Long term update: Out having fun

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There’s a certain amount of relief that’s washed over me since taking on the KTM six weeks ago. This is a bike that is designed to be ridden, not pampered, and that has encouraged me to get out there and use it rather than worrying that I’m neglecting it.

Over the past two years I’ve run a Triumph Street Triple R and a Ducati Monster 1200, two bikes that are destined to spend a lot of time beneath the caress of a well-waxed cloth. I got stick for this from fellow owners, but I felt guilty if either got grubby. 

It’s a different story with the KTM, which is designed as a dirt-oriented bike and looks better if it’s got a coating of road grime. When I was a kid, Star Wars toys came with stickers to make them look battle-scarred and that’s what dirt does for the 1050 Adventure.

And it’s meant I’ve done more with it, adopting an ‘I’ll take the bike’ attitude. It’s great at the everyday, proving comfortable, trustworthy and easy to ride. Since it came back from its first service the rpm ceiling has lifted and the miles per gallon has gone in the opposite direction (from 46 to 43mpg), but I’ve been taking every opportunity to get out and enjoy myself.

I’ve played around with the riding modes and feel settled with the Street mode, which has a softer initial throttle response than the full-on Sport mode but eventually opens up to deliver full-fat power. Street isn’t perfect in town, with a slight sensation of the engine surging just above 20mph, but it’s considerably better than the jerky Sport setting. The full-fat mode has some benefits when looking for very snappy overtakes, but Street makes it a little easier to use the 1050’s 95 horses.

I’ve tried rain mode, but won’t be going back. It just makes the bike feel slow, with no discernible wet weather benefit over the Street mode. When I tried it in Rain mode, I ended up having to stay in fifth gear at 70mph to get any feeling of engine flexibility. Wet riding is all about the initial throttle response, and Street is smooth enough. The traction control and ABS settings are the same in Street as Rain so to me it feels redundant, though less experienced riders may feel as though they benefit from the softer response

I might not be making full use of the KTM’s electronic gadgets and gizmos, but I have been making full use of the opportunities to hit the road and ride more – and that’s a great feeling.

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Tony Hoare

By Tony Hoare

Former MCN Consumer Editor