Thread: Highland Motors
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Old 04-15-2006, 05:54 AM   #9
ZAPP - Tejas
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Location: Tejas Hill Country
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Re: Adventure Touring: Go There, Go Anywhere (Score: 2, Insighful)
By stapleking on Monday, July 11 2005 @ 05:11:18 PDT
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Interesting comparo; I have just returned from Sweden where I had an opportunity to compare the [unavailable in the U.S.] Highland 950 V-twin adventure bikes with the KTM 950 offering during several hours of rural Swedish back-road bashing. The KTM is indeed nicely refined and rides much lighter and nimbler than its size and heft would indicate. Having said that, the unexpectedly high vibration levels at any and all engine speeds were annoying and curious in light of the twin balance shaft architecture of the motor.

However, the Highland, in all 3 iterations [Motard, Allroad, and Adventure] simply blows the KTM away. Sportbike HP, coupled with dirtbike torque and racebike handling makes an unreal package. And, little vibration from a non-balance shaft V-twin which, by the way, is the lightest currently on the planet. The entire bike is a [relative] feather-weight at 360 lbs., dry. If I had a complaint, it is that the Highland is a little too "racy" - not surprising since it is the product of a partnership of ex-motocross and speedway racing stars and engineers from the halycon days of Husqvarna and Husaberg. The seat, peg and bar ergonomics work to push you forward over the tank with elbows splayed and on your toes. Great in the dirt but less so at high speed on pavement. Having said that, on a "technical" road course such a Louden, I would bet my Vanson leather suit I could lap faster on the Highland than on my full-race Buell Thunderbike class machine. As for canyon dicing, it would give a current liter-class sportbike fits.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the price is obscene [$16K], even in Europe, but it IS basically a hand-built homolgation special that employs all the best bits available for every single function screwed together by guys who know how these hybrid bikes are supposed to work.
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