Friday, March 30, 2012

Guest interview: Marty – 2008 Ducati Monster S4R

I was introduced to Marty by a mutual friend on facebook. My how the world has shrunk with social networks. I suggested we do an email interview and he kindly obliged. Lucky bugger is getting his second Duke shortly - a Hypermotard 796!

What's your name, where do you live and what Ducati do you ride?

I am Marty Filipowski and I live in Sydney's Potts Point neighbourhood. I moved to Australia after a stint in New York, although I was born in Northwest Indiana and have also lived in Utah, Alabama, Washington, DC, Florida and Georgia. I studied journalism at university and have worked in communications and public relations for my entire career. In one of my roles I was fortunate to serve as a press secretary in the United States Senate.
I didn't start riding motorbikes until after I moved to Australia, primarily because I never lived in a place where I thought the weather was perfect all year long for two wheels. The winters could be pretty harsh in Indiana and New York, and it could be too hot and humid in the others. But now I am in fabulous Sydney and I am on a red 2008 Ducati Monster S4R. After I pick-up my new white Hypermotard 796, I'll have two Italian riding machines!

Do you think it's a boy or a girl and have you named it?

My Monster is just known as my Monster. But my kittens have names. They are Peter and Petunia.

Tell us how you got into Motorcycling and how long you have been a Ducati fan?

I had always wanted a motorbike, but, as I said, I never lived in a place where I felt I could ride one all year 'round.  Then a mate asked asked me if wanted to get my L's with him... I got mine and he never followed-through with his.  But not to worry, I have a few mates who ride. I am also quite happy to take the bike out on my own on one of my favourite rides around the Sydney area. My first bike was Honda CBF 250 which was great for learning. But I fell in love with Ducati's on the day another mate took me to one of the local motorbike dealers to get my first helmet, jacket, pair of gloves, etc. I saw my first Monster while I was trying-on all the gear and made-up my mind then that I'd own one some day. I love what I like think is the industrial look. And let's just say a work colleague who has had a Monster and another mate who has a Monster and let me ride his more than encouraged me to buy one. My first Monster was a used red 620 and I moved up to the S4R when I learned that they were going out of production.

  I don't own a car anymore,  so I am on my bike everyday, rain or shine, for my commute to work and around the city or to the swimming pool. It is kitted-out with termi slip-ons and is fun to ride all the time, well except in stop and go traffic that goes on forever. Beyond my daily commuting, I try to get out on Sunday rides with mates, but lately this is very infrequent as I am doing a lot of swimming in preparation for my English Channel attempt in late August 2013. After I get my 'tard, I'll take the Monster out on Sundays and weekends. It's got about 25,000K on it now and has many good years left to go, not to mention the fact that it still sounds like music to my ears.

Two Ducatis! You've truly been stung by Ducati bug. Do you like to work on your bikes or like me, do you send them into the shop for professional help?

I don't cook that much, so I guess you could say the same when it comes to working on bikes. It's better that someone who knows how to fine-tune them helps me with mine. I did change a tyre on my car, once, but only because it went flat.

The Hypermotard 796 promises to be an awesome daily ride, do you have any mods in mind?

I think the 796 is great just the way it is, although I did ask the motorbike dealer where I bought mine to add mud guard on the rear tyre. I had a demo for a few days, including over a weekend, and it proved to be perfect for my ride to work and around the city. It was also very comfortable out on the open road.

I can't believe you are going to swim the English Channel, you must be one fit dude! Do you think fitness gives you an edge when riding?

It's true I am mad about motorbikes and swimming, but probably more about swimming at this point given the amount of time I am spending in the water these days. I would say fitness gives me an edge when I am riding and all through the day. I feel great after a training session and this helps me stay alert and focused on the road, in the office and more. My first ride most days of the week is to swim squad and then on to work after that.  Between the two activities, I must say I feel like I've had a good bit of fun by the time I get to the office. Just don't ask my mates whether I have ever nodded off at the dinner table because I am an early to bed early to rise type of guy.
The bike is running on Michelin's at the moment, although I can never remember exactly which ones.  I've only had to change them once so far. What I do know, however, is which bikes are the most comfortable for the type of riding I do, and I believe I have both of them now. I also know, regardless of which tyres I am on, that I need to take extra care when the roads are wet and that I need to pay close attention to the road conditions all the time.

What products do you use and recommend?

We have had so much rain in Sydney, which means my bike gets a good bath often. Since I always seem to have my swim gear with me, I am able to use my towel to clean it up after a down-pour. It's pretty shiny all the time.

So if I get up to Sydney, where would you take me on a ride?

I love the ride down through the Royal National Park, over the coast bridge and on to the Scarborough Hotel for breakie or lunch. Along the way, you can plane spot as you pass Sydney airport and enjoy the bends in the road as you ride through the park. There is also a great stopping point at Bald Hill, which overlooks the ocean. Many of my mates like this ride, too, and it seems to be the one we do together most often. I also quite enjoy riding to Palm Beach for lunch and a swim, and through Bondi and Watsons Bay after work or when I have some unexpected free time. When I have more time, I also enjoy riding down to Berry and Kangaroo Valley, which takes the better part of the day. I would also like to ride to Melbourne sometime and put my bike on the ferry down to Tassie for some riding there; I reckon I would need a week for this, so maybe sometime after I attempt the English Channel.

How would you describe the feeling of being on your Monster?

Riding the monster just feels great, kinda like swimming really, but in a different way. I love the sound and power of the 998 and the exhaust, and the sound of the wind passing over my helmet. Unlike being in the car, I also feel totally immersed in the environment I pass through as I go from destination to destination. I also love the fact that no two rides are ever the same. Just as no two swims are ever the same. I thought I would miss the radio when I sold my car, but I don't. There's so much more to listen to and see when you're on two wheels. Thanks Marty for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us, good luck with the big swim across the channel, and I can't wait to hear from you when you've put a few k's on your new beast, I reckon the Monster might be sitting in the garage for a while.