ROAD TO PORCE III: KTM 1050 ADVENTURE
The KTM Adventure saga is composed today of 4 different motorcycles, the 1050 which we’ll be testing today, the 1190, the 1190 R and the recent 1290 Super Adventure. We’ve tested the 1190 a lot as we’ve traveled with through Colombia since 2013 when it first launched. Not even a flat tire! An amazing adventure bike that hailed a new era of KTM bikes. Now KTM launches the 1050 for the european A2 license and to fill the price gap in the market. So, how does the small sister do? this time we head out to Antioquia’s northeast and visit Porce III, the biggest hydroelectric plant in Colombia.
The 1050 shares the 1190 aesthetics, however you can see the difference in paint quality, and the absence of LED turn signals.
We took off through Bello all the way to Barbosa. The electric plant is located about 150 kms from Medellin in the road to Amalfi. Mostly new to me.
I often wonder if engine size is really related to the «adventure» name or motorcycle «type». Adventures seem to be a way of thinking and riding other than bike specs.
The landscape is very different from what I expected, there’s jungle, plains and kilometers of eucalyptus plants, nice smell. The road winds up next to the Porce river. Sadly though the river is polluted and there’s a white foam to show for it. I stopped a couple times to check the size of the dam. It’s very big.
Colombia’s riches never seem to end, as water is abundant here, and our most priced possession. We have to take better care of it.
We’ll be staying the night in an old EPM campsite called El Tablon that was used by engineers during the construction of Porce II, now it’s the resting place of current employes. We unpack and head out to Guadalupe falls, about 20 minutes from where we are, while our guests set up the guided tour through Porce III. The road up to Guadalupe is a lot of fun, though a little dirty for my taste. The end of the road takes us to a cable car, all the way up to the mountain. The fall itself is about 555 meters long and was used to build the Guadalupe I power plan, built in 1927. The power plant closed in 1985 when Guadalupe III and IV were built. They are still working to this day.
The cable car base, now we head up.
Tourists visit the power plant to visit the cable car, owned by EPM, it was built in Switzerland and works since 1962. It connects the base and top of the mountain for a very very cheap price. $100 pesos for a 20 ride ticket, that’s less than USD 0.05 ! It traves at about 4 meters per second, so I had a lot of time to take in the view. Amazing. This is one side of Colombia most people don’t get to see, but they should.
This is not suitable for the faint of heart.
At the top we met Emilio, who runs a little «salpicon» cart, a fruit salad / beverage type deal drink that is very popular in Colombia. Very tasty but not big enough to consider it lunch. We had a couple of laughs with Emilio then headed back down. A very funny guy and very welcoming with us » foreigners». He didn’t allow us to take his picture.
In the distance you can see the 1190, never to far away from us, as the 1050 also packs quite a punch despite lower horsepower.
I took the road as fast as I safely could as we were late for our guided tour, the 1050 probed to be very similar to the 1190 in more than one way. Powerful, fast, great brakes and a fairly good suspension, although a basic one compared to it’s siblings. I had a hard time realizing what the differences between the bikes, probably this is what KTM wanted. They succeeded. The 1050 feels as much as a bike as the 1190, when not pushed to the absolute limits. Missing is the cornering ABS or Motorcycle Stability Control, Bosh’s awesome ABS and stability system, however testing the absence of this technology is really hard. A very competent machine indeed.
The view is breathtaking.
Once in Porce III we went through a security checkpoint and some instructions. The road once inside is brand new, an absolute playground for petrol heads and bikers alike, if it were available. Deep in the jungle we see monkeys, snakes and even a possum – I think it was a possum – eagles, and lots more. The view is just breathtaking and the road just made it so much better. We changed our motorcycle gear to hard hat safety gear per regulations, and then we headed inside. The sheer size of everything is mesmerizing. 4 giant turbines make a sight like not one I’ve ever seen before. Everything is just build to a much larger scale, big, bright, clean and very high tech.
Regulations demand hard hat safety. We didn’t ride for a long.
I’m just taken away by the size of everything. A bridge like crane, the movable floor that cover the turbines, or the 20 meter high ceiling that made me feel really tiny, just like a Bond movie, all that’s missing is the evil henchmen, as they rappel down the dam to finish in a motorcycle chase. Yeah, it’s that amazing.
Engineering as an art form ranges from machines like the 1050, to projects like Porce III.
At the end of the tour they show as a 3d system developed by Siemens that controls the whole plant, we take a close look at the turbines and meet the 4 guys that control the plant, aside from the security, cleaning and maintenance teams. Great job guys.
Twists, straights, dirt roads. The 1050 can do it all. Heavy off road? hard to guess, but with KTM’s heritage is not hard to think so.
The tour ends and we go back to our bikes, it’s time for amazing road again. Almost a mile down we get to see where the water used by the plant meets up with river again, in peaceful harmony. Last shot of the day and finally, time to rest.
KTM está haciendo un esfuerzo gigante para competir a la oferta de BMW en el segmento aventura y lo está logrando con su amplia selección de modelos, ahora solo me falta probar la 1290.
About the Bike:
The not so small little sister
A very comfortable motorcycle thanks to it’s wide handlebar, wider than the 1190 Adventure, more like 1190 Adventure R. Rim size will allow for more options as it fits 110 front and 150 back. Great torque, suspension, and amazing brakes, the 12 volt power outlet and you have a full package. The center stand is missing so chain maintenance will be hard, however for the price the bike is more than great.