Buying the Duke

Recently I started commuting in the city (of San Francisco).  I’d previously owned a 2010 Kawasaki Z1000.  The Z was an amazing bike for ploughing through traffic on my 40 mile commute down the peninsula, but at 481 lbs it wasn’t the ideal bike for zipping around traffic down-town.  I decided that it was time to get a more task-specific bike that I could nimbly maneuver through traffic at low speeds, and that was beefy enough to get me a hundred miles or so on the motorway – after all, I’ve already got my tickets for Laguna Seca and I have to be able to get there somehow.

I started, as I always do, with a list of candidates that might fit the bill.  On this list were the Suzuki DRZ400SM, the Triumph Street Triple R, Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 and the KTM 690 Duke.  They are all smaller, lighter bikes than the Z1000, with their own merits and detriments.  The DRZ isn’t known for it’s highway prowess, so I ruled that one out.  The Dorsoduro ended up being a little heavy for my tastes at 410 lbs, and so that left the KTM and that Triple.

The bad news was that I didn’t get to find a demo ride for the Triple.  The good news is that there was a Duke on the showroom floor of Scuderia West and I was able to take it for a spin.   The duke is very agile and nimble, with a very usable range of power and a confidence inspiring ability to keep leaning into the corners.  I had so much fun on the test ride I knew this was the right bike for the job at hand and very quickly worked out a deal that allowed me to take it home!

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