Saturday, 9 May 2015

A Dash of Orange

One of my favourite road-test write-ups - and one that I read often in the hope that some of its genius will wash off on me - is Hunter S. Thompson's "Song of the Sausage Creature", in which the author and journalist takes a Ducati 900SS for a ride on the roads round his home in Colorado and turns the resulting experience into one of his all-time classic pieces of prose. I read it again on the evening after my ride on the 2015 KTM 1290 Superduke R and wished that Thompson could have sampled the crazy orange missile from Austria; the resulting article would have been a defining masterpiece. Unfortunately he didn't, so you'll have to put up with my admittedly inferior verbiage.



Literary considerations aside, let's start by taking a look at the Superduke R. The V-twin LC-8 motor is housed inside a tubular lattice frame, with beefy, fully-adjustable 48mm WP forks up front and an alloy cast single-sided swingarm suspended by a fully-adjustable WP shock; the bike is firmly connected to terra firma via low-pressure cast alloy wheels shod with uber-grippy Dunlop Sportsmart tyres and braked by a pair of four-piston Brembo M50 radial calipers and twin fully-floating 320mm discs up front, and a twin-piston Brembo caliper gripping a 240mm disc astern, all aided by a Bosch ABS system. In short, pretty much par for the course from the Austrian manufacturer, as is the bright orange/white/black paint job (on a bright day you will need shades to look at the bike). It's also available in flat black if you're a more discreet type - or if you're called Darth Vader. [...]

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

#BringBackClarkson




For petrolheads the world over, this week's shock-horror news didn't come from MotoGP or from Formula 1. Instead, we're all reeling from the news that the BBC has suspended Jeremy Clarkson and has cancelled the broadcasting of the remaining episodes of this season's Top Gear show, because apparently Clarkson punched a production assistant while the show's team were filming in Yorkshire. As a result, the future of Top Gear is up in the air; the contracts of all three presenters (Clarkson, James "Captain Slow" May and Richard Hammond) were coming up for renewal and, if Clarkson's contract is not renewed, it is possible that the other two presenters will not be renewing theirs.

Now, while Clarkson may be loud, opinionated and larger than life, and despite the fact that he professes to dislike motorcyclists (despite co-hosting the show with two of them), we really like the man (I mean, he punched Piers Morgan - well done that man!) and his politically incorrect attitude which is a breath of fresh air in today's PC nanny-state world; we think that Aunty Beeb has over-reacted on this occasion. We would have thought that BBC top brass, of all people, would have understood that the Jeremy Clarkson we all see on the box is just a persona and a caricature, as is Hammond's slight gaucheness and May's professorial pedantry.

So that is why we've signed the online petition to bring back Clarkson and why we stand up and say: JE SUIS CLARKSON.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

EICMA 2014

Well, it’s that time of year again. In the motorcycling world, early November is EICMA time – two days of stampeding from one stand to another as the manufacturers present their new offerings with varying levels of pomp and circumstance, punctuated by brief stops to gulp down an overpriced, soggy pseudo-panino and a Nastro Azzuro. And once again, I’ll be making the trip out to Milan to see – and drool over, in some cases – all the new and shiny bikes that the manufacturers will be unleashing on the high street in 2015. Naturally I’ll also be checking out some of the brand-new riding gear that we’ll all be wanting to find under the Christmas tree this year.


However, to spice things up a bit, this year I’ll be going by bike (hey, I didn’t go on a holiday road trip this summer, so this ought to make up for it). Let’s see: one man, his bike and three countries – what could possibly go wrong? As I wend my merry way across southern Europe, I’ll be posting to Instagram (@Thruxtonian) and live-tweeting (when I’m not riding, that is: I’m one head and a couple of arms short of being able to faff around with a smartphone and keep a 150 bhp – at the crank – bike on the straight and narrow), as well as posting a daily summary of my trials and tribulations on our Facebook page.

Anyway, enough hot air; I’d better get back to packing my bags and brushing up on my Pidgin Italian. Ci vediamo in Milano!