Ducati Multistrada 1200S

Here is Ducati’s answer to BMW’s R1200GS. As Ducati itself calls the motorcycle, it’s “4 bikes in 1”. “A dream Ducati – 4 bikes in 1. A sport bike, long-distance tourer, urban and road enduro”. Multistrada’s offroad capabilities are obviously not up there with the R1200GS, but damn this motorcycle looks sexy! Over and over again, Italians do know how to design a motorcycle!

Ducati Multistrada 1200S
Ducati Multistrada 1200S

Growing through motorcycle classes. Part 3: Ride it off

Other parts of the series can be found here.

So you take your motorcycle on a ride every day, and on the weekends you trip the countryside. You quickly accelerate on the intersections and smile at the girls who look at you from the cars. You enjoy the sun glaring on your chrome while you’re chilling at a cafe and you bet with every 5-series BMW in the town that you will beat them to the next intersection. You do it for a year. Two years. Three years. But with every kilometer rolling on the odometer, the motorcycle whispers to those who listen: motorcycling is not about speed or looks… well, not primarily.

Being a fresh rider, I used to hate rides with no destinations. I remember the old riders looking at me with indulgence when I rushed to get there, and how I thought they were old cripples to not push their motorcycles to the limits. But when you hold on to the grips for too long, the motorcycle does whisper to you.

It is not about where you go. Not at all about where you go. It is not about how fast you get there.

It is about the road you take to get there. It is about how you ride that road. Not about how fast. Just about how. And then this realization strikes you and you stop for a moment. You breathe, you look around. You realize you don’t want more destinations. You want more roads. And what you once hated very sincerely becomes the most beautiful vehicle to your eyes that could ever be designed.


I used to hate offroad motorcycles. I knew, I was certain that an offroad motorcycle was going to be the last one I ever own. Turned out so, but absolutely not in the negative way I meant it to be!

Honda CRF450

So after my current CBF500 I know exactly what am I going to own next. I cannot wait. And who could? I am finally going to ride a vehicle that is really essentially designed to be a ground vehicle, from its core. I am going to experience freedom of movement unimaginable with any other vehicle. It is going to be fast. Not too fast. It is going to be sexy. Not too sexy to the ones non-transcended. It is going to be a Honda.

Honda Transalp XL700V

Remember, kids. If you think Enduros are not cool, you are wrong. If you think motorcycling is about speed, it might be — but only for the select few like Valentino Rossi and on very specially designed tracks and events. If you think motorcycling is about style, and you’re ready to spend that much on style, way to go — give me a call to have some beer together! And especially, if you are just starting to get into riding and you’re wondering about what you want to stick to, give the offroad a second thought after you initially disregard it. Keep in mind, it is very probably that offroad is where you will get anyway, with time. Just in case, watch the Long Way Round starring Obi Wan Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman.

The Enduros opened my eyes in a way no other motorcycle ever could. They opened whole millions of roads to ride in my small beloved country. They turned Armenia into a paradise for motorcycling.

Motorcycling stopped being about the speed, so I stopped noticing the next-year ultra-cool Sportbike JAP-09900XXX year 2050 riding along Baghramyan. It stopped being about the style, so I stopped noticing the 10o-years-old style shiny and loud Darley Havidson sinking in its own chrome.

It started being about the adventure.

Other parts of the series can be found here.

Trip: Yerevan – Tsakhkadzor – Bjni

Yerevan - Tsakhkadzor - Bjni

Last Friday we took the road to Tsakhkadzor. The weather was good all along, and there were certain things to discuss, so we thought – why the hell not do this in a changed environment and some fresh air?

The planned trip was overall a little longer than 150km, thus also being a nice starting ride to see how my bike feels ‘out in the close wild’. I was eager to take a ride to Geghard first, however Tsakhkadzor seemed to make more sense on that particular day.

We took the standard ‘Sevan highway’ to Hrazdan upon departing Yerevan and since the official run-in period was passed, I have done some minor ‘performance tests’. The results were encouraging — about 160km/h stable with revs and space still  left for some extra speed. But speed was not really what I was interested in.

In Tsakhkadzor we visited Kecharis and went to eat some Ishkhan (the trout did not have that magical melting taste my mom objectively delivers). The weather was fantastic; while there were some ‘I’ll rain if I want to’ clouds up above it was actually pretty warm and no rain ever came down.

Most of the fun came on the way back, as Anna suggested we take an alternate route through Bjni. This was a worse road with gravel, dirt and mud instead of tarmac and huge potholes on certain sections. Hett is always happy to drive his Pajero through this kind of terrain and I was more than excited to try my bike out, especially since I’ve heard a lot of criticism lately about the ‘offroad capabilities’ of my new motorcycle. And guess what!

  • I have not once had a problem with the bike’s ground clearance. Not once.
  • It was agile enough at slow speeds to handle through every single stone.
  • I did not ever lack rapid acceleration to maintain speed through the gravel or dirt.

And everyone who doubts my bike’s suitability for the wonderful Armenian terrain conditions can, well, suck it.

After this we arrived to Abovyan where I saw an absolutely genius invention of the local municipality — ‘laying policemen’ (speed bumps) in front of every single pedestrian crossing in the town. Cars never yield to the pedestrians in Armenia, so this was a bullet-proof way to make them do that, unless they wanted to damage the cars. The pedestrians in Abovyan were crossing the street like in Europe, and I thought it was absolutely necessary to build the same speed bumps in Yerevan as well.

Then there was Yerevan as it always is at the end of the trips and I was very happy to have the motorcycle that I had.

The pictures are available here.