I just picked up a new KTM 1290 Super Duke R, nicknamed at the factory, the Beast. Seeing as how I live in the Bluegrass State I thought I’d use this post title to occasionally record a few of my riding escapades this year. Just so happens I’m heading out on a 5-6 day trip this morning, so the first few entries will extend beyond the Bluegrass borders.
Day One – Rain Mode
I have to be at a wedding in Greenville, South Carolina tomorrow. Seeing as how the bride is my wife’s best friend, she flew down a few days early to participate in all those pre-wedding bride activities. You know, hair salons, nails, facials, new home shopping, bachelorette party…uh, wait…is there a bachelorette party? Is my wife going to be hanging out with male strippers tonight? Well, if so, good for her!
Since there was no real reason for me to come early (I’d look silly with chartreuse nails and the word “facial,” well, that just gives me the heebie jeebies!) I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to ride my new Duke in the North Carolina and Georgia mountains. I was supposed to leave Wednesday, spending a couple days riding the mountain roads and enjoying some micro-brew in the Asheville area. However, the weather forecast was not particularly appealing. Actually, it sucked! I’ve learned over the years not to put too much stock in forecasts when planning bike trips as it seems like things never turn out as predicted, but it was obvious that the region was stuck in a rut of wet weather, making the roads I am hunting for not only less enjoyable, but more dangerous.
If you are not familiar with the Super Duke (and you may not be as most people I talk to have never heard of KTM,), it is a very powerful naked sport bike. It produces a foolish amount of horsepower, the same amount as a BMW 320i automobile, and has loads of torque, making it a very entertaining ride. In an effort to control some of this brute force, the bike has been equipped with various riding modes. One of those modes is “Rain,” which cuts the horsepower down to a manageable 100 and offers the most intrusive assists from ABS and traction control. I didn’t want my introduction to this new bike to be hampered by the need for “rain mode,” so I postponed a couple days and hope to stretch out the back end of the trip.
I’m not great at stopping to take photos but I will try to offer some sort of entertaining documentation and commentary along the way, albeit you probably won’t be able to read it “live,” as the posting may be minimal until I return sometime next week.
As of right now, I’ve got the bike packed and ready to go. It is not a touring bike per se, but far as I know there are no rules that govern what bike you can or cannot travel on, so long as you have realistic expectations about how they will perform. I am using my SW Motech Blaze Saddlebags for the first time. I easily packed 5-6 days worth of clothes in one side bag. The other bag holds my heated jacket just in case, a pair of shoes, bathroom accessories and a map with some room to spare. For the first time ever, I am using a Bags Connection tank bag that mounts with a gas cap ring so that it comes off easily and never touches the tank. It looks odd but I like it from a functional perspective. The rear seat has a Nelson Riggs seat bag that fits perfect. I was going to use a Kriega, but this bag has easier access on the road. The bag did contain my coffee kit and nothing else, however, I decided not to take any coffee. That’s right folks, the coffee snob is going to “wing it!” Should be interesting to see. Two days from now I might be found on an Asheville street corner, tin cup in hand, begging for some caffeinated specialty coffee! Or I could just drink a lot of Founders Breakfast Stout!
I thought about wearing a two piece riding suit; Olympia Ranger pants and my Klim Latitude jacket, but ended up grabbing the old, faded and worn Stich. It is ugly, heavy, makes it hard for me to stretch my short legs over the seat and will be sweltering in the South Carolina heat and humidity but is oh so comfortable, convenient and comforting. I “feel” safe in this suit. I’d be a lot more fashionable and cool looking on this bike in a leather suit, but I’m too far gone to worry about cool.
I will see what I can do to make the entries as entertaining as possible for those of you who follow my mental spillage but don’t really care much for motorcycles. Today’s plan is simple: I’m going to pull out around 8:00 am. I have a room reserved in Flat Rock, NC, just south of Asheville, making me close to my Saturday destination, a lake house in Anderson, SC. No Interstates on the docket today, with the possible exception of a short bit near the finish line. Depending on when I arrive tonight, I’m planning to head over to Sierra Nevada’s brewery for a refreshing drink and a snack.
Sit tight; more to come.