About the Ballabio …

About the Ballabio …

By Ross Davies


I had ridden Robbie’s Ballabio on occasions but mainly just short trips to work and back. Even on those short trips I seemed to slide forward on the seat till my nuts were on the tank. The bloody seat seemed to slope down causing me to slip forward putting extra weight on my wrists at the same time. Uncomfortable, that’s how I found it.

The engine seemed to have an annoying vibration at certain rpm. Not to mention that it was a new bike and had to be ridden gently. All in all though, a pretty unconvincing ride, particularly compared to the wild ways of my Centauro.

Robbie liked it from the start. She found it to be a really easy bike to ride compared to the old Californian. The seat suited her bum, she liked the bars, the controls were light.

She delighted in its cornering ease but still questioned the engine performance. Many times we would pull up after a wee bit of a gallop in the countryside, and Robbie would comment that the thing seemed to be gutless and well below her expectations.

Then there was the tyre episode. We fitted a new back tyre and Robbie complained for ages that there was something wrong with her bike. It didn’t seem to want to go ‘round corners she said. I didn’t pay much heed until I tried to ride it to work one day.

I instantly respected her ability for riding that bike as well she did. Two new Metzellers solved that problem instantly. Match your tyre brands and profiles folks.

So, I hadn’t bothered riding it for ages. Couple of trips to work and I thought “Shit, this thing has got some potential”.  It had a bit of sting off the lights but more noticeable was the rock-steady feel in the corners and those wide bars weren’t bad to lean on over Tooheys Mountain.

So last Sunday………

My son James rode the Centauro with a pillion and I rode the Ballabio.

For a start, I was quick off the lights compared to the ‘rice-burning’ fraternity, that six speed gearbox takes a bit of getting used to but it’s really good.

The engine was spinning up freely and seemed to go quite hard above 5000.

We did Glorious at 7.00 am (guest rider Mark Ferguson). Lots of push bikes, lots of corners and lots of fun. The Ballabio felt superb in those corners. Rock steady, easy to lean over, forgiving and easy to correct. The engine braking was brilliant, the Brembos superb. The sports exhaust sweet and strong.

I had one of the best rides ever over Glorious.

Down the back of Glorious was sweet. The bike was surefooted and going hard on the short straights. Must have been close to scraping but the ground clearance is good. Just scraped my foot a couple of times. Well, it was on the back peg…..just kidding.

Hmmm I wondered, how hard does this thing go?

Fortunately, there is a secret road on private property on which we could open the ‘taps’ for twenty k’s or so. It was there I discovered how sweet the Ballabio was on sweeping bends at 150- 200kph. It went hard and was still pulling hard in sixth gear at 7000 rpm (210kph). At the last Budgie rally Robbie claimed it redlined in top ‘accidentally’ on a few sections of the Bruxner. I never really believed it until last weekend. It’s quick.

I finished that ride very impressed with the Ballabio. Not even any problems with crushed nuts. Amazing.

So, from disliking the bike at first I now look forward to some more sweeping bends and clear straights, I love it. The rest of the Devil Riders respect it.