My torrid love affair started on a Sunday in early February 2007. A drop-dead beauty in a gorgeous red dress and the model sitting on it was not flawed either. After only 30 seconds of sitting in the saddle, I knew I do anything to own that immaculate machine. The next morning, I headed to the local motorcycle dealer to place a deposit on a 2007 Ducati 1098. Much to my dismay, they had sold out of all 23 units they were slatted to get for that year. Imagine the most beautiful girl in school saying she will go out with you "for real" and your parents telling you NO; that is not even close to how discouraged I felt. One small glimmer of hope still lingered as the salesman told me, some people have big dreams, much bigger than their finances can support, and usually a few potential buyers back out; I was number three on the alternates list. Many months went by with a disturbing number of visits to the motorcycle dealer to check my status. Through an entire riding season up here in MN, I waited and kept riding my faithful 05'FJR until one day in September, and I just happened to stop in on the way home from work. The salesman and fellow motorcycle instructor had a quirky smile on his face. He said the demand was so great for the bike that Ducati decided to send out some 08' early releases, and I was number three on the list! A few weeks later, I got the call; the miracle was about to happen. I was overwhelmed with joy for a few moments; then reality hit, I had not told my wife about my imminent purchase. We had always talked about finances, so I did not think it would be wise to make such a significant purchase without talking to her first. I nervously sat her down and said, "I have to tell you something." She immediately looked concerned and thought something terrible had happened. I told her how I became involved with the eventual ownership of this bike but did not want to make the final commitment without her blessing. "A motorcycle, she said? I thought you were going to tell me you found a new woman." Little did she know she was closer to the truth than she realized.
I had never ridden a Ducati, but after owning several sportbikes over the years, I figured it could not be much different; boy was I wrong. The bike was tight and precise; it did not pull away like the Honda's, Yamaha's, or Suzuki's, but once it was rolling, WOW, what a sensational feeling. But even more impressive was that sound, that glorious sound coming from this sleek little red machine; I was absolutely in heaven. I even adorned it with a custom license plate, something I had never done before but wanted to do at some point in my life (bucket list). Nick Ienatsch, for those who remember Sport Rider and Motorcyclist magazine, you know those pretty, colorful books we would get in the mail every month? Well, Nick made the statement that the Ducati 1098 was just a dead-sexy bike, and I could not agree more. So, I went to the DMV to fill out the paperwork for my new custom license plate 'DEDSXY' A month later, it arrived, and my new girlfriend had a name, and I had a nickname that stuck with me for over a decade (not the worse I've been called in my life). In the Spring of 08', I installed the carbon fiber Termignoni exhaust(DB killers removed) and finally had the bike of my dreams. My wife said she could hear me from more than a 1/4 mile away, and the neighbors were not too keen on me returning from work late at night. Everywhere I went, people commented on how beautiful my bike was, like walking around with Miss America on my arm everywhere I went. Even my wife was jealous of my love affair with this bike, saying, "you spend more time with that bike than you do me sometimes."
I treated this bike with every bit of love and affection a person can give an inanimate object, but affairs such as this are not meant to last. After 33K nearly flawless miles, another man stepped in and ruined my perfect relationship. A poorly performed 3rd service saw this bike reduced to a giant red paperweight that would not idle or run correctly. After three months of arguing, bargaining, begging, and tireless searching for answers, I decided to part ways with the bike I so desperately wanted to keep. No amount of money seemed to fix whatever problem eluded more than a dozen mechanics and Ducati themselves. The final straw was a quote from the shoddy mechanic who performed the service. He stated, "well, that is part of owning a Ducati, part of the character." I was asking myself, how can a bike go from 33K trouble-free miles to a piece of junk in 2 days? Either way, I was done. Infatuation has a way of blinding us from reality, even when it is punching us right in the face. Once it started spending more time with my wallet than with me, then it was over.
I like to remember all the good times I had with the bike and how it made me feel each time I rode it. No matter how bad the day was when I walked out to the parking lot and saw that bike sitting there, I would think to myself, wow, I get to ride that home. For me, the Ducati has been the only bike where I felt like "I" was part of the bike. Once I sat on it, my brain was directly connected, and anything I thought, the motorcycle would instinctively do. I have never found another bike that has made me feel the same, whether admiring it parked at the local coffee shop or riding with zest through the twisty back roads. I have had fleeting thoughts of getting involved with the red temptress again. Now I only see it as a hyperfocused machine that, even with the best love and attention, will someday rear its ugly unfaithful head, leaving me feeling even more dejected than the first time.
Here is our wedding photo from happier times. Yes, I truly loved that bike(emotionally, not physically).