Whatever I buy, a significant consideration is dealer support, which is where we have a little local difficulty: as soon as you step away from the mainstream marques, dealers in Scotland are decidedly thin on the ground: Ducati, MV Agusta and KTM each have but a single dealer in a European country of 5.5M people, which seems astonishing. Triumph doubles that whereas BMW manages a whole four. So, whatever I buy, I’m going to be hoofing it for some distance for stuff: I just need to be sure that Hobson’s dealership is up to scratch.
Candidates to date include the KTM 1290 GT – their reinvention of the classic and much-missed sports tourer class; the MV Agusta Veloce Turismo 800 Lusso, MV’s extravagantly named scale model Multistrada; The BMW R1200RS – another sports tourer reincarnate and the same manufacturers K1300S, an oldie-but-goodie hypertourer and finally, Ducati’s own Multistrada DVT.
Fortunately though, both the MV and KTM dealers are in Perth, only forty miles to the east of us. I’m currently trying to arrange a test ride on a KTM Super Duke 1290 (there are no 1290 GT demonstrators to be had) but today I’m heading to Perth to play with the MV.
Now it might seem odd that someone who is hacked off with Italian inconsistency should be considering a machine from an even smaller Italian manufacturer, one moreover who uses many of the same suppliers as Ducati and which, currently and commonly, has well-documented financial problems. And you’d be right, but I’m not even going to pretend to consistency here: I’m intrigued by the MV machines, their apparently half-decent finish and the fact that they resolutely plough their own path. In a era, where the marker for Sports and adventure tourers sits around 1200cc and anything between 150 and 180bhp, what chance for a 800cc triple with a ‘mere’ 110bhp? I do have to confess to being a bit of an addict of the gratuitously instantaneous power delivery of the Multistrada and its ilk but, as my second favourite engine configuration is the inline triple, I’m very happy to give the MV (hereinafter the “TV”) a fair trial.
I wimbled back to Perth with a largeish grin beneath my visor: this is a seriously attractive and nice machine to ride. It’s actually very easy to ride and very confidence-inducing: I can see it being a perfect first ‘serious’ machine for the aspiring sports touring rider. That stands in some contrast to my generation of Multistrada 1200, whose engine will try to rip your arms out of your sockets if you crack the throttle at low (or indeed any) revs. The Multistrada DVT also seems to have a much tamed lower end response and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.
Am I any further forward then? No. Whilst I haven’t dismissed the MV Agusta, I do suspect that it’ll prove a little dimensionally challenged and short of ballistic torque for two-up use, but I’m keeping an open mind on that. A 1000cc MV triple with 150bhp or so would be hoot and very hard to resist. The KTM though has to be hovering towards the top of my shortlist: if only I can find one to try. Next: the BMW R1200RS & K1300S and then the Multistrada redux. By then I should know if I’m any further forward: I climbed back aboard the Multi and pointed it back down the road, at which point it leapt forth like a Polar bear after a seal and winged me homeward on its plateau of ballistic torque. I’d miss that.