2005-2013 KTM 990 Super Duke
£4000-£6000 118bhp 145mph 199kg 1000cc 75° V-twin
“A BMX powered by jackhammers”
Punk rock on wheels. KTM’S original Super Duke is brutal, basic and belligerent — and those are its good qualities. Its V-twin snaps with firecracker fury, gaining revs so fast it feels like the internals are carved from Styrofoam. It’s rough and raw, the chaotic racket and savage crack of each barely contained combustion stroke fed directly from spark plug to whichever bit of your brain is in charge of making you go cross-eyed. The slightest tweak of the throttle has instant impact — the power is useable in the same way a stick of dynamite is useable. Same is true of the steering: nudge the handlebar and the stark, sharp chassis plummets to earth like a bowling ball in a vacuum.
The first 990, in ’05 and ’06, was addictively absurd, feeling less like a spritely supernaked and more like a BMX powered by a pair of turbocharged jackhammers. For 2007 KTM calmed it a whisker, with more stable geometry, a larger fuel tank, less-snatchy fuel injection, firmer suspension and stronger brakes. And then KTM built an R version, turning it back into a drooling, skittering lunatic once again.
Whichever one you go for, any 990 Super Duke offers a far more electrifying ride than any Aprilia Tuono. It straddles the tightrope between genius and insanity — its relentless intensity is too much for most, but that’s what makes it so appealing. MARTIN FITZ-GIBBONS
Treading the fine line between genius and insanity — the KTM 990 Super Duke