First test of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

First test of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

The best road KTM?

The phenomenal 1290 engine has been further developed for the sport touring version of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. MOTORRAD was able to convince itself of its qualities during a first test drive.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. KTM does not build motorcycles that are appealing at first glance. Goal spectacular, unique, recognizable, unambiguous KTMs. This is how you would a KTM 1290 Never assign the Super Duke GT to another brand, even if it stands in front of you in a camouflage dress that is hostile to photography. No, of race, so angularly boarded with this insect-like headlight, only Gerald Kiska and his team dare to do that. 

First test of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

The best road KTM?

KTM to be among the sports tourers. More radical and stronger than a BMW R 1200 RS, more functional than a Ducati Monster, more brutal than anything that currently comes to us from Japan. She doesn’t want and won’t please everyone. But like the 1290 Super Duke R, it will set the bar higher in this segment.

Cornering ABS, cornering light, better wind protection

The equipment will be complete and comprehensive: the latest version of the Bosch cornering ABS, various driving programs, semi-active chassis from WP-Suspension – everything is on board. A larger tank with a capacity of around 20 liters, slightly longer suspension travel and the more comfortable seat than on the Super Duke R increase driving comfort in regions suitable for touring. The significantly improved wind protection thanks to a much larger, transparent windshield then also fits in with this. The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT will even be adorned with LED cornering lights that depend on the lean angle.

The sitting position looks familiar right away. Well protected you sink behind the mountain of Tank, which is flattering the slightly higher handlebars and the well-shaped bench. The fat V2 is there immediately, thundering from the revised exhaust system, which now lifts a flap system over the Euro 4 hurdle. Thanks to further coordination work, the lower-emission 1290 should now even do a few more horses and come very close to real 180 hp.

Super Duke GT is designed to be stable and neutral

Well, the KTM hammer has never lacked pressure. In view of this abundance, the difference is probably only noticeable in a direct comparison. In any case, there is plenty of thrust, served cultured, as only the fat man from Mattighofen can. With its irrepressible temperament, the V2 also stands out as a four-cylinder like a BMW S 1000 XR. These can actually only score at the bottom, because the design of the two-cylinder does not necessarily have its strength in the very low speed range. City traffic speed in sixth gear is not possible. But it vibrates much more pleasantly than the four-cylinder and sounds less agitated.

According to the intended use, the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT was designed to be stable and neutral. The noticeably heavier machine pulls cleanly through the curves, but does not want to be a handling miracle. You have to work on the handlebars in faster changing bends. At the early stage in which MOTORRAD was allowed to test, the semi-active chassis was not yet optimally tuned. The WP system, which automatically adjusts the damping to the compression speed and load, in millisecond intervals, still demands attention, but promises a new era in terms of comfort, stability and safety. Especially since the Bosch system with lean angle detection is to be incorporated into the damper adjustment. The draft shield, and this is new to KTM, works amazingly well. Little eddy, little wind pressure, a lot has happened. The machine drives even more pleasantly on this first contact than the in-house Adventure models.

Functionally, the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is sure to be the best road KTM of all time. Thanks to its excellent equipment, extended functions and its outstanding driving performance, it will collect a lot of points in the MOTORRAD 1000 point classification. You have to like them optically. But as I said, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And that’s where it should stay.

Technical data Super Duke GT


The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is Euro 4 compliant, and yet it should still perform a few more horses and thus come very close to the real 180 hp.

75-degree V2 engine, two overhead camshafts each, four valves, injection, 2 x Ø 56 mm, regulated catalytic converter, six-speed gearbox, X-ring chain, bore / stroke 108.0 x 71.0 mm, displacement 1301 cm³

Steel tubular frame, engine is load-bearing

Upside-down fork, Ø 48 mm, single-sided swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut

Tank capacity approx. 20 liters

Colors: orange, black

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