Bikes I have known and loved
Updated: Jan 27, 2021
Ducati 860 GTS
My Duke was a bit of a roughie when I got it but some black gloss paint and a change of handlebars, Magura clip-ons like the machine above, and I was ready to go. The bike came with twin Brembo front disc brakes, which it needed, and Conti exhaust pipes that sounded the business.
A friend Di had a Ducati Darmah and we shared a lot of highway rides. My dog Sophie rode down inside my leather jacket as a pup, then on the back in a sawn-down milk-crate with carpet on the base when she was bigger. She went nearly everywhere with me, an excellent dog who was well known in Sydney-town.
My biggest trip was 4,000 kms from Sydney to Darwin via the outback. I was young and foolhardy, doing hundreds of kilometres in thick bull-dust. It was like riding through talcum powder. The bike wallowed and it was a wrestle but I'm proud to say I never dropped it. Sadly, the bike did an engine bearing and I had to bring it home in a crate. I travelled back on the mail train. After several days I got off at Townsville and had my first professional tattoo to break the boredom.
The Duke was fast, exciting and sounded brilliant. I loved it and miss it still.