RIDEFAST SEPTEMBER

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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.

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