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KTM 1290 Super Duke GT in the driving report

Sports tourer regency?

Super duke. That stands for great fun on the country road. When KTM ennobles a sports tourer with this name, expectations are high. The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT gave a first taste on the winding streets of Mallorca.

KTM puts a lot of pressure on the gas. The Austrians are expanding their model range with impressive consistency. While the new 800 mid-range twin is already moving towards series production (see MOTORRAD 5/2016), the Mattighofen-based company is closing another gap in its model range. Tea KTM 1290 Super Duke GT will poach in the area of ​​sports tourers. Oh what, poach. It should be the pike in the carp pond there. The prerequisites for this are excellent. With the 1290 Super Duke and its gorgeous V2 as a base, the GT shouldn’t get weak knees in front of any competitor.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT in the driving report

Sports tourer regency?

KTM didn’t do things by halves. Anyone who thinks the GT is just a Super Duke with an attached fairing is wrong. It is carefully tailored to its new purpose in many details.

Balancing act between cruising and sport

It starts with the engine. From the key data – 173 hp and 144 Nm torque – identical to the Super Duke unit, the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT received increased torque in the lower speed range as a side effect of the Euro 4 homologation. This is made possible by the new cylinder heads, which are identical to those of the 1290 Super Adventure with modified combustion chambers and pinch edges as well as intake ports that are two millimeters narrower. And of course the new stainless steel exhaust system, which now has a control flap for the first time on a KTM. KTM promised a juicy 114 Nm already at 3250 rpm. So the V2 should manage the balancing act between enjoyable cruising and sporty gasping even better. Or the chassis. A longer aluminum rear frame provides more space for the pillion passenger, at the same time offers an integrated case holder and is stable enough for additional luggage. Logically, that the spring elements could not remain untouched. The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT wants to set standards in terms of functionality and has everything that is good and expensive in terms of assistance systems.

Semi-active chassis included as standard. The WP suspension elements offer three damper settings with Comfort, Street and Sport. Distance sensors on the wheels and acceleration sensors at the front and rear provide tea data on the wheel and chassis movements. The electronics adjust the damping in real time within the selected mode. Lean angle-dependent damping and automatic adjustment of the spring preload to the load, as initially rumored, the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT does not have.

And then of course there is the eye-catching disguise. With her nose pulled down far, she is more reminiscent of the Adventure models and should be a topic of conversation. The large screen, which can be adjusted with one hand, promises proper protection from the elements. Speaking of the elements: a stormy wind is driving dark clouds across the sky, but its locks are still tight. So let’s get up to the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.

A kind of anti-dive function

A pleasantly firm cushion welcomes the pilot, the butted, adjustable aluminum handlebar is now 25 mm wider and around 5 mm higher, the notches are in the usual position. Still feels like Super Duke. And yet different, more relaxed, but still active. Enjoyable. Even if the tank of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT now spreads its legs slightly more, it cleverly conceals the fact that its volume has increased by five to 23 liters. This should allow for 350-kilometer stages. The V2 starts work with a full, but still well-muffled rumble. Then let’s go to the hinterland of Mallorca.

The streets are still cool and damp from nightly downpours, and their grip is sometimes quite manageable. But on the one hand, the Pirelli Angel GT are a bank even under such conditions. On the other hand, if necessary, both the traction control and the combi-ABS with its lean angle-dependent regulation confidently protect against cockiness. And then there is the huge V2, which makes its power available in three driving modes (Rain, Street, Sport).

In street mode, it reacts smoothly to gas commands, pushes forwards predictably and emphatically, even from tight corners, tenses the muscles vigorously from 3000 rpm and marches steadily up from the low rev range. But the conditions still warn of moderation. And careful touching through the curves still lacks a certain smoothness. In the street set-up, the electronics ensure that the front of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT does not dip too far down when braking and entering corners. A kind of anti-dive function. That works well, at first feels a bit strange. This set-up is possibly a bit tight for the current slow pace, which allows little pressure on the front wheel. It’s smoother in soft mode. "Sport" does not have the anti-dive effect. The front is immersed as usual. After all, this ensures a steeper steering angle when braking. Good for willing turn-in and quite desirable for cornering.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT with serial gearshift

So, finally the streets are dry, the surface is grippy. Motor mapping to "sport", attack. The V2 of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT grabs heartily and directly and cheerfully fires up the speed ladder. Works a little more evenly than the Super Duke engine, so maybe not quite as spectacular, but no less powerful. This V2 is just a blast. In a good mood, lift the front wheel and pound ahead properly. In addition, the automatic gearshift – for the first time as standard in a KTM – lines up smoothly gear after gear. It only enables clutch-free upshifts, its sensor is located in the transmission. Despite the exhaust flap, the V2 never gets loud, sizzles lustfully out of the muffler in push mode.

The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT throws itself very willingly into the corners. If the Super Duke R turns a little more quickly – especially with a full tank – the GT is a little more neutral. The spring elements respond cleanly. On the smoothly drawn, wonderfully curved asphalt strip, the chassis in street mode ensures full stability when accelerating. But even the Comfort vote still allows crisp cornering. Albeit with noticeable movement in the chassis. On the other hand, the sport mode does not enslave with merciless severity and leaves enough comfort. Sports fans may wish for a more direct and spontaneous grip on the brakes, but just like more relaxed natures, they will appreciate the good controllability.

Even with the hardest anchoring on slippery asphalt, the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT keeps the rear neatly on track. This is ensured by the anti-hopping clutch, which you can optionally add a "Motor Slip Regulation" (177 euros) to the side. When braking, the electronics specifically lift the throttle valve slightly in order to prevent the hindquarters from having a life of their own. If that’s not enough in terms of equipment, you can order a hill start assistant (142 euros).


The right fork leg (red plug on top) houses the spring travel sensor and damper unit, the left the spring with a spring rate of 20 N / mm.

However, brief showers repeatedly prevent the semi-active chassis from being examined more closely, so that has to wait until the first test. That doesn’t detract from the good mood in the saddle of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. In the lower of the two positions, your windshield takes the wind pressure off your upper body. The higher one also relieves the helmet, although with a higher noise level, but without any significant turbulence. At least up to a high country road speed. On the way home, the sky really opens its locks at the end of the day. The sweeping tank flanks even give your thighs some protection. Despite the tricky conditions, nothing tweaks or pinches on the return, you get out of the saddle and can set off again with a freshly filled tank.

So the first contact was promising. The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is indeed a tingling combination of dynamism and comfort. Satisfies the physical activity as well as the desire for extended daily stages. And is lavishly equipped. In addition to the semi-active frame and the polished electronic driving aids, useful things such as cruise control, LED cornering lights, tire pressure monitors, sockets, integrated case holders and effective heated grips are also on board. However, at 17,995 euros you can expect a lot. The 30-liter case (779 euros), each with a full-face helmet, is not yet included. Bottom line? Has the Super Duke GT retained its fun potential and gained serious endurance qualities. It seems that the squad of sports tourers has got a new contender for the reign.

Technical specifications


The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT looks much more elongated than the Super Duke. But their design is at least as much a source of lively discussions.

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