a few people broke off into smaller run groups. There is a limited amount of muffler dragging that can be done at night without coming to a bad end quickly.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Grand Prix 2016

I am not a club joining kind of guy, but I did join the Foothill Ducati Owner's Group.

I've been riding but not doing much with this blog because -- I've been riding. 

The Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas is coming up in Austin, TX April 2016 and the club is going. Since I have to be in Dallas the last week of March, I may stay on for the race because Ducati has a big showing there and I was invited due to my membership in the Ducati-sanctioned club. I'm trying to balance the benefit of buying a Ducati ticket (which entitles you to "free" swag, etc.) with just showing up. Nothing about Ducati is free or even cheap.

There are not a lot of women who ride Ducatis - it's a sausage fest. Thus the Ducati clubs are made up of mainly smaller guys who like to wear leather. I don't like to wear leather all that much, and clearly, not when it's hot. These guys LIKE leather at any temperature. Yeah. We will see how long the membership lasts. I'm going to my first meeting this coming week and will report.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Surfin Devil

Log Item: I sat at my desk and needed to do some work but the cobwebs kept me from being creatively brilliant (which is why they pay me). Solution: Road Trip! More particularly, a run along the coast between Newport Beach and Long Beach. The weather was perfect, the traffic was light and the breeze refreshed.

Along the way I decided that I needed a shave and a haircut.  There is a barber who has an open-air shop right above the surf line and offers a straight-edge razor cut, which is to my preference. There is nothing better than a full service hair cut in Korea. However one must make do with what is available and this is not bad. Chair massage, shampoo, haircut, hot towel, soap up, shave, followed by a walk to a joint that serves killer tacos. 

While I ate tacos and drank a Diet Coke, some of the locals hung around the Diavel, which is not uncommon. I'm more accustomed to it now than I was when I bought it. The front brakes seemed to be one of the points of focus.

Now, I'm back at my desk, ready to apply the genius unleashed by the Devil...and the surf.