NEIL KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE GT
THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Getting cold and wet.”
The sights and sounds of spring are in the air and I’m not talking about the birds tweeting, bees buzzing or the daffodils popping up on every roundabout. Head down to your local bike meet or coffee stop and you’ll hear the whisperings of fellow riders planning the summer’s knee down shenanigans, epic rides and general tomfoolery. Once full of coffee and inspiration, bikes are fired up, throttles cracked open and newly fitted end cans chirp and bark as they disappear in the distance.
Another season is under way for the majority of the biking community but mine started six weeks ago when I was handed the keys to a KTM Super Duke GT. Six weeks of minging British weather has been made easier to cope with by the well spec’d GT. Heated grips, cruise control, electronic riding modes, a quick shifter and an adjustable screen have been fitted to my steed, and I’ve made the most of them on every ride. I’ve mainly used the GT so far for my commute to work, which has just scratched the surface of the bike’s potential, but it’s also made me realise what a brilliant piece of kit I’ve got this season, and how generally great this time is for motorcyclists.
It wasn’t so long ago the only credible option for a proper fast, well handling bike was a superbike, end of. But the goalposts have moved, as my KTM shows. The GT has the DNA from the awesome Super Duke R, packing a 1301cc 173bhp V-twin motor in a dedicated chassis with a few tweaks and bolt-ons to give it sports-tourer status. Perception is a bitch and would have you thinking sports-tourers aren’t capable, but this is a modern era of powerful engines matched to brilliant chassis and technologies that lead you to shop down different aisles. I’m not going to deny the kerb appeal of a sportsbike, when you walk away and glance over your shoulder admiring the beauty of the thing but I’ll admit to glancing over my shoulder a few times at the GT. My shopping list when looking for a road bike has changed slightly of late due to creaking bones and wanting more than a Saturday afternoon blast, which is why this new era of motorcycles excites me. How do we define a superbike these days?
I’m not the best with maths, but here’s a bit of an equation for you… Let’s say I’m going to do four trackdays this year and cover 8,000 miles of road riding. It means my time on track and consequent demand for a track focused bike isn’t all that great, when compared to the bigger picture of fast road riding and general comfort. I know this bike will be great on track as it’s got an impressive core, a stiff frame and a class leading arsenal of tech to make up for inabilities. But before any such antics come to the fore, I’ve got to get this bike serviced. I’ve just about clocked the 600 miles needed to get it in for its first service, which I’m looking forward to getting out of the way. Hell, I might even give it a clean.
Neil’s been out and about... bothering people.
Changing the can is a must for Neil.
Summer can’t come soon enough.
Rider aids have helped no end.