Regret the Second: Selling my ’08 Ducati Multistrada 1100S

I’ve bought and sold a lot of bikes. Too many, some would say. Maybe so, maybe not, but when you buy and sell enough bikes, you can spot the steals.

This ’08 Multi was one such bike. Some of you might not recall the ’08 financial crisis. It came close to being America’s Great Depression 2.0. If the government had not stuck its thumb in the eye of capitalist orthodoxy and temporarily nationalized America’s biggest banks, we would still be lining up to eat lunch at government soup kitchens instead of our favorite biker bar.

The government did, eventually, return those banks to stockholders, thank goodness. But yeah, shut up about the government interfering with free markets, will ya? Sometimes it actually rescues free markets.

Needless to say, around 2010, brand new ’08 motorcycles were relatively easy to find on showroom floors. And dealers wanted them gone. When I walked into my local Harley Davidson dealer in Colorado Springs, this shiny new S was sitting there, winking at me.

My first reaction was that it sure was odd looking, Pierre Tremblanche or no Pierre Tremblanche. Plenty of journalists thought the same thing.

Pic courtesy of TopSpeed

And yet, the more I looked at it, the more I was drawn to it. And little by little I realized that the design is inspired. Sure, it’s challenging at first, but then it flows. It surprises you. And it fits how the bike rides.

Oddly enough, many years later, I bought a BMW S1000XR, my favorite bike in a very long time, and it has dimensions eerily similar to those of the 1100S:

When I realized the ’08 was brand new and that the dealer was very anxious to get rid of it, I stole it. Then I rode it all over the Colorado front range. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was too busy having fun.

I don’t actually remember what made me sell it. Probably the same angst that made Shel Siverstein write and Johnny Cash perform A Boy Named Sue.

Some girl’d giggle and I’d turn red. Some guy’d laugh and I’d bust his head.

That was Dear Old Dad’s favorite song. Social media spreads such a strong sense of prosperity in American that it’s easy to forget that not so long ago life was hard around these parts. Real hard. And it’s still hard for a lot of us. The trauma of that hardship still gets passed down from generation to generation, so much so that we sometimes confuse it for our national character. It ain’t our national character. It’s just shame of who we are and what we love, passed down from one generation to another.

Anyway, after another year of grinding away at a soul-sucking job, or maybe after getting yet another performance review that included phrases like “egregious offenses” and “doesn’t follow direction,” I suppose I arrived at the conclusion that I wasn’t cool enough to hold up such an odd-looking bike. I probably bought something that made me feel cool, made me feel like I had a soul again.

Too bad, because the 1100S was one helluva bike. It was light. It was nimble. It had character. It was comfortable. And I loved to look at it. Just plain loved looking at it.

Years later, Cycleworld agreed with me. Comparing it to the newer Multistrada, they said:

Handling on this 13-year old Ducati is a revelation.

By turning its gaze further afield, by adding more tech, more performance, and more capability in its journey from Multistrada to Molto-Multistrada, did Ducati abandon what made the original recipe such a delicacy?

A delicacy indeed. I’m no fan of the 1200 Multi. I tried real hard to get used to the design, but have always hated it. No matter how much lipstick they put on that beak, it’s just plain wrong.

Pic courtesy of CycleWorld

And the 1200 engine kinda leaves me … I dunno … dissatisfied. CycleWorld again:

As excellent as the engine is, the V4 lacks presence compared to the Multi 1100′s desmodue. When cruising at 60 mph, turning 4,000 rpm in top gear, the engine all but vanishes from thought. The desmodue makes an impression that never quite leaves the consciousness, being so visceral and engaging that the experience of using it stays with the rider long after hitting the kill switch.

So yeah, whether by caring too much what others said about me, or by burying my real self beneath the responsibilities of the job, I wound up doubting my own preferences, doubting my own good taste, doubting my true self, and I sold a special motorcycle I should have kept.

It was not the first time I did that, and it would not not be the last.

– Rick

Springer in the Moonlight



The ride home from Palmer Lake normally takes 20 minutes, but at night I slow down so I can dodge the deer who like to play Spook The Biker along that stretch of 105.  That’s a perfect road for a Softail, and at 45 mph the ride lasts even longer.  The moon was out tonight, lighting up the edges of the clouds.  I’m scared of the dark.  Less so outside than inside.  But when the moon is out I am comforted by something that feels like the mother energy of goddesses.


Photo courtesy of

I’ve ridden Route 50 across Utah and Nevada a few times.  It’s always best on an FX Softail such as a Deuce, Night Train, Standard, Custom, or Springer.  I wish Harley would go back to designing elemental motorcycles like the FX Softails instead of putting all its energy into making its baggers more and more like cars.

I’ve traded my FX Softails for baggers so often I’ve come close to despair.  I always go back.  I love riding the FX Softails so much I want to ride them more.  So I trade them for baggers, which let you ride farther and longer.  But baggers are different.  Even the Road King, a Bagger Lite, is different.  The difference is subtle, but it’s important to me.

I’ve got an 05 Springer, now.  Instead of forcing it to do 600-700 mile days, I’m going to try something new.  I’m going to imagine being satisfied with 300 or even 200 miles days.  Ride the two lanes, not the highways.  Ride nice and slow.  And stop when I want to.

I’d like to ride the Springer under moonlight across Nevada’s Route 50 with that attitude.  Bucket list for sure.


The Sky in Colorado

Closeup of Thunderstorm over the Big D

Closeup of Thunderstorm over the Big D

I first moved to Colorado in 1975 courtesy of the US Air Force.  I fell in love with the snow, became a ski bum, and considered my barracks at Lowry AFB my domicile, and A-Basin my home.  I was on the mountain as early in the season as possible, and as late into June as they’d let me.

I only discovered the spectacular beauty of a Colorado Summer when I returned in 1992.  The shot above, taken from our peeling, chipping, badly-in-need of repair deck, is a closeup of the bottom of an afternoon thunderstorm to the East of us.  Below is a picture of a second thunderstorm building to the North later that afternoon.


Thunderstorm over Perry Park – full

And here is what it looks like when it’s directly overhead.

Thunderstorm directly overhead

Thunderstorm directly overhead


Another Colorado Morning


Half a sun peeking over the eastern buttes, streaking yellow across the puff of clouds that couldn’t bring themselves to leave overnight. Chickadees, mountain bluebirds, and nuthatches chirping at the feeder, crows squawking somewhere in the valley below. A morning breeze brushing through the pine trees whispering wake up, wake up. The cat vomiting into the dog’s water bowl.

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