Sporty – Triple test KTM 990 SMR, Super Duke R and RC8 R: a delicious R of arsouille! – KTM 990 Super Duke R test: the revelation!

Triple test KTM 990 SMR, Super Duke R and RC8 R: a delicious R of arsouille !

Sporty - Triple test KTM 990 SMR, Super Duke R and RC8 R: a delicious R of arsouille! - KTM 990 Super Duke R test: the revelation!

Radical, the road KTM already does not lack spice! However, true to its ready-to-race motto, the Austrian brand offers its 990 Supermoto, Super Duke and RC8 in Racing version: triple test Site on the track of La Ferte Gaucher !

KTM 990 Super Duke R review: the revelation !

A real road bestseller in the KTM range, the Super Duke has quickly carved out a sulphurous reputation among the tenors of the sporty roadster category. Sharpened in 2007 (larger tank, refined injection and suspension set-up), the Super Duke would almost pass off some of its competitors for placid road…

Cut with a billhook – an Austrian specialty -, crime-ridden and ultra-efficient, the Super Duke is more than blood and does not give in by half measures. It is also this flattering reputation that intrigues when discovering the R version: how can this ball of nerves with flawless handling really aim higher on the dynamic level? Two laps later, the answer is obvious and it is frankly impressed by the vigor and precision of this Superduke R that we will continue the sessions until we are thirsty….

First, there is the engine: angry and powerful on the standard version, the LC 8 of the R sends a spoonful of additional torque (102 Nm against 100 Nm), but above all 12 more horsepower to the rear wheel (132 ch against 120) !

But the Austrian nags have nothing of the quiet Percheron: aggressive and voluntary in the towers, they are sufficiently docile at the bottom of the tachometer to allow frank revivals at 2,500 rpm. After mid-revs, it’s soaring: the Super Duke R rushes forward with rage while the adjustable steering damper mounted for the occasion regulates the rare barbaits. !

Behind its specific paint, the R also hides a radicalized cycle part compared to its "sister": the travel of the rear suspension is reduced by 10 mm, the hunting by 6.8 mm (93.9 mm instead of 100, 7 mm) and the single saddle – solid oak! – climbs to 865 mm (850 mm on the standard Super Duke). And if the weight does not change (186 kg without gasoline), the R seems lighter as it is even more lively and incisive.

The swing from curve to curve is disconcertingly easy, as the bike dives to the rope with a joyful vivacity. Despite its more extreme measurements, the Super Duke R does not initiate any parasitic reaction to changes of angles and its dry suspensions "read" the track to perfection … at least on the asphalt as smooth as a baby’s skin. Route of the Ferte Gaucher !

Triggering his turn either via the beautiful Renthal handlebars, or by pressing the footrests, the rider benefits from very precise feedback which makes it possible to always apply a little more to the unfathomable grip of the Pirelli Supercorsa. Entering a curve then becomes a pretext to request a brilliant efficiency fork, which manages to curb the incredible violence of the Brembo radial-mounting braking system. !

Already strong on the three motorcycles tested, the braking of the Super Duke R is thus the most biting of our triple test. However, if his immediate response – half a phalanx is enough to trigger a stop! – enchants and does not really pose a problem on the track, the case may be quite different on a small bumpy and vaguely wet country road…

Especially since the pilot will also have to deal with the absence of an anti-dribble clutch: with so much torque and engine compression, violent downshifts around tight bends require a minimum of caution! Nevertheless, the box accepts passing on the fly without further ado, while the wide handlebars grant devilish precision in small corners. !

With its measured inflation of € 1,000 (€ 13,990), the Superduke R is a more than attractive alternative for the sporty biker looking for the ultimate tool, capable of rotting a sports car on small roads and even on a winding circuit. However, the Mattighofen roadster requires a good technical background and requires to always keep a cool head, facing its braking beyond the grave and its speeds in supersonic curves. !

In fact, it is not so much that the machine is difficult to tame, but the pace that it allows (imposes?) To familiarize itself is extremely high … It is exactly the kind of exciting motorcycle that paws with impatience to push your limits very far and which gives the impression that with a road-book unwinder and two additional headlights, it would be possible to shade the cracks of the road rally…

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