Far away lands and exotic locals always make for epic rides; even more so when they are selected by the PR professionals at various manufacturers to perfectly mesh with a motorcycle’s focus and purpose. I could easily say my favorite ride of the year was the coastline of Northern Spain on the Multistrada 1200 S or some other picturesque European ribbon of blacktop, but this year it was dead-straight roads through the desert on a Victory Hard-Ball for the 2013 Laughlin River Run. The location is less than beautiful, in fact most of it is downright ugly and the rides are hot and dusty for the most part. But what made it my favorite was spending time with some of my closest friends who revel in the rare chance to ride their motorcycles for an entire weekend. It reminds me how lucky we are here at MotoUSA to be able to make our living riding and reviewing something that most only get to experience as a fleeting pastime. Seeing the satisfaction and joy on the faces of my best buds after a long ride through the desert is enough to make me enjoy the ride all the more. And for that the 2013 Laughlin River Run is my favorite ride of the year.
Favorite Bike – Ducati Hypermotard SP
As motorcycle journalists we’re often asked about our favorite bike. Usually this is a tough question for me to answer, as there are always so many excellent machines we ride throughout the year, but for 2013 the answer’s easy – the Ducati Hypermotard SP. The ’13 Hypermotard SP was the most fun on two wheels I’ve experienced this year. The torquey 821cc Testrastretta 11 engine is perfectly suited to the supermoto-like chassis. The two work in harmony to give a hardcore ride that is distilled adrenaline. When I see a tight and twisty back road, I long for the Hyper. It’s not practical, it’s not particularly comfortable and it is not understated – everything I want (not need) from a motorcycle. No other bike in recent memory has captured my attention like the hooligan Ducati, and I don’t expect anything will replace it anytime soon.