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KTM 1290 Super Duke GT | Bike Tests | Gassit Garage | Latest Tests | Long Term

Sometimes, when the world feels like it’s not letting up, you’ve got to jump on a bike and get away

The last time I rode the Snowy Mountains Highway, it was cold, wet and miserable, and with winter fast approaching there was a chance I’d be suffering the same fate.

The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is ideally suited to the roads in that region. It has the power and agility of a sportsbike, plus the comfort and at least some of the wind protection of a tourer.

The Superduke GT is not fitted with panniers as standard fitment, and I had failed to request them, so everything for my much-needed two-day adventure out of the office needed to fit into a small backpack. Easy peasy; that’s a phone, a credit card, a few coins, a toothbrush and a packet of Allen’s Snakes. I was ready.

The first leg of my sojourn took me down the New South Wales south coast and up Macquarie Pass and, while a couple of caravans and a broken-down car did their best to spoil my fun, I was quite happy to let the miles glide under my wheels. By hour three, and with the fuel light glowing, it was time for a fuel stop and a stretch of the legs at Marulan. The seat was starting to become a little uncomfortable, but the ease with which the bike punts along more than made up for it.

A 30-minute stint on the freeway allowed me to play with the cruise control, located on the right handlebar which made it a little tricky to set, but once done you can increase or decrease the bike’s speed in 1km/h increments. I planned to stay off the freeway as much as possible and rolled into Cooma for lunch just on 1pm. Even if I’d been able to order the perfect day, I could not have imagined something as glorious as the one I was blessed with. Clear blue skies and temps in the high teens.

This is where the ride I had been dreaming about for the last few weeks really started. I turned onto the Snowy Mountains Highway, set the riding mode to Sport, overtook a car towing a boat and barely saw another vehicle for the next three hours. It was on this leg that the electronic semi-active suspension of the GT really shone. I set the preload to single rider and luggage (even though I had no luggage), and felt the bike lift on its suspension and stiffen slightly. I didn’t touch it again for the rest of the ride. The bike sat solidly on the road when I upped the pace, it remained stable under heavy braking, and perfectly followed the radius’ of those long sweeping arcs. Some sections were so awesome I did them twice. Well, three times, if I wanted to continue in the same direction.   

It was dark by the time I rolled into Tumut, so I hit the local pub in my riding gear for a quick beer and a feed, then hit the sack. As I drifted off, my legs and arms twitched as my mind relived the highlights of the ride.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

By Chris Dobie