2009 Ducati GT1000 Touring Motorcycle Road Test Rider Magazine

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Ducati GT 1000 Touring

2009 Ducati GT1000 Motorcycle Road Test

Credit: photography by the author, Drevenstedt and Scott Hirko


March 17, 2009

2009 Ducati GT1000 Motorcycle Road Test appeared in the May 2009 issue of magazine]

“Whew! That was

As soon as my mind punctuated thought, the Ducati GT1000 and I on our sides skidding down the

It was Sunday night on Labor Day in the middle of nowhere. I was due to meet Dad the day at the Bonneville Salt Flats for the BUB Speed Trials. Normally I dark and early, which have made it easy to 700 scenic miles in two days. But I got a rowdy Saturday night, up late and put off installing saddlebags and a rack on the Ducati until the minute.

Tuttle had warned me Italian accessories.

“First, a couple espressos and some to get in the right frame of mind,” he me. “Then set aside plenty of I should have listened.

By the I hit the road, it was 3 p.m. From I took CA 126 to Interstate 5 to CA 14 into One-hundred-twenty-five miles on dry, hot full of holiday ramblers. filling up on gas and 89-cent bean I continued on to U.S. 395 and was greeted by tempests of dust rolling the eastern face of the Sierras.

One nasty gust hit me broadside and sent me into a ditch. I my speed, leaned into the and coughed my way through.

The view the road to the Ancient Bristlecone Forest in the White Mountains. the valley are the snowcapped Sierras.

was closing in. All the motels in Lone and Big Pine had bright-red neon “No signs. I plotted a route to Nevada, 150 miles away on that looked straight on the

As soon as I turned onto CA the road crawled like a snake up into the hills. I at an ominous sight: an overturned truck that had blown a turn.

Just beyond the for the Ancient Bristlecone Pine (never been…next time), I over Westgard Pass feet) between the White and mountains. In the desert, it gets and dark quickly. Wary of I slowed down and scanned the ahead. Down out of the mountains, the straightened out and I buzzed over a guard and saw an “Open Range” Turning onto CA 266, I got by lights and looked around to get my

When I turned my attention to the road, my eyes bulged-before me on asphalt was a wall of black camouflaged by the night. I braked and

I missed the cows, but not the manure.

I wasn’t going fast I went down, and I had on full gear. In the initial rush of I picked up the bike and made I wasn’t hurt. Moments a pickup truck pulled up and I it, dazed and confused.

An old man in the passenger mouth agape, pointed me and stared into the darkness a wild look in his eyes. a pay-no-attention-to-Grandpa expression on his face, the asked if I was all right.

“I think so, but I’m not

He got out to help me check things The bike started up and everything functional. Ironically, what to my late departure-the saddlebags-saved me and the from greater damage.

The leather saddlebag took the hit and my right leg.

Dad prepares next to our five-star tent the salt flats. The Silver provided a majestic backdrop, and the of civilization made for excellent at night.

The pickup truck was to Big Pine. “Can I follow I’m a little shaken up and I don’t to ride out here alone.”

If your headlight snuffs we’ll stop and pick you

Back in Big Pine, no rooms available. Fifteen miles in Bishop, more “No Vacancy” A motel clerk told me one room left at another so I rushed over and gladly $139 for a dumpy room. I my gear and assessed the damage.

minor scrapes on the Ducati, but my riding suit was in bad shape. it than me. Lesson learned-no nighttime exploration of rural where the bovine roam and the and the antelope play. To decompress, I sat out in of my room, nursed a beer and Steinbeck’s Travels with .

Bright and early on Labor I got back in the saddle and rode to Big Pine. Riding the topsy-turvy of CA 168 on a clear, cool morning was fun and As a Grand Touring bike, the GT1000 mixes retro with modern performance. The air-cooled, twin-spark, L-twin is lively, with a pleasing

Shifting through the six gears is thanks to a wet, multiplate, clutch with an adjustable The neutral riding position and flat saddle encourage you to all day. We ordered up a windscreen, a handlebar and a luggage rack for our test bike, not knowing Ducati would release a Touring model with accessories pre-installed.

The windscreen and didn’t arrive in time for my but I put the rack and leather-covered, waterproof, 10-liter saddlebags ($818.80) to use. The luggage rack was to install, but the saddlebags took a of hours because I had trouble up the hanger brackets with the and spacers for the rear passenger

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. rock shows the below-normal level.

Base price for the 2009 Ducati GT1000 is and the Touring model is priced a $500 premium. Buying the ($287.50), high handlebar raises height by 3.5 inches), rack ($223.80) and chrome ($188 front, $372 separately will set you back not to mention installation time and (priceless).

A nonadjustable Marzocchi fork and preload-adjustable Sachs shocks suspend the machine, me and a load of gear well if a bit harshly on rough pavement. brakes front and rear reassuring, predictable stopping Even fully laden, the shines brightly on smooth, mountain roads, exactly the of terrain that I covered for of miles on this trip.

The I got to know the GT1000, the more I to appreciate its classic styling, performance and sensible design. Not a in any particular category and nothing except for chrome and polished this dependable jack-of-all-trades has a silver-and-gray color scheme 2009 T-model comes in any you want, as long as it’s

Traveling with a renewed of purpose, this time I at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine home to trees more 4,000 years old. The air above 10,000 feet in the Mountains was cold and windy, but the of the snowcapped Sierras across the were awesome. I was alive, and on top of the world. Not long after I the scene of the crash, I entered a beautifully desolate state.

95 north took me through the mining town of Goldfield, and to Tonopah, where I picked up 6. I agree with Clem U.S. 6 is the true loneliest not U.S. 50.

Five miles of town, I passed a sign “Next Gas 163 Miles.” With 35 on the tripmeter and a four-gallon tank, I’d make it. I rode back to to buy a one-gallon gas can and top off. Out in the middle of on a deserted, open road, I at a brisk pace. After out of gas and adding the extra gallon, the light came on.

With a of relief, I rolled into and put the sidestand down at a lonely gas

It was 5:30 p.m. when I in Ely. I topped off my tank and Dad. He had been in Wendover of the afternoon and already had our camp set up the salt flats. With two to go, I’d just barely make it by dark.

Rather than and worry, Dad drove down 93 to meet me along the way. As the sun low, the mountains cast shadows on the road. Deer be active soon.

Then I saw white Jeep Cherokee my way. He waved, I waved, we over.

“Hey son! got food and water if you want to a bit.”

“Thanks, but let’s moving and get to the camp.”

“Follow me. keep it at 55 mph. If something out in the road, I’ll run it over.”

It was dark when we descended West Wendover, Nevada, lit by the throng of casinos huddled to the state line. Dad led me across the into Utah and to our campsite. I took off my helmet and gave Dad a big We were both happy I had arrived safe and sound my crash the night before. To up, I cracked the wax on a bottle of Makers and long-poured into two cups.

Dad up steaks and potatoes, and we sat under the eating, drinking and catching up.

Ducati GT 1000 Touring
Ducati GT 1000 Touring

We down early in Dad’s tent, which was outfitted sleeping bags on cots, a lantern and a chemical toilet. a cold night of whisky hot coffee and oatmeal brought me to life. Our camp was at the “bend in the near the salt flats, and it for the first time in daylight I the imposing backdrop of the Silver On my last tour test to I rode a high-tech, three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder.

The GT1000 is a my father could more relate to since his last which was my introduction to the two-wheeled was an early-’70s Honda CB750. Dad is a guy who appreciates reliability. Although motorcycles have a reputation for the GT1000 is solid and well-built.

It made of exotic materials, nor it have unnecessary, exposed that will break off you have the misfortune of dropping the (ahem). To round out the retro the steel rims have and are shod with Michelin Classic tube-type tires. the accessory centerstand ($315.20), tire repairs will be a

Dad and I spent two days watching speed trials at the Bonneville Flats, a strange place. The looks like ice and crunches your feet, but it is warm to the Although the condition of the salt was good, crosswinds prevented the big from making world-record I can only be a spectator for so long.

two days of watching other ride, I hit my limit and we headed to place in Salt Lake A FedEx box from Rider was for me with new riding gear.

For the next two days, I rode northern Utah. With of my gear left behind, I lighter and pushed the Ducati through high-altitude wilderness The GT1000 is a fun bike, plain and

After cresting 9,000-foot Cristo Pass on UT 39, I descended farmland. Passing an “Open sign, I kept my speed and stayed sharp. Rounding a my eyes bulged (again)-a few cows were stampeding me, followed by two barking dogs and a in a pickup truck honking his

I quickly pulled over and my nerves as the galloping bovines ran me.

UT 39 ends at UT 16 in Woodruff, a town of 190 that greets visitors a sign that says Temperatures, Warmest Hearts” (in the mercury fell to -42 degrees). north, I took UT 16 to UT 30, which down a canyon before the western shore of Bear known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies” of its turquoise-blue water. U.S.

89, a Scenic Byway, took me the Bear River Mountains and into Logan Canyon. about 15,000 B.C. Bonneville filled the canyon and 20,000 square miles of Utah with water than 1,000 feet

Great Salt Lake, averages 1,700 square and 14 feet deep, is all that

After spending a night with family in Logan, I my route back to Woodruff and south on UT 16 into Wyoming, I relaxed with a burger and at Mother Mae’s Kitchen in The Mirror Lake Scenic (WY/UT 150) took me to Utah and into the Wasatch Forest. I stopped to admire the peaks of the High Uintas, one of three east-west mountain in the Western Hemisphere, and the shimmering waters of Mirror Lake.

I over 10,687-foot Bald Pass and descended alongside River. UT 150 ended in the town of which marked my return to I returned to Salt Lake dark and visited with again over pizza and

On Saturday, I rode 40 miles to Miller Motorsports Park in to watch AHRMA vintage and supermoto racing. Sunday I left early and headed to Las Vegas for a dealer meeting. I left Salt Lake it was 50 by the time I hit St. George, it was over 100 In Nevada, I turned off Interstate 15 and through Valley of Fire Park and Lake Mead Area to Hoover Dam.

An impressive sight, though the level of the lake is nearly 50 below capacity. After a 10-hour day in the saddle, much of it in heat, I arrived at the Mirage Casino worn out and dripping sweat. It was a shock to my system to go being a lone traveler in the to the crowds, sights and sounds of a big ….

Monday was my birthday. I through rain and then dry wind on my return to Southern where a surprise birthday awaited me. A great way to end my trip and in my 35th year. The Ducati was an enthusiastic, faithful companion. It let me down through a wide of riding conditions.

Our crash on the night was not part of the plan, but we and formed a special bond. On our we logged 2,484 miles. The consumed more than 60 of fuel and averaged 40 mpg. the nine days, I slept in six beds.

It was good to be home.

Ducati GT1000 Touring Chart

Base Price:

Price as Tested: $12,814 saddlebags)

Warranty: 2 yrs. miles


Type: transverse

Ducati GT 1000 Touring
Ducati GT 1000 Touring
Ducati GT 1000 Touring
Ducati GT 1000 Touring
Ducati GT 1000 Touring
Ducati GT 1000 Touring

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