KTM 1290 Super Duke R in the PS driving report

KTM 1290 Super Duke R in the PS driving report

A real hammer on wheels

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From now on the sun is shining orange. Why? Because the oranges from Austria have put a real hammer on the wheels with the KTM 1290 Super Duke R. PS the naked drove:

1000 kilometers of country roads and 500 kilometers of racetracks on the KTM are currently behind me, and my body is still flooded with adrenaline. The standard KTM 1290 Super Duke R is even better than the prototype that I was allowed to drive exclusively last year. And that without a MotoGP factory fork, without an open air filter, without all sorts of racing parts made of carbon and without the ultra loud but super awesome exhaust from back then. I have now celebrated the eligible variant down to the last corner of my senses. Nothing seems as it was anymore, no stone was left unturned.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R in the PS driving report

A real hammer on wheels

Naked bike

KTM 1290 Super Duke R prototype in the driving report

Explosive mix of thump and speed

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Torque flows seamlessly into power

What was only floating in the dark at the time is now official: KTM promises 180 hp and 144 Nm of torque for the beast. With this power, there is really nothing left to be desired. With the KTM 1290 Super Duke R, the torque is seamlessly converted into power, and thanks to the gigantic displacement of 1301 cubic centimeters, the V2 already has over 100 Nm ready at 2500 rpm. It’s even fun to wait in line behind a truck in a higher gear and then pull past the throttle with a slight twist – bang, suddenly space and time merge!


The fine single-sided swing arm gives the KTM an exclusive look.

The twin converts its power via drive-by-wire. This means that commands from the throttle are sent to the central computer, which, taking various parameters into account, determines the optimal throttle valve position and controls it via a servomotor. This makes the power output ultra-smooth and, according to the KTM 1290 Super Duke R, pushes the Super Duke R, which weighs only 189 kilos when dry, wonderfully smoothly. The Austrian owes this gentle and at the same time fiery start to extensive changes to her donor organ, the tried and tested drive from the superbike RC8 R. A bore that has been enlarged from 105.0 to 108.0 millimeters and the stroke that has increased by two to 71.0 millimeters back the 75 -Grad twin into new spheres.

Further modifications: throttle valves that have grown from 52 to 56 millimeters, one-piece, lighter investment-cast camshafts (timing remained the same), completely redeveloped exhaust system, new engine mapping, harder exhaust valve seats, nitrided exhaust valves. Thanks to the last two innovations mentioned, the inspection intervals have increased to 15,000 kilometers. All in all, the drive of the KTM 1290 Super Duke R works at such a high level that the competition should be on the verge of despair.

Driver assistance systems are not fun killers

What the prototype didn’t have at the time, and I never wanted to, are fun destroyers, also known as driver assistance systems. But in the KTM 1290 Super Duke R they do exactly what they are supposed to: keep the bike in check, allow dynamism, keep riding fun. For example, the ABS offers two setting options with “Street” and “Supermoto”. The latter allows a little more slip on the front wheel and a locking rear wheel. This enables experienced drifters to stab straight into corners. During this exercise, the smoothly working slipper clutch supports the transverse driver. At the exit of the bend, the very finely regulated, lean angle-dependent MTC (Motorcycle Traction Control) reliably catches the rear wheel if the vehicle is accelerated and prevents wheelies by engaging very gently.

But don’t worry, there is another way. If you need the full boom in denial, simply switch off ABS and MTC! In addition to these driving aids, the Austrian offers three driving modes: "Sport", "Street" and "Rain". They all also affect traction control. In addition, “Sport” and “Street” differ in terms of throttle response, but both deliver the full punch. On “Rain” the Super Duke accelerates very gently and reduces the power to 100 hp. The riding modes are so sophisticated that everyone will have fun with the KTM 1290 Super Duke R. Even quieter contemporaries get their mapping tailor-made.

While the fork and shock absorber were still uncompromisingly hard-tuned in the prototype, you can now cope wonderfully on bumpy to poor roads. Nevertheless, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R has retained its incredibly precise handling. The front wheel follows the direction the driver wants, does not fidget and impresses with crystal-clear feedback. The rider can choose whether to steer the bike over the wide handlebars or by shifting his weight, steer wildly over the rear wheel or traditionally anchored mainly in front. Regardless of the driving style, the new Dunlop Sportsmart 2 do a perfect job and support the Duke driver without restriction with great grip and neutral driving behavior. This also applies in fast corners, where the Super Duke practically sucks itself into the asphalt despite the high level of comfort of the suspension elements and remains extraordinarily calm. Almost too calm, because the pilot barely realizes the speeds driven. So what feels like 120 km / h on the country road quickly turns out to be a real 180 km / h!

Racing accessories for the KTM 1290 Super Duke R.

The KTM 1290 Super Duke R becomes a racetrack hero on slicks. I have no idea how the Austrians managed it, but for fast laps you no longer need a fairing, no stub handlebars, just driving pleasure.


Numerous racing accessories make the series KTM 1290 Super Duke R even hotter.

Often on the brakes I drift past the knee slider faction to grin with relish in the helmet at the apex of the curve when the gas is opened. The time is finally over when the thousands stand in your way in the curves and mercilessly pull away on the straight. Ha, ha, ha, nothing there, the power of the V2 allows full acceleration from the depths of the engine speed range up to the regions of 10,000 rpm. And on the chassis side, a few clicks on the fully adjustable spring elements prepare the Super Duke for hot rides on the slopes. In addition, the brembos bite like hell. One finger is enough to decelerate brutally even from top speed.

KTM still has a few goodies up its sleeve for racers: wave brake discs, crash pads, engine covers, protective bars for brake and clutch levers, to name just a few. One of the most exciting parts, however, is the complete exhaust system from Akrapovic, which is supposed to reduce weight and increase performance. In addition, it is significantly more attractive than the massive series part and, after a listening test, thanks to DB-Killer, not louder than the original system. This should mean that even the biggest complainer will run out of material. What a hammer this KTM 1290 Super Duke R!

PS judgment

I’ve never had so much fun on the racetrack as with the KTM 1290 Super Duke R. And on the country road, the Austrian gives you that real goosebumps feeling. Despite their aggressive appearance and sharp power, the "beast" behaves quite tame.

The little electronic helpers regulate imperceptibly in the background and, depending on the setting, also allow considerable stunts. Once again, KTM has understood how to build a bike by riders for riders. The KTM 1290 Super Duke R inevitably triggers the feeling of wanting to have it.

PS data


More displacement: the base engine of the Super Duke R comes from the Superbike RC8 R..

Two-cylinder 75-degree V-engine, four valves / cylinder, 132 kW (180 PS) at 8870 / min *, 144 Nm at 6500 / min *, 1301 cm3, bore / stroke: 108.0 / 71.0 mm, Compression: 13.2 : 1, ignition / injection system, 56 mm throttle valves, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath anti-hopping clutch, six-speed gearbox, chain.

landing gear
Steel tubular space frame, steering head angle: 65.1 degrees, caster: 107 mm, wheelbase: 1482 mm, inner fork tube Ø: 48 mm, spring travel v / h: 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 brake with four-piston fixed calipers at the front, 240 mm single disc with two-piston fixed caliper at the rear.

Weight: (dry) 189 kg *

Base price: 15,495 euros (plus ancillary costs)

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