NEIL KTM SUPERDUKE GT
THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Carrying a pillion.”
Ihope you guys and gals have been enjoying your steeds during our extended summer, and shame on you if not; it’s been a corker up to now. I know it’s easy to wheel the bikes in the shed for hibernation given the traditional weather we normally endure, but if the weather’s still on our side when you read this, grab your keys at every opportunity and make the most of your pride and joy.
I’ve certainly been doing just that this month as I don’t need much of a nudge to throw a leg over the KTM. Versatility, practicality and a stonking engine makes hooning around as easy as can be. To be honest it always feels like I’m cheating, whether I’m tearing through the countryside with the thunderous growl of the Akrapovic filling my ears or having a sedate Sunday morning bimble. Either way, the KTM has the brilliant ability to deliver an engaging and rewarding ride every time. Having had the keys in my possession for seven months now, I’ve enjoyed the self-indulgence of just me myself and I, and no consideration has been given to how it performs with a pillion as the situation has never arisen. Whenever I ask my better half if she fancies a spin on the back, her squished facial expression would suggest she’d rather torture herself with back to back episodes of Strictly... how weird.
My son has a scooter and I guess being on the back of me probably doesn’t do his street cred any favours. Who’d have thought the proposition of a free holiday to Poland would entice my 20-year-old daughter (Georgie) to ride pillion though? I’ve absolutely no doubt the KTM could demolish the miles, but sadly for the 1290 that didn’t fit the plan. Dunce hat put to one side (for once) and smart thinking deployed had me booking a couple of cheap flights to Krakow and hiring a Honda Deauville for the week. What? A Honda Deauville?? Yeah agreed, it’s not really my cup of tea either but for all intents and purposes it worked a treat. More to the point it was a good comparison tool against the KTM’s two-up touring capabilities. Schlepping to and from Stanstead airport at 5am and 3am respectively was the GT’s only task.
Selecting the electronic preload up to passenger with luggage and dialling in the comfort damping settings before setting off takes seconds and ensures the bike feels planted. 3am at this time of year can feel pretty nippy, needless to say, but with the heated grips cranked up and the cruise control set to 70mph you’ll hear no complaints from me. Back to back riding of the two bikes convinced me there isn’t much to write home about with the Deauville, except the fantastic fuel economy.
Both of us agreed the 1290GT is a proficient touring bike but not without some minor niggles. The pillion footpegs could do with being a tad lower giving a more relaxed leg and with only a rear grab rail to cling to Georgie didn’t feel totally secure. Both these could be easily remedied and the latter is solved by fitting a top box if dedicated two-up riding is your thing. Admittedly a topbox isn’t cool but think about being able to pop a cheeky wheelie from the traffic lights knowing you won’t lose your passenger… that’s the trick.
Oh, and remember I holed the radiator last month? Well I couldn’t be without the bike while the OEM replacement showed up so I gambled on pouring in a small bottle of automotive leak repair. What a result! Six weeks later and it’s holding strong, Time’s been tight this month, meaning the new radiator is collecting dust at the dealers. The 125ml bottle of wonder has impressed me so much it’s found a new home in my essential kit alongside my M&Ms. No stopping me now.
Neil enjoys a healthy breakfast with daughter Georgie.
The Dullville did the trick...
Just the bare essentials.