KTM 1290 Su­per Duke R

Bet­ter elec­tron­ics, ex­tra power & it’s gained six ki­los too

Motorcycle News (UK) - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL NEEVES SE­NIOR ROAD TESTER michael.neeves@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.