MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT – The Longest Day (Part 2)

Published: 14 July 2016

There’s nothing more cathartic than covering big miles in a short period of time. It takes your brain to a better place – and you’ll never feel more at one with your bike. 

On Monday, June 20 – the longest day of the year – me and the GT rolled off my drive at 2:08am and headed east. We wouldn’t be back for 18hrs 29mins, and in that time 966.2 miles passed beneath us, riding from home to the England’s most easterly point, then on to the most westerly, and home again.

I've already covered off the trip in Part 1 of my Longest Day story – but what did I learn about the GT?

The most surprising revelation was how comfortable it was over such a great distance. Of the 18.5 hours we were together, the GT’s clocks revealed that the wheels were turning for 15hrs 12min. Each fuel stop was around 10 minutes, and I spent an hour at Ness Point waiting for sunrise, and half an hour at Land’s End. The only other time I stopped was at Watergate Bay on Cornwall’s North Coast, where I took 15 minutes to shed some layers and stare at the surf.

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The weather has a serious impact on comfort on a journey like this, and it rained for the first 609 miles, almost without remission and sometimes with such ferocity that luck, rather than visibility, was the only thing keeping me safe. I should have been miserable, but – while I’d rather have been dry – the GT was keeping me happy. 

I find the riding position very natural, and the turbulence-free windblast that arcs over the low screen takes the weight off my wrists. I can tuck in to escape it – and even with my bulk there’s room for some flat-tank peace and quiet.

The seat looks like it ought to be less than comfortable on a long run, but it proved the complete opposite. The first time I felt any posterior pain was at 953 miles, when I got back on after a fuel stop to find that I didn’t want to sit down anymore. That’s exceptional, and having done similarly stupid mileage stints on a Z1000SX, R1200GS, and Tiger Explorer, only the GS comes close – but the GT wins.

I rode the entire trip in Sport mode for both power delivery and suspension, and never felt any need to switch out of either.  

Other observations? The Pirelli Angel GT tyres performed perfectly in rain and standing water on a variety of surfaces, over a large range of speeds – and equally well when the roads were hot and dry. The tank range is excellent at 240+ miles (at pace) – and a lighter, more aerodynamic, rider will obviously get better mpg figures. The fuel range calculator is poor, the engine superbly engaging, the quickshifter lumpy, and despite the torrential rain, the panniers (which can look gappy at their front edge) never let in a single drop of rain.

So is it a GT as KTM claim? Most definitely. A sporty one – which is my idea of heaven – but a GT nonetheless. 

Going the distance

Total miles travelled – 966.2

Journey time – 18h29min

Time on the move – 15h 12min

Journey average speed – 52.2mph

Fuel used – 21.68 gallons

Fuel economy – 44.55mpg 

The journey legs

Stamford to Ness Point, Lowestoft – 134 miles

Lowestoft to Reading Services – 192 miles

Reading services to Bodmin Moor Services 201 miles

Bodmin Moor to Land’s End – 72 miles

LE to Exeter services – 137 miles

Exeter Services to Kettering Services – 209 miles 

Kettering Services to Stamford – 21 miles

See more updates about the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.

 

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