Alpinestars have been making top quality motorcycle kit since 1963 and are the choice of many of the world’s best racers, like Marc Marquez in MotoGP and John McGuinness at the TT.
The clocks have gone back, the warmer clothing is out… but you may still be missing a few essentials for winter riding. So make the most of being inside in the warm, and check out a few of our most recent deals!
This backpack is great value at only £29.99, and incorporates a helmet carrier into the base! Padded straps, a chest clip and lots of pockets make it practical, while the fluorescent panels ensure you’ll be seen in the dark.
No-one likes cleaning their bike (well, most people!), but when the road salters come out and the roads get muddy, it has to be done! So why not make the task a little easier with the right tools? This brush set includes a chain cleaner, to make sure your chain always in tip-top condition, extending its life too. A steal at just £19.99!
Sometimes you can’t help but get caught in the rain, and having a waterproof suit in your arsenal of kit is the simplest way to ensure you don’t get soaked to the bone (and cold!). This Weise Tempest suit also includes hi-vis panels to give you that extra visibility you need when it’s chucking it down. Every rider is accommodated for, with sizes from XS to 5XL, for just £55!
Finally, something no rider should ever be without – the trusty Pinlock insert, from just £22. These go inside your visor, either on the pre-installed pegs, or with adhesive if your existing visor doesn’t have them, and create a “double glazing’ effect that stops you steaming up. If you only get one winter riding essential, this is the one to get – you’ll never look back after you put one in!
To my old fashioned eyes the KTM690 duke is a strange looking beast, like some sort of weird insect poised to strike – an angular confection of KTM’s signature orange, black and white colour scheme.
I wasn’t sure how I would find it when Rod suggested I take the Fowlers demonstrator over to the Isle of Man for the Manx Grand Prix.
The bike caused a predictable stir and much hilarity wherever I parked it, “Mate! They said, looking at the large “Demonstrator” graphics, “did you tell ‘em you was just taking it out for an hour or two?” It also prompted some shocking confessions, one bloke told me he’d borrowed a demonstrator and taken it straight our on a track day, very bad man.
The Manx, or the “Isle of Man festival of Motorcycling” as they now want to call it, is very much a classic bike fest. Usually I would take over one of my old bangers and spend a happy morning, (that’s every morning), fettling the old croc in order to get a ride in after lunch. In the company of friends Angus and “Old fashioned Tom”, this is actually a very enjoyable way to pass the time. I rather doubted if the KTM would need much spannering so I was going to miss out.
I missed out on the fettlingbut I did not miss out on the riding.
I had thought of comparing the KTM with Old fashioned Tom’s bike, a 1953 Vincent Commet – a 500 cc single bored out to 560cc. Ok its 50 years older but it’s a large capacity single with a monoshock rear end, slightly sporting (in the state of tune O.F. tom has it) and superbly put together. The first ride on the KTM rendered all thoughts of comparison redundant. Its chalk and cheese.
Despite Rod’s assurances I couldn’t help wondering if a 690 cc single would be fast enough for a bit of fun around the TT course, especially up “the mountain” where there are no speed limits, the road surface is superband one glorious bend follows another in one long unfolding slice of bikers heaven.
Also, looking at the bike, would the high wide front end start to flap about when pushed hard into corners? Would it vibrate like a jackhammer and be horrendously uncomfy at speed?
Well, none of the above.
The KTM690 was a complete revelation to someone like me who was brought up on old British singles. I simply don’t understand how KTM have managed to get a 690 cc single to perform as it does. This bike is fast, no, really fast – just when I thought it would start to run out of puff – say 75 it simply accelerated harder and harder – effortlessly passing the ton. Frankly I wouldn’t have wanted to go much faster with “open roads” (i.e. two way traffic). Though I have to confess I got mullered by a bloke on a grubby brown Kawasaki around windy corner, who were you? Respect whoever you are, your fast.
Handling? The Duke could be barreled into my favorite corners at high speed (80+) without any problems. Despite the semi “adventure” look of the front end it never waggled once – even on the fastest corners it felt wonderfully planted without a single complaint from the front end.
As you go into a corner the remarkably comfy seat simply “digs in” in a most delightful fashion – settling down into the corner – the whole thing is tremendously confidence inspiring.
Due to a massive cock up on my part I had to come home early and thus miss a lift home to Bristol in the Van. This meant I had to ride the little KTM through the night from Heysham (one of my least favorite journeys). How would the bike perform as a “tourer”? Answer – astonishingly well. We settled down to a comfortable Motorway speed, I wasn’t sure what to dial in, 70, 80, 90? Whichever I chose the Duke obliged. The balance shafts work so well it’s hard to judge if and when the big single is feeling stressed.
I arrived home even more impressed with the orange insect than I had been on the Isle of Man. Inevitably, it has now joined my ‘I want’ list!
All in all, an extraordinary “little” bike.
Now, I wonder if the KTM390 is almost as much fun?
Martin Hughes Gaines
This is the full review from ‘The Post’ – Written by Jon Bennett.
Thirteen may be an unlucky number for some, but certainly not for Triumph. Hot on the heels of their delectable 2013 Street Triple, Jon Bennett test rides the exquisite new-for-2013 Daytona 675.
EVER since its debut in 2006 the Daytona has consistently topped comparison tests, won awards around the world and even trounced high-spec superbikes in head-to-head shootouts. Race versions have taken titles around the world and seven years on it’s still a winner on the track, yet it’s the bike’s razor-sharp style and growling, muscle-packed character which has appealed just as much to its dedicated owners. Now for 2013 Triumph has unleashed an all-new Daytona 675 and Daytona 675R, with a brand new engine, new frame, fresh and sophisticated new bodywork and a host of other changes built on everything Triumph has learned from the enormously successful outgoing model. A few tweaks and modifications would have kept the 675 on the pace, but the 2013 Daytona is set to raise the bar once again. The result is a bike which is 1.5kg lighter than the old model, with more power, an extended rev range, greater precision, feel, and increased agility. It’s faster on the track, better on the road and even more satisfying to own.