Sunday 13th July
Today was the first day to get acquainted with my bike for the week, a 2014 Ducati Diavel Carbon. I’d never ridden the Diavel before and to be honest it wasn’t something that I would personally chose although I must admit that the design has grown on me over the last couple of years. The bike itself looked pretty smart with a white trellis frame and the black wheels with chrome accents made it look mean!
We started off the day on a steady pace along the motorway, divided into 3 groups of roughly 20 bikes in each, and this gave me a chance to get used to the ride on some easy roads. My first impressions were that the large beast you saw in front of you soon disappears when you’re sat on it. There’s no expanse of tank in front and it doesn’t feel that wide either. The bars are in a comfy position but for me at just a smidge under 6 feet tall, I found that the seat was way too low to be comfortable and took some getting used to.
The bike was in “Urban” mode by default, which was the low-power (100 PS) with the traction control wound up, but this felt a bit sluggish so I soon figured out how to change this using the switches on the bars and put it into “Touring” mode that gave me the high-power (162 PS) setting but with a “friendly” power/torque curve and still with some of the traction control wound on. It instantly felt better and more responsive, and cracking the throttle made the bike shoot forward at a fairly rapid pace.
We soon left the motorway and started taking some better roads, more fast sweepers than tight twisty roads and these suited the Diavel fine. The scenery in Austria was stunning as we’re not used to mountains in Essex, so to be honest the bike sat underneath me doing its thing while I took in the view and I didn’t really give it any thought, except for the odd leg stretch or shuffle to ease the cramped riding position on my hips.
After stopping for a decent lunch we then continued on the sweeping mountain roads to Linz with some real chocolate-box scenery along the way, including seeing the ski runs in the mountains, stationary as it was all green grass rather than covered with snow.
We stopped off at a hotel in Linz and had a fantastic dinner and evening of entertainment organised by Ducati Club Linz to welcome us to Austria!
Distance today: 320km
Sunday 13th July