Writer's Ramblings

Good Vibrations – Ducati Multistrada or Yamaha FZ1?

Written by  March 31, 2009

“Dude, why would you keep the Duc?” asked my friend Jon a few days ago. “You’re gonna have so many problems with it, not to mention it is so much slower than the Fazer.”

He was referring to my new, used ’04 Ducati Multistrada, which does fade in comparison to my ’01 Yamaha FZ1, at least in horsepower, that is. But what do the numbers really tell us? Does the 40 pony deficit mean the difference between life and death, or is it just an ego deflator? And if so, why would my ego be interested in anything less than say, 200 HP? As a 40-ish adolescent (see: man), I surely would go for the BIGGER IS BETTER attitude, wouldn’t I?

My brain wouldn’t let go of this thought. You know the feeling when you listen to that little voice in your head that keeps talking gibberish all day long? Yes, you may rest assured that we all have it. You are not alone. “The voice in my head made me do it!” you would hear a felon confess. However, in the real world, we are all controlled by that faint voice. Even now, if you stop reading, it is there talking to you. It can give you good ideas (E=mc2), as well as make your life a misery (I gotta have me those shoes! That will make my life so much better!).

The ultimate goal of a spiritual master, an avatar, or even a motorcycle enthusiast energy healer, would be to control this voice and keep it in the present, or keep it in the “now” as Eckhart Tolle would put it. Staying away from your ego and finding your way to the higher vibration is what it is all about.

The idea is great. However, in the real world, especially in the motorcycle world, the ego still rules. So why wouldn’t my ego go for the bigger and faster bike? What makes me want to keep the Ducati and sell the FZ1?

The initial motive behind buying the Duc was purely financial. Come on, who would leave such a beauty behind? Especially if that beauty came from under an older gentleman, who babied it while barely breaking it in through his four years of ownership. Less than 4000 miles, I assume of city riding in four years! Seemed like the young, fertile wife of the rich, old landlord just waiting to run away with me, the young and (ahem) handsome cowboy. With the price almost three grand below the book value, it was certain that we would ride into the sunset as soon as the last Franklin hit the table.

In these hard financial times, the sunset ride was going to be a short one if any. I just wanted to have a quickie on my dream bike and then let it go with a nice satisfying profit. Alas, the gods of motorcycle played a joke on me. They sent Cupid to wait for me at the end of the driveway. The arrow hit one of the few empty spots on my bike loving butt, which by now surely looks like a porcupine.

How could a bike short of 200 HP with a brick for a seat be so attractive? Well yeah, it is an absolute beauty in person. The pictures don’t do it justice. The finish is so smooth that you don’t realize you are staring at plastic. The frame and the rear wheel are pure art. I could just stick it in the middle of my living room and forego the TV altogether. Comfort? I suppose the semi-sporty slight forward lean aided by flat wide handlebars does take off most of the weight from your butt. After a few eBay visits, the seat issue is easily resolved with a later year, softer model. So is the rip-off-your-head-at-100mph low windshield issue. Not that I would ever go so fast.

OK, I have covered some of the ergonomics, some of my ego issues, and I am completely aware of the higher insurance payments, rattling dry clutch, frequent valve adjustments and other Ducatisms, but I still haven’t found the answer of why I love my Ducati. Why do other people like their Harleys and British twins and everything else less than the two-wheel equivalent of the space shuttle? For my final answer I went to quantum physics.

As we know, everything in the universe vibrates. All matter is made up of the same basic elements, just in a different ratio and formation. Some elements stay the same (have constant vibration), such as the seat that you are sitting on, until you change the composition by some sort of violent reaction, such as burning. Other elements have frequencies that change constantly. Such are living beings, from the tiniest microbes to the most sophisticated organisms, which we know as humans (still questioning this part, but that’s for a different story).

The human body’s frequencies change all the time according to what we eat, the exercise we do, the surroundings, electromagnetic fields around us, other people around us and so on. Naturally, the most influence on our energy field comes from our own minds. This energy field, like everything else in the universe, is supposed to be in a certain balance. Think of the T’ai Chi symbol, also known as the Yin and Yang. The actual measurable and photographable field around the body goes roughly as far as we can reach. However, the above-mentioned influences keep throwing it off course at all times. If the changes stay for a longer time, illness follows. For instance, respiratory illness is marked by less energy around the lungs. Excess energy--if localized--may actually cause pain. Headaches are marked by excess energy around the head. Obviously, we want to keep this energy (aka: bioenergy, chi, ki, prana, bioplasma) in balance as much as possible.

We need to eat healthy, exercise, think positive, and … feel the good vibration everywhere we can. Including on the motorcycle! That’s when it dawned on me. The vibration of the Duc is what really captured my soul. I tried to analyze it too much instead of just letting go of my mind and feeling it with my entire being. I had to be in the NOW to realize it. Thanks Eckhart Tolle!

Of course, higher powers may have something to do with it, too. One of my clients bought me a Ducati T-shirt for Christmas way before I even thought of getting a Duc. Also, the Cortech glove that I ordered B.D. (before Ducati) arrived not black as I selected, but rather Ducati red. Do I need more proof that I have to keep it?

Under the Ducati’s vibration (I don’t mean the one that distorts the view in the mirror and makes your fingers tingle after a hundred mile trip), there is an overall frequency created by the entire bike that goes deeper into your being, touching more than just your fingertips.

The 2 cylinders forming an L-shape hide enormous pistons which speed up to incredible velocity at a flick of the wrist. In comparison, the FZ1 has four cylinders in-line, containing smaller pistons that move even faster. The end result? The Multistrada redlines at 8500 rpm, while the Yamaha does the same at 11500 rpm. In essence, if you ride the former at 4000 rpm in fourth gear, you will ride at 55 MPH. The latter will do about 50 MPH under the same conditions. The speed is not the issue here; however, at the same rpm, the Yamaha will have a wooo sounding buzz, while the Ducati will produce a mellow frrr. You will experience exactly half the amount of explosion in the chambers.

Just as your brain slows down when you rest, the frequency/vibration of it also mellows out. Thus, my bike’s vibration becomes a health issue. I suppose the Duc gives me more of that mellow, relaxing feeling at any speed than the Yamaha, even at 100 MPH, which, of course I don’t ever do.

This would explain the younger, energetic generation being more comfortable with high buzzing four cylinder bikes, such as the Japanese crotch rockets. Would the aging riders then be more at ease with two cylinders, such as Harleys, Beemers and Ducs? Hm, I now know what to do with my bikes. I will keep them both!

By Csongor Daniel