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KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE GT (2016-on) Review

Published: 14 March 2018

Touring has never been so much fun

KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE GT  (2016-on)

Touring has never been so much fun

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Super Duke GT is a sports tourer that is genuinely capable of touring but with an emphasis on the sports element, which in-turn means fun, which it delivers by the bucket load.

Impressive power and torque combined with versatile WP semi-active suspension and class leading rider aids mean it has the personality and enjoyment of the Duke R but with added comfort and greater safety.

Getting to your destination in comfort has never been so much fun, but it will cost you more than the competition.

In May 2019 KTM announced you could install their suspension configuration from the latest version of the bike to this Superduke GT too, meaning better reaction, response and agility from the WP semi-active setup. Since the hardware is common between the two generations of bikes, it's a simple software change that takes 30 minutes of a dealer's time - so that's how much it costs.

The upgrade features new algorithms that triple the number of damping curves on offer, which KTM claim takes the strain off the bike's ECU. The Street riding mode has had the anti-dive feature removed, with the damping updated at the same time.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

Don’t let the upright riding position and panniers confuse you, this is a ballistic 173bhp V-twin.

With a full 23-litre fuel tank the GT initially feels a little top heavy but once on the move, and as the fuel depletes, the handling is impressive. The two road semi-active suspension settings Comfort and Street are designed for road riding, mainly to promote comfort, and safety rather than performance. The semi-active WP suspension works overtime to keep the bike level constantly changing compression and rebound on the move, and it works hard to reduce fork dive under heavy braking. It works really well, and is more than sufficient for fast road riding.

Whilst you’re having all this fun you have the peace of mind of safety in reserve thanks to the cornering ABS and traction control. The ABS is always constant, doesn’t change via the modes and can’t be changed on the move.  However, the traction control is linked to the rider modes, Sport, Street and Rain.

On the motorway the ergonomics feel natural, you’re sat in the bike not on top of it, the bars are wide and comfortable, and they’re also adjustable. The pegs aren’t up near your backside, and at motorway speed there’s little vibration from the twin.

Engine 5 out of 5

The new GT uses the same LC8 engine platform as the Super Duke R and Super Adventure. The modified fly-by-wire motor now produces a claimed 173bhp, the same as the Super Duke R with a whopping 106ftlb of torque. While the figures match the R, the torque has moved lower in the rev range to suit the GT’s sports touring focus. There are also three rider modes (sport, street and rain) to help deliver all that power in the best possible way.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The standard Super Duke, on which the GT is heavily based, has proven reliable, without any major issues. KTM has a growing reputation for producing reliable bikes and the quality and finish is high, as is the level of components used.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

At £16,299 it’s a comparatively expensive way to tour at speed when you compare it to BMW’s award winning S1000XR; even Ducati’s all-new 2018 Multistrada 1260 is cheaper.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Traction control, cornering ABS and WP semi-active suspension come as standard. The fuel tank has increased to 23l and the GT receives a manually adjustable screen. Additionally, there are heated grips, cruise control, quickshifter (up only) and tyre pressure sensors – all as standard. There’s even integrated indicators and adaptive LED cornering lights, which illuminate progressively dependant on the bike’s lean angle. 

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2016
Year discontinued -
New price £16,299
Used price £9,000 to £14,300
Warranty term 2 years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost £300
Performance
Max power 173 bhp
Max torque 106 ft-lb
Top speed 155 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 44.5 mpg
Tank range 225 miles
Specification
Engine size 1301cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled,V-twin
Frame type Steel trellis
Fuel capacity 24 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 205kg
Front suspension 48mm, WP Semi-active
Rear suspension Single WP Semi-active
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs with four-piston radial Bremob caliper.
Rear brake 240mm single disc with two-piston Brembo caliper.
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/55 x 17

Owners' Reviews

3 owners have reviewed their KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE GT (2016-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE GT (2016-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

KTM 1290 Super Duke R review

12 May 2019 by Georg

This bike performs in every setting. Be it on a cold day on alpine passes with heated grips and seat or on a trackday with specialised trackday bikes. Out of the corners it outperforms most racebikes! It is a do it all bike and you can really load it for a long trip, commute, or go on a trackday. Solo or two-up, bags or without, touring or racing, commuting or strolling, B-roads or highway. It has it all to excel everywhere.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The active suspension is great. Whatever situation it will master it. Brakes are pretty good and even after a long trackday they haven't changed in performance.
Engine
5 out of 5
If you like two cylinders this is the most powerful and refined you can find. Coming from a big Ducati, this motor is sublime. It hits you out of the curve but you can also cruise without loosing your teeth. On trackdays it gets you out of curves a lot quicker than most four-cylinder bikes.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
I've covered 2000km so far, with 500 of those trashing on a racetrack and I've had no faults whatsoever. Everything seems bolted on and stable. Even the side bags are sturdy and fit two helmets.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Until now it seems good value. On a racetrack it is less thirsty than other bikes.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Get the heated seats and track electronics and you have all what you need.
Buying experience

It’s 3 months since I bought it and I just love it more every day. It is so easy to ride and handle, but also so comfortable in any circumstances. The looks needs a bit of time, but then you could not imagine it any different.

4 out of 5

18 months living with a 1290 GT

13 June 2018 by anotheronetoday

Very good but not perfect

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Brakes give good feel and confidence, handling is good for a bike this size. With the active suspension great 1 or 2 up, luggage or no luggage. At high speeds i found the screen and my helmet incompatible with significant turbulance. Seat height a bit on high side (inside leg 30")
Engine
5 out of 5
Torque, Torque plus some more Torque Easy to ride in and out of town as smooth in low gears at low speeds and minimal changes required for overtaking
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Panel fit is poor for a bike at this price point only failure light switch
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Depreciation is by far the biggest cost when buying new as you might expect so insurance, service etc are irrelevant.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Bad standard exhaust looks terrible (fix akrapovic but expensive) Seat not up to long distances (comfort seat is better plus 1-2 hours extra) Headlight poor for fast bike the LED 790 and 390 are better. Good Clear display Good optional electronic add ons very wide range of luggage and power parts
Buying experience

Great experience from a well known main dealer

5 out of 5

Would buy it again!

05 June 2018 by After75

Paint quality could be better here and there, but overall it is a laugh to ride and comfortable enough not being a super enduro.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Great all-round bike, you have to be shot to get off it especially with the optional heated gel seats.
Engine
5 out of 5
State of art, a sweet bull with much less vibrations than Ducati's 1200 for example.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Fuel consumption is great for the engine it has.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Suspension and cruise control are great, maybe the panniers could be a little better when closed.
Buying experience

First bike that brought me into the orange world, great availability and courtesy for test rides, really well done KTM, keep up the good work!

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