KTM Super Duke bulks up, slims down

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Words: Peter Louisson
6 Nov 2019

Like Honda with its flagship superbike overhaul, KTM has also used EICMA to introduce its refreshed range-topper, the 1290 Super Duke R. The show also played host to Kawasaki’s Z H2 supernaked, and Ducati’s V4 Streetfighter so it’s a busy sector, the premium sporty naked class. Potential buyers are spoilt for choice.

For 2020, the 1290 Super Duke R has gone on a weight loss diet, yet has also bulked up with added torque for the reworked LC8 1301cc V-twin (now 140Nm at 8000rpm; power is unchanged at 132kW).

It’s not just the cosmetics or the engine that come in for revision, as “the Beast” benefits from a complete chassis rethink, courtesy of experience from MotoGP, along with an electronics once over. The new trellis frame is finished in hot orange, as per the Moto GP bikes which, by the by, will continue to participate in the toughest two-wheeled battleground for at least another six seasons. This announcement comes on the back of a ninth consecutive annual increase in global sales.

Kerb weight is even less this time around, at a claimed 189kg dry. Helping is a new aluminium/carbon composite subframe at the rear which is also said to increase chassis rigidity. Lighter components include a new crankcase, wheels and brakes (Brembo Stylemas).

The electronics are updated with a six-axis IMU overseeing traction and wheelie control systems, and imbuing the bike with cornering ABS. A supermoto mode ensures the rear wheel can be spun up if that’s what the rider is intending.

Suspension is by White Power, as per usual, with 48mm forks up front. Rounding things out is a TFT dash. Going against modern trends, the 1290 Super Duke R will not be getting winglets for 2020.

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