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KTM 1290 Super Duke R in 50,000 km endurance test

A lot of fun, little to complain about

The 1290 Super Duke R is very popular with KTM fans. In the editorial office, too, she was the king of driving fun during the endurance test. The question that remained after whether the fun is over dismantling.

First contact: Great, great, great. The first entry in the log book about the still almost virgin KTM Super Duke R leaves no doubt about tester Johannes Muller’s emotional state. His euphoric entry after the first trip with the KTM was not a flash in the pan, it was the overture. Almost everyone who was on the road with her let themselves be carried away with a comment that was positive to enthusiastic, depending on their nature.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R in 50,000 km endurance test

A lot of fun, little to complain about

Focus on fun

KTM 1290 Super Duke R..

“It’s okay, but a little more chassis wouldn’t hurt,” said Ralf Schneider, who likes to be on the move quickly himself. That is why the damper goods were ordered to be revised by the WP service at mileage 40,570. It didn’t bring the resounding success, but at least a slightly better response from the fork. On the subject of the engine, however, the managing editor Harry Humke wrote in her studbook: "Still a great engine".

And in between? The Super Duke was simply great fun, spared us from serious mishaps and showed only a few abnormalities.

The first was at 17,465 km. Even at moderate temperatures and after a long journey, the oil temperature display reported values ​​between zero and 22 degrees. Which was relatively easy to fix by replacing the sensor.

The fun qualities of the KTM made it popular not only for after-work hours. Despite the manageable luggage transport capacities, it was a popular companion even on extended vacation tours. Markus Biebricher, mentioned at the beginning, enjoyed 4,000 trouble-free kilometers in Italy. “30 liter bag with suspenders on the pillion seat and that’s it,” was his recipe. So much fun makes you willing to compromise. And top tester Georg Jelicic only had to complain about the loss of the right exterior mirror for 3,300 kilometers in the French Maritime Alps. Otherwise nothing but fun. On the occasion there was also praise for the Ergo bench from the PowerParts catalog.

The maintenance costs remained moderate

mps photo studio

But it also works splendidly in everyday life.

The cooler was believed to have fallen victim to a rockfall after 22,600 kilometers and began to wet. The exchange took place on a guarantee. On the way to the inspection including the chain replacement, the chain, which was already rather worn, broke shortly before the replacement was due. And after 31,500 kilometers, the filigree, screwed-in arm of the side stand broke. Which made a new stand necessary because the thread remnant remained in the stand.

No serious defects that could hardly tarnish the good overall impression until then. There was then at kilometer 39,470: play on the rear wheel.

A defective bearing on the rear axle was identified as the cause. An individual case? Apparently not, as reader letters and forum entries show. Just like the slightly dragging, sometimes screeching brakes. Occasionally, a comment about slight scratching when cold found an entry in the logbook, which was particularly noticeable when pushing.

Apart from that, KTM only saw the workshop on the scheduled inspection dates. With prices between 240 (1,000 inspection) and 363 euros (45,000 maintenance) or 652 euros for 30,000 customer service with valve clearance control, they are not a real bargain. But because customer service is only due every 15,000 kilometers, this is put into perspective over time. This results in moderate maintenance costs over the distance. For example, the two required sets of brake pads are also okay over the distance – although the KTM liked to move quickly. This is probably due to the average consumption of an impressive 6.5 liters, which strained the wallet just as much as the Duke his rubbers. Obviously, if it is properly oned, such a thick V2 rubs its skins quickly with its fat torque. As long as it benefits the driving pleasure …

The engine is stable

The bottom line is that the maintenance costs are within reasonable limits at less than 10 cents / km (excluding petrol). However, in the end the Super Duke seemed to pay a little tribute to the hardships. After icy nights with sub-zero temperatures, it always started, but it was no longer so easy for him from the starter. The tank lock also got hooked at the end.

That left the exciting question of whether the mighty V2 survived the distance without damage to the substance. In any case, nothing else could be expected from the final measurement. On the test bench, the 1290 was as fit as on the first day. And the driving performance was almost up to a tenth of the initial measurement. Even the compression test attested the Super Duke top scores. It fits into the picture that not a sip of oil had to be refilled during the 50,000 kilometers. So everything is palette?

At first glance, the engine innards were in pristine condition. The pistons are almost flawless, piston crowns clean, no deposits in the combustion chamber. Curiosity: There were still clear deposits on three out of four inlet valve disks. But KTM could not give an explanation for this. The liners are free of scoring and are round. Accordingly, the piston play is still almost within the installation tolerance. In addition, all the bearings of the crank drive shine with an inconspicuous contact pattern. The valve train and camshafts also show no signs of excessive wear. The valve seats: impeccable. Only the inlet valves carry the said deposits. However, this does not affect the compression values.

No real reason to complain

The transmission is unimpressed by the long-term test distance and can thus be returned to the engine housing.

The gearbox could pass as freshly run in. Surprising, because the big twin naturally runs jerkily at low speeds and sends a lot of load peaks towards the transmission. But no trace of pitting or material breakouts. The clutch looks fresh from the parts shelf, the strength of the friction disks is still within the installation tolerance. Ha there! The eye sees tracks on the shift forks. However, these had no influence at all on the smooth functioning of the switchgear. Since the engine is dismantled, it would be replaced as a precautionary measure before reassembly, but otherwise it would certainly have covered another tens of thousands of kilometers without any problems.

A micrometer screw and dial gauges confirmed the visual findings. There is really no reason to complain. Only the radial play of the crankshaft main bearings is at the upper end of the operating tolerance and the joint play of the second piston rings is slightly higher. The only thing left to say is that the 1290 is a mechanically solid construction.

The fact that the motor housing, the surfaces of the frame and aluminum parts look very good and the electrics are in perfect condition underlines the decent quality impression. With the exception of the defective bearing on the rear axle, for which KTM has now provided a remedy, the 1290 Super Duke R appears robust enough to swing the scepter for a very long time.

KTM takes a stand…

Katrin Sdun

The dismantled engine did not hold any nasty surprises in store for the KTM delegation or the MOTORRAD team.

. . . to the dragging brakes.

This is absolutely harmless and neither leads to a deterioration in the braking effect nor to increased wear. However, due to similar feedback from the market, other sleeves are now being installed on the brake pistons from model year 2017. This leads to a larger clearance, which noticeably reduces the "dragging" of the brake.

. . . the response of the chassis.

The design of the shock absorber is relatively tight, and some customers also complained about a lack of comfort and insensitive response. The suspension set-up was revised for model year 2017 to improve comfort and responsiveness.

 . . to the bearing defect on the rear axle.

One possibility for a defective bearing in the hub is the entry of water in the rocker z. B. by driving in the rain, washing vehicles with a hose and / or high-pressure cleaner, possibly also in connection with an incorrectly positioned ventilation hole in the hub housing. There were a few customer complaints about this. Defective bearings were exchanged on guarantee. An improvement was achieved with a drain hole in the swing arm in the area of ​​the hub housing. From the beginning of 2016 this hole will be available ex works in the swing arm. Since then there have been no more complaints on this subject.

. . . to the broken boom of the side stand.

There have been a few cases of this. The cause could be improper use / incorrect loading. From model year 2018, a new version with M8 thread (previously M6) and changed geometry will be installed.

. . . to the tracks on the shift forks.

We are partially aware of similar tracks from our long-term test runs. However, even in extremely extreme test bench runs that go far beyond normal customer use, these were always uncritical and had no effect on proper function. The shift forks could easily be used again.

. . . to the joint clearance of the second piston ring.

In this case, the wear limit is very tight. Negative effects are not to be expected. Neither oil consumption nor loss of power was measurable. Reaching or slightly exceeding the wear limit is not critical in this case. Nevertheless, new piston rings would be used during assembly .

. . . to the leading speedometer, especially the

first year (2014). The deviation is within the tolerance prescribed by law. It has no influence on the odometer.

Reading experiences

After buying one of the first 1290 Super Dukes blindly I always had a grin under my helmet during the 18,000 km or so. A day in the Black Forest with a new set of M7 RRs often leads to facial paralysis, because the engine can hardly be topped. Even after a 600 km marathon day you get off the box without suffering. The Brembo M-50 monoblocks were more than convincing than the mediocre chassis and the conservative electronics. I missed the lack of an automatic switch. The joy was only overshadowed by the many visits to the workshop (leaky clutch cover, leaky tank, loose rear wheel, play in the rear wheel bearing of the single-sided swing arm and multiple play in the steering head bearing), which were all fixed in goodwill / guarantee.
Urs peter

I have the Ordered the KTM 1290 SD R in April 2014 and has now unwound over 35,500 km. Except for an unscheduled visit to the workshop at 28,000 km due to a defective rear wheel bearing, the KTM is very reliable. Rather sporty, there were some modifications: handlebars in the front position, footrests back and higher (using Racefoxx adapter), higher seat (KTM PowerParts), change from the unpopular Dunlop SportSmart 2 to Metzeler Sportec M7 RR or now Pirelli Diablo Rosso III ( both a class better than the original tires). Strengths: Motor (pressure, vibrations, sound, gear), handling, weight, polarizing design. Weaknesses: insensitively responsive spring elements for short bumps, slightly rubbing front brake, TractionControl does not intervene reliably at low speeds, speedometer rushes ahead, fuel consumption. In addition, the license plate had to be secured against loss through vibrations. My next dream motorcycle: KTM 1290 SD, built in 2018 – but without the keyless system, please, that would be a reason for me not to buy it.
Dietmar Michel

After a test drive in 2015, it was clear to me – I have to have such a machine !! Even though I didn’t really want to buy a motorcycle. I drove straight from the KTM representative to the Dolomites and back to the first service – four days, 1,746 km. Today the km counter shows 20,776, and I’m just as excited as on the first day. Until now, I only had to go to the garage for the mandatory services and tire changes. When changing tires, the mechanic always bleed the clutch as well, as the clutch separated worse after around 3,000 to 5,000 km. And a few weeks ago the drain plug for the cooling water had loosened slightly, causing small amounts of cooling water to drip onto the exhaust manifold. Positive: The design is consistent and looks simply “cool” with the tubular space frame and the single-sided swing arm. The motorcycle is slim, the seating position is loose, upright, with a comfortable knee angle. The engine is just awesome. You never have stress, everything works in the medium speed range and that with a sporty pace. Up until now I always had a normal backpack with me for longer tours. Now I have bought the side bags from KTM. What do I not like so much? Driving on the Autobahn. There is no effective wind deflector. In addition, I voluntarily do without a tank bag, as the tank itself is already relatively high. But that’s about it. I’m really happy with this motorcycle.
Kurt Spalti

My Super Duke has the factory in Mattighofen left in March 2015. What struck me negatively was that the lid of the rear brake fluid reservoir had loosened after the first 500 km due to the vibrations. My Super Duke has currently run 14,000 km. When I push or maneuver the motorcycle and turn the handlebars, the front brake rubs and creaks. When driving, however, I don’t notice that the pads are grinding. The brake works well. At 9,000 km, the coolant expansion tank was empty. After refilling, there has been no loss since then. The sitting position is perfect for taller people. The seat is a bit hard for longer tours. Another shortcoming: water collecting on the eccentric of the rear wheel axle. The water has nowhere to go and the wheel bearing is beginning to rust. From the year of construction 2016, a 3 mm hole is probably made at the lowest point of the swing arm so that water can drain off there. I then drilled a 3 mm hole at this point at 5,000 km and water immediately came out! Fortunately, I haven’t noticed any bearing damage so far. It’s still going fine. No strange background noises. No oil consumption. No unscheduled workshop visit. The engine is still as fun as it was on the first day. He pushes forward powerfully in every lifetime. The footpegs are too slippery for my taste. Despite everything, there is nothing more to complain about on my part. The 2015 Super Duke is dear to my heart, and I will continue to ride it for a long time. That much is certain.
Nicolas helmbrecht

Price comparison for used KTM 1290 Super Duke R

1000PS marketplace app

With so many 1290 Super Duke R offers, it could be difficult to choose from.

‘The Beast’ hit the market like a grenade and is very popular in the naked bike segment. The selection on the second-hand market is correspondingly high, and you can also choose between standard Super Duke R’s and copies with plenty of accessories such as the KTM PowerParts. Here is a price comparison for used KTM 1290 Super Duke R: used KTM 1290 Super Duke R in Germany.

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