BEN KTM 1290 SU­PER DUKE R

THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Con­serv­ing the front tyre!”

Fast Bikes - - LONGTERMERS -

You may re­mem­ber me jab­ber­ing on last month about my ea­ger­ness to clock enough miles in or­der to get the elec­tron­ics opened up, to en­able the Track and Per­for­mance Packs? Well, now with that box ticked, and hav­ing been ad­vised to go grow a mas­sive pair of go­nads, I was ready to see what all the brouhaha was about.

So, first thing first, Anti-wheelie mode; off, check. Trac­tion con­trol slip ad­just­ment set to 5; check. Throt­tle re­sponse se­lected; Track, check. Ready to race – or at least that’s the cheeky lit­tle mes­sage you get greeted with from the fancy TFT dash ev­ery time it’s bought to life. With that, I felt a pang of ex­cite­ment and trep­i­da­tion in equal mea­sure and I’m about to em­bark on a new level of in­san­ity. In­stantly, the ad­di­tion of the Quick­shifter+ (cour­tesy of the Per­for­mance Pack) gives the bike an in­creased sense of ea­ger­ness and re­fine­ment. This sys­tem al­lows both clutch­less up and down­shifts and is com­plete with auto blip­per for when things get a tad racey.

I pull out of the in­dus­trial es­tate and exit the round­about in third, giv­ing the Su­perD some beans when, whoops, would you look at that, a com­pletely ac­ci­den­tal wheelie, of­fi­cer; all the while util­is­ing the clutch­less shift and hooking an­other gear and chas­ing it out. Anti-wheelie, need I say any more? Oh, go on then! Clutch it up? Nah, no need, this thing packs some se­ri­ous clout, so catch the revs right in any of the lower four gears and you’ll be hap­pily pulling off phat ones to your heart’s con­tent!

My ter­mer also fea­tured in the su­per naked test which saw us head oop north – or at least that’s how it feels for me, even if geo­graph­i­cally Lin­colnshire is based in the south­ern half of the coun­try, the ac­cent of the lo­cals (Bruce in­cluded), is enough to make me feel a mil­lion miles away from home. Hit­ting up some of the Wolds’ finest and fastest roads and pitch­ing the bike on track at Cad­ders the KTM held its own against the crème de la crème of nakeds. I was proud!

Ever since the in­tro­duc­tion of the 1290 mon­ster back in 2013, I’d longed to have the op­por­tu­nity to let one loose on track and the big KTM didn’t dis­ap­point. The seat height is a full 21mm higher than the BMW S1000R (for ex­am­ple), and with a gan­gly amount of fork and shock travel, it’d be fair to say it has a su­per­moto-es­que feel to it. That said, it doesn’t make it feel out of place, it dealt well with what was thrown at it, very well in fact. How­ever I would've loved it a lit­tle bit more if it were shod with some stick­ier hoops to in­spire a lit­tle more con­fi­dence and to help find the bike’s true lim­its.

Say­ing that, the M7 RRs that it’s run­ning held up well, to be fair. They warmed up quickly, pro­vided enough grip to grind a few grams off the gear shift lever and gave enough feed­back for me to know when I was near­ing their (not the bike’s) limit around the exit of Char­lies. There’s no way you should be duff­ing up rac­ers on ZX-thous and the like while on a road-go­ing naked that’s run­ning sports road rub­ber, but we did, so happy days!

Ben’s lov­ing his SDR!

One flash new dash!

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