KTM 1290 Super Duke R
Better electronics, extra power & it’s gained six kilos too
Like the out-going model, the new £13,999 Super Duke R has a full armoury of riding aids, but now thereõs cornering ABS and more sophisticated traction and spin control, for extra safety on the road and speed on the track. For the first time on a Super Duke, you also get keyless ignition, a tyre pressure monitor and cruise control as standard.
The KTMÕS three Rain, Street and Sport riding modes remain, but now thereõs a fourth: Ôtrackõ. This lets you turn the anti-wheelie off, while retaining traction control and it remembers the settings after youõve turned the bike off an on again Ð a frustration with the old bike. You can also set the nine-stage traction control system on the move and adjust levels of throttle responsiveness. Thereõs launch control, too.
Setting the electronics is still overly fussy with too many menus and submenus to scroll through and you have to pay £283.24 extra for the new riding mode (called the Track Pack), too. And it doesnõt stop there. A £445.50 Performance Pack includes an up and down quickshifter, electronic engine braking control and Bluetooth system (they can also be bought separately). These goodies push the cost up past the Super Duke RÕS number one rival: Apriliaõs £14,636 Tuono V4 Factory.
Electronics aside, the new KTM is plusher, friendlier and now has a Euro4-spec motor, so itõs quieter and emits 10% less carbon dioxide. But itõs New electronics make the Duke faster and safer on track
also now 6kg heavier...
The revised motor makes a claimed 177bhp, up 4bhp over the previous model, thanks to a new crank, cylinder head, titanium inlet valves, a higher compression ratio and 10mm shorter inlet trumpets, which let the 1301cc V-twin rev an extra 500rpm.
Without riding old and new Super Duke R back-to-back it’ll be hard to notice the modest power hike, especially with the extra weight it’s carrying, but it’s still a corker of an engine that oozes grunt. Even as low as 2750rpm it’s making 74ftlb of torque, which means instant V-twin stomp when you open the throttle.
On track the KTM is nothing short of sensational. It leaps out of corners, even in higher gears, and demolishes the straights in a thunderous gush of superbike-like lunacy. With no fairing it’s hard to hang on at such high speeds and after a day spent on track you’ll leave with arms and a neck like Popeye.
But despite the motor’s savagery when you poke it with a stick, it’s docile and friendly at normal speeds with a beautiful on/off throttle response.
The WP suspension has revised internal damping settings and heavier fork springs, up from 95 to 100N/mm. On the road it offers a plusher ride and on track there’s lots more control, agility and feeling through the tyres.
The Duke has a new TFT colour screen and a more aggressive, but still comfy, riding position thanks to bars that are 20mm wider, 5mm lower and 18.5mm further forward. There’s tweaked styling, with a slimmer naked back end, longer tank scoops and twin, slim line, predator-style LED headlights.
HIGHLIGHTS O New Track riding mode O Nine-stage traction control is variable while in motion O 177bhp with 104ftlb of torque O Revised suspension damping O New TFT colour dash
The new Duke looks more aggressive, but the front channel looks a bit odd
Internally the V-twin is heavily revised
A new colour dash adds a feel of quality