Can the lowly DR keep pace with the 160 HP 1290 KTM? Answer? Depends.
I just did yet another Pismo Beach ride. We start in Hollister (actually Tres Pinos), head down 25 from there, do a bunch of twisty back roads. We end up in Pismo for the night. Next day we head South via more remote back roads, ranches, vineyards ... plenty of awesome road, go as far South as Ojai, then back North to Pismo via Carrizo plain. Day 3 is another mix of roads but with a lot on Highway 25. Not a DR friendly road ... but still fun! Slab home from Hollister, CA up to San Francisco Bay Area.
On anything even remotely straight and fast ... the KTM's would pass me like I was parked ... me topped out at 90 mph or so. They hit 145 mph on some of straighter, more open areas.
But the DR certainly held it's own on the tight, technical twisty roads we found, some covered with dust, sand, gravel on them. The 37 HP DR did great. The KTM guys are nearly all "fast guys": East Bay Moto Bro riders, AYU, and Montgomery street guys. The Moto Bros are really good riders ...
But I pulled away on the very steep switch back filled roads along the Cielo ridge road that comes down into Santa Barbara. The DR rocks on such roads ... my corner entrance speeds top KTM's. (very worn IRC TR-8 front, Shinko 244 rear (120/17) But who wants to drop a NEW
$20K KTM 1290?
... no one fell off, one guy went into the dirt verge on one corner. (fooling with GPS)
So, point is, a decent pilot with a well set up DR650 can actually do OK vs. more powerful ADV bikes ... if the road is right.
On the dirt roads we rode of course the DR was right there too.
Where I suffered was riding into 30 knot head winds coming North on Highway 25. The DR struggled to hold 80 mph in 4th gear! She used some oil that day after being revved out for hours trying to keep up. (not a chance on those sections)
But our guys stop to re-group frequently, and if the road gets technical or dirty ... I'm OK. No one is "racing" but these boys aren't
hanging around. Ask anyone about the East Bay Moto Bros group.
Very fun ride. Other bikes in the group? 2 new Kawi Versys 1000 (very nice bike!), Concours 14, '16 BMW GSw, Suzuki Bandit 1250S, Buell,'06 Tiger, '09 Tiger 800, 2017 Bonneville ... and 5 KTM 1290's.
I was on the only single on the ride. The big Kawi's make a GREAT touring bike. I liked it better than the 1290 KTM! (too tall for me!)