another perfectly good motorcycle ruined.......

Saturday, 12 January 2019

KTM 790 Duke

 The 790 Duke, must say I was somewhat underwhelmed when I saw the production model that was eventually released after the stunning prototype, gone was the stubby, underseat exhaust, the brembo brakes and adjustable wp suspension, instead we got the same style exhaust can but now side-mounted high up on the right and the euro friendly massive catalyser hanging in the gap between the swing arm and rear shock. the most hideous exhaust/pillion peg mountings which looked like cheap, bent, cast-off tubing (made, unsurprisingly from cheap, bent, cast-off tubing) the brakes are now ktm branded and made by j juan, apparently a Spanish brake component company who make systems for some high end race teams.
     A visit to the local [ish] dealer confirmed it was a bit of a munter in the flesh, the aforementioned pillion pegs and the horrible back end was screaming for a tailtidy, poking it with a stick revealed the parallel twin engine was barely wider than my 690 Duke/Smc-r supermoto, I really liked the front end, the headlight and the angular looks a nod to kiska designs ‘insect’ signature.
  Be rude not to test ride it I suppose, first impressions were that it was very slim and very light, the gearbox was smooth as and the exhaust note was very crisp for a standard item, popping and crackling like a good ‘un on down shifts, but, oh my, that engine! I love the 690 singles but this thing is in a different league altogether, a flat, linear torque line from low down and then it takes off like a two-stroke as you reach 8000rpm. The handling is sublime and though I’ve seen lots of criticism about it being non-adjustable. it just works [how many riders actually adjust their suspension from standard settings anyway? Honestly? Not many if you remember that 75% of riders don’t even know what tyre pressures they are supposed to be running! Talk sag to most motorcyclist and they will think you are talking about that gap between their arse and expensive leather race suit. The electronics package is up there with the big buck superbikes, launch control, up/down quickshifter, tft screen, lean sensitive traction control, supermoto abs delete, all easy to set from a switch on the left hand bar, easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. Chicken.Ding.
      Back at the dealers and I knew what was going to go down, I got a great trade-in for the 690 Duke so it seemed rude not too. I wanted the black bike, they had the traditional orange version in but, softer spunking a small fortune on both the duke and the sumo I decided to wait for the black bike instead and go more stealth-like. In the meantime I ordered evotech tail-tidy, paddock stand bobbins and axle slider crash protection and exhaust hanger bracket so I could bin the hideous pillion pegs. The standard mirrors needed binning too so a pair of Oberon performance 65mm bar-end mirrors were added to the goodies list.
   So, the bike arrived at the dealers, just in time for winter. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve only done 500 miles on it. No, actually I’m not. This is only the second, brand new bike I’ve ever owned, [ the first was a honda 400 superdream if you’re asking] there’s no way I’m riding this in the winter, besides, I’m having too much fun riding the little honda at every opportunity I get.......