Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Guest interview: All aboard! We're off to ride a Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP around Europe with Sebastien

The guest interview this week comes from far away Europe, more specifically Brussels, in Belgium. When we connected over our shared enthusiasm for the Ducati Hypermotard on Google+ I had to find out more about what it was like living and riding a Ducati in Europe's inclement weather.

Welcome! Who are you, where do you live and what Ducati do you ride?

Thanks, my name is S├ębastien Nunes, I live in Brussels, Belgium in good old Europe.  I ride a 2010 Ducati Hypermotard EVO SP which is, for me, the best bike I've ever had.


Couldn't agree more. Did you buy it new, and is this your first Ducati?

Yeah I bought it new and had the 2-1 Titanium exhaust mounted directly, I just looove the sound! My first Ducat was a Monster 695, the perfect bike for beginners. I had really a great time with this bike.

It seems that once you ride Ducati you don't turn back.

Absolutely!

Belgium feels about a million miles from Australia, can you tell us about the roads and weather conditions you experience?

Oh yeah, weather and roads are certainly not the best part of our country. First we can't ride all year long, well I do it actually, but I'd better not. Here is a picture of me and a buddy during the winter, we had to go home under the snow, that was a hard time.

The weather stops no true Ducati fan. This is by far the best Hypermotard photo I have ever seen.

 Here in Europe Belgium is well known for grey skies and rainy days...that's why we have the best beers in the world...to make us forget about the lack of sun! As I live in Brussels and in Belgium, we mostly have two areas in the south west and south east of Brussels, that are 'biker-friendly' with valleys and enough curves to get some fun. So our usual playground is mainly there but it's not a wide area, so sometimes we ride to Germany or Luxembourg which is like 3 hours ride by the scenic roads and there we can find many more curves and great riding roads. Luxembourg is just heaven for bikers, almost no traffic, roads in perfect condition and great-great curves and valleys, this country has absolutely everything to make a biker happy. Actually Luxembourg is my favorite destination for a one day ride, by the way here is another picture of my Hyper in a perfect spot in Luxembourg.

Not a lot of snow in Australia, I can't imagine what that must be like to ride through. Those other corners look like a dream run for the Hyper though.

Yeah when I ride there, I just feel the Hyper has been built for those corners.
Some beautiful looking twisties in Brussels and a sweet Hyper EVO SP

It looks like you have done quite a few mods to your bike, can you tell me about them? Especially interested in your luggage.

Indeed, I knew when I first bought the Hyper that I would make some changes to go on a trip with it. The first problem to solve was the mileage range which is ridiculous on a stock Hyper. I used to have the fuel reserve indicator to pop up after 160km (100 miles) and I had only 20 to 30km (12.5 to 18.75 miles) before I ran out of fuel. I was very frustrated about that because I usually favor small roads when I'm tracing roadbooks and it's not always easy to find gas station on those small roads. So I ordered the Large Tank from California Cycleworks and I really want to thank them here for their tank, the kit is just perfect and I can now ride for 330km (206miles) before I hit the fuel reserve indicator. So that's a huge difference and I enjoy it every time I go for a ride. I usually ride for 400 – 500km (250 - 313miles) so I'm refuelling once or twice during the day. After that I started thinking about luggage, I wanted something strong and something that doesn't change my girlfriend's comfort. The problem with soft luggage is that you need additional rain cover and you can't leave it securely when visiting a place so I turned to hard cases and Touratech was offering the best price/quality ratio in my opinion. As they don't make a rack for the Hypermotard, I decided to have it made specially.

  So I found the side-pannier frame hoop in their catalog. I went to a welder with that piece and the bike to explain what I wanted to achieve. The guy was very kind and made it fit perfectly. So we made a rack which is screwed just under the seat at the back where the backlight is mounted, and two more clips to attach to the subframe using bridges. Then I mounted 35l ZEGA case on it.


It works great and my girlfriend can still put her foot wherever she wants on the foot-peg. The drawback is much more weight far behind, but that's the price you pay I guess…

I also wanted to have a top case, especially for the day-to-day use, when I don't need the side panniers but I still need to transport stuff. So I bought an explorer case which I screwed onto the Ducati Performance luggage rack. But unfortunately it broke a few days ago. I will have to find something stronger than the DP one

.

 The second big problem, in my opinion, with the Hypermotard is the weak high beam; I couldn't drive in the dark safely. So I purchased the Touratech auxiliary Xenon headlights and I mounted those onto the forks. The main problem here was to find a place to store the two ballasts which comes with the kit. I finally found it though - one in the nose and one in the left flank. And now I can tell you that I see the road while riding in complete dark! Those headlights are awesome!

So here is the list of my mods so far and I believe I won't go any further, the bike suits me well like this.
 


 Oh, and you're probably wondering why the hell did I change all that stuff on my Hyper, while Ducati is offers the Multistrada 1200 which is made for that! Actually I tested the Multistrada, but I prefer the two valves engine so much more. And I don't really like faired bikes, I love feeling the wind and rain while riding, it's too soft when you ride with a faired bike. Naked bikes offer a much more thrilling ride.

Amen to that brother - I would love to do the tank upgrade too, mileage is a real drawback on the little Hyper.

How about that exhaust? It looks to me like you have the full race system with a Termignoni single pipe. Did you notice a massive performance difference with that mod?

Honestly the tank change is a must for me on the Hyper, before that I used to tank 4 - 5 times a day, that was harassing me. You should definitely do it. Yeah it's the 2-1 titanium Termignoni pipe. First you'll lose about 8kg (17lbs) from the original exhaust, and secondly the engine works much better, it can breathe better, acceleration is stronger and the sound...oh boy, that's the real Ducati sound. You know what I mean.

I know what you mean. Those mods are awesome stuff mate, well done on adapting the luggage too, I'd love to get that happening on mine.

From the pics you have shared it looks like you ride through all sorts of weather including sleet and snow - what tyres do you run for those conditions? Do you have a shed full of spares?

Well riding on sleet and snow was out of the ordinary because it's almost impossible to ride under those conditions. But I often rider under the rain. I don't change tyres for winter season, I stay mostly in town during the winter, salty roads destroys literally the bike, so I try not to ride too much. Hahaha, no shed full of spares, I rent a small garage here in Brussels but I have almost no spare! Nevertheless, the Hyper is not alone in the garage, I also have a 1990 Cagiva Elefant 900 Lucky Explorer, awesome bike as well!

The Internet is awesome. Have you dealt with any really cool people, shops or websites that you want to give a shout out to?

Yeah definitely, I heard about Radical Ducati on the web a few years ago and last year I stopped by in Madrid while on the road to Portugal, they are great people, passionate about their work and always seeking for solutions to improve their bikes and help their customers. I wish I could own a RAD bike. Check out their web site you'll see their awesome bikes and mods! Besides that I can't omit talking about my own web site which I've been working on with two other guys for three years now, we share our passion of motorycle and photography. As from january we started a free online magazine and we definitely need support on this to make it a succes, so do not hesitate to have a look and spread the word. The website is called truebikerspirit.com  and you can view at  the magazine online as well.

Well Sebastien, is has been a real pleasure talking to you, the bike, your photography and True Biker Spirit look absolutely brilliant. All the best and happy biking.

Well thanks to you for this interview, I was really pleased to answer your questions. And thanks for your encouragement for TBS. It's always a pleasure to share experiences with other passionate motorcycle fans, and Ducati ones particularly. I hope my english was not too bad as it's not my mother tongue. Well there it is folks, Sebastien has done something really special with his Hyper, creating a truly tour ready beast through a combination of ingenuity and persistance over time and enjoys many a long ride around Europe by the sounds of it. Your English was fine mate, especially as it isn't your first language, I hope we can continue to be digital pen pals and you enjoy ridig Ducatis for many years to come.
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