The Ride: We spent 300KM’s (We would gladly have done more) in the saddle with everything from fast freeways, suburban streets and country lanes. The only place that we didn’t really ride it was on the track – but we can assure you that on the track, this bike would have been properly cool. It all starts when you start the bike and open the throttle. Few engines transmit soul like a KTM V-Twin. And 1290cc’s of it at that. Blip the throttle a bit and the burble emitted from that Akarapovic system guarantees that the hairs at the nape of your neck start to rise… Snick her softly into gear and you know that you are in for something special. Let her loose onto the freeway and you are, absolutely the king of the road. The bike points and squirts beautifully – no hesitation just massive, controllable horsepower for overtaking. Combined with the rumble from the pipe, the LED lights give the bike a presence that cuts a swathe through the traffic – anyone looking in the rear view mirror knows that you are coming for them… and that was just the ride home. We literally could not get the different riders off the bike. Kyle kept saying – but I want to try this – and can we JUST do that. Sean – stuff you guys – you can walk, you can’t have it back. It’s that kind of bike. Big, Bold, Brash – but so practical and comfortable… And here is where the KTM lot might raise their eyebrows… If you have ever had the pleasure of experiencing the SuperDuke. You’ll understand what a totally maniacal beasty that is. The GT shares that engine. But KTM has managed somehow to make it work so damn well for touring application. If you open the throttle and play silly buggers, best you hold tight because she will ride you back – make no mistake – the 1290 Duke hosts one of the most exciting engines on the planet – but it all depends how you would like to ride… Séan says… The Duke GT’s styling is very eye catching. Not having come up through the ranks of the superbike and touring bike world over the last few decades, KTM brings an exciting and new take on these types of machines. And like Marmite, you either love it it or - not. And this also translates to the ergonomics, chassis, suspension and handling as well as engine design and power delivery. Once you start understanding the SuperDuke GT, you really start to appreciate the forward thinking styling and design behind it. Ergonomically the GT, despite its aggressive styling, does seem to have made a bike for everyone. My one constant problem is, at 2 meters tall I dwarf most motorcycles and have issues trying to get comfortable, so I get excited when I find a bike that I fit on comfortably, but that then generally makes it it too big and cumbersome for anybody shorter than 1,8m tall. The Duke GT is very comfy for me and the tank design does encourage a proper sport touring sitting position with your toes on the pegs as opposed to the usual flat foot riding style a lot of people seem to prefer. Diving onto the freeway on-ramp at Redstar, I overcooked it it a bit and would generally be looking for the brakes and begging the ‘The Good Lord my soul to take …’ if if I don’t get it it stopped in time and hit the Armco barrier. However, with the GT, I just chucked my left shoulder deeper into the bend and kept the gas open and the GT happily obliged, which possibly wasn’t a good thing because then it it was game on. Chassis and suspension on the GT are unbelievably good. As Glenn mentioned earlier on, (and he is quite a bit shorter than me), the relationship between foot position, knee angle, seating position and handle bar position is natural and instinctive giving you the confidence to ride harder and challenge your riding abilities a bit more. For riders north of 100kg’s in weight as we are, often times the suspension becomes a bit squirly with the rear sagging away, lightening up the front wheel and messing with your directional stability and almost creating an uncontrolled 2 wheel drift like feel. Not so with the GT. She is absolutely planted and stable in a corner under an overenthusiastic rider of questionable riding skills overdoing it a bit on the gas. Now, with that stability you might think the Duke would be quite a firm, if not bordering on jarring over some of the less than perfect road surface we are finding more often than not these days. Not so! I purposefully went looking the rutted out lanes from heavily loaded trucks to see if I could get the wheels off the deck and the traction control to kick and mess with the power delivery, and honestly… Bright and breezy the next day, we pointed her in the direction of Redstar for a bike launch. If every day started like this – life would be hassle free. Rural back roads were gobbled with glee. Superbike mad ass performance in a supple, comfortable forgiving chassis. If you feel like cruising along and looking at the daisies, she is quite happy to join you. If you feel that you need to get the horizon closer in a big hurry… well all you need to do is open that throttle and the GT does the rest. And don’t even talk about twisties, the superbike ready to race genes are always bubbling just under the surface.