It’s been raining and kind of cold for the last 2 weeks so it was really nice to see the sun again. A small crew of us took advantage of the weather and did a lunchtime mission up the mountain next to the kiska office.
Due to the lack of oxygen my bike doesn’t like wheelying at 1600 m so I borrowed Manuel’s Duke R which had no problem.
So many nice sweeping curves all the way up and down Rossfeld.
I dropped my duke off at the local dealer to tune a few things on it and they lent me the SMC to try out. Been wanting to try one of these things for years and it was really interesting to hop from the Duke directly to this. Considering it’s the same engine the differences were remarkable.
The SMC is waay more flick-able. I was amazed how quick this thing goes from side to side. It feels really light and nimble. The front wheel pretty much never wants to stay on the ground when you are on the gas which makes it really fun but also slightly challenging, especially when gassing around bends.
In some ways I loved the seat on the SMC, its way grippier and because it’s flat it’s much easier to move your weight around. The duke seat keeps you stuck within a narrow range of movement (and is too slippery), but actually feels much better at higher speeds as well as on medium to long journeys. The SMC feels like it dips back on heavy acceleration as the suspension compresses and you have to hang on pretty tight.
The suspension is way softer on the SMC, which is good sometimes (potholes, bumpy road, wheelies) but overall makes for more of a rodeo ride. On the tighter bends, the SMC is easily superior to the Duke, but elsewhere the Duke feels more stable, planted and definitely has less vibrations too.
One thing that caught me out is that the turning circle is much more restricted on the SMC than the Duke. I tried to do a sharp turn out of the dealer and almost fell over as I couldn’t turn the wheel enough.
Overall for the mountain roads around here I think a slightly stiffer sprung version of the SMC may well be better than the Duke, although the Duke offers more touring possibilities. Man, to be honest though, I love em both, the smile on my face was just as big no matter which bike I was on.