A day off playing on 3 great bikes – does life get any better?
My younger son has a small collection of 3 great bikes, 2018 KTM Super Duke R, 2019 Triumph Street Triple RS and a 2020 BMW S1000RR. I’m not jealous in any way way, oh no, not at all.
So, when I received an e-mail suggesting a day out, playing on the bikes with a friend of ours, also on a 2020 S1000RR, who was I to resist?
Those of you who are familiar with me and my little business will know that my main bike is a BMW R1200RS and I love it. As a “go to” bike for every and all situations it’s fantastic, but:
- It’s my demo bike and carries all of the products I supply and install, but is no longer a current model
- It’s a bit on the heavy side, which dulls the sporting agility side of things a little
- The KTM is on my list of bikes to replace the RS with, so would be rude not to ride it, given the opportunity.
On the way down to Oxfordshire
So, meeting up at my son’s house 100 miles away in Oxfordshire, I set off on the RS and had the usual civilised ride down to him that I so love the RS for.
Discussing the route which was to be about 120 miles of “B” roads down into Dorset, my son suggested leaving the RS in his garage for the day and jumping on the KTM so I could ride all three bikes. Oh, well…
The KTM 1290 SuperDuke R is first
Within 5 miles of setting off it was abundantly clear that the KTM is all about “THAT” engine. And, what an engine it is! Coming off a medium right-hand bend in 3rd at around 50mph I opened the throttle and whilst still leaned over the front wheel was off the floor. I was wheelying whilst leant over! The engine and electronics on this bike are absolutely amazing, I was shocked, shocked like a schoolboy, who had just seen his first adult magazine.
As we were going a good distance, we fuelled all the bikes and I was still bouncing around on adrenaline and happy hormones. We hadn’t covered more than 10 miles.
Setting off again I decided I couldn’t ride like this all day and decided to not explore the ridiculous capabilities of the bike. So left the town and 30mph and got to the national speed limit signs and yep, all forgotten, there’s air under the front wheel again. I just rolled it on and up she comes. MENTAL 🙂 The electronics manage the way the front wheel both leaves and returns to the ground, but the slight vibration through the steering on the brakes confirmed that however well managed its behaviour is, the head-bearings suffer.
Anyway, as the miles roll by I am still in awe of the engine, 4th gear does everything from outside town speeds to, “custodial” very easily so after about 80 miles of being beaten by the wind blast and managing flapping bars I am quite relieved when we pull over and Edd, my son, suggests a ride on the Triumph, which means I am also navigating, as the gps is on the Triumph.
Next – Triumph Street Triple RS
What an absolute Gem of a bike! So well balanced, light and flickable. Sure, the 765 engine needs to be kept spinning to keep momentum up, but it’s just one of those bikes that just makes perfect sense for the roads of today. The howl from the engine in the upper revs is spine-tingling and the agility of the chassis means it is really easy to ride fast and just concentrate on where you’re going.
The brakes also showed that the KTM rakes could do with a good clean, as they are awesome too. What a truly great bike!!!
Reaching our lunch stop at Café Corsa I was still giggling about the bonkers KTM but building a real-world case for the Triumph. By the way, great place to stop (for coffee, food, and looking at bikes). If you are interested: https://www.cafe-corsa.co.uk/
Hello again, Zig-zag Hill
During lunch it transpired that Edd had never been up or down zig-zag hill, which my friend Paul and I decided was something we should remedy immediately. Zig-zag hill is like a part of the Pyrenees in the South of England that opens out onto a fast flowing stretch of road that twists and turns through great scenery.
Once we got to the end of this stretch of road, what else was there to do but turnaround and do it again, at which point Paul’s BMW was asking for more fuel,. Both the KTM and Triumph still had plenty…
Another tank of fuel and time to jump on the S1000RR. Like a lot of other people I have owned many sports bikes and enjoyed them all! I still have my Ducati 998S, but not ridden it for a while as I struggle with a shoulder injury and find that there are better bikes for the road. On-track, sure they are all of the awesome, but on the road they are not for me.
Finally, the BMW S1000RR
Climbing on and realising the pegs are higher and the bars lower than expected, I had the immediate impression of somebody inserting the big carving knife between my shoulder blades and giving it a good old twist. We hadn’t even left the garage! I had the feeling I was not going to be so impressed.
Out on the open road, it appeared that half of Dorset was on the same backroad as us and Edd quickly picked his way clear. It took me a little while to get clear so he was gone! As I crested the rise, I could see the road flowing ahead, so drew a big breath and wound the S1000RR on in third. By Christ, that thing is fast, at the red line I hooked fourth with the throttle still pinned and it kicked again. Things are now happening far, far, far too fast, so I rolled it off. Bloody hell, the sheer relentlessness of the rev-range and speed at which it just throws you at the horizon is unbelievable.
If somebody in the position of governmental legislation ever got to ride one of these through the gears, they’d be made illegal overnight!
Well if the KTM brakes were a little tired, the Triumph’s breaks were great! Two fingers squeezing the brake lever of the BMW at naughty speeds nearly put me through the front of the fairing, and the forces transmitted through your arms and shoulders is another world from my experience.
Arriving back in Oxfordshire after a thoroughly great days riding conjured up a lot of memories of the day and thoughts about my RS.
After a great dinner of slow cooked ribs I kitted up for the two hour ride home, thinking about an RS with the sheer grunt of the KTM, the fluid agility of the Triumph and expanded rev-range of the S1000 would be. But I realised, that as great as the day was and the different experiences of the three bikes, I still love the RS.
That’s not to say that perhaps next year I won’t be test riding the SuperDuke GT and S1000XR alongside the R1250RS and I am already looking forward to that day.
I am now off to rest my weary bones.
Goodnight and sweet dreams
Oh, just in case you do the tour and want to admire it afterwards, don’t forget to get your motorcycle camera sorted.