How I Rode 100,000 Miles on a Ducati Monster

Looking back it’s crazy. 100k on a naked motorcycle? Who does that and how?

The who in this case is easy, I did it.

The how is maybe a bit more complicated. It breaks down into two parts, how I managed to put that many miles on what isn’t an ideal machine for distance, and how/where those miles got ridden.

Of course many motorcyclists know that the biggest secret to riding a lot, is loving to ride and being able to put up with a little discomfort. The other part of riding a lot is making that discomfort stay little. Which makes the real star of all my miles ridden the Sergeant Seat, which I got shortly after the first time I rode a long trip on the stock seat.  The one other thing is the handle bar risers, getting the riding position just a little more upright. Between those two and I was fine on the bike all day long. The rest as they say is history.

So 105,000 miles, where did they all come from?

This is the current Dash, taken on Monday. The original dash died at 38k. Together that’s a lot of miles.

I’ll start with some basic math. Minus the 2 years lost to riding the BMW means I rode the FrankenMonster eight years, which means about 13,000 miles a year. Most of those miles were commuting to work, and while that sounds pretty boring, we all know that riding a motorcycle is never boring. My commute is also pretty good. Highway 280 is known as the most beautiful freeway in the world. I’m not sure about that, but it is really nice for a freeway. The scenic nature of the Freeway does make my commute more tolerable. For most of the eight years on the Monster it was a 54 mile round trip. Which would be more than 13k a year if I rode to work everyday. Luckily I do have five weeks of vacation of year and sometimes I was weak and I would drive to work (especially if I was sick or it was pouring rain).

While commuting was most of the miles, I also did a lot of touring on the bike. Some just a couple of days, while others were longer. I rode to Portland three times, down to LA at least three or four times, plus several other long trips to nowhere and back just as long as there were good roads between here and there.

So while commuting was the bread and butter of my miles, the rest of them where going places and seeing amazing things. I’ve seen more of California in the last 10 years than I would have thought possible.

The bike held up pretty well mechanically, we did have an issue with the stator, and then the TPS sensor dying on me.  I did replace the engine when the clutch started slipping at about 75,000 miles. Mainly because I wanted longer service intervals and some more grunt. That ended too soon when my chain master link came apart and cracked the case. That’s when it really became the Franken Monster.

Now though it’s moved on. It’s with a new rider who loves it nearly as much as I did. He’s already put another 5,000 miles on it and has hopes of doing even more


Posted in Ducati, Ducati Monster 620, ducati monster 695, FrankenMonster 695, Life, Motocycling, motorcycle, Motorcycles, Riding | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

More Spring Trip Pictures

I took a fair amount of pictures on the trip, I’m not sure these made it into other posts, but I’m too lazy to check. Here are some very late photos of the 2017 Spring Trip.

It was so damn wet, the poor motorcycles…

We had four Ducatis and one Suzuki, guess which one rated the cover?

It was pretty muddy.

Steak dinner was so good!

Sadly you can’t really fit five motorcycles in one parking space.

The wife and I split off from the rest of the guys to get her home sooner. They make a good couple don’t you think?

Almost home!

Posted in Ducati, Life, Motorcycles, Photos | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Three Riding Modes on the Ducati Hyperstrada

The Hyperstrada is a modern motorcycle. Digital Dash, Ride by Wire, ABS brakes, Traction control and a Choice of Engine Maps are all part of your average motorcycle these days. All of which I’m reasonably happy with. I’ve spoken at length in the past on how important I think ABS is, so I won’t waste anymore words now on that. I do want to talk about the riding modes (engine maps) that my Ducati Hyperstrada comes with.

Ducati names them on the bike Urban, Touring and Sport. In my head I have different names for them. I think of them as Rain, Normal and Speeding Tickets.

Urban (Rain) is pretty much just good for riding in the rain. I did use it for almost the first 100 miles I rode the bike, but the reduced power and throttle response is a bit annoying once you’re used to what the bike can normally do. Which means since then I’ve spent nearly all of my time riding in the dry in Normal.

Touring (Normal) is all the power, with a softer throttle response, it’s great. Fast enough for anyone whose never had more than 75 Horsepower available before. I’ve done thousands of miles in Touring mode with a grin on my face.

Sport Mode (Speeding Tickets) hasn’t been used much. I did buy the motorcycle in November, right before California had the wettest winter since I started riding a motorcycle. Leaving me limited opportunities to test out the mode that had “abrupt” throttle response compared to the other riding modes. Giving you all the power your traction can handle, or more if you decided to turn off the already lowered setting of traction control. However, last weekend on the way home from getting my oil changed I accidently ended up in the menu for selecting riding mode options, and I decided what the hell, it’s dry let’s see what this sport thing is really about.

Holy Crap.

It’s… SO.  MUCH.  FUN.

I thought the bike did a decent 0-stupid fast in touring mode. It now does it faster. Which is why in a rare moment in between whoops of joy in my helmet I decided to name it Speeding Ticket. So maybe, just maybe I’ll remember to take it easy, and in the process keep my license.

Posted in Ducati, Hyperstrada, Life, Motocycling, Motorcycles, Riding | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Inflammatory Headlines

How does lane-splitting out weigh riding with out a helmet as cause of death?

I don’t even know where to start.

I am beyond upset with this publication for using an anti-motorcycling headline.

Instead of drawing attention to the things that actually were most likely the cause of death they instead use Lane Splitting as the headline, a practice that has been proven to be safer for motorcyclists.  (Here’s a link to the paper on the study) Using this headline it makes it sound as if land splitting is the reason he died. Nevermind that alcohol has been linked to something like 40% of single vehicle motorcycle fatalities.  Or the fact that not wearing a helmet makes it much more likely to die from serious head trauma.

Instead the whole article discusses how lane splitting is a legal grey area, which as far as I know legislators are working on to improve.

Which makes it seem very anti motorcycling. Instead of blaming the cause of death on things that make motorcycling dangerous, it instead makes the headline something that keeps us safer.

Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble, I’m really upset but wanted to post something about it before it was old news.

If you’d like to complain to them

Posted in Life, Motocycling, Riding | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Rest in Peace: Nicky Hayden

As a Motorcyclist I realize there is a certain amount of danger in what I do. I try to reduce it as much as I can, but it’s always there. I’m sure that the brave and extremely talented people who race motorcycles are the same, they know the risks. Every race weekend they know what they are doing is dangerous, but it’s just a part of who they are.  The dangers of riding on a motorcycle at extreme speeds is something a motorcycle racer just accepts, and if the worst should happen, we know that they died doing something they loved.

Which leaves me in a weird place with Nicky Hayden’s untimely passing. He died on a bicycle training to keep in shape for racing. Dying while doing a comparatively mundane and everyday thing strangely makes it even more tragic and sad. It seems unfair to me.

I’ve always been fond of Nicky, and I’m sad that I didn’t follow racing when he was winning the MotoGP world championship in 2006. I was really hoping that his move to world superbikes was going to lead to another world championship for him, but sadly we’ll never know.

I offer my condolences to all his other fans. I hope his family and friends take some comfort from knowing that he was respected and loved by his fans, and his memory will live on.



Posted in Life, Motocycling | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Brotherhood of Motorcyclists?

A few weeks ago I was side swiped by a reckless rider. He was riding in the shoulder or lane splitting at such high speeds that I didn’t see him when I checked my mirrors a few seconds before we collided.

I was too busy not crashing to realize what happened right away, but I quickly realized that the black shape that flew past my face was my left mirror. Unfortunately by the time I put it together the other motorcyclist was speeding away. Initially I was glad he wasn’t hurt, and that neither of us had crashed in heavy traffic, however he just broke my motorcycle and took off…

Not very brotherly. At first I just assumed that he didn’t know what he’d done and I thought that maybe if I caught up and honked at him and flashed my lights he might pull over.


He just sped up, now lane splitting past nearly stopped traffic at near or above the posted speed limit. I really wanted get my mirror paid for, but not at the risk of my life. I slowed down and let him go, he was riding the bike like he stole it, which who knows maybe that’s what was going on.

So I’m replacing my left mirror for the second time in six months. Let’s hope it’s the last time.

Overall I was pretty disappointed in this guy, it’s one thing to be taken out by those idiots texting and driving, but it is especially sad to be hurt and have my bike broken by someone who should have known better and was “one of my own”. I know it is silly to think that this guy would give more of a crap about me just because of the way we like to get from point A to point B. I’m just another face in the masses to him.

Hell, he probably doesn’t wave to other motorcyclists either.

Posted in Ducati, Hyperstrada, Life, Motocycling, Motorcycles, Riding | Tagged , | 1 Comment

A Big Announcement

I’m not sure where this blog will be as I prepare to embark on another amazing adventure with my wife. I’m hoping I will continue to share my (perhaps limited) motorcycle adventures with you all.
However in October there are big changes for me.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments