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We moved to the Okanagan almost two years ago, and with all new roads to explore, I thought it was time to trade in my 2011 Multi and upgrade to a short distance sports tourer. I'm only looking 1-2 day trips on twisties and am not a fan of long distance highway stuff. I was also looking at a bike that I could use occasionally at Area 27. My other consideration was also having a reliable dealer close by. The people at Valley Motosport (West Kelowna) certainly fit the bill. Enter the 1290 Super Duke.

I have only ridden the bike a handful of times so far and the initial reaction is very positive, to say the least. It's an incredible joy to ride. The motor is clearly the "piece de resistance" of the bike, with loads of power everywhere throughout the range. The new electronics make the v twin run very smoothly. The only caveat: running in 5th or 6th at lower rpm brings a bit of vibration to the handlebars. It's clearly not made for cruising at 120kph. Then again, that's not what the bike was designed for. (the vibrations go away at about 6000 rpm. Of course by then your cruising at 165).

The suspension is definitely on the firm side (I'm 210 with gear), even on street mode. Great for fresh pavement but less so on bumpy, uneven surfaces. I haven't done any changes to the suspension settings yet but I am sure it can be adjusted to accommodate rougher roads. The suspension software allows for an unlimited number of setups.

The handling of the bike is superb and incredibly stable in corners. Very easy to tip in and the brakes are top notch. It hasn't been on the track yet, but that will happen sooner than later.

The Akra exhaust brings more pep (as if I really needed more, but that's another topic of discussion) and a nice sound. Loud but not obnoxious.

The looks? I was not a fan of it, but it's growing on me. At 64 and portly, I don't quite fit with the hooligan image, but then again, I can deal with it:)

I got the KTM luggage kit and it fits the bill for me. Easy to install and remove. Small capacity but perfect for overnight trips.

The bike is not cheap, but after comparing with other potential alternatives, it's competitively priced.

So far, 2 thumbs up!


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