On the track, I imagine that the tight crouch that compromises the 848’s riding position should be spot on and not much else would be desired. But now that the traffic is building up on the roads, the crouch is fast taking its toll on my wrists. With the average Delhi-ite up and about, some putting getting to work on time far ahead of common sense and traffic regulations, the riding pace has dropped drastically.
The temperature gauge is now hovering at 105-111 degrees, much hotter than the 95-100 degrees from just an hour ago. I can now feel my left inner thigh cooking gradually, the heat radiating from the engine exhaust piping that runs close to where I grip the tank with my knees. I make a quick break through a gap in traffic, and the burst in pace allows air to rush through the radiator, cooling things down appreciably quickly. It’s almost cruel, subjecting a thoroughbred motorcycle such as this to the great Indian traffic crawl, and with every passing moment that the 848 and I slug it out through the urban chaos, the engine temperature rises again.
Although the engine is best enjoyed on the track, or at night, when the roads are empty, the way the 848 handles at low speeds is remarkable. Most superbikes are lumpy at low speeds and then lighten up as the pace increases. With the 848, which happens to be the lightest sportsbike in the Ducati lineup, things are different. The 168 kg dry feel lithe and nimble at walking pace, as I try to squirm ahead of the cars and buses stopped at a red light, in order to be the first out of the lights.
Sifting through breaks in traffic is bordering on effortless and when tackling the only corners I could find in Delhi, around the infamous gol chakkars that dot the city, the Duck’s Pirellis stuck to their line like superglue, and the bike was a blast to change direction with. No surprise, then, that the rear hoop hangs off a single sided swingarm, no less.
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