The Spyder Club 2018 season starter trip began in Spain as it has done since 2010. As ever we loaded up the latest motorcycles to have arrived at Spyder Club, and along with some favourites from last year, headed south.
2018 bikes included the Ducati Panigale V4S and Ducati Multistrada 1260 S. The KTM 790 Duke and MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR. Along with a Triumph Street Triple 765 R, Ducati XDiavel S, KTM 1290 GT and KTM 1290 Super Adventure S. A Yamaha MT-10, Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory and Triumph Street Triple 675 RX, the fleet had guests raving before we left Blighty.
Located in a hotel west of Ronda and with four great riding days ahead, group one mounted up and headed out. The roads in Spain are phenomenal and many have had freshly laid with smooth tarmac only a matter of years ago, there are very few stretches that aren’t impressive.
The roads are just one of the reasons we head back to Andalucia each year, brilliant riding under the Spanish sun. Each morning the riders head to the waiting fleet and choose their rides, swapping between two and three times a day so they get to ride all the bikes. Where else is a bike enthusiast offered so much fun?!
At the end of each day everyone marked the bikes out of ten so at the end of the trip we could see which one came out on top. It was a hard fought battle and bikes that were favourites on a twisty section of road then moved down the rankings on some of the fast sweepers, over all though it was agreed that the 2018 fleet was one of the best we’d ever had.
So which was the best? Well as they all said, there wasn’t a bad one there. The new MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR was a surprise, why, because the old one was good, but only good. The new Brutale RR is incredible!
On tight twisting roads the 2017 MV would have had you on your game, never feeling fully at ease. The 2018 bike is effortless, the throttle response is perfect, smooth and compliant, the wider bars mean the 1st and 2nd gear bends can be easily flicked through. And the noise, as you accelerate is awesome. The blip in the downshift makes you go up, just to go down!
In 2017 we took the new Triumph Street Triple 765 RS, brilliant, this year we took the R version. Is it a better bike, for our opinion yes. It’s just a little more road focused and with the addition of a quick shifter, even better. The Street has always been a Spyder Club favourite, and this one is even better. They just do absolutely everything superbly. However I will add, I rode the 675 RX up the famous Ronda road and had one of my favourite rides of the trip, what more do you need?
And the KTM 790 Duke, what about that? With the MV and Triumph its nearest competitors on the trip, this was a good test for the guys. The other two bikes are better looking, and even with the Italian flare of the MV, the Triumph gets my vote over the three.
However between them, it’s all about personal preference. The Duke is hilarious fun, enough power and monsters tongue. I chased the XDiavel up a winding mountain road fully expecting a gap to open between corners, no chance.
And boy does that thing handle. It’s another 800 cc’d machine that eats up the fun stuff with ease. Of the three, all were voted close to the top. Small, light and plenty quick enough, certainly in the UK they all make a compelling case for being all the bike you’d every need.
The new Ducati 1260 Multistrada S is, as is its predecessor the 1200 S, a contender for the best bike on the market. It does everything, everywhere. It’s a hard bike to fault and therefore we won’t.
It was one of the bikes I got ride along the Ronda road, a great place to get a good feel for a bike. Few handle, accelerate, brake and sound as good. And with panniers fitted, you could ride off into the sunset a very happy biker.
In total we had 11 motorcycles for the 8 guests to try, and there really wasn’t a bad one. The XDiavel is a hoot, ridiculous torque and staggering through the bends. The KTM 1290 GT is another bike you just can’t fault.
And it’s bigger brother, the Super Adventure S just laps up anything you throw at it. The Yamaha MT-10 has the unique crossplane crank soundtrack and missile propelling power, along with a chassis that complimented all of our riders.
But what was voted the best bike of the tour, well there are two left. The Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory and the all new Ducati V4S Panigale.
We started Spyder Club with a healthy amount of sports bikes. However as time has past and the biking community aged, sports bikes at Spyder Club have reduced. They just aren’t as comfortable as they used to be. As a result, the Panigale was left at base for a few days, the prospect of bad backs and sore wrists not that enticing.
However on the Ronda road and similar routes, well, it blew you away. Not everyone rode it, but those who did were staggered. On a 90 minute ride to Ducati Malaga for its first service on my own, it didn’t take long to understand just how ballistic it is, but it did it win?
That accolade, the Spyder Club Season Starter trip best bike, as voted for by us experts!! Was the Aprilia Tuono 1100 V4 Factory. Why? Well the engine is a peach and sounds like a V4, and the handling is epic. On a run up the Ronda road there wasn’t another bike I wanted to be on.
But I just work here, it was the guests who had the final say and they voted for the Tuono overwhelmingly. It just works. You couldn’t pack it up and go around the world on it (unless you were really keen) but on a Spyder Club trip, riding technical roads, no luggage, no hassle, it is bloody brilliant.
However both groups decided there wasn’t a bad bike with us. Even the 675 triple, based on a bike first introduced in 2006 and with the lowest power output along side the 790 Duke, made me and the others who rode it, smile from ear to ear. It was a great trip and although a king was crowned there were many other heirs fighting for the title too!