I'm getting a new bike, possibly on Wednesday. But guess what? It's not a Ducati. It's a Triumph Speed Twin. Why? I am still the owner, on paper, of a 999. I haven't seen it for 3 and a half years. Will I see it this season? In theory, yes, although my "garagiste" phoned me a few weeks ago to say that although it was the only bike he had left to deal with (he is retired, in theory) he had just fallen off at the track (again) and put a 12-stitch-long gash in his thigh. Right, I thought, I won't be seeing it until June again at the earliest. And who knows, maybe not even then. This farce has gone on long enough, I thought. I need a new bike. So what bike? Well, the one I like most is the MV F3 800. But if the Ducati reappears, it won't be worth selling (50'000 kms and 13 years old) and I like it too much to sell anyway. But the MV is just a different flavour of the same thing - wind it on and see if you can't get your knee down in the corners. In the current regulatory Swiss environment, this is only going to end in tears, sooner or later. No, I thought. I need something completely different. Something that will justify the return of the Ducati but that will make more sense on a day-to-day basis. Hence, the Speed Twin. I test rode one a week ago and was impressed. My miserable 40 minute test ride was in 30 kph limits, a narrow windy road with a crappy road surface, a fast, well-surfaced windy road, and some motorway. How they manage to make a 1200 parallel twin as happy pootling along at 30 kph, I have no idea. But nonetheless, when you give it a handful, it scoots off very smartly. Fun. Whereas the 999 only really starts to feel comfortable at about 120 kph (40 kph over the speed limit on main roads), the Triumph feels perfectly comfortable everywhere. It also looks retro cool and makes perfect sense in towns, villages and other annoying limited areas. It handles superbly (well, I'm not going to be taking it to the track), even for spirited riding (which I will inevitably do). The brakes are good, and I like the riding position as the pegs are quite rear-set and nothing is going to ground in the corners. It is reasonably priced. So I thought, frankly, what more do I want? What Ducati would be better? A Monster? I've seen Monsters for almost the last 30 years. Yes, they are cool. But they are not retro cool. A Scrambler? I know that they come in a multitude of flavours, but I don't want the small motor and I can't imagine that the bigger one is any better than the Triumph. So I though, sod it. I'll just get the Speed Twin. I have owned Ducatis permanently since 1985. The only non-Ducati I have had in that time is a Kawasaki KR 250 2-stroke for 8 months when I was in Australia in 1986. It was a hoot, but even then, my Pantah was being fettled back in the UK by Steve Wynne of Sports Motorcycles Racing (for the uninitiated, he was the bloke who prepared Hailwood's TT-winning 900). So it was about time I sampled something else. I've borrowed and ridden a load of bikes in my time, but I've always preferred whatever Ducati I happened to own at the time. And this is still the case. But the Triumph will make more sense for commuting and I may be able to visit the Alps without being thrown in jail. It has a comfy seat. I'm rather looking forward to it.