Tuesday, 28 December 2010

First blood

Visiting Dr Girlie Nice-Smile in Aylesbury one weekend, her on-call commitments left me at a loose end - covering the special care baby-unit AND Stoke Mandeville (which explains her dislike of motorcycles) left her busy and me bored. I finished up at On yer Bike (now Ducati Aylesbury) and buying a blood-red Paso 750.

Even then (1990) Paso's had gone from rave-reviews to ridicule, but I'd had enough of worrying about what magazines thought, so one February Saturday saw me explore the Paso's infamous carb-icing on a packed Aylesbury roundabout. I lived long enough to relish the way the Duke was just about a sports bike, but would cover 200 miles without a twinge: far comfier a seat than the preceding VFR.
The only prob was a broken gearchange return spring, leaving me to limp home in second - something of a Ducati weakness, and ridiculously expensive to fix, because it's buried on the "wrong" side of the engine. If you ever have an engine in bits change the return spring while you can.

The thing that really got me about the Paso was non-biker's reaction - everyone loved it, and Ducati was just starting to be a brand recognised outside motorcycling. So while most bikers poo-poo'd it (even other Ducati owners did the "it's not a real Ducati" thing) women would ask to be photographed sitting on it. This was something new to me...

Spotting an immaculate Superlight in Three Cross motorcycles saw the Paso part-ex'd: one of the few SL's that didn't sport the #1 badge on the seat hump (because Ducati hadn't won the Superbike championship the preceding year) and lacking the original SL's Marvic wheels it was still an under-rated bike that's only just starting to be appreciated - a nice SL will easily fetch twice the equivalent SS's price, which is odd when in essence it's just a solo seat and carbon mudguard that make the difference. And the famous "limited edition" plaque on the headstock - ah, collectors: don't you just love them?

1 comment:

  1. Love the Paso, even though I've never driven one. On pure esthetical terms its a fantastic design