PANIGALE R

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As I dropped off my luggage in the Hollywood hills above Chateau Marmont I made a note to self.

Mostly the note consisted of the fact that luggage and motorcycles don’t mix.

Words by: DUNCAN QUINN
Photos by:DUNCAN QUINN and
JARED PAUL STERN

But it also had a sideline in sweet Jesus this thing is a beast. It must have made for an amusing sight: guy on bright red crotch rocket with rucksack and well appointed suit bag slapped on the tank noodling through WeHo traffic. The luggage was much more at home in the back of the Mansory Phantom and Ghost it ended up in. Which also somehow led to my first ever Macy’s experience. Which is rather bizarre. But more of that later…

The Panigale R has 195bhp and weighs only 386lbs. To put that in perspective, the BMW Z3 Pierce Brosnan drove in Goldeneye had 193bhp and weighed 3,000lbs. It doesn’t take a genius to imagine how that translates in terms of performance. Nothing short of being shot out of a canon can compete. Fortunately for those with less hairy forearms, the R is set up so that anyone who half knows their way around a motorcycle can pilot it with ease. And although the clutch-less up-shift really comes into its own when you’re holding on for dear life, it makes it all too easy to tool around around town as well.

It really is a ridiculous piece of kit that no one in their right mind should be blatting around on outside of a track. That, of course, is half the point though. In a world where more is, well, more, this is the pinnacle of the adrenaline junky speedfreak tree. The freebase Walter White blue of the motorcycle world. Just complete with ABS, wheelie control, and every other piece of electronic wizardry imaginable. I could think of no better road to indulge the R’s whim than the glorious Pacific Coast Highway.

GACH

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Which is how I found myself standing around waiting for a crew of lunatics in machinery worth more than most earn in a lifetime in the hills overlooking Hollywood. We had planned to attack the drive to Pebble Beach together. But we were soon separated by miscommunication, traffic, and some rather overzealous gentlemen from CHIPS.

So yet again I found myself gyrating up highway 1 to the tune of Termignonis, Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SPs, and the glorious thump of an 1199 V-twin. I had 33 NRR earplugs stuffed into each lobe. Despite this I had a glorious cacophony to meditate to, while watching some of the most glorious scenery in the USA glide by. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, in the right conditions and on the right day it may just be one of the rides of your life. And this was surely one of those days.

A few hours later I found myself in Monterey with a Joker-like grin on my face. Which of course was when it became apparent that my luggage had been impounded and would not be making it to me until at least the following day. So a man had to do what a man had to do. I’ll leave you to imagine the look on the face of the guy at Macy’s as I walked in in full Alpine Stars spiderman suit looking to slip into something more comfortable…

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Words by DUNCAN QUINN