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First ride (and big grins...)

 
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mangocrazy
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Location: Sheffield, UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:05 pm    Post subject: First ride (and big grins...) Reply with quote

I've just finally got round to taking my first rides on the Duke 690 R I bought mid-December 2017. The weather has just been awful in the UK, so I shipped it over to the South of France in my van, and guess what? It pissed down for about 10 days. Anyway, last week the weather flipped into wall to wall sunshine and out came the Duke...

I'm mainly used to riding sports and sport-tourers (VFR, Falco, 888 Duke), and I always find they never turn quick enough for me and spend a fair bit of time sharpening up the handling. I can honestly say this was not a problem with the 690! I guess a combination of (comparatively) high, wide bars and a short wheelbase really make this bike turn. I often found myself having put too much input into the steering and having to correct. I was probably also doing a bit of 'death grip' which made it worse on my first ride for about 5 months.

But once I'd got used to the bike a little more, I was astounded by the way it handles, especially in the flip-flops. I found myself enjoying it so much that there were a few excursions into the red on the tacho. Not by much, but it does beg to be revved. The other thing I noticed was that twiddling the suspension adjusters actually make a perceptible difference (not always the case on a lot of bikes)! The manual also gives you recommended suspension settings for Comfort, Normal and Sport. I just tweaked the compression damping on both ends from Normal to Comfort, as I was riding some questionable quality roads and it really made a difference.

Once you get onto smooth roads, the feeling of stability and confidence from both ends is quite amazing. There's one section of road not too far from me that has switchback 70+mph sweepers one after the other for 2 or 3 miles. Absolute heaven. The bike has Metzeler M7RR tyres fitted, and on this evidence they're top notch. Stable, grippy, quick warm up and really good feedback. Can't fault them.

I can't wait for the next ride!
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mangocrazy
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having re-read the above, I should point out that 'into the red' is relative to the running in process. The TFT tacho changes colour from black to red when you hit the highest advised RPM for the mileage.
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fatboy
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasthinking about this one just last night. !
So glad to hear it is everything/ more than you were hoping for Graham !
Hope the cat is also having a similar amount of fun !
I see the appeal, I was following on of those Slabsiders the other day and he was flicking that around like it was held to the tarmac by strong magnets.
It seems like the Duke series is capable of punching well above its weight !
I am a bit seduced by the new 790 parrallel twin, you could love the performance in seconds, the looks ? Tate a bit of getting used to.
Great stuff Graham
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mangocrazy
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers, Paul. The cat was having oodles of fun until we started back in the van. Yesterday he was a nightmare, howling and yowling, but we seem to have reached an accommodation today for the last (UK) leg of the journey. I try and give him a bit more fuss and talk more to him, and he's gone to sleep a few times on the passenger seat instead of trying to get comfortable on my lap as I'm driving...

As for the bike, I haven't scratched the surface yet, but I think it's going to be an absolute hoot. I know what you mean about the 790 - not as keen on the styling but the way it does what it does looks very convincing. All the reports I've seen are very favourable as well.
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mangocrazy
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since the weather in the UK in the last few days has begun to rival that in the South of France, it's been (long overdue) time to let the Duke loose on English roads. SWMBO insisted on joining in the fun, so I've now found out what it's like two-up as well as solo. To be honest I was expecting the addition of a passenger to be a real performance and suspension hit.

The performance two-up is clearly not as snappy as solo, but it makes an excellent fist of it, even running in. And even more surprising was the way the suspension coped with a passenger. I deliberately didn't alter any suspension settings - all I did was bump the tyre pressures up to the recommended 29 F, 32 R for passenger use and it coped with the extra weight with no problems.

On the Falco (and the VFR) I have a hydraulic preload adjuster fitted which makes switching between solo and two-up shock preload settings a breeze. On the KTM, it's currently back to to the hated castellated nuts and C-spanners. I'm urgently looking for a hydraulic preload adjuster for the WP shock on the KTM, as I regard castellated nuts and C-spanners as the spawn of the devil. More on this as it happens.

We're currently closing in on 200 running in miles, and I really need to get the remaining miles under my wheels and gain access to performance above 5000 rpm (redline is around 8500 rpm). Restraint is not something I take easily...
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