Every year is a great one at Motorcycle-USA, full of fun and exciting motorcycle missions. This year none were more joyous than getting just over an hour of throttle-pinning time on Ducati¹s R-spec 1199 Panigale at Austin, Texas’ newly erected Circuit of the Americas during the 2013 Ducati 1199 Panigale R First Ride. Getting a chance to spin laps at new racetrack is always a blast. But when it¹s at a freshly paved road course that hosts both Formula One and MotoGP rounds it¹s an experience that is tattooed on my brain like a scar on skin. Equally as exciting were the refinements Ducati made to the Panigale’s powertrain netting an even quicker track weapon…is it time to go back yet?
Favorite Ride – 250 Dual Sport Motorcycle Shootout
Whether it was racing sportbikes at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway for this year’s Supersport Shootout or jumping dirt bikes at any one of the many motocross tracks in Southern California, there was no shortage of smiles underneath my helmet this year. But without question, the highlight was a three-day trip to Death Valley for the 2013 250 Dual Sport Motorcycle Shootout. Dual sports and friends are perfect companions on adventure rides. And an adventure we had, riding out into the harsh desert exploring ghost towns, evacuated mines, and even the famed hideout of serial killer Charles Manson. We rode these street-legal dirt bikes hard on rocky trails and narrow canyons that 4×4 Jeeps would struggle across. And that¹s the beauty of this class of machine. Go anywhere, do anything, without spending a whole lot of cash.