The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. We roll into Norway and right into Oslo. Meeting up with our riding friend Bjorn, we find thousand year old Viking ships and artifacts, visit with some people preserved in metal and stone, ending up checking out light rail vehicles.
You can ride along with us by CLICKING HERE or cutting and pasting the below link into your web browser:
We hope you come along for the ride!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time we are treated like royalty by Polish Ducatisti, watch hundreds of runners take over the streets, order dinner from wooden menus and feel the fall of the Soviet Union in Lithuania. If you would like to join us, click HERE or copy and paste the below link into your web browser:
We hope you decide to come along.
We Attend Class At The Historic Le Mans Circuit Lesarth (24 Hours Of Le Mans) And Hang Out With Chickens
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time, we head out to the historic and famous Le Mans Circuit and check out the museum there. Some amazing history with great exhibits from racing over the years. If you like racing (and even if you don’t) you won’t want to miss this episode. To see what we saw, click HERE.
If this link doesn’t work, cut and paste the below in to your web browser:
We hope you enjoy!!!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble takes us further east across France with a visit to the famous Mont Saint Michel. An amazing Middle Ages Fortress and Monastery, it was attacked many times in history, but never taken. We walk through and find “interesting” things inside.
If you’d like to visit, click HERE.
If the link doesn’t work, cut and paste the below link into your web browser:
We hope you enjoy!
The latest entry of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. For us it was an emotional day on the beaches of Normandy, France. You can read and see what happened by clicking HERE: or cut and paste the below link into your browser.
The next segment of our Planet Ramble has just been published. This time, we ride to Montreal Canada to drop off the bikes for shipment to Europe. We eventually get there and pick up the bikes. You can catch up by clicking HERE or by copying and pasting the below link into your browser.
We hope you enjoy. There’s much, much to come soon.
We’re getting excited to start Phase 2 of our Planet Ramble. Last year we rode across North America from Vermont, USA to Alaska, USA. For Phase 2 will we be shipping our bikes (both Ducati Scramblers) to London to start a large clockwise circular route. Although subject to change depending what we find and see along the way, we should be traveling through England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and France. We’ll return to England and fly back to the USA.
We will be storing the bikes in England until March, 2018 when we’ll return to London and complete counter-clockwise journey through Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Once leaving southern Morocco, we will head north and once back into Europe, head east, ultimately spending some time in Italy, before returning ourselves and bikes to London for return to the US. This part of the journey is exciting and we’ll be posting about what we’ve seen and done as we travel.
Once again, we will have a satellite tracking capability so you can see us in real time as we travel. We’ll post link and additional info soon.
Can a Ducati Scrambler be made into a comfortable light duty (i.e. pavement and maintained dirt/gravel roads) adventure bike good for longer trips and gravel roads? I had been asking myself that question for quite some time and have finally decided to investigate for myself. Those of you that follow us know that Kim and me just finished a trip from our home in Vermont to Eagle River, Alaska. We rode mostly on paved roads, although we did travel on some forest fire roads and unimproved roads. Kim’s Suzuki DR-650 performed admirably and carried her to Alaska easily. However, the DR is a fairly low powered thumper and riding it for long distances became somewhat of a tiresome experience for Kim. She said that although the bike did everything she asked and had a relatively lightweight feel, she felt under powered on those 75 MPH stretches of two lane roads common in the western US. Passing was more difficult that she desired, especially since I was traveling on a KTM 990 Adventure twin cylinder machine. She also wished that the bike was not a single because the thump, thump, thump of the single was tiring over time.
So I set about looking for a machine that was relatively small and light that we could turn into a light duty adventure bike. Since Kim is only about 5′ 3″ the bike could not be too high, nor could it be too heavy. She really wanted to get away from a single cylinder machine and frankly I don’t blame her. She never said a word during our over 7,500 mile trip to Alaska, but I had to ask myself, whether I would have enjoyed riding a single for that long a distance. My answer would be no, so I really shouldn’t expect her to feel any different. As I looked around the market, there really wasn’t much out there that fit Kim’s want list. She had already been on a V-Strom and felt it was too big and heavy. She had also ridden the BMW F650GS (twin) and F800GS extensively in Europe and South America, but she didn’t really like them because of their relative size and ride height. If she were to like a new machine, it would have to be about the size of her current Suzuki DR-650.
One of the few alternatives was the Ducati Scrambler. It’s a twin of approximately 800ccs and is actually very small in stature. Scramblers were created for dual sport, so if Ducati at least considered dual sporting, perhaps we could make this new Ducati into a light duty adventure bike. After doing some significant searching I found a number of bolt on parts that could potentially give her the utility of an ADV bike. So maybe, just maybe, we could adapt a Ducati Scrambler for ADV touring.
After a test ride and a bit of deliberation, we have taken the plunge. Kim is now the proud owner of a 2016 Ducati Scrambler Icon. The Icon is the base model of the Scrambler line and that suits us just fine. We’ve seen and tried Ducati’s own ADV parts and they fall far short of what we will need for our purposes. I’ve identified a number of parts that we are going to try and we’ll report on how well the fit our mission. So stay tuned for more updates as we attempt to convert a base Ducati Icon into an ADV machine Kim can love.
Just to entice you, here are a few pics of Kim’s soon to be converted Ducati Scrambler Icon which we will test out on a tour of the Canadian Maritime Provinces in early September.
Forced marriages? What does the topic of forced marriages have to do with motorcycling or adventure riding? Have they lost their minds over there at R2ADV? Not really, for the most part. But what brings this topic to mind is the recent purchase of motorcycle manufacturer Ducati by automobile manufacturer, Volkswagen, AG through their division Audi for a reported $1.13 billion USD. Many financial analysts have questioned the purchase as making no business sense, saying that there is no concrete business case for the purchase.
So why would Volkswagen/Audi (let’s just call them Audi for now on) a German automobile manufacturer known for precision engineering, spartan, efficient, and practical transportation want to purchase Ducati, an Italian, motorcycle company known for beautiful design (sometimes at the expense of functionality), passion and racing prowess? Can the two heritages be aligned and successfully combined into one big happy family in this apparent shotgun marriage?
Well the conjecture is that Audi wanted a trophy in its cabinet and its purchase of Ducati certainly represents a big shiny one. Huge racing heritage, cutting edge styling and maker of perhaps the most iconic motorcycle ever to be manufactured, the Ducati 916. In addition, prior to the purchase, Ducati had been recently leveraging its racing heritage and begun moving and promoting its brand image to and even wider audience.
With the introduction of the Streetfighter, Hypermotard, Multistrada (version 2) and most recently the Diavel, Ducati had moved from a racing company to a full market motorcycle company. But, and this is a big but, styling has always been a HUGE priority with Ducati even over cost, functionality and dare it be said, winning races.
But the question remains, how will Audi reconcile this styling priority with its engineering practicality philosophy? Can/will Audi listen to the Italians when they say but this design is beautiful, you shouldn’t change it? Will process and engineering controls overwhelm passion and styling at the new Ducati?
This brings me to question what the new Audi/Ducati might do to their adventure bike; the Multistrada. Ducati, so fixated on performance, installed the engine from their world class superbike, tuned for torque, and fit it between excellent suspension. Based on all this power, suspension adjustability and perhaps styling, Ducati decided to mount a solid cast 17 inch front wheel. This is not an optimal wheel for off roading, but it certainly looks swoopier and handles better on pavement and at high speeds. Ducati just could not force themselves to fit a 21 inch front spoked wheel which probably couldn’t handle the projected power of the Multistrada, nor does it look especially nice. Especially limiting is he fact that no tire manufacturer made a “knobby” tire in 17 inch rim sizes. In fact, Ducati had a tire made by Pirelli especially for the Multistrada that they hoped would fit the adventure mission.
It was not a hit with the off road community. In fact, it was the reason I sold my Multistrada. It just really didn’t want to be an off road bike. It was an awesome machine on the pavement, but anything more than wide gravel roads were a chore for the bike. I should have known that from the start with the 17 inch front wheel.
So what will the new Audi/Ducati do? Will the new company use the Audi approach and fit the engineer’s choice 21 inch front wheel or stay with the 17 inch wheel. Recently, Continental Tire came up with a true “knobby” for the 17 inch rim so now the Multistrada has a knobby tire available. They are “low profile” knobs, but they are knobs. Will that be enough, or will the new Audi/Ducati start anew with a new design and a fresh sheet of paper, throwing away the Italian legacy?
Interesting question eh? I did find that Wunderlich, a german motorcycle accessory and tuning company had been working with Continental and developed this machine based on the BMW S1000RR. (picture from Motorcycle USA)
It’s an interesting looking machine to say the least. Wunderlich has no relationship with Audi that I am aware of, but does this impart an idea of German thinking? Such a comparison is pure conjecture, but it’s interesting to think about.
Well the jury is not only out, it’s yet to be selected. But once selected, it will be interesting to see whether this forced marriage betweenVolkswagen/Audi and Ducati is given the thumbs up of survival or the thumbs down of business failure.