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Hello from Patong Beach, Phuket – Thailand. I’m looking for everyone’s advice on how to go about getting started out on a new Ducati Monster.

I started an early semi-retirement in Thailand this year in January (I’m forty-seven), where I bought a small Honda 125 wave “I” (injected) to tour around the Island with and escape the local taxis. I’ve been riding now (on the wrong side of the road) for a little over a month and I have now been thinking seriously about buying a Ducati Monster when I go back to Alaska in May when I return to work for the summer months.

All of my friends ride Harley Davidson’s. They have been trying to convince me that a Harley Davidson is the way to go. However if I’m not mistaken Ducati’s are the Ferrari’s of the motorcycle world – am I not correct? Clearly if you look at the difference between the two very different lifestyles between them, Ducati is obviously more prestigious. Harley Davidson’s are something you would see parked together in groups outside of the local dive bar on the wrong side of the town, where as a Ducati rider with full leathers and a serious European approved helmet commands much more respect on the road, right?

So therefore I invite you all to tell me, in your opinions how to go about introducing myself correctly into the Ducati world. There are a couple of Ducati dealers in Anchorage, however I have never heard of a riding school anyplace in Alaska for that matter. I can manage for the time being here in Thailand putting around at forty kilometers an hour (because this place is really scary with absolutely no road rules), but I would prefer some professional riding instruction even if I have to go outside of Alaska to get it.

I believe that Alaska would be a great place to ride in the summer months. I have lived there for almost fifteen years and never thought about riding. After taking my life into my own hands here in Thailand and managing fairly well, I can imagine how much safer it would be with actual street/safety laws, lower traffic volume and beautiful mountain scenery with normal curvy asphalt roads to ride on.

Any feedback is welcome, and certainly appreciated.

Kind regards,

“Coppertone John”
Patong Beach, Phuket - Thailand
 

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Hi John and welcome to the site!

I think the best way to answer your question is to buy and ride what you like. Every brand of motorcycle has its strong points, and every motorcycle owner will eschew them. But only you know what is right for you. When you're first starting out, it's hard to know what the exactly right bike will be for you, but I think you're going about this the right way, and starting on something small and just getting used to it.

Regardless of what your buddies say about Harleys and any other bike, you have to ask yourself what kind of you're going to be. Are you more interested in a motorcycle as a mode of transportation, something to ridden in all climates, all over the place? Or are you more interested in owning a motorcycle for its status/fashion/ego/lifestyle value? Or do you find yourself drawn to the art and exhilaration of motorcycling? Are you more interested in riding or owning, put it that way.

Not all Harley owners will poo-poo other bike manufacturers. A lot of them will, sure - but a lot of sport bikers poo-poo Harleys, too. They just come from different sides of the same coin; I'm of the opinion that the guys who dismiss anything not Harley need to do so in order to justify their purchase to themselves. When I get the usual "pasta rocket" comments, I usually ask them how many miles are on their odometer ... and then tell them to STFU, come back when you hit 5 digits. But there are those HD riders who appreciate motorcycling for what it is, and appreciate that you're a brother who just happens to like a different brand of bike. That's part of the difference between riders and owners. ;)

I think HD did a good job in building a cultural icon and built a great "after market" (is it after market, if it's still made by Harley?) accessory and clothing line to help support the brand - which really just supports the "lifestyle"; to me, that's all Harley is selling: lifestyle. You're not paying for performance, or reliability - you can get 1000x the performance and reliability out of a Suzuki SV650 at less than half the buy-in cost of a new Harley - but a new SV doesn't exude the "lifestyle" like a Harley and their clothing line will.

Anyway, about Ducati. Ducati is also working on their accessories, just like HD (it really has done a lot for them). They're two different lifestyles, and as for prestige? Well, I guess it depends who you ask - they're two different market segments. Harley owners won't agree to that; but Harley doesn't come from a racing background - Ducati does. Personally, I don't ride Ducatis for any perceived prestige or status: I love their performance and handling, their sound, the art in the design, that L-twin lump, etc. In terms of status or prestige, even if I didn't like Ducatis - the perceived Harley lifestyle is a turn off to me regardless.

I don't know much about Alaska, except that I'll bet there's some gorgeous riding up there. You could easily put some big miles on whatever you choose to ride. Maybe there aren't any road races courses, but I'll bet you can find an MSF course - and I recommend that to every rider, new and old. It's a great way to have a lot of questions answered and earn some experience in a controlled environment for new riders, and a good refresher for those with a lot miles under their belts already.

If you know you want to ride Ducati, ask yourself how you're going to ride. Do you plan on purchasing a set of full leathers and dragging knees? Consider a SuperSport and eventually a superbike. Think you'll pack the miles on, ride the Alaskan Pipeline a couple times a year? Maybe an ST is more appropriate. Think you'll be leaving the pavement on occasion? Start campaigning Ducati to produce the Hypermoto. ;) Love the history and style of yesteryear? The Sport Classics recall 70's era Ducatis but with modern-day components. Think you'll spend more time in town, being a hooligan, maybe with some brief touring? The Monster is a great all-rounder. Maybe the new 695 would be a great first Ducati.

Or do you like a lot of chrome and are just more interested in parking up close to the bar? Maybe a Harley is the right choice ... :D (just kidding!)

And honest, I don't work for Ducati sales. :D But I strongly believe there's a lot to be said for picking the right motorcycle for you, and it's not easy to do when you're first starting out. Although it sounds like getting off the Thailand roads is a smart idea ... ;)

Good luck, keep us posted!
Jake
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you....

Fasterdamnit, I just finished leaving a reply comment from the fellows that commented on the post that I left in the Ducati Motorcycle Chat section.

You made me do a lot of thinking about what kind of bike I really want and/or need for that matter. However, I’m pretty sure that I’m not interested in a Harley Davidson at all.

When I check out the two schools in Alaska for new riders (A.B.A.T.E and the Buell dealer) I’ll be able to get a better feel for what I want. Like I mentioned to the other guy’s that I replied to, I originally started out wanting a Buell until I came to my sense’s and remembered Ducati.

Thanks for the input, I’ll certainly value it.

“Coppertone John”
 
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Coppertone John

My wife and I went to Thailand for our Honeymoon in Oct of 2002. We stayed at the Chedi just down the road from Patong Beach. Great place!, people are very friendly and the food was incredible. We used to go to the night market all the time and that Karaoke bar next to the Starbucks and KFC on the strip.

Can't wait to go back. (hopefully someday to retire as well)
 

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Sawatdee krup!
My wife is from Khon Kaen, so I have an idea of what you are saying about riding in Siam. When I am there, I am also forced to do the Honda Wave thing. Kinda funny to see us (family of four) stacked on this mini-bike to run down the road to the ice cream stand or night market.
My wife is immigrating here (Kentucky), but the plan is to move back to Thailand in the next few years. I have a problem with the little bikes in Thailand being just too small for my size. So we decided to get a bike here that fits me and then ship it to Thailand when the time comes. I opted for the M-695 and love it! Bangkok has a dealer, so parts should not be too much of a problem to get. I will do a lot of the work myself.
Get in touch if you want to talk Ducati/Thailand.
 
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