Please excuse the indulgence, but when presented with a photo opportunity that involves an exotically dressed camel herder, a pair of camels and a genuine desert, it’d be rude not to take full advantage. Rachid and I were attempting, through garbled French, to discuss the merits of the camel versus the new KTM 790 Adventure. He was understandably interested in the bike’s seat covering choices. Disappointingly the Moroccan rug option doesn’t currently feature in KTM’s otherwise comprehensive Power Parts catalogue. That’s one up to the camels I reckon.
We were in Morocco for the launch of the KTM 790 Adventure – I know, I know, it’s a tough job – and it was extraordinary. The roads aren’t up to much, straight and bumpy, like Lincolnshire’s finest Fenland Superhighway, with the added hazard of super-slippery teflonised tarmac, but the mountain tracks and desert trails are flippin’ amazing. A perfect test for an adventure bike.
The KTM 790, Moto Guzzi’s V85 TT and (later in the year) the Yamaha 700 Ténéré are an interesting shift in the market, as mainstream manufacturers finally take the middleweight sector seriously. We’re told that people want lighter, lower, simpler and more accessible bikes, especially in the adventure sector. So now they’re here (or coming), will we really buy them? Or are we hopelessly addicted to the luxury, the trinkets and the epic power of big bikes? It feels like KTM may have called our bluff.
I’ll also admit that I’m writing this without having ridden the Guzzi. This is the best job in the world, but it’s not without jeopardy. To hit this month’s deadlines the stories from the Guzzi launch in Sardinia (I know, more hardships) and the Katana from Japan are being written at night in hotel rooms and sent hours after riding the bikes. If there are blank pages in the magazine it didn’t go according to plan. Enjoy the issue.
Hugo Wilson, Editor