Thursday 23 August 2018

First Impressions

Having picked up my new KTM 1090 Advernture on the 10th of April I have steadily been clocking up the miles, including a nice little trip to the Peak District last Saturday.

So first impressions, now that I’ve actually got my hands on one of my own? The bike is every bit as good as I remember from my two demos although typically with actual ownership you always start to see the odd niggles.

So what’s not to like? The ignition switch for a start, it’s a bit buried into the fairing mount and very close to the top yoke and control cables, so much so that the key fob and my extra key for the disc lock often get trapped by the cables. Fairly petty I know but a niggle all the same.

The indicator switch has an annoyingly short throw (only a couple of millimetres) so you are never quite sure if they have switched on, so a glance down to see the indicator light on the dash is always necessary. However the self cancelling function is pretty neat, if a little too short when exiting motorways, you have to remember not to indicate until just past the 200 yard sign otherwise you have to turn the indicator on a second time as it cancels after 200m. Of course this is not unique to KTM as my old BMW GSs were just the same

As I started to use it on my daily commute it became clear that buffeting from the front screen that I had only really noticed on the non R version (with a taller screen) was also evident on the R. To be honest I shouldn’t be surprised as all the “adventure style” bikes I have owned have suffered from this. The BMW R1200GS, Triumph Tiger 1050, BMW F800GS. KTM 990 Adventure and to a lesser degree my Honda CB500X all had this annoying trait. My 690 Enduro also had this problem due to the small screen on the Lynx fairing, I solved this my removing it altogether as the fairing looked OK without it. Yes you get more wind but the airflow is smooth so causes little buffeting as a result.

A bit of research seemed to indicate that it wasn’t just the screen but the standard mirrors were also contributors in this. So I swapped them out for a pair of the Vicma folding mirrors that I had used on my 690, instant improvement! Still not perfect but a lot better. I also discovered the buffeting was worse wearing my BMW GS Carbon Helmet than when wearing my Schuberth E1. The mirrors still give a lovely clear view and have the advantage of folding out of the way when trail riding (although to be honest I rarely bother).

I have heard complaints about the seat but on my trip to the Peaks, it was a good hour and a half in the saddle before I felt any discomfort, so not too bad. I spent ten hours on the bike over the course of the day and it never got too bad, not something I could say about my old 690 when I did a similar trip earlier this year!

Storage space under the seat is sadly lacking due in part to the emission canister placed awkwardly in the logical space, although I can just about squeeze my disc lock in there. It does seem strange that they supply you with a toolkit but there’s nowhere to put it?

On the subject of luggage capacity, this will be sorted shortly with the arrival of Touratech pannier frames, these will mount the Touratech Zega Pro panniers I got with my 690 and was able to keep when I part exchanged it. The standard set up is a 45 litre pannier on the left and a 31 litre on the right to accommodate the large, high level silencer. I however have a pair of equal sized 38 litre panniers. 

A bit of research and measuring and I discovered that my 38 litre panniers are 40mm wider than a 31 litre but 40mm narrower than the 45 litre. So this will make the bike the same width as the standard set up, just offset 40mm to the right. No great handicap as the alternative of buying the “correct” size panniers would cost an extra £550.

I have also decided to get the matching Touratech top box, I did consider getting the appropriate rack to fit my metal mule top box but after offering it up to the bike, it just doesn’t look right. It was too tall and the anodised dark grey colour looked at odds with the plain aluminium of the panniers. 
Although KTM do play a bit of a fast one, as well as the price of the top box itself and the corresponding tubular rack, you also have to change the standard rack for one with holes in the right place to bolt the tubular rack too, for a whopping £107! That’s a lot of money for four holes! And no I can’t just get the drill out as the rack is very slightly larger to accommodate this.

This will all coincide with the first service, which was due at 600 miles but I was told by the dealer they’d rather see the bike with an extra 200 miles on the clock than bring it in with 200 miles less. So by my calculation it’ll be bang on 800 miles when it goes in on Saturday!

But what else about the bike? Well all my impressions from my two extended demo riides are holding firm, it’s nicely balanced, smooth, powerful (even when limited to 7000 revs). Off tarmac it handles with a lightness that a bike this size really shouldn’t possess but does anyway. The suspension is probably the best I’ve tried on a KTM so far and compared to my old 990 it is streets ahead.

Another advantage is the fuel consumption, now I wasn’t expecting much as it is after all a 1050cc V Twin with 125 bhp. My old 990 (999cc and 116bhp) would barely manage 40 mpg resulting in a maximum fuel range from it’s 20 litre tank of 150 miles. The 1090 on the other hand is averaging over 50mpg and with a 22 litre tank can easily go to 230 miles… result!

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Sixty by Sixty

A while back my Sister, Gina on her blog Fan my Flame decided to do Sixty things by Sixty, not a bucket list as such (because I guess she had no intention of kicking the bucket at sixty)! But a list of different things she wanted to do, places she wanted to visit and general experiences that she had always wanted to do. The idea being to complete them before the end of her sixtieth year.

So with my 58th Birthday approaching in October, I thought why not do the same. But what to include in my own sixty by sixty? A few Ideas came from Gina’s list and there were a number of things I already had in mind to do but how to come up with a full sixty (and possibly a few in reserve in case some became impossible to achieve, either through cost, unavailability or zombie apocalypse… it pays to plan for all eventualities).

A search through the numerous online bucket lists made me realise that the general public must be an unimaginative lot if they hadn’t done most of the things already:

Most of the UK ones seem to be about visiting places and the same places crop up again and again:

Visit the Lake District… yep been there, done that (dozens of times in fact)

Visit Westminster Abbey, St Pauls, The changing of the Guard, Tower Bridge etc. Yep done all them!

And of course “Visit the Tower of London”. Sorry but I can beat that, I have actually been locked in overnight after a serious drinking session in the Yeoman Warders Bar and spent the night in the Curator of the Crown Jewels apartment on the top floor of the White Tower… OK it did help that my friend just happened to be the Curators  son!

Out of the Visit England’s list of the 101 places to visit and do before you go abroad I had done well over half e.g.

  • Eat a Cornish Pasty in Cornwall (Several times including this year)
  • Eat a full English Breakfast (Are there really people in Britain who have never done this)?
  • Drink Gin in a Gin Distillery (Bombay Sapphire on the way to the last Cornish Pasty session)
  • Taste Grasmere Gingerbread (Yes, in Grasmere of course)
  • Punt on the Cam (only last month, although I had first done it 30 years ago and yes I’ve done Oxford too).
  • Visit Windsor Castle, Bath, Stonehenge, Lincoln Cathedral, Bletchley Park, York Minster; sorry but  all ticked off already!

OK there were a couple of things I saw that I did want to include such as ride the Settle – Carlisle line on a Steam Train, something I’ve fancied doing for years and visit St Michael's Mount in Cornwall, another place I’ve never managed to get to.

And of course many of the Adventurous/Extreme/Crazy stuff, I’d already done:
Bungy Jump
Rock Climbing
Abseil off something really big (Malham Cove in my case, 300 feet)
Go Caving
Stand on top of Snowdon/Ben Nevis/Scafell Pike
Ride a Motorbike (really?)

So some careful research is required and suggestions will be gratefully received….

The list so far is on the right… watch this space.