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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > Issue 322 January 2017 > COMFORT AND CHAOS

COMFORT AND CHAOS

BMW’s S 1000 XR is now joined by the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT in an all-new hypersports-tourers-adventurers-tall-rounders class, demonstrating you really can mix comfort with chaos…
IMAGES: MARK MANNING

Edging ever closer to that bus pass? Does your back protest anytime your Eeyes spy a sportsbike? Are you always abroad exploring new roads? Or are you simply looking for something that offers more versatility in your dotage?

In previous years, you would have had to make serious compromises to obtain a blend of comfort and anything resembling sporting talent – but evolution is a wonderful thing. Nestling somewhere between supernakeds and sports-tourers is this pair of European nut jobs. You’d think cosy mile-munching, frenzied A-road sessions, lethargic commutes and the occasional trackday wouldn't be possible without any detrimental concession, but this pairing proves that 100mph wheelies followed by 200 miles in the saddle is effortlessly feasible.

Taking an engine based on the original S 1000 RR lump and housing it in comfort and joy, comfort and joy, has resulted in the hugely popular BMW S 1000 XR. In the process BMW created its own segment; adventure sport, or, as we’d prefer to call it, scratching on stilts.

It boils down to the KTM being a Super Duke R with a comfy seat...

It's a completely different and rather more straightforward concept for KTM’s 1290 Super Duke GT, a creation formed on the firm’s bonkers R model with suitable versatility tweaks made to convert it to mega mileage. Both trumped the job during their respective launches, both are superb in isolation, so we spent some time spanking them both and busting some serious miles to provide the answers you need.

...while less of with a the XR is a S 1000 RR comfy seat...

Once right up there with the best roads in the UK, the A39 – or the Atlantic Highway as it sweeps towards Devon’s north coast – runs from Fast Bikes’ previous home in Bath, all the way into Cornwall and ending near Falmouth. Local authorities and the health and safety brigade have ruined sections by either installing pointless speed limits or painting double whites, although its fundamental snaking sections, sexy cornering, surreptitious coves and stunning views remain. Certain parts of the road replicate the TT’s Mountain section and hence this was an ideal examination for these hypersport-tourers-adventurers-tall-rounders.

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