MotoGP – Two races for the price of one! –

KTM 1290 Super Duke R (MY 2017) in the driving report

First ride with the 2017 model

KTM upgraded the KTM 1290 Super Duke R with electronic and mechanical model updates. The first ride with the 2017 model – an uplifting feeling.

The world was shocked and euphoric when KTM presented the prototype of the KTM 1290 Super Duke R roared for the first time. The brief outcry from the open exhaust stub was enough to show the world: "The Beast" is coming. At the beginning of 2014, the series version bared its teeth. 1301 cm³ displacement, measured 172 hp, reweighed 213 kg – with these values ​​the orange predator wanted to tear the fillet pieces from the power-naked top dogs. The fight was tough. Because there were lighter ones (BMW S 1000 R: 207 kg, Suzuki GSX-S 1000: 212 kg) and with the Aprilia Tuono 1100 V4 even an equally strong one. Nevertheless: The beast has established itself in the pack of strong naked people. Not by force. But on the contrary. Despite mountains of muscles and a wasp waist, she let herself be tamed on a leash, impressed with controllable pressure, impressively smooth running culture, neutral handling and robust health. In the current MOTORRAD endurance test, the Kraftmax has been running respectably for 40,000 kilometers and with still acceptable breaks: chain break, leaking radiator, defective oil tank sensor, rear wheel bearings with play.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R in the driving report

First ride with the 2017 model

First test drive in Qatar

Doha, Qatar. The desert state on the Persian Gulf may have oil, skyscrapers and the eternal summer. But there are no country roads. At least curvy. And those on which more than 80 km / h are allowed. Actually no terrain for the Beast 2.0, as the KTM copywriters immodestly call the next evolutionary stage of the KTM 1290 Super Duke R. But Qatar also has a race track. The Circuit of Losail. Ennobled by the annual start of the MotoGP season. Holy ground – which the pepped Austrian can only approach humbly on the penitential paths of those dead straight arteries. Maybe a good way to cool off the racing bug.

Video: First ride with the new Super Duke in Qatar

How was that just before we left?

Time to focus on the less sporty modifications first. How was that just before departure? There is no longer an ignition key. The transponder system is called KTM Race On. The idea is not new. Kawasaki already used this technology in 2007 on the Tourer 1400 GTR, BMW and Harley followed suit. Since then, the motorcycle scene has been arguing whether the key is needed without a lock. The part may be uncomplicated. The electronics recognize the transponder signal from a distance of around two meters, and after two taps of the finger on the release and start button, the twin of the KTM 1290 Super Duke R roars. But: if you accidentally leave the transponder in the garage when leaving, you can drive off, but will turn pale the next time you stop for fuel – and will know in future that you should have heed the warning message on the display. The systems do not appear to be completely theft-proof either.

TFT dashboard provides good contrasts

Speaking of the display. After the 690 Duke and the Super Duke GT, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R now also has a colored TFT dashboard. Good contrasts and a clearly structured display clearly enhance the information center. Especially since it is now easier to use on the extended evening round. As with the 125 Duke, the buttons on the left handlebar switch are backlit. And: via a Bluetooth connection, the so-called KTM My Ride (97 euros), the smartphone can also be operated using the handlebar switch.

The signs point to sport

Especially when you roll around you amazed how well the V2 of the KTM 1290 Super Duke R with its thick 650 cm³ pots is still behaving. From 2,500 rpm, the 68 kilogram propellant runs smoothly and behaves just as well educated as the previous model. It wasn’t to be expected. Because the signs point to sport. Ten millimeters shorter intake funnels, titanium instead of steel valves and the increased compression from 13.2 to 13.6 raise the speed limit to 10,500 rpm and the output from 173 to 177 hp, but could have brought some disorder to the speed cellar. But they don’t. Probably also because of a new resonator in the intake tract. The hollow plastic container connected to the cylinder head acts like an air cushion and smooths out the pulsation of the gas column. Obviously with success. On the exhaust side, after years of abstinence, the exhaust flap taken over from the Super Duke GT is now also in the basic version.

Handlebars now wider and lower

The wider and lower handlebars, which are mounted almost two centimeters further to the front, are also dedicated to the brisk line. It always puts more pressure on the front wheel. If you feel uncomfortable, you can even move the handlebars towards the driver to the size of the previous Super Duke thanks to the four-way adjustable handlebar mounts. With its straight shape, the handlebars complement the naked bike character more appropriately than the more cranked counterpart of the previous KTM 1290 Super Duke R..

Off to the racetrack

Losail International Circuit. The sign finally frees us from the jerking of the highway. Pull up the zipper of the leather suit, knock on the knee sliders again. The Super Dukes have already been upgraded with the Track and Performance Pack (see “What’s new?”). A total of 870 euros is also due for the two electronics packages that can be retrofitted via software updates at the impressive base price of 16,395 euros. In terms of electronics, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R hangs the flag in the storm anyway. Cornering ABS, traction and wheelie control, engine drag torque control, launch control, shift assistant – everything is on board. Even a standard cruise control. Four driving modes (Rain, now limited to 130 instead of 100 HP, Street, Sport and Track), each with stored settings, serve the flood of electronic information in digestible bites even for non-digital natives.

Settling in? Hardly necessary.

So, click on track mode, put your visor down, attack! Settling in? Hardly necessary. Throttle up after the first right-left combination. With a power of at least 110 Newton meters, the 75-degree twin already pushes in the lower rev range, then pushes forward incessantly. Whether with the Akrapovic retrofit pot that feels a bit more spontaneous (see opening photo, page 12) or the original silencer (see photo below) – you never, really never have the feeling of being overwhelmed by the 177 horses. Instead, enjoy surfing the torque wave, shift up a tick too early rather than too late. The fact that the Quickshifter taken over from the GT interrupts the ignition a little longer when upshifting than with the excited, low-flywheel four-cylinder engines is in the nature of things, but it will only bother hardcore racers. Especially since the combo of blipper and anti-hopping clutch makes fine with every braking maneuver. Even if you step down a gear too deep, the slipper clutch casually compensates for this with a gently drifting rear wheel. And while we’re on braking: Brembo M50 Monoblock. Any questions? In general, driving fast with the KTM 1290 Super Duke r is fun. Those who overdo it will be skillfully disciplined by the adjustable little helpers. With the launch and wheelie control activated, even a quick start is foolproof.

Fine-tuning of the new Super Duke is impressive in practice

You can’t make an impression on the ice cream parlor with all the electronics, but the fine-tuning on the new KTM 1290 Super Duke R is impressive in practice. And the tremendous power euphorizes the driver – but more than that, how cultivated it is served.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R (2017) – what’s new?


  • Peak power increased from 173 to 177 hp
  • Inlet valves made of titanium instead of steel
  • Resonator on the inlet port
  • Compression increased from 13.2 to 13.6: 1
  • The engine speed limit increased from 10,000 rpm to 10,500 rpm
  • Crankshaft stub on the generator side increased in diameter by 3 mm
  • Exhaust system with valve

landing gear

  • Handlebar 20 mm wider, 5 mm lower and 18.5 mm further forward
  • Fork springs harder (10 N / mm instead of 9.5 N / mm


  • LED headlights with daytime running
  • TFT display with Bluetooth connection to the smartphone (KTM My Ride)
  • Transponder ignition key (KTM Race On)
  • Left illuminated handlebar switch
  • Cruise control
  • Rear frame slimmer
  • Tank spoiler visually revised
  • Front silencer from the Super Duke GT


  • Base price 16,395 euros (2016: 15,895 euros)
  • Track pack optional (switch-off function of the anti-wheelie mode, launch control, extended traction control, free ignition curve selection) 340 euros
  • Optional performance pack (shift assistant, engine drag torque control, Bluetooth) 535 euros

Technical data KTM 1290 Super Duke R


Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 75-degree V-engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves, rocker arms, dry sump lubrication, injection, 2x Ø 56 mm, regulated catalytic converter, 450 W alternator, 12 V / 12 Ah battery, hydraulically operated Multi-disc oil bath clutch (anti-hopping), six-speed gearbox, X-ring chain, secondary ratio 2.235.

Boron x stroke 108.0 x 71.0 mm
Displacement 1,301 cc
Compression ratio 13.6: 1
rated capacity 130.0 kW (177 hp) at 9,750 rpm
Max. Torque 141 Nm at 7,000 rpm

landing gear

Steel tubular frame, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, Ø 48 mm, hydraulic steering damper, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, single-sided swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut, directly hinged, adjustable spring base , rebound and compression damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 320 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm, two-piston fixed calipers, traction control, ABS.

Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 6.00 x 17
tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/55 ZR 17

Dimensions + weights

Wheelbase 1,482 mm, steering head angle 65.1 degrees, caster 107 mm, front / rear suspension travel 125/156 mm, seat height 835 mm, dry weight 195 kg, permissible total weight 406 kg, tank capacity / reserve 18.0 / 3.5 liters.

guarantee two years
Colors Black, white / orange / black
price 16,395 euros
Additional costs 200 euros

Used KTM 1290 Super Duke R in Germany

1000PS marketplace app

Used KTM 1290 Super Duke R can be found in large numbers.

With the 1290 Super Duke R, KTM has made a real success, which can be seen, among other things, from the high availability of used copies. Thanks to the generous supply of KTM PowerParts, you can already find many used cars with extensive accessories. Here is the current price comparison: used KTM 1290 Super Duke R in Germany.

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