Sunday, February 23, 2014

New battery

The Super Duke's battery first gave me trouble about 3 weeks after I bought the bike in the fall. It left me stranded at work twice (and I gave it a boost using a small 8-cell AntiGravity LiFePo battery). It also happened 3 or 4 times in the morning at my parking garage -- even after the bike had spent the night on the trickle charger. The battery would simply run out of steam if the engine wasn't in the mood to fire up immediately. 6-8 seconds on the start button was enough to drain it completely. I checked all the connections and found nothing, except for the date stamp on the battery -- from 2007.

I called the dealer after the 2nd time this happened to let them know the battery might be faulty (or just plain old). Last week I finally brought the bike in so they could check it. In the end, they installed a new battery at no charge (any dealer who sells a used vehicle in Germany is required to offer a warranty). No idea what brand/model of battery they installed. The service centre was not open when I picked it up, only the sales people were there and they had no idea.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New bike on order

As much as I love riding the Super Duke, it's quite an outrageous beast for urban riding in downtown Berlin. Twisting the throttle on it is like doing heroin or crack...the acceleration and the sound coming from the mufflers is completely addictive. However, it's kinda like driving a Corvette in city traffic.

I've also been longing for something taller, with long travel suspension, lightweight, a little more nimble. Don't get me wrong, the big Duke is a very nimble bike compared to other litre-sized naked bikes, but nothing beats a dual sport in a city where you'll encounter cobblestone streets and occasionally you may need to jump over a curb or some other obstacle.  A dual sport is just very easy to manoeuvre when it comes to city riding, in addition to it's obvious off-road abilities. Basically, I miss having a dual sport and I need an excuse to buy one. After looking long and hard at all the options available in Europe, I decided on the new 2014 KTM 690 Enduro R.

There have been several upgrades and refinements for the new 2014 model, most notably an electric ride-by-wire throttle, new fuel injection ECU, and Bosch ABS.

One of my best buds back in Canada has a 2010 model and I've ridden it many times on all kinds of terrain. It's an impressive piece of machine. In 2012 there were several updates including a displacement boost from 650 to 690cc resulting in a few more horsepower. In 2014, they've made a great bike even better.

Last week, I threw my 20% down at the local dealer and placed my order. Before doing this, I had been in contact with KTM's head office in Austria to inquire about getting a Canadian-spec model delivered to Germany -- that way, I can bring it home without any hassle from the Canadian authorities when my posting here is finished in 3-4 years from now. KTM head office agreed to do it for me, and I just had to make the downpayment through the dealer. There will be no issue for me to get a Canadian model plated and registered here in Germany because I am a diplomat and getting an exemption for a non-compliant model is just a matter of filling out some paperwork.

Anyway, I was told today that everything is in place, and my bike will be here sometime during the last 2 weeks of March, so basically 4-5 weeks from now.

My plan is to trade the Super Duke depending on the value the dealer will allow. I trust he'll be reasonable, otherwise, I'll just sell the SD myself later.

This is a European model -- with Metzeler Sahara tires

This is the Canada/USA model with Pirelli MT-21 tires.