Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Interview with Ducati Blog.com.au's Dan Michael

Co-conspirator, part time blogger, IT nerd, Dad and Hyper-lovin' Big Steve asked if he could interview me so you, the reader, could find out a bit more about what makes me tick. Ducati of course...der.

Welcome and what is your Name/Code name/Radio handle/call sign and where can we find you?

My name is Daniel Michael but everyone calls me Dan, if anyone calls me Danny, I kill them. I can be found poppin' & lockin' in the general Melbourne area, although I originally hail from South Australia (ssh don't tell everyone).

How long have you been into bikes?

My Dad got me a Pee Wee 80 when I was about four or five, the one with three automatic gears and no clutch? I looped it the first day showing off to Mum and not knowing where the brakes were. I spent most of my life riding bikes on and off since then, more recently on, although sometimes falling off; commuting, touring and toying with the odd Vinduro or VMX grass track bash.

What does your garage history (bike wise) look like owned, borrowed, stolen or test ridden)?

Owned: Yamaha PeeWee 80 Yamaha MX 100 Suzuki ER 185 Kawasaki ZZR 250 Suzuki RGV 250

 Suzuki GSXR 750
 
 
Suzuki GSX 400FW Yamaha TRX 850

Suzuki ER 185 (purchased a heap o' junk trying to relive childhood, bottom end fell out, never rode it once) Honda (83) XR 200R

 


 KTM 300GS (spawn of Satan, jammed my first finger in my second finger socket on this weapon of mass destruction and promptly sold it with proceeds going toward the Hyper)
  Buell Ulysses XB12X

  Yamaha FZ 1000S (I like to 'pretend' I 'hired' this bike for 8 weeks, rather than owning it for said period of time, validating the massive loss of money)


 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP 2012 Corse Edition



  Test ridden; KTM Super Duke 990R Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200
 

 Ducati Multistrada 1200S Touring

Mates bikes I’ve ridden Kawasaki GT 750 BMW 1200 GS BMW RT 1100 Husqvana 300 (some mental 2 stroke thing) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 Triump Daytona 955i I’m sure there are some I’ve missed….I had a bike-hiatus for a few years after a the GSXR 750 in the 90s and a near-death incident involving an oil slick and a large semi trailer. Once I moved to Melbourne it became clear I would kill people if I continued to ride in cages - I suffer from bad road rage in traffic. Seriously, Michael Douglas had the right idea in Falling Down. So my mate Wombat got me back into bikes when he lent me the GT 750 and I fell in love with road bikes again and importantly, nakeds. Sitting upright now is more my style thanks to some rock 'n roll roadie damage to my lower back that means raking over the bars superbike style just hurts these days. Skip a few bikes ahead and I discovered I really like loads of torque more than flat out top-speed, so I lined up a brand new Buell Ulyssess XB12X, and enjoyed every day with it for four years. There was a brief moment on insanity where I owned a Yamaha FZ 1S that just didn’t suit me and cost me a little license suspension before I finally made the commitment to give myself the bike I’d always wanted. The Hypermotard. I’ve never ridden a Harley (does the Buell count?) though...

And the last on the list would be your current weapon of choice? Can you tell us how long you’ve owned it, kilometres travelled etc?

I bought my Hyper last year in December and I’ve done over 5,500kms on it so already.

Does it have a name and if so what sex is it?

It used to be a girl, and I called it Sookie after Anna Paquin in True Blood, but since the last upgrade (keep reading for that one) it has definitely had a sex change and is now a very angry norti sausage, and I think Lucifer is probably more appropriate.
Sleeping beauty

Would you consider yourself a daily “rain, hail or shine” kind of rider, a weekend warrior or a weather weeny?

I ride every single day. I don’t care about the weather, in fact I quite like being in the rain as long as the gear is appropriate it is really no different than riding in the dry. It takes different skills but it’s worth keeping those skills practised for all conditions so I’m not one of those Ducati owners who wipes it after every ride and won’t take it out in a drop of rain... or for a squirt on a bit of dirt :)

What would be your most highly recommended piece of kit (gear)?

Hmm... I spose I’m pretty fussy about lids and jackets. I’ve had many since getting pretty seriously infatuated with riding again. I’ve currently settled on the Shoei XR 1100 and it’s good but a tad heavy to be honest and I’ve heard that the Arai are a really nice lid that feel lighter. I’m also really considering a Arai Tour X3 for my next purchase. I've gone full Ducatisti and bought a winter jacket and summer jacket to match... Oh dear. Aside from that, you gotta do Velocity Stacks from Wasp Works without a doubt.
 

Tank off, pods on


It appears that you have one or two mods on your steed, what have you done to it so far?

I’ve did a few bling mods initially, a DP sump guard, an EVO Tech  oil cooler guard, a tank guard. Then I did the comfort mod because the seat on the Hyper is a hard piece of crap and I have a bony arse making it seriously uncomfortable so I invested in a Sargent Sport seat. Best money spent on comfort upgrades.
 

I added a half open clutch cover from Woodcraft and I took the pillion pegs off, removed the rubbers off the pegs and changed the stock mirrors for the mickey mouse style DP ones with integrated indicators but they really pissed me off actually; spoilt the clean lines and also made me ride differently somehow, so I went back to the flip out stock mirrors, and really like them now. I only ride with the left one flipped out at any one time, I’ve gotten used to my blind spots and check my right every time before pulling out.
 
 Finally I got around to some performance mods, with some good advice from yours truly pal, and bought the WaspWorks Hyper PUK.  I scored some Termi slip-ons pretty cheaply, so that came together at the same time. The change was so dramatic and so good I can’t believe I took my time doing it. Power increased ten fold, and the induction roar is something to behold. Get on the throttle and it makes an almighty thwacking noise that is hard to describe. It’s loud, barky, raucous and delivers an awesome mid range thump that lofts the front wheel under power pretty easily.

And any plans for future modifications or upgrades?

I definitely want to get around to doing some lever upgrades and custom rear sets that kind of thing, just to personalise it some more and lately I’ve been thinking about a complete set of matte black plastics to make it look evil. Maybe some racing stickers? I’d prolly like to do the cat eliminator at some stage and I reckon some custom wheels could really top the whole bike off one day. Oh and a slipper clutch, I've definitely decided I want one of those...

What are the best and worst modifications you've done?

Best: definitely the Velocity Stacks. Without a doubt best value for money upgrade you can do on a Hypermotard. The whole bike is less restricted and breathes like it should; the power is a smooth straight line the whole way through the rev range. Should have a Dyno run sheet to share shortly, I'm tipping it's close to making 100bhp <insert wicked grin>. Worst: I’d say the DP mirrors. Expensive and just did nothing for me. There was also the clear tank guard that I tried to remove and in the process peeled up one of the Corse edition stripes. Not happy but by adding the carbon fibre look one I covered up the problem but, I know it’s still there. Oh, the Plexiglass screen is crap too, especially if you are a lanky string bean like me, it just directs ALL OF THE WIND straight at your head, as if the wind blast isn’t bad enough without it. Don’t buy one. Actually, do – you can buy mine off me.

If you couldn't be riding right now where would you be and what would you be doing?

I’d most definitely be in front of my computer writing about riding or researching about upgrades, or researching what bike I’d like to ride next. I seem to have a near endless infatuation with two wheels.

If you could own any motorcycle Ducati what would it be?

I’d really dig owning a few actually. I’d love a Streetfighter, and a Multistrada would keep me happy for touring. Right now though I’d totally add a Sports Classic with the WaspWorks PUK and a set of Termis to my garage. The perfect retro-modern naked-sports hybrid cafĂ© racer.

Ok if your hand was forced what non-Ducati  make/model would grace your garage (Well parked outside because the two aforementioned Ducatis will be in the garage)

I know it’s mad to have two bikes that do the same thing but I test road an Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 before I got the Hyper and I must say it was a close race to the finish line. The big Dorso has had a bit of work since then and the extra power you get out of the big twin with four valves per cylinder is pretty phenomenal, even though it is water cooled I still really like pretty much everything about it. It even does a decent attempt at luggage and I reckon would do the long haul more comfortably than the Hyper. It still plays on my mind how much GRUNT that thing had … and I like different. Of late I have been crushing on the 2012 KTM 690 Duke. That thing is a single cylinder weapon. At 67bhp and only 150kegs dry weight  with a nice long wheelbase, I reckon that would be a cool second bike to have in the shed for commuting (and crushing sportsbikes through the spurs).

Have you even sat on your Ducati with no intention of starting it?

Embarrassingly, yes. Often. I often sit outside talking to him while I’m having a smoke. I know he listens. While I had some – ahem - down time on PT, I used to say goodnight to him and good morning so he knew I wasn’t ignoring him. I actually think he has some sort of soul. When I ignored him for two weeks without starting it, he just plain refused to budge, sat there all flat and deflated until I recharged his battery and took him out for a good long open stretch belting. He likes that.

Assuming that like me you aren’t working in a motorcycle related profession, what would be your dream bike related job.

That is correct, I’m some sort of comms IT nerd and I really like blogging about my biking so I’d have to say that I’d like to be a full time bike tester and journo. If I could score a job where all I got to do was ride, photograph and write about bikes, I’d be in my absolute element. I actually think Ducati should hire me to travel the world on Ducatis and write about how cool they are, that’d be sweet.

And speaking of motorcycle related professions, have you dealt with any good operators in the motorcycling world that rate a shameless plug?

A couple for sure. First up I’d have to say that Jamie at Ducati City Melbourne is a seriously cool young dude. He’s a bikey nutter who just seems to get it. He belongs on two wheels and I hope I get to follow him around the track one day to see just how mental he truly is. He’s been ace to deal with, all of the guys at Duc city are pretty straight talkers for a new bike dealership. At least they don’t try bullshit you into a deal you don’t want or need. The other is Greg Brown at WaspWorks and his partners in crime Wayne & Todd Patterson from Bunbury Ducati in WA. Those guys know their shit and are absolutely top blokes to deal with. Professionally, they tell it really straight and will not mess you round with your machine. Excellent advice and service go a long way in my book.

And the last and most important multi-part question;

Weetbix or Vita brits?

Weetbix, definitely. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a Vita brits. What is it?

Nutella or Vegemite?

Vegemite, every time.

Ford or Holden?

I've had both but I lean more towards Ford. I have a dream in my head that one day when I retire I'd have an old beat up XW or XY with a 351 in it. Happy days. Other than that I am a Datsun fan. I've had many a Datto 1600 and that is by far my favourite hoon car for thrashing around in, especially one with an sr20 motor in it. Halcyon days.

Red Trellis or Black Trellis?

Tough call, but I think I’ll go red on my Ducati, black on anything else.

MotoGP or Superbikes?

I've never been a race fan until now, just started watching MotoGP and following Vale this year so I'd have to say MotoGP.

Dog or Cat?

Dog for sure, not fond of cats unless they are huge and chunky like the British Blue.

Montecarlos or Tim Tams?

Tim Tams. Mmm….Can I haz sum? Thanks Steve, that's enough about me surely - see you on the spurs soon :D
Enjoy this post? Like us on Facebook and rate us below by clicking one of the stars (1 star = moped moochie, 10 stars = ken awesome)