Friday, 26 June 2020
Don’t get me wrong even for the modest 50ish bhp available you can have some serious fun with this bike, I love the ‘ssscccrrrish’ as the pegs touch down and you can have a good time at sensible speeds, I love it, great bike.
And then there’s the KTM 790 Duke, the absolute opposite of the Guzzi, like a lairy, pissed uncle at a wedding you know this fucker is going to upset someone straight away, seriously I have tried to be responsible but as soon as you assume the position you know that shit is going down. The view from the saddle is the tapered aluminium bars, very similar to my old supermoto, there’s the TFT screen and that’s it, no headlight or front wheel visible, your elbows spread naturally, the pegs are high and rearward orientated which throws your body over the front wheel in a proper ‘take no prisoners’ stance.
I seriously doubt that there are many bikes that could live with one of these on a twisty, potholed, cow-shit strewn excuse of a ‘b’ road in the UK, granted a thousand cc sport bike will gobble it up on a trackday but oh my this thing just turns me into an instant arsehole, espresso, triple shot.
So where am I going with this? Well, I’m still lusting after the Indian FTR 1200, I could sell all four bikes and buy one with the proceeds but I’m questioning if it’s going to be enough? Sometimes I want to chill, ride the little Italian bike and the destination fades into insignificance but on the other hand if I want that fix of adrenaline I can ride a hundred miles on the 790 and come home giggling, sweating and offer praise to whoever that I’ve not been arrested or smashed my old, flaccid body into a stone wall or a tractor turning into a field, I’ve got the little 390 for trackday fun and the Srad for my analogue connection, am I being too greedy? Do I need a new bike or should I just appreciate what I’ve got instead of keep searching for that elusive perfect ride..........
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
No, this is the other Gary Johnson, ex-miner, Ram’s fan, Jack Russell owner, Northern Soul aficionado and the owner of the cleanest T5 VW I’ve ever seen. Oh yeah, he’s also got a beautiful Lambretta Li 150 that he’s just finished rebuilding. The eagle eyed will recognise this bike as the rare 1964 Winter model, [check out the headlight, it has the ‘squared-off-pie-crust’ shape rather than the normal round one] the grey paint on the side panels and horn casting were apparently a nightmare to get right, [and Gary being Gary, now he has the correct paint colour code is going to get the bottom half of his T5 sprayed to match his bike]
But, that’s really only half the story, this isn’t just a really nice resto job because underneath those panels lurks a 225 MB Developments tuned engine coupled with a big carb and an MB Clubman exhaust, Michelin S1’s keep it shiny side up and Gary has spent an age dialling in the gear selectors [hand-change, left hand bar for none scooter riders] and getting the cable operated brakes up to scratch to deal with the increase in performance.
Two-Stroke’s. There really is nothing to compare with them, you don’t need big CC’s to compete, I love ‘em me.......
Sunday, 21 June 2020
Friday, 19 June 2020
I did though get to have a sit on the machine and have a really good look around it, first impressions? Total Quality. Everything fits properly, no unsightly panel fits, no tie-wraps holding hoses/cables/wires, instead q/r button through rubbers, nice fasteners, Brembo brakes, decent suspension, [Paioli I think?] Pro-Taper bars, lovely Dunlop tyres, deep, deep paintwork on the frame and cycle parts, very, very impressive to these jaundiced old eyes.
And then? Well let’s talk performance figures, 123bhp with 85 foot torque! Mental. [to add a perspective my nutter KTM 790 Duke is 105bhp with 64 foot torque] OK probably not a fair comparison due to the difference in cubic capacity but seriously? Twice the bhp of a Harley Davidson Sportster for almost the same green folding!
So, that’s why I end up sitting in a lay-by in rural Leicestershire, swigging a bottle of Pellegrino, doing some sums and desperately thinking how I can try to persuade Mrs B that I really need another motorcycle in the shed...........