BEN KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R
THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Conserving the front tyre!”
You may remember me jabbering on last month about my eagerness to clock enough miles in order to get the electronics opened up, to enable the Track and Performance Packs? Well, now with that box ticked, and having been advised to go grow a massive pair of gonads, I was ready to see what all the brouhaha was about.
So, first thing first, Anti-wheelie mode; off, check. Traction control slip adjustment set to 5; check. Throttle response selected; Track, check. Ready to race – or at least that’s the cheeky little message you get greeted with from the fancy TFT dash every time it’s bought to life. With that, I felt a pang of excitement and trepidation in equal measure and I’m about to embark on a new level of insanity. Instantly, the addition of the Quickshifter+ (courtesy of the Performance Pack) gives the bike an increased sense of eagerness and refinement. This system allows both clutchless up and downshifts and is complete with auto blipper for when things get a tad racey.
I pull out of the industrial estate and exit the roundabout in third, giving the SuperD some beans when, whoops, would you look at that, a completely accidental wheelie, officer; all the while utilising the clutchless shift and hooking another gear and chasing it out. Anti-wheelie, need I say any more? Oh, go on then! Clutch it up? Nah, no need, this thing packs some serious clout, so catch the revs right in any of the lower four gears and you’ll be happily pulling off phat ones to your heart’s content!
My termer also featured in the super naked test which saw us head oop north – or at least that’s how it feels for me, even if geographically Lincolnshire is based in the southern half of the country, the accent of the locals (Bruce included), is enough to make me feel a million miles away from home. Hitting up some of the Wolds’ finest and fastest roads and pitching the bike on track at Cadders the KTM held its own against the crème de la crème of nakeds. I was proud!
Ever since the introduction of the 1290 monster back in 2013, I’d longed to have the opportunity to let one loose on track and the big KTM didn’t disappoint. The seat height is a full 21mm higher than the BMW S1000R (for example), and with a gangly amount of fork and shock travel, it’d be fair to say it has a supermoto-esque feel to it. That said, it doesn’t make it feel out of place, it dealt well with what was thrown at it, very well in fact. However I would've loved it a little bit more if it were shod with some stickier hoops to inspire a little more confidence and to help find the bike’s true limits.
Saying that, the M7 RRs that it’s running held up well, to be fair. They warmed up quickly, provided enough grip to grind a few grams off the gear shift lever and gave enough feedback for me to know when I was nearing their (not the bike’s) limit around the exit of Charlies. There’s no way you should be duffing up racers on ZX-thous and the like while on a road-going naked that’s running sports road rubber, but we did, so happy days!
Ben’s loving his SDR!
One flash new dash!