2015 KTM Super Duke 1290 R Weeks 11-12

The​ bad weather had been getting me down. On the few days that the weather was suitable for riding, I couldn’t go. The weather finally improved last week, and it thankfully carried through the entire weekend. I was really itchy to get back on the bike, and also to try out my new gear. I had my old riding boots repaired, the outsole had come unglued, gotten some Dainese Delta leather pants (perforated), and also added a Dainese Super Speed Pelle C2 jacket (also perforated) to my armamentarium. Honestly, I had planned on only getting the jacket, but I ended up getting some great deals, as Dainese had just announced the D1 Super Speed.

I felt like I had hit a limit, when it came to riding aggressively without all of the gear. I used to wear a light armored jacket, some knee and shin armor and leather gloves. I was a bit weary of pushing it more, and trying to get off the bike in the bends. I had started to scrape my foot, so I knew it wouldn’t be long before I got the knee down.

The plan was to leave very early on Sunday morning, and be back by noon. I left at around 7AM, and was in Yilan by 8AM, having not been able to beat my record of 48 minutes. I took a short break and then moved on. The plan was to take the 7 along the river, and then join up to the 8, after Taroko, to get to Taichung.

Once again, the 7 is pretty nice. That is, until you really hit the mountains. It wasn’t as bad as the 7 forestry road, which is 110 km to Sanxia, but it wasn’t much better. However, there were some great sights along the way. Once I hit the 8, I saw many groups of riders, who were driving up to Huehuanshan, one of the tallest peaks of Taroko National Park at 3275m. But I didn’t want to spend all day in the saddle. I was already expecting to be home later than I had planned. At about 20km into the last leg of my trip, I was stopped by a road worker and told to head back, as the 8 was closed to Taichung.

I quickly was back then headed along to the 14 to Nantou. To be honest, I thought that Huehuanshan was more backwards into Taroko, but it was closer to the border and into Nantou. The road up was amazing, and at one point I was driving through clouds. The road is extremely well maintained, but it’s no place to ride fast. I took in all of the sights, made plans to return at a later date, and drove as quickly as possible to Puli in Nantou. Then it was onto Caotun and the expressway 61. I had another 180km to get back home on the expressway. It didn’t help that large parts of the 61 are still under construction. I hooked up with a guy on a Ninja 300 and trudged along. I didn’t ride that fast, but kept a quick pace, up to 165kph.

By the time I got home, I had been gone for 10 hours, and my ride had taken 8h10. I had covered over 600kms (620km), which was almost half of what I did last year to circumnavigate the island of Taiwan on a 150cc scooter.

On my first afternoon off this week, I rode to Yilan and back, following a guy on his Honda CB1000R. He was taking the corners quite aggressively, and it helped me out to see his position and his lines. There was a rockfall that slowed everybody down, and he stopped in Pinlin while I went on to Yilan. I felt like riding slightly slower for a while after being on my own. I was worried about pushing it too hard. However, when I was on the way back, it was fine. I was as fast as usual.

 On Saturday, I hooked up with a friend and rode to Yangminshan. The mountain was gorgeous, I was once again riding into the clouds. I didn’t stop to take photos. We drove onwards onto the 2 through Keelung, Fulong, and then Yilan, making a few short stops. My friend drives an older super sport, a Ninja ZX10R, but he’s been weary of pushing it every since he had an accident. So I left him and pushed onwards, planning on waiting for him when I arrived at the bottom of the mountain. Surprisingly, I was able to gain 5 minutes on him while riding the last 25 km.

On Sunday, I was supposed to go on a group ride to Yilan, but at the appointed time, no one was there, so I drove on by myself yet again. I followed some dudes on motards for a while, who seemed to be knowing the corners well, and weren’t going too fast. Before long, I was stuck in traffic, behind a bunch of 50cc scooters who wouldn’t let me pass. Naturally I did, but they clogged up the apex of every turn, by driving in a bunch instead of a line. I saw a crashed car on the way there, and a crashed white Speed Triple. The back wheel was off, so he must have been going quite fast. It was surprising for me to be passed by a Porsche 911, but all in all, I wasn’t going that fast. I went through Pinlin and onto Yilan, and from then on it was a lot better. For once, I stopped on one of the last hairpin bends, and took a few photos. A few seconds after this, an inexperienced rider on a Kawasaki Z800 lost control and spun out. His bike slid by, slowly, getting all messed up. He wasn’t wearing much armor. He didn’t even have on a full faced helmet. He had some road rash. I helped him put his bike back up. His girlfriend was following him on a Nikita 400.

Once my good deed was done, I took my photos and was on the way. I took a break at the 7-11, and headed back. On the way back, I saw another crash. This time a scooter and it was at the 34K coffee shop. I was following a 150cc scooter with a pillion passenger, who was taking the turns so aggressively. I was able to keep up, but it was bordering on dangerous driving, especially on a scooter. He had no trouble keeping up with the Aprilia Shiver of his mate. By far, the most dangerous thing on the roads are the scooters, who clog up the lanes, who don’t let the big bikes pass, who think they can go as fast.

This week was an awesome riding week. I covered more than 1200km, and I’m inching towards my second service on the KTM. I was able to generate a General Failure on the system, which cleared up after 20 minutes or so after breaking hard when a car did an illegal U-turn. The horn isn’t always functioning, so it’ll get some TLC by the end of the month.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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