November 16, 2014

Bang Saen Bike Week 2014

As I'm writing this, the 2014 Bike Week in Bang Saen is still going strong, but for me it's already history. The Omega Racer Team, namely Ben and I, went there yesterday for another feast of motorcycle culture.

Some super clean 2 stroke smokers


4 almost identical Monsters

badass GSXR custom wreck

lovely URAL

Ducati Desmosedici RR (RR stands for ARRGH ARRGH). Stunning!

Guzzi LeMans III with side car

fantastic BMW racer

'interesting' custom SR400. One has to wonder how on earth it can even turn...

One of my favourite bikes at the show: custom CUB

never seen this one before... a mint looking Honda XL230

November 11, 2014

Unveiling the new Ducati Scrambler in Bangkok

Saturday, the 8th of November, saw the launch of what will replace the Monster as the new entry level bike in Ducati's stable: the new Scrambler.

Through Ms Thida at Ducati Thailand, I got my hands on free VIP passes to attend the show in front of Central World, in the heart of Bangkok. If the invitation box was a hint of what was to come, I was in for a good time indeed.

Needless to say that I was really looking forward to see the bike in the flesh, despite the rather annoying marketing campaign filled with teasers and hipsters.

The event was organized very well and closely followed the 'Scrambler theme': young, vibrant, trendy. Maybe a bit too much 'life style' being shoved down people's throats, but that was a small price to pay to get such an exclusive first look at the bike.

We were let in in the holy of the holiest through a narrow staircase that brought us on top of the stacked yellow containers. People were led all around what seemed to be a big covered opening in the middle. After a short introduction, finally the moment arrived when the covers were pulled away, revealing....the covered bike downstairs.
We were told that the only way down was either by sliding down an inflatable ramp, or going down holding on to a pole. I chose the pole because I love danger, ...and sliding was definitely not macho enough.

After another short intro, they finally unveiled the new Scrambler.
I must say it looks much better in the flesh than in the pictures I had seen up to that point. I would describe it as an honest bike: simple, fun and with an understated classic look. There have been people criticising  the fact that it has very little in common with its predecessor. Thanks God for that I would say! The original Scrambler was a great and much loved bike, but would it make sense to make a replica?
I've ridden the old one and while I have yet to ride the new one, I have at least sat on it. The feelings I got were very similar. The riding position, the reduced weight, the large comfortable seat and last but not least the affordable price tag, will undoubtedly make the new Scrambler into great and fun bike for our day-to-day riding.

My personal highlight of the evening however, wasn't the bike. It was meeting a hero from Ducati's racing history. Mr. Paul Smart!!
The first time I gathered some courage and asked him for an autograph, retreating quickly. After some thought, I decided it would be a good idea to get a picture with him, so I approached him again, worried he might get annoyed with me. Au contrair, Mr Smart turned out to be one of the finest, down to earth chaps you'll ever meet in the bike world. We ended chatting for almost half an hour, where he told me of his 16 bikes and his personal day-to-day ride: a Ducati Multistrada! Not bad for a fellow who is about 1.68 and 60kg and 71 years old.
As I was leaving I saw him signing some bikes and t-shirts and guess what...I harassed him a third time to sign my Scrambler T-shirt!

A not quite original Scrambler.

...and a bit of a poser...

What a great day. It could only have been better if I'd actually bought a Scrambler at a big discount. (Nudge nudge Ms Thida)!