‘Faith in nakeds re­stored’

TONY HATHAWAY 2018 KTM DUKE 790

Performance Bikes (UK) - - YOUR BIKES -

THIS 790 DUKE RE­PLACED a three-week-old MT-09SP which, even with sticky tyres and the sus­pen­sion set up, was one of the worst-han­dling nakeds I’ve ridden on track. It weaved badly and had a com­plete lack of front-end feel.

So the 790 came to me at two weeks and 400 miles old in a deal from a friend that was too good to turn down. I’d con­tem­plated this bike be­fore but the lack of ad­justable sus­pen­sion was putting me off.

With a cou­ple of track­days booked, I fit­ted some race tyres to it. It has a Track mode for the elec­tron­ics and the han­dle­bars have two po­si­tions, in­clud­ing a for­ward one for track use.

Three cor­ners into my first track­day at Don­ing­ton it was clear I’d made the right de­ci­sion. There was proper front-end feel and on the exit of the Old Hair­pin and the run up the hill to McLeans (which tied the MT-09SP in knots) the KTM was sta­ble. Af­ter a whole day I couldn’t fault the han­dling.

It was even more in its el­e­ment at Cad­well. The trac­tion con­trol al­lowed for small slides and didn’t in­ter­fere with wheel­ies over the Moun­tain. The only slight im­prove­ment I would make is to the gear­ing, and I’ve a new sprocket sit­ting here ready (an­odised orange, of course).

I love naked bikes, and I’m happy I don’t have to give up on them and buy a sportsbike to get my kicks on track.

Elec­tron­ics don’t spoil the fun at Cad­well

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