JOY: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
(11 February 2016)
In Afrikaans we have the word ‘GELUK’, but here in SA it goes hand in hand with winning a rugby game; having a beer in hand; or throwing a piece of raw meat over an open fire.
My JOY was being sent to – the land of JOY! Barcelona for one day.
I was shipped to the launch of the new Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 motorcycle. Maybe if I took a ship I would have gotten there faster. Two days travel there, two days back. I promise you – the seat of a bike never looked so comfortable before.
The Sixty2 is a brand all by itself. It is marketed as the best toy any youngster could dream of. I could sit here writing a full report on the bike. Using all my quota of words, giving you Nm’s, frame composition and bore x stroke specs, but that would just bore (not stroke) you.
There really ain’t that much to say about this bike. Ducati aimed for simplicity and they scored full points.
There were a lot of chickens at this launch and we immediately clucked… I mean… clicked!
I asked Gherardo (Gerrie, as he was later called with an excessive Afrikaans rrrrolling of the R), what the rules were seeing as this was the biggest attendance of ladies at a launch up to date. There was a quick flash of a frown on his forehead (as if he knew this was a trick question), but he silly-headedly noted that there were NO rules. I just smiled and mumbled that he needn’t worry – I would find a rule!
That evening we were taken to a presentation of the bike, focusing on the lifestyle and the noddy-badge you’d receive in your goodie bag the day you buy one of these machines. They told us the history of the brand, the basics of the bike and the wardrobe that short tails the financing of the bike.
Being a 399cc, this must be one of the smallest production bikes Ducati has ever manufactured. And the girls confirmed it unanimously – SIZE DOES NOT MATTER!
Myself (South African), Aileen (German), Tina (Slovenian) and Jess (Belgium) managed to communicate (mostly in sign language) in a heavily accented second language – ENGLISH. Can this planet just pick a language and stick with it? Luckily the diff grease flowing through our veins bonded even our silly parts.
The 24 journos got split into 3 groups; each one got their own ‘pampoen’ for the day.
The mission was to tick off as many RED traffic lights as possible. We took a road through city centre, weaving through traffic and ‘mostly’ avoiding pedestrians (hey Bart?).
The first piece of un-vehicle-d straightish road had me on the seat - literally.
Never mind that the tyres were still cold, those Pirelli’s bit down hard on the bitumen. The MT 60 tires give the idea that the bike will go anywhere under any weather conditions, but they are clearly street focused.
We stopped at a round-about to give everybody a chance to see how low they could go…
…while the rest of us stood on the sidewalk cheering on the other journos.
This is NOT one of the Scrambler t-shirts…
Aviad (Israel) and I decided to hang back, sweeping the rear of the group. After a few failed attempts, I finally got the nose in the air.
As the group started pulling out heading to the next stop, I grabbed a handful of front break and dropped the clutch. I was convinced that Beppe (our group leader) was far enough down the road not to notice me burning a black hole in the sidewalk, when all of a sudden I felt an urgent tap on my shoulder… SUCCESS! I finally found the one rule of the ride – NO BURN OUTS!
We then stopped at a skateboard/surf shop for our next challenge – assembling a skateboard as quickly as possible. Even on a brand new Ducati, having a back-up vehicle is never a bad idea.
The four wheeled skate-plank was our intro to the next stop – a skate park! BTW – the Sixty2 has a skateboard bracket, I poefy you not!
Myself, being used to bigger bikes (cause here in SA if you don’t at least own a 1200 you are considered a scooter rider), the Sixty2 was lacking in some quick and feisty moves. Bart (Polish handsome man below) stalled the bike probably 50 times during the day. He kept on over rolling the throttle and struggled with clutch control. Though the Sixty2 stuck to its guns (albeit only a pellet gun) and never chucked Bart into the bushes, under the bus or over any tourists. Bart is the perfect target market for the Scrambler team. *nudge-nudge-wink-wink*
I did ask if I could drop the Scrambler into the skate pit and take it for a few laps. But yet again I got a frown from one of the organizers while he shook his head. I’m still not sure if it was a ‘no’ or a shake in disbelieve?
We also experienced the hot blooded (almost bloody) tempers of the Spanish folk. While we were posing for photos, the BMX stunt rider was getting lots of voyager-miles behind us. But one of the other laaities’ dad got a seized bearing in his bonnet. I don’t know any Spanish, but I can confirm that by the volume with which the words came out of his mouth – he was not a happy daddy.
Next moment there was a police car to investigate the ‘onluste’, so we decided to duck out of there – maybe not FAST, but we escaped with our lives!
The Ducati marketing team took a few days off work, which gave us the opportunity to put together the new posters. Though most of us can ride a bike on a narrow strip of tar, we’re still struggle to colour in between the lines.
Call me Picasso!
For our last activity we headed up a mountain behind the city. We stopped at a look-out point next to the road and gave our Sixty2’s a romantic late afternoon view of Barcelona.
Aviad sneaked up next to me and softly whispered, “Now is the time… that the two of us want to be IN FRONT!”
The next piece of road was going to be a tighter, faster, narrower version of the 22 (a road in SA famous for its sharp corners). It was time to test the agility of these pop icons! Beppe leaded the pack out onto the ‘track’, and Aviad and myself jumped the queue to go smell the leader’s fumes.
Beppe still requested that we all keep our following distances, but the problem was that if you rolled off the throttle you would never be able to catch up to the leader again. So, we kept it full taps and if we could have gotten any closer to Beppe, we would have kept his taps full as well.
After our 3 ounces of adrenaline rush, we all headed back into the city again. Back to the break and grind of red traffic lights. This I can confirm… the bike has damn good breaks! Though you cannot switch off the ABS, therefor no break-slides :-(
This bike is so super cool, even helmet-hair has a new swing to it after a day’s riding.
We ended the day with a roof-top party, gulping down a tequila and watching the French lady kick ass in foozeball!!!
The Sixty2 is…
It’s real easy to ride
It’s affordable (considering the price of bikes these days)
It’s an I’m-just-the-coolest-dude-alive bike version of a ‘bromponie’
It is NOT intimidating
I’m sure I can even teach my grandmother to ride it – AND SHE WILL LIKE IT!
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Hanging out with the cool kids!