Comparison test: KTM Super Duke R against MV Agusta Brutale 990 R
Sporty naked bikes in the test
A feast for the senses: the new MV Agusta Brutale 990 R and the KTM 990 Super Duke R, which has been revised on the chassis, invite you to take your first spring ride. Two very different bikes, united in terms of cubic capacity and the demand for absolute sportiness. Which one does it better?
Powerful naked bikes in comparison: MV Agusta Brutale 990 R (left) and KTM 990 Super Duke R..
At first it didn’t seem like a good idea, but life is known to be full of surprises. And so this first real spring day came to a more than enjoyable end. But one after the other. The sun is warming, the streets are finally dry and free of dirt. In the garage, two idiosyncratic thunder bolts wait for the long-awaited push on the starter button. Winter was yesterday, life is picking up speed again. And since such a day has to be celebrated accordingly, only the fine white leather comes into question – after all, Lenz, who has been banned for too long, wants to be received in a festive manner. The colleague states that the KTM 990 Super Duke R is waking up from hibernation. The two-cylinder sings a thundering song. Then the MV Agusta Brutale 990 R. With the aggressive sound, even the most vicious winter demons should finally run away. Let’s go. Hurray, that indescribable feeling is back, the engine pushes you out into the bright sunlight. Acceleration, you are a feast for me! Sturm und Drang, today and here!
But oops, am I so rusty over the dark season or is it because of the Italian below me? Pinch your knees. The latter is the cause. As always, the Brutale doesn’t like softeners and guys over 180 centimeters she folds up mercilessly. Narrow handlebars, slippery seat, everything is registered, but the joy of gazing out with pleasure far outweighs these little nicks. And the engine of the brutal shines brightly. The four-cylinder goes to work gently. The balancer shaft gives the MV driver an almost vibration-free pleasure. In addition, it delivers an astonishing amount of propulsion even at relatively low speeds. The Brutale makers also succeeded in throttle response, which you couldn’t exactly say about their predecessors – provided you opt for the standard mapping. The alternatively existing sports mapping hackes when you turn the throttle in such a way that it is quite unusable in public spaces. Without it, the Italian brings you out of town easily and easily.
The colleague obviously experiences it differently. His Duke is faxing at city speed so that he visibly shakes his helmet several times. The R-Duke accelerates extremely hard, up to 3000 rpm it pests with constant travel jolts and in this way inappropriately expresses its displeasure with metal cage users who take its momentum away. Instead, the KTM rider sits imperiously behind the broad handlebars and sits enthroned on the Austrian. In contrast to the MV Agusta, your rear-view mirrors can even be used.
MV-Cockpit: readability good, menu navigation breakdown. Changing the mapping is like gambling.
But every concrete desert has its end, and finally the cock can be cocked. The Super Duke R stomps off with a snort. The MV doesn’t come into any gays. With an aggressive growl, she stays loosely on the KTM’s soles. The typical game "Four-cylinder versus twin" can start. It ends in a draw. In terms of performance and especially aggressiveness, these two burners don’t give each other anything. Both turn out nicely from below, loosely and easily to the stop. Your performance is flawless. But each does it in its own way, depending on the design. Small irregularities here – the KTM adds another shovel above the 9000 rpm before it immediately rattles into the limiter, small blemishes there – the MV can be downshifted a bit creaky. Wild things, no doubt. They even share the tendency to punch in aggressive downshifts and quick clutch maneuvers.
However, the two are not quite so in agreement on this landing gear. First of all, an indifferent, oscillating driving behavior is noticeable on the MV on winding roads. But after a few more kilometers it gets noticeably better. Obviously the Pirelli Diablo Rosso takes much longer on the still cold surface to reach operating temperature than the KTM Dragon Supercorsa. However, a significant amount of unwanted movement remains in the rear. Even when the rebound stage is almost completely closed, this does not disappear completely and makes it clear that the shock absorber, which is cheaper than the 1090 Brutale, is underdamped. This is probably one of the reasons why the great Brutale has the double R in its name, while our test subject only has an R. There is no compression setting at all. This contradicts the very stiff, super sporty chassis, but the response of the dampers is good.
KTM cockpit: reports factually and even has an outside temperature display.
The hour of KTM strikes in the same meander. So far away from the racetrack, because it is mercilessly tough and unusable, the latest measures on the chassis of the R version are showing their full effect. To do this, in Mattighofen they have lowered the spring rate on the shock absorber from 180 to 170 with the same spring length. The high-speed pressure level now also works more gently, the setting range for the low-speed pressure level has been expanded. This area is now wider at the fork. The strut and fork harmonize wonderfully and it is incredibly energizing to climb mountain ranges with this R and plunge back into the depths on the other side.
But be careful: KTM is not a softie, it wants sport, and hard at it. This is exactly what the brake makes possible, because it is state of the art. The curve experience is simply a highlight on the Super Duke R: playful handling and high precision are a feast for the senses. Driven with appropriate physical effort, the MV also puts itself in the limelight as a sports cannon, although only its chassis sets limits earlier. Unfortunately, the bend on the right behind the notch interferes with this driving style, because the heel does not really find the space it needs when it comes to hang-off in right-hand bends.
Technical data: KTM 990 Super Duke R
KTM 990 Super Duke R.
Drive: Two-cylinder V-engine, four valves / cylinder, 97 kW (132 HP) at 10,000 rpm, 102 Nm at 8,000 rpm, 999 cm3, bore / stroke 101.0 / 62.4 mm, compression ratio 11.5: 1, Ignition / injection system, 52 mm throttle valves, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox
Landing gear: Steel tubular space frame, steering head angle: 67.3 degrees, caster: 94 mm, wheelbase: 1450 mm. Upside-down fork, Ø fork inner tube: 48 mm, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression. Directly hinged strut, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression. Suspension travel front / rear: 135/150 mm
Wheels and brakes: Light alloy cast wheels, 3.50 x 17"/5.50 x 17", Front tires: 120/70 ZR 17, rear: 180/55 ZR 17. First tires: Pirelli Dragon Supercorsa. 320 mm double disc brake with radially screwed four-piston fixed calipers and radial brake pump at the front, 240 mm single disc with single-piston floating caliper at the rear
Measurements and weight: Length / width / height 2100/910/1240 mm, seat / handlebar height 870/1040 mm, handlebar width 750 mm, 203 kg fully fueled, front / rear 51.8% / 48.2%
Rear wheel power in last gear: 95 kW (128 PS) at 245 km / h
Driving performance: Acceleration 0-100 / 150/200 km / h 3.2 s / 5.6 s / 9.9 s, pulling power 50-100 / 100-150 km / h 5.0 s / 5.2 s
Top speed: 240 km / h * Consumption: Fuel type: Super. Average test consumption: 7.4 liters / 100 km, tank capacity 18.5 liters, range: 250 km
Base price: 12,495 euros (plus additional costs)
Technical data: MV Agusta Brutale 990 R
MV Agusta Brutale 990 R
Drive: Four-cylinder in-line engine, four valves / cylinder, 102.0 (139 hp) at 10600 / min, 106 Nm at 8000 / min, 998 cm3, bore / stroke 76.0 / 55.0 mm, compression ratio 13.0: 1, Ignition / injection system, 46 mm throttle valves, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox
Landing gear: Steel tubular space frame, steering head angle: 65.0 degrees, caster: 104 mm, wheelbase: 1438 mm. Upside-down fork, Ø fork inner tube: 50 mm, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression. Central spring strut with deflection, adjustable in spring base and rebound. Suspension travel front / rear: 130/120 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. First tires: Pirelli Diablo Rosso, 310 mm double disc brakes with radially screwed four-piston fixed calipers at the front, 210 mm single disc with four-piston fixed calipers at the rear
Measurements and weight: Length / width / height 2090/840/1230 mm, seat / handlebar height 830/1020 mm, handlebar width 705 mm, 214 kg fully fueled, front / rear 51.0% / 49.0%
Rear wheel power in last gear: 93 kW (126 PS) at 247 km / h
Driving performance: Acceleration 0-100 / 150/200 km / h 3.2 s / 5.5 s / 9.5 s, pulling power 50-100 / 100-150 km / h 3.8 s / 3.8 s
Top speed: 265 km / h *
Consumption: Fuel type: Super. Average test consumption: 8.3 liters / 100 km, tank capacity 23 liters, range: 277 km
Base price: 15,500 euros (plus additional costs)
Performance diagram MV Agusta Brutale 990 R and KTM 990 Super Duke R. Performance on the crankshaft, measurements on Dynojet roller dynamometer 250.
The test bench result underlines the test impression: In a sporty pace, the two motorcycles do not give each other anything, despite the different designs of the engines. The two more horsepower of the Brutale are ultimately irrelevant, but 137 horsepower at the KTM show this as a really good specimen standing in the drilling. The last measurement in 2009 attested 133 hp. The fact that the two-cylinder also keeps up so well with the four-cylinder of the MV at the top shows how pointed and aggressive the Super Duke R is. The torque strength of the Brutale is really amazing even at low engine speeds, otherwise you would think of the two-cylinder in front. The curves reveal the exemplary performance of both, even if the MV is a bit more harmonious.
PS evaluation + CONCLUSION
In the end, the KTM 990 Super Duke R was just ahead of the game.
1st place: KTM 990 Super Duke R (15 of 20 stars)
DRIVE (4 stars)
Load changes and hard throttle response are the only criticisms of an engine that is otherwise blessed with wonderful smoothness. The gearbox fits.
LANDING GEAR (4 stars)
Good responsiveness and handiness, now also equipped with everyday qualities. The chassis and the brakes are the big pluses of the KTM.
ERGONOMICS (3 stars)
The R-Duke is only relaxed when it comes to the seating position. The seat cushion is actually a board, and the cushioning does not offer any comfort.
DRIVING FUN (4 stars)
If you prefer naked bikes, like it crisp and don’t value too much comfort, you will have a lot of fun with the current Super Duke R..
2nd place: MV Agusta Brutale 990 R (14 of 20 Stars)
DRIVE (4 stars)
The engine of the brutal is cream. The performance and its output paired with the sound are great. Only the gearbox shows slight weaknesses.
LANDING GEAR (3 stars)
Here the MV gives the decisive points. The shock absorber is underdamped and offers few adjustment options. The brake is a bit dull.
ERGONOMICS (3 stars)
Big pilots compress them. The narrow handlebar is strangely cranked, the right footrest does not offer enough space. The bench is slippery.
DRIVING FUN (4 stars)
The stiff chassis invites you to go wild, the engine anyway. Only the shock absorber doesn’t really play along. Nevertheless, the fun factor is quite high.
CONCLUSION: The Super Duke really surprised us. The chassis of the R is now a real hit, without flushing soft. And ultimately almost the only reason why the MV Agusta can’t quite keep up with the Austrian despite the great engine. The Brutale with a better strut would be a real stunner. The victory just belongs to the KTM, because Mattighofen has now managed the R’s major weakness – the far too brutal chassis – to a top level. That was close, MV! But the Brutale 990 aficionado has to invest a few bills for a different shock absorber to cushion the KTM.
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