New years day 2015 will stick out in my memory because it's the day i first became a Latte' sipping, biscotti munching Ducatisti. After a decade of owning mostly Japanese 4 cylinder machines and thinking of Dukes as a distant dream, i finally said 'bugger it' and bought a Red 1098. Picking up a new (or 2nd hand) bike is always a huge day for me. Definitely more exciting than Birthdays or Christmas and i have a ritual of wheeling it into the shed and cleaning, polishing and inspecting every nut and bolt. This time the ritual included drinking stubbies, kicking back and admiring. Having never ridden a Ducati or any other big capacity V-twin, i had nothing to compare it to so was very keen to get in the saddle. At first it felt so narrow my knees were going to touch through the frame. The riding position felt similar to the Daytona 675 i used to ride but the Duke is definitely more comfortable overall. I've since ridden it from Melbourne to Phillip Island and back with no big comfort issues. I'm about 178cms and find the tank nicely shaped to lock my knee into while cornering. Everyone will have a different opinion on exhaust notes, but even sitting on it's sidestand idling it sounds fantastic. Lots of lumpy bass with some mechanical clatter. The mirrors vibrate and it all feels very un-japanese. The Engine feels like the centrepiece of the bike instead of just a component. I was expecting to feel a mountain of torque from just above idle,but it's actually pretty tame till about 4000 rpm. The midrange is epic and power wheelies in the first 4 gears are noooo problem. One thing i never get bored of is the exhaust sound while decellerating on a closed throttle. Riding through the burnley tunnel i can't help using the engine braking. The Termignonis Bellow and everyone in their cages look around to see what the racket is. The handling is lovely. My old fireblade could be steered by your fingertips but the Duc needs more of a nudge on the bars to get it turning. Super stable and confidence inspiring. You'd really have to be doing something silly to fall off the thing. So far im enjoying the bike a lot. It adds a lot of fun to my life and the 1098 can be had for not much money at the moment. It's a buyers market. Highly recommend.