I won't lie, my favourite pre test was the BMW, I mean come on, its fucking beautiful, but so it should be for 12 grand.
So the BMW was first, the day was a scorcher and I had a great time riding the bike but it really did take me all day to get used to the shaft drive and parallel twin, however by the end of the day I was loving the engine and the sound track that came with it from the stock exhaust. The seat was ok for an hour or so but after that I needed a break. Brakes were spot on as you'd expect from a new bike. BUT, and here it comes, the riding position just wasn't for me, perhaps it was just too different than the bolt upright KTM, perhaps if I'd gone from my old 1200 Bandit to the BMW then the difference would have been marginal but as it was I found it too much and for that reason its a no to that bike for me.
Next up was the Ducati, apart from the stupidly high bars that needed adjusting and pushing back before it was comfortable to ride and a damn site less stupid to look at, it was a straight off win. Cracking strong engine, that pulls well, nice Brembo 4 pot on the front that works as it should. I jumped straight on the motorway from Ducati Preston to head home so I could adjust the bars, I shot up to 80 and sat there for a while, needed do a quick overtake, wound the throttle on and off she fucked. It was very pleasant. Handled nicely, but I did find myself catching my toes on the floor a bit when I got too over enthusiastic through the twists, but generally it was all good. The suspension was, well frankly a bit odd. Sometimes I was happy with the suspension and sometimes it felt bloody awful, so I guess its ok at some things and not at others. The seat, was ok for an hour or so, which is no different any other bike I've owned but it could definitely use some more padding, which is fine apart from the cost, as the seat is so low I can get away with another inch or so of padding and still be far from on my tippy toes at the lights. Its a great looker and with the 0% deal on until the end of September is sorely tempting.
Last but not least came the Triumph, I wasn't expecting to much to be honest, from looking at the power figures, they are much lower for the street twin than the other two bikes I tested but as soon as I wound that throttle on, all that brochure blurb about the torque being in the sweet spot was true, it pulled like a fucking train and was a blast to ride, handled and stopped great, and I really had to use the brakes to get me out of trouble a few times. My demo bike was fitted with the bench seat which is what I'd want fitted if I was buying it as in my opinion just transforms the look of the bike. the problem is that my back side was aching after only 25 mins, and it continued to do so for the rest of the test, oddly it didn't get any worse, just ached for the whole 3 hrs I was on the bike. And what a fun 3 hours it was, I had a great time riding the bike but there was just a couple of things that I couldn't get let go. The lack of power meant that it really ran out of steam at the top end, and the whole bike when you really got up close had a bit of a cheap look to it and I couldn't help but feel that the 2000 mile old demo was starting to look a bit rough round the edges, so god only knows what state it would be in after a few years with me.
So the winner is the Ducati, it needs the low bars fitting for definite and I'm not sure how long the tyres will lat with me commuting on it but all in all its the one for me. Fingers crossed I can sell the KTM privately so I don't have to take the trade in price I was given.