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Comparison test KTM Duke II against KTM Supermoto

Caramba, Caracho…

…no whiskey, but high-percentage controversy at KTM. The chicly clad Duke II hits the puristic supermoto with force.

A long time of waiting passed, chorals of woe filled the orbit, a constant pleading, a praying Harreder fans. But then, then finally ?? Intermot 1998, curtain up ?? it happened: KTM presented the new Duke with the simple nickname II. Stronger, better, fancier, pepped up with double-tube silencers, BBS rims and piggyback ellipsoid headlights. The spirits were immediately divided on the outside: For some, she seemed to be made up, for others the new beauty queen was born? especially in green clothes. The Duke enthusiasts had to be patient until the first driving report (see issue 10/99), now one of the first series copies is ready for testing.
Not alone, however. The Duke, which costs a good 16,000 marks, has tough opponents? even in KTM’s own shop window. There lurks, in the wake of the puristic Super Moto philosophy, the sister of the single, which is programmatically named "Supermoto". A fun bike made of real shot and grain based on the hard enduro LC4-E 640 – and above all almost 2000 marks cheaper. Created to be able to sail in and through the curves on wide handlebars or to erase good-natured drifts.
Equipped with no frills, the Supermoto can only smile wearily at any discussion about the design of the second Duke. But then, face to face with them, you first catch your breath; because completely unabashedly the new one pulls out an ace: 57 PS! Measured. New record for approved series single-cylinder. Applause to Mattighofen, Austria, the birthplace of the short-stroke single, which – internally identical to that of the Supermoto – benefits from its larger airbox volume. The battery no longer rests in the air filter housing, but further back on the vehicle. In combination with the much more breathable exhaust system with two aluminum silencers, this gets a bunch of additional horses on their toes.
If this standard is applied, the supermoto’s performance curve naturally fades a little. Viewed in isolation, however, this also looks anything but sloppy. With a real 52 hp, the stew is one of the stronger, thunders full, hangs solidly on the gas. In addition, the reduced power, especially at low speed, remains almost unnoticed when driving, because the supermoto has a shorter gear ratio and accelerates accordingly quickly. The thus always higher speed level at the same speed ?? displayed on the Duke by tachometer, a secret with the Spartan sister? Unfortunately, this is also reflected in the consumption of the supermoto. On average, she consumes a good half a liter per hundred kilometers more on country roads.
The much-cited Mikuni constant pressure carburettors bring culture and civilization to both engines, but KTM has secretly, quietly and quietly said goodbye to the uncontrolled catalytic converter for the Duke II ?? Aluminum silencers are light, but cannot withstand the heat of the catalytic converter. While the Supermoto presents itself as the more environmentally friendly, the KTM hammers don’t give each other a thing when it comes to vibrations. The pithy vibrations at any speed turned out to be an effective sleeping aid for the pilot’s hands and would probably disrupt anything that could fall off a motorcycle. As a precaution, such a foothills of the Alps carries heaps of rubber bearings, which does not make the shaking hands and feet much better. Long constant journeys are torture, but admittedly, who wants to take such mopeds on the motorway or long-distance journeys? Overall, the two are too uncomfortable for that, and that’s not what they are made for.
Freedom of movement and hard feedback, not pillion or seating comfort were in the specifications, motorcycles for sweat-inducing and active driving pleasure, not for fatigue-free sneaking around. Ergonomically, the two offer everything to meet these requirements: handlebars, bench and footrests are arranged in a sporty way here and there. In the absence of any comfort, passengers dismount voluntarily after the first few meters. All right for a stress-free weekend: small luggage strapped on and off to the Alps – or some other curve reserve.
Incidentally, the Duke II drives a beautiful, butted Magura handlebar for a walk, the Supermoto just needs an ordinary rowing antler. However, the differently tuned chassis shape the respective driving experience much more strongly. On the Duke side, the Mattighofen-based company relies on tight components, which has a direct effect on bad roads: Tschaktschak ?? With short, dry bumps, the sparsely upholstered seat beam puts spoiled buttocks seriously. Well, the Duke is designed for tough guys and girls.
The super-long suspension travel of the Supermoto attenuates attacks of the tar world a lot more, compared to the Duke one could almost speak of comfort. The chassis, which was once created for enduro use, robs mogul slopes of their unevenness without neglecting the guidance of the tires. In other words: great grip on short and long wave gear, certainly also thanks to the Pirelli MT 60 Corsa tires that harmonize very well with the Supermoto.
The impeccable damping reserves at the front and rear fell. The torsion-resistant White Power Extreme fork should respond better, however, and the low spring rate of the central shock absorber sends the rear end even when sitting at half-mast. But it doesn’t matter, because firstly the spring elements offer enough reserves for one or the other jump, secondly, despite the pronounced straight-line geometry, the supermoto falls as if by itself in sloping positions, thanks to the low weight and the wide handlebars. Amazingly, however, it does not run in a straight line, the load begins to commute from 140 km / h, but this can be contained if you just hold the handlebars very gently, preferably with one hand.
That’s why it is better to take turns Once accustomed to the somewhat gummy manners of the chassis, the supermoto driver doesn’t want to stop attacking any meandering with cheek that borders on insolence. Gas, gas, gas. Alone, the brake slows the urge. More would be possible, maybe as much as with – just like with the Duke II.
That is because it does its thing consistently: away from enduro qualities, towards the street sweeper with corresponding attributes, i.e. powerful, snappy brakes and much shorter spring travel at higher spring rates. Matching: the cast aluminum rims, an unmistakable indication of an asphalt runner, as well as the sparsely profiled sports tires, brand Bridgestone BT 92. However, they seem to be designed more for heavy motorcycles, because the Duke lacks the BT 92 because of the rock-hard substructure short waves of grip. It’s not dramatic, but it doesn’t really feel good when a moped like that stuck out of the line in an inclined position.
The Pirelli of the Supermoto could help there, especially since they curve much more harmoniously, while the Bridgestone take medium slopes playfully, but only with force, and also set up stronger when braking in an inclined position or on bumps. It’s actually a shame, because the more direct Duke chassis with its stiff upside-down fork is more precise cornering from the cradle. She also has fewer straight-line problems.
NOTBut to the cardinal question: which is the better fun bike? Two motorcycles, at first very similar, equally high, equally heavy, equally extraordinary – and then quite different. The Duke is just ahead in terms of points – engine, chassis, suitability for everyday use, everything a bit better, but the Supermoto is therefore not a bit more unappealing. And in the fun rating, the two are tied. A choice was rarely a matter of taste.

1st place – KTM Duke II

The Duke is dead, long live the Duke. The new Duke is presented in a chic, polarizing outfit, spruced up with high-tech details such as filigree BBS cast rims or unusual ellipsoid headlights. Despite all the chic, it remains true to the Duke tradition: a rough motorcycle for tough people, but no longer for rough terrain. A bomb among the single cylinders. The landing gear? Handy, stable, great brakes. Only when it comes to choosing tires should the Austrians go deeper into themselves.

2nd place – KTM Supermoto

Second place. So lost? More like the second winner, because for reasons that cannot be explained in detail, most of the editorial staff prefer the purist toy. It doesn’t hurt a lot more, brakes a lot worse and is less well equipped, but it’s just incomparable fun. The tires certainly contribute a large part to the playful behavior of the supermoto, but maybe it’s also the spartan look that makes these bikes so good Kind of fits. That in turn is a matter of taste.

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