Blog: May 1. KTM 1090 and 1290

Yo everyone.

It’s Sunday midday and I’ve had a good week. I’ve been riding the 2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R and 1290 Super Adventure R, and as you can see, I had my new selfie-stick with me.

I did bang off a few pics and some video on the phone but it’s being a pest and I’m having trouble moving the images across to the computer. I have a couple, but not the whole lot.

The riding was around Lithgow and Katoomba, including Blackfellows Hand Trail, the Garden Of Stones and Turon Gates into Sofala. Some of the scenery was fairly spectacular.

KTM ambassador Chris Birch came on the ride and when he was bored while everyone was doing photos he rode up and down some of the seemingly impossible rock formations on the 1290 and pulled nose wheelies and so forth in an absentminded kind of way. Just to pass the time, y’know?

I was impressed, believe me.

The scheduling was a bit how’s-your-father, so I got a fair bit of time on the 1090 and loved it. I had bugger-all time on the 1290, and unfortunately had problems with it. KTM’s promised I can take one away for a while in the next couple of weeks and give it a proper run, and you can bet I’m looking forward to that. The bike sits alongside the Ducati Multistrada 1200¬†Enduro for horsepower and electronics, so it should be an eye-opener.

I’m keen to find out.

There were a lot of familiar faces at the release – it was a big one, with internationals, and ran shifts of around 20 riders a shift over four or five days – and it was great to see people like Jeff Leisk and Rob Twyerould and to swap a few ‘remember when…’ yarns. They’re such nice people, even though they seem to have an unreasonably large fund of stories where I made a dill of myself.

There’s some great new people at KTM now, and some of them I knew from times past as well, so it was good fun as well as serious riding.

Greg Smith did the photography, and I’m pretty sure it’s okay to show you an example of his work. I see the other juornos have mostly posted images of themselves on websites and social media. You’ve seen my phone pics. Here’s what it looks like when Greg Smith of Ikapture is behind the camera…

You can imagine what the images of Chris Birch and some of the road-race stars are like.

KTM also had the road version of the 1290 at the event, but I didn’t get to ride it because there just wasn’t time. There were a couple of big-reputation road racers there who apparently carved up on them, and I wish I’d seen it.

Still, I had a great time. The accom in Katoomba was five-star, the catering was incredible, and, best of all, the bikes were really good. It’s awesome to see so many great dualsport bikes these days. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago we were luckly to get liquid-cooling and a rear disc. Now we get bikes like BMW’s Rallye X, Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 Enduro and these KTMs.

How frigging awesome is that!

Of course, I can’t afford bikes like these, but I enjoy knowing they’re there.

I had to run a quick errand into town this morning, and I admit it felt great to drag the KLR out of the shed and just ride the thing. No menus. No tricky electronics. No checking I was in the right mode for the conditions. Just take your heart in hand and ride the thing. I could’ve done without the puncture, but on a day as nice as today, I was glad to be able to just go for a ride.

As great as those other bikes are, I still enjoy riding the basics.

I’ll be stuck to my desk this coming week, but there’s some riding coming up shortly, hopefully including a run to Cape York in the next few weeks.

I have my fingers crossed!


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