2015 KTM Super Duke 1290 R Week 3

This week, I got to 1,000 km on Tuesday, so it was time for the first service. Actually, it was more around 950 km, but I wanted to get it ready for the weekend. The oil change was expensive, at about $30 each 1L bottle, and the Beast needs 4. I think I was overcharged for the oil filter, but I wanted to get the service done at the dealer. I also wanted to check the oil filter’s shape, to see if it had collapsed, something that was mentioned by some owners. It hadn’t, but the total was a bit surprising ($181 US).

I also received my air filter grille, which wasn’t the right color. It was supposed to be KTM orange, but was silver. The dust cover was also not from KTM. It was really annoying, but overall, it spoke to the quality of this dealer in Yonghe. It has got a bad reputation.

It was the end of the semester, so things were winding down at work. Wednesday saw the beginning of summer camp, so I started working mornings and afternoons, finishing by 5.

I went helmet shopping on Friday and Saturday with my neighbor, who owns a motorcycle rental shop in Yonghe. The first shop was in Shulin, and I had already been there before. It’s huge, with lots of stock, but it’s expensive, so we didn’t buy anything. The owner also won’t deal, no matter who you are. I did get a good price for the Pista GP, but I knew I could find lower in Taipei. I liked the Winter Test colors of the AGV Corsa helmet, but it’s loud. I wanted a Pista GP. The next day, we went to I Mei Motor, in Yonghe. I had been there before, and knew they had good prices.

They had the AGV Pista GP in the mono carbon fiber colorway. With some negotiation, I got a good price. I also wanted the AGVisor, the intelligent glass visor, that pancakes an LCD screen into the visor, so that at a press of a button, it becomes clear or dark. It was sold out, but they will get it next month. I checked out some jackets, armor, and riding boots. I definitely like the Dainese Super Speed C2 Estivo jacket, in nero/anthracite. They didn’t have it in stock, but I was told that it would be easy to order.

On Saturday, I was supposed to go to Hsinchu with my neighbor, but he was late, so part of the group had already left. In the remaining group, there were three Super Dukes, which, when added to our own two, brought the total of Super Dukes to five. That’s $150,000 US in bikes. None of them had many modifications. I saw one with some nice, racy stickers from KTM, but that was it. The owners were older dudes, but it was a good, short ride to Sanxia.

On Sunday, I got up early and got to the Taiwan Tour Moto club. There was supposed to be a ride. I arrived a few minutes late and was a bit disappointed to learn that the group consisted of two learners, who had rented motorcycles from the shop, and were going to try them out for the first time, two maxi scooters, one which had a whole family on it, and one instructor on an MT-07. The pace was very slow, too slow for me, especially since I had completely broken in the Beast. The plan was to ride to Yilan through Pingxi. It’s a route that I had taken at least three times before. We left at 9AM, and at about 9:30, it was too much for me. The pace was just too slow. Scooters were passing us. So I waved bye bye to my group, and latched onto a bigger, faster group. The last rider was inexperienced, as he overshot a few corners, and went into them too fast, messing up my line. It could have been dangerous for him, as he spilled uncontrollably over the double yellow lines.  When the 106 meets the 2, they stopped at a light, and one of the riders couldn’t keep his balance, and fell over. It was kind of funny, because he wasn’t really moving, and it’s because he was too short for his bike. The rider was fine. He picked up his bike, and rode on. At Pingxi, they slowed down, and I passed them onto route 2. I was able to accelerate, since I was going by myself, blasting through the coastal road. Since there wasn’t much traffic, it didn’t take much time to reach Fulong. I was aggressively leaning into the sweeping bends, and it was a lot of fun.

From Fulong, I headed to Yilan. I arrived there at 11AM. I filled up the Beast, and took route 9 to Xindian. This was the first time in a while that I had taken this route, with no traffic and in good weather. The last time, I had a passenger on the pillion seat. The time before, it was pouring rain, so bad that I couldn’t see in front of me. This time, it was perfect. It was fairly traffic free, and any cars, scooters, motorcycles were quickly passed. It was amazing. I covered the 69 km in 1 hour. The Beast is powerful enough, even in rain mode, to quickly accelerate past slow cars and riders. A lot of car drivers let me pass by them, and I thanked them with a wave. I didn’t encounter any aggressive drivers this time around, mainly because my speed was very fast, and I didn’t hang around. I definitely started to see how I could use more power, so I think that in a week or two, the Beast will be in street mode.

I noticed that when I aggressively downshift, from third gear to second, there is some wheelspin from the back tire, so I need to blip the throttle a bit. There was once when I mis-shifted, and it seemed that all hell broke loose. It was kind of funny hitting the rev limiter.

I arrived home at 12:30, picked up a 1L bottle of Super Supau and a 600 ml of Evian, and downed them whilst waiting for my breakfast/lunch at a breakfast shop.

It was a great ride. Route 9 is great to practice turns, leans, and getting into the right position for the apex. There are plenty of switchbacks and hairpin bends to make the ride very pleasant and exhilarating. Later in the day, it is clogged by motorcyclists, cars, trucks, etc, so it’s best to ride it before noon.

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