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Melbourne to Sydney on KTM RC390 | BIKE TESTS

Terry Hays is a genius. He can turn a great little semi-sports commuter into fully-fledged mini-moto3 fun corner carver.

He isn’t a God because he can’t make a European Cypress of a plank of a seat any more comfortable than a well a pine tree.

My bolt from the Melbourne office to the South of Sydney office is only for the well-trained or stupid on our littlest long termer. Call me names but the pendulum swings from madness to sublime on the orange and white tourer err race-replica. Dial up a comfortable 6-7000rpm and the road speed is above what is tolerable in Victoria and the corners never stop from Orbost to Wollongong (except a dose of boring straights) and I broke the first rule of throttle control and set the taps at about 75% and played a game of momentum and corner speed.

The Kato now is blissfully unaware of small bumps after Terry’s toil, holds a millimetre perfect line and if the tiniest need for corner entry speed adjustment is required, and then a fine application of rear brake suffices. Don’t upset the anything by moving body weight, using the front brake or even rolling the throttle off let alone sneezing from hay-fever. For what you could call stiff suspension is is near flawless on smooth tarmac.

With a tail-wind the fuel registerers 3.1L/100Km and the gearing is too short in first and top gear. I’d go 3 teeth off the rear sprocket and have more fun playing with the ratios getting to find a bit more with 3rd, 4th and 5th. Top pulls up hill too easily and sometimes I take off in second for faster getaways.

The yo-yo of emotions means I forgive all the pain (and really I’ve endured worst new motorcycles that actually lull you into a falsehood of pleasure) to have one of the best lightweight packages around.

The mirrors didn’t move, the chain and tune remain just right however we have picked up the smallest of oil weeps from one fork tube. My wrist and neck feel fine and I am writing this 15 minutes after knocking over 850 kilometres. The only real annoyance-and most of these comments the staffer’s won’t pick up on because they pussy-foot around-the ‘burbs is the pegs set off a not so nice buzz and the reflection off the dash in bright sunlight is enough to yell out ‘aim I insane’?

So away from the idle hands of the over-worked production staff we have some more time to indulge in moto3 fantasy (yes we cheat on capacity because we weigh nothing like Danny Kent) we should really investigate improving the front brake power with an oversized rotor and put me down for a pipe from the Power Parts Cattle-dog.

Oh… my spirited blast also included some dirt to explore the KTM’s Ready-to-Race off-road credentials and other than a decent ABS system as a back-up for some crazy marsupials the little 390 was excruciating on the South Coast forest roads. The XC range do an excellent job on the dirt.

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Ralph Leavsey-Moase