In May of 2018, I had a test ride on the KTM 790 Duke at the Orange Days event at Moto Sport Carreres in Crevillente. The bike was awesome and I said in the review that if I had the money with me it would have been in the garage. Well 14 months later it has happened, after a bit of prevarication, a house and business move and all the issues that go along with it, it was time for a decision.
Three bikes in the garage would be an issue though so one had to go, the trusty Bandit 600 was advertised and a day later it was sold to Miguel from Denia. Then a few emails with Moto Sport Carreres and the stage was set, I gave them the go ahead on the Monday and had an email to say it was ready for pickup on Thursday, great service.
Travelling down to their new Alicante shop I was a little nervous as I hadn't sat on the 790 for over a year, would I still like the bike?, was it what I really wanted? The moment I saw it sat in the middle of the showroom I knew it was the bike for me. They had even managed to get me an owners manual in English which was a bonus, I could probably manage with the Spanish one but was pleased I didn't have too. I was shown around the controls and TFT screen, told about the 1000km 6-7000 RPM running in period and signed a couple of forms to say I was happy and had recieved the bike.
Then it was time for the off, it was wheeled outside and I was left to put my gear on and wave goodbye. Following my wife as she drove through the early evening traffic it all started to come back to me, the light controls, the manouverability and the lack of fairing made it feel like a bicycle compared to the Bandit that had gone to makeway for the new arrival. Out onto the motorway and around Alicante it was nice to be on a bike, although I had to keep looking to check I wasn't breaking the RPM limit as the engine note is completely different to the four cylinder bikes I am used too.
Around the motorway we went until the turn for Xixona, where I waved googbye to my wife and turned off into the hills, the journey was about picking up the bike but no one said it couldn't be fun. I followed the road up into the mountains past Xixona where I test rode the BMW GS1250 a few months previously and on to Venta Teresa. No time for a coffee tonight though as I wanted to get back before the sun went down. The KTM Duke 790 has an LED headlight but at this point, I wasn't sure how good it would be.
Stopping to take a few pictures at one of the lookouts I realised that I hadn't stopped for petrol yet, the bike has a fuel gauge and a readout of range but they are only good if you look at them, I was shown in the shop that the bike had a range of 50km, with the fuel in the tank, and I had done 48km with the nearest garage about 8km away in the wrong direction and the right direction about 12km's. Oh well onward is always better, and it's good to find out how accurate these things are, even though I didn't fancy being rescued on the first outing.
Arriving at the petrol station in Alcoy was a relief to say the least, although I had been riding very steadily and had managed 62km's without a splutter from the bike.
With the tank topped up with fuel and me with a bottle of water and a Snickers bar, I sat on the forecourt taking in the detail of the bike before setting off again out of Alcoy and towards Guadalest. The road is superb as it twists and turns its way along the side of the valley, I managed to control myself and adhere to the rules, there will be plenty of time for spirited riding later, although I did manage to use most of the tyre in the first few km's of corners.
Through Guadalest down to Callosa d'en Seria and up the winding road towards Tarbena, the 790 Duke was a joy to ride and I was getting used to it's engine tone and handing. Finally, as the sun was setting I stopped at the top of Coll de Rates to take a few pictures and take in the view. The last few km's down to the village of Parcent and home were ridden in the failing light and the LED headlight came into its own, I needn't have worried it works as well as it looks.
Special thanks to Moto Sport Carreres for the great service, if you need anything KTM in the Alicante area, give them a call.
Distance : 136km
Total distance : 136km
Click on the map to view the route in Google.