KIWI RIDER MAGAZINE July 2017 - Page 50

Words: Jock McLauchlan / Photos: Greg Smith/iKapture Not content with making the biggest big-bike adventure range, KTM has tickled them significantly for 2017. Jock McLauchlan reports from the Blue Mountains... W hat a launch, what an occasion and bloody hell... what a bike! Well, bikes actually. When you get invited to the launch of KTM’s 2017 Adventure bike range you can tell it’ll be a treat. When you hear the launch ride is set near Katoomba, in the heart of the Blue Mountains, where offroad trails are virtually endless, you get quite excited. And then when you finally lay eyes on your new machine complete with Akrapovic muffler, Continental TKC80 knobbly tyres and a full KTM Hard Parts bashplate... well, not only does it endorse in my mind further that KTM takes adventure bikes and riding them very seriously, my excitement levels start to nudge the limiter. But firstly, I should back it up a bit. After touching down in Sydney we jumped in a van for the 100-odd km drive to Lilianfels Blue Mountains resort and spa. Lilianfels in Katoomba is right at the stunning Echo point lookout above the Three Sisters – they are three very impressive, weathered sandstone peaks. They’re a beautiful sight in the early morning light. They, and the massive surrounding valley, are all part of the greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Site and absolutely worth stopping for if you happen to be passing that way. Anyway, arriving at Lilianfels, a fabulous place with an elegant, timeless air, riders were greeted by the ever friendly face of KTM Events Manager, Rosie Lalonde and Marketing Manager Nicole Leong. Because our plane was late (broken rubber band I think), we barely had time to admire the lines of immaculate new 1290/1090 S and R models before being handed an arm load of KTM promo items, ushered to our rooms and told “press conference in five minutes”. So, bag of gear emptied onto the bed I headed down to the conference room to hear all the gossip (facts) about the new models. Walking in, Rosie (god bless her) handed me a piping hot, toasted sandwich with everything - because of the plane hiccup, we had missed lunch and I was having a near death experience from starvation... fortunately, on the cusp of tragedy, it was averted.