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. [...]