KTM 1290 Super Duke GT in the PS driving report

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT in the PS driving report

Mutation of the beast

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With the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, KTM wants to achieve the balancing act between the radical R variant and a sporty bike for all purposes. An ambitious goal.

She has flashed us for the past two years, she has chiseled the grin on our faces: the mighty 1290 Super Duke R, respectfully christened “The Beast”, a fantastic naked bike with infinite thrust and easy-going manners. But to be suitable as a bike for all occasions, the R lacks tourist and all-round qualities. This is exactly what the new KTM should do 1290 Super Duke GT offer.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT in the PS driving report

Mutation of the beast

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is not even necessary, especially since many elements from the hotel’s touristic concepts – namely from the Adventure line – could be adopted. The most important measures in short: more range, wind protection, a little more seating comfort, especially for the pillion passenger, luggage storage and an update of the assistance systems and on-board electronics.

Small catch with aggressive driving

Let’s get into the latter a little more intensively at the beginning: As with the adventure models, a so-called IMU box (IMU = Inertial Measurement Unit) from Bosch is used in the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. It recognizes the driving status by means of gyro sensors and thus creates the conditions for the Bosch MSC (motorcycle stability control). This system controls ABS (cornering ABS) and traction control depending on the lean angle.

When the pilot grabs the front irons, the MSC decelerates the rear brake continuously and variably. A small catch when driving aggressively: If you anchor heavily at the front, the rear wheel easily loses contact with the ground, is braked and blocked.


The height of the windshield can be adjusted seven times (60 mm). The tank fairing is wide and deep, it houses the front indicators.

The electronics of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT recognize this as a lifting wheel and want to prevent the somersault forwards, although the wheel may still be prancing on the ground. So the modulator releases the brake pressure at the front and thus wastes braking distance. But for the full attack there is still the ABS mode “Supermoto”. It deactivates the rear wheel ABS: no lift detection, no early regulation, no problem.

However, the driver of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT has to tame a rising rear at this level himself. As before, the electronics switch back to normal ABS fashion (Road) as soon as the ignition is switched off, and the traction control switches on again every time the engine is started.

Unfortunately no user mode

The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT also has the three riding modes "Sport", "Street" and "Rain", which regulate power delivery and traction control. The latter, however, works quite roughly and sometimes early. Nevertheless, it can happen that the front wheel rises abruptly towards the sky and is only caught late by the electronics. The whole thing still looks a bit sleek. Unfortunately, there is no mode that allows wheelies when TC is active. It would also be nice to have a user mode with which the pilot can combine the assistance as required. The competition shows how it’s done.

On the other hand, it’s good news: there is now a quickshifter on board, which makes the gear changes smooth – great! However, it does not provide a blipper function when downshifting. Unfortunately, the automatic gearshift doesn’t fit the R so easily either – a shame. The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT now has cruise control as standard. As with the Super Adventure, KTM also optionally offers hill start assistance and engine drag torque control.

Quickshifter? Check!

The chassis of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is also derived from the large 1290 travel enduro. WP fork and shock absorber now work semi-actively, so they automatically adapt to the road conditions and driving style. A new oil flow control valve is supposed to improve the metallic hitting of the fork over hard edges, which was criticized in the Super Adventure. In fact, the load of asphalt now absorbs wrinkled asphalt more confidently, but without being hypersensitive.

With the modes “Comfort”, “Street” and “Sport”, the driver selects the basic damping setting. Street is a good compromise, but due to the antidive effect (front dips less when braking), it offers slightly less feedback when braking into corners than the tight sport mode, which switches off the antidive. The automatic damping adjustment to the load is great. A sensor at the pivot point of the swing arm detects the position of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT based on the angle and adjusts the characteristic accordingly.

KTM attachments great importance to comfort

Despite their sporty attitudes, the Austrians attached great importance to comfort. The extended rear frame with integrated case holders accommodates the two-part bench, which now offers more space. In addition, the handlebars of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT are slightly higher, wider and, like the brake and shift levers, horizontally adjustable. The copilot is also happy about the lower footrests. The screen, which can be adjusted seven times, is primarily of benefit to the driver. The highest level provides adequate protection for the upper body, but the head is almost unprotected in the wind.

The multi-stage heated grips, the LED cornering light, the lighting that automatically switches from daytime running lights to low beam, the tire pressure control and the automatic turn signal reset are completely comfortable. Last but not least, the tank, which has grown by five to 23 liters, ensures longer ranges. The Austrians also offer a case system for 785 euros as an accessory. However, all the features not only drive up the price, but also the weight of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.

Curve robbers one of the favorite disciplines

With a full tank, the GT weighs 231 kilos (factory specification without case). But you hardly feel the pounds while driving. On the contrary: cornering is one of the favorite disciplines of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. The Pirelli Angel GT, with which it whets homogeneously around the corners and provides decent feedback, are an excellent match.

The engine arouses unlimited feelings of happiness. It is still an experience to give this killer drive the spurs. Euro 4 couldn’t harm it thanks to a new cylinder head, adapted mappings and the completely new exhaust with valve system. The V2 remains what it always was: one of the most fascinating drives on the planet. mission accomplished!

Technical data KTM 1290 Super Duke GT


New Euro 4 exhaust with valve control that even passes the sound check.


  • Two cylinder 75 degree V engine, four valves / cylinder
  • 127 kW (173 hp) at 9500 rpm
  • 144 Nm at 6750 rpm
  • Bore / stroke: 108.0 / 71.0 mm
  • 1301 cm3
  • Compression: 13.2: 1
  • Ignition / injection system
  • 56mm throttle bodies
  • hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath anti-hopping clutch
  • Six-speed gearbox
  • Chain

landing gear:

  • Steel space frame
  • Steering head angle: 65.1 degrees
  • Trail: 107 mm
  • Wheelbase: 1482 mm
  • Ø fork inner tube: 48 mm
  • Suspension travel front / rear: 125/156 mm

Wheels and brakes:

  • Light alloy cast wheels, 3.50 x 17 / 6.00 x 17
  • Front tires: 120/70 ZR 17, rear: 190/55 ZR 17
  • 320 mm double disc brakes with four-piston fixed calipers at the front
  • 240 mm single disc with two-piston fixed caliper at the rear
  • C-ABS


  • (full tank) 231 kg
  • Tank capacity: 23 liters super

Base price:

  • 17,995 euros (plus ancillary costs)

Differences to the KTM 1290 Super Duke R.


One-hand operation of the window takes a bit of getting used to, familiar cockpit.


  • New cylinder heads
  • changed maps
  • new exhaust with valve system


  • IMU box for detecting the driving status
  • Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC)
  • Cruise control
  • Hill start assist (optional)
  • Engine drag torque control (optional)

landing gear:

  • Semi-active chassis
  • three-way adjustable damping basic tuning
  • C-ABS
  • 23 liter tank
  • Pirelli tires
  • extended rear frame with integrated case brackets
  • height-adjustable disc
  • Handlebar higher, wider and adjustable
  • Passenger footrests lower
  • adjustable brake and shift lever


  • Heated grips
  • LED cornering and daytime running lights
  • Tire pressure control
  • automatic turn signal reset
  • Bench with more space

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