A One Day Grand Tour of Mpumalanga on KTM’s 1290 SuperDuke Grand Tourer!

KTM South Africa recently launched the 1290 SuperDuke GT at the South Africa Bike Festival. We had the oportunity to ride one lap on the newly refurbished Kyalami circuit, this however left us lusting for more. So, we got our hands on a couple of the 1290 SuperDuke GT’s and took to the roads of Mpumalanga for a one day 700+ Km ride. This is how it went down…

With much excitement, we filled up the bikes and left Pretoria at around 8:00 am. However, heading out towards Bronkhorspruit on the R25, our spirits were soon dampened when we hit dense fog. The next 20 minutes or so of riding was difficult as visibility was down to about 20m!! To add to the difficulty, my visor steamed up, which meant I had to ride with it up and as a guy who wears glasses, I had to use my finger every few seconds to wipe away the moisture. Luckily after about 5 km’s, a van passed me and I was able to follow it by keeping my eyes fixed on it’s hazards.

You gotta love winter touring! #KTM #superduke1290gt #touring #zabikers

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We stopped at the on-ramp to the N4 to recuperate and clean our visors, then headed down the N4 towards Witbank and luckily, a few km’s down the road, the fog began to lift… HOORAY!! My hands were wet and cold from the fog and 4 degree temperature that led me to think… surely the KTM comes with heated grips? Navigating the on-board computer whilst riding in cruise-control, I was able to easily find the settings. Min > Med > Max? (Max of course) Set > Done! How easy was that!! Within seconds, my hands were nice and toasty.

We arrived at Millys, our breakfast spot, at around 10:00 am. The bikes at this point were getting plenty of attention from bystanders!

Stoping at Millys for a quick breakfast and to fill up the bikes. #KTM #superduke1290gt #touring #zabikers

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Before we go again – a quick check of the settings: First, drive mode – options are: sport, street and rain. Next, damping – options are: sport, street and comfort. As it was not raining and I was not planning on riding the bike hard, I opted for the street set up for both. I would like to mention that the on-board computer was very intuitive to use, not over the top in anyway at all.

We headed out towards Barberton on the R541 then the R38. It was the first time riding these roads for me and I was pleasantly surprised.. the road twisted down past the Nelshoogte Nature Reserve… STUNNING!!

We then turned left onto the R40 through Nelspruit to White River then stopping at the turn-off to the White River Estate. At this point I had to take off some layers as it was getting seriously HOT in this neck of the woods. It was time to turn off the heated grips and revel in the long sweeping curves past the Dagama dam. The GT was rock solid and pin point accurate on these high speed roads.

We then turned left at the Kiepersol turn-off towards the R536. Finally, we rode the famous 22km’s of road between Hazyview and Sabie. Riding the GT through the twisties of the 22 was very special!! The 1290 GT is designed for this kind of riding and it excels! At 205kg it feels more sport than tourer. Coupled with the factory fitted quick-shifter, traction control and cornering ABS it has the ability to make touring far more exciting. I don’t think any other bike I have ridden up to now quite sums up – best of both worlds, like the GT does.

We arrived in Sabie and pulled into the Woodsman at around 13:30 for a lunch-stop. You will notice that I have up till now made now mention of the bikes performance. Developing north of 170 hp and making more than 140 nm of torque, suffice to say the GT has power everywhere!

Riding the famous 22 Km’s of road from Hazyview towards Sabie!! #KTM #superduke1290gt #touring #zabikers

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Off again… We rode from Sabie along the R37 (Long Tom Pass) stopping at the Long Tom cannon for a quick photo stop. I love the styling of these bikes and personally, I would buy the GT just based on the looks alone. They really are photogenic machines especially in the beautiful settings you can find in Mpumalanga. The whole day and everywhere we stopped, people admired these beasts. Eventually, we pulled into Lydenburg and then continued on the R540 to Dullstroom.

Two missiles at Long Tom canon! #KTM #superduke1290gt #touring #zabikers

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We stopped in Dullstroom to fill up the bikes and at this point, the winter layers were added as it was starting to get chilly again. We left Dullstroom at around 16:00 and rode towards Belfast. Back on the highway I put the cruise-control on and settled in for the last stretch back to Pretoria. Riding along the N4, I had time to ponder the days riding. We had done more than 700km’s at this point but on-board the GT, it was like a walk in the park. Very comfortable seat and riding position and no pain was felt in hands or lower back. Only the occasional stretching of the legs was required during this iron butt ride.

Almost home!! #KTM #superduke1290gt #touring #zabikers

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I arrived home at 18:00 after travelling a total of 785.8 KM with the GT averaging about 17 k’s per litre. What an unbelievable day of riding!! The KTM 1290 SuperDuke GT surpassed all my expectations as a Grand Tourer. If Sport touring is your thing then you must go and experience the GT – you will not be disappointed!

Video: KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE GT Features & Benefits