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KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE GT (2016-on) Review

Published: 14 March 2018

Updated: 23 May 2019

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 £9,200 to £14,800
Warranty term 2 years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost £680
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

7 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 4.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.9 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Very happy with my purchase of this 1290 GT

26 August 2019 by David Marquez

Versatile and comfortable, spectacular engine, 40 mpg seem reasonable for a 1.3 liter tremendous power-plant, sweet in low speed around town and super aggressive acceleration with open gas (capable of catching up with the new super-bikes). For me this has been an awesome opportunity of getting a brand new large engine touring bike which was in my list of favorites for only £12,300 (MY17 with zero miles purchased July 2019).

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
This 1290 SD GT is awesome at highway speeds and winding roads because it is light and chassis is superb (please consider my past bikes are older BMW GSAs 2003 and 2009 models, I have not ridden other sport touring bikes other than in short test rides). Excellent riding quality, just a little bit of vibration from the engine, nothing too bad (engine likes living in the 2nd half of the tachometer) Top level workmanship, no complaints. M50 Brembo brakes are top of the shelf, hands down (OEM brake pads are cheaper than those of the BMW R1200GSA which are also Brembos and they are even a more upscale model) WP semi active suspension is excellent with all the different programs (1-2 passengers, with or without panniers, sport, comfort, street, etc) Seat is more on the sporty that the touring side (have ridden in 3-4 hour rides and can stand it no problem but consider I come from doing that since more than 12 years ago). Have not ridden with passenger, sorry cannot speak about that.
Engine
5 out of 5
Easy to ride around town, tons of torque and power when accelerating hard. Just to put in perspective, the engine at 100 mph feels as sleepy as my 2009 R1200GSA at 60 mph, what I mean is that a 100mph is barely waking up and does not even sound, it seems it is still shut down. Does not like to cruise at less than 3,000 rpms, as long as you keep it above that it will be a happy engine. Again, cruising around town in my 2009 R1200GSA you can shift at 2,000 rpms and keep it cool, you can do the same with the SD GT but at 3,000 rpm; at the end this bike is more for open road ah...?
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Perfect so far, though only passed the 600 mile first service mark. I need to recognize that was a bit skeptical about KTM brand in general (no bad opinion only thoughtful) before I got this SD GT which was my first bike of the brand and so far, the brand´s quality, fit, finish, etc. has grown on me and at this moment with only 600 mile and zero issues I can say it is as premium as BMW bikes; I know time will tell. Also I have been investigating on long term 1190s/1290s but only found 50/60K miles bikes which have been impeccable but are still on the low mile side ah...?
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
This amount only reflects 1 year insurance (expensive from my point of view) because 600 mile revision was complimentary (see the note below) This 1290 SD GT 2017 was purchased 1 month ago (July 2019) with zero miles under a special promotion from local dealer (£ 12,300 including side panniers, 600 mile service, 1 Shark full face helmet)
Equipment
5 out of 5
Would add hand guards for wind protection; I think the 2019 model has them from factory already. The foot pegs could be larger (I am seeking to upgrade) because OEM are more on the sport type) The seat is not too bad, although more sporty than touring I ordered the touring comfort seat before the new bike was delivered and once I rode it I cancelled the touring comfort seat because I changed my mind and it is no need for the 3-4 hr rides I do.
Buying experience

Experience with the KTM dealer was perfect. All promises were delivered. Consider this was a MY17 zero mile purchased new in July 2019, free 600 mile service #1, 1 Shark helmet and side panniers (excellent value for £12,300). I think this was a lot of 15-18 bikes which KTM Mexico got from KTM US, but absolutely uncommon pricing offer, and thanks to that I am enjoying my new SD GT even 2017 model I do not care, I love it.

5 out of 5

01 June 2019 by Faisal

One of the best bikes I have ever driven or owned. The power, comfort, handling, and reliability (for the time being), it is just perfect. The only downside of the bike is that it is HOT, and when I say hot I mean REALLY HOT. I have decated and tuned the bike but there is no way of getting away from that heat from the rear cylinder. Your calves will get somewhere from medium well done to extremely well done depending on the ambient temperature. And I rider in 40 - 50 degrees Celsius weather. I haven't had the chance to try it in the winter yet. The temeperature in winter here drops to around 10-15 degrees Celsius, so I don't think the heat should be a problem in the winter. I purchased the side bags for my Super Duke GT and they have decent space l. A full face helmet will fit in each luggage compartment snuggly. Nevertheless, the heat does not stop me from riding this bike every single day. It is just that good. Power is there when you need it, the handling is pinpoint perfect, and the suspension comfort along with rider comfort features make this bike the best sport tourer I have ever ridden. You won't regret purchasing one.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Don't buy an adventure bike

26 May 2019 by Richard Long

Best features are everything about this bike other than the seat. The engine and fuel injection are sublime, suspension and brakes fantastic, cannot fault anything yet other than well yes, back to the seat - I have the optional ERGO seat on my GT which looks much better but after about an hour my ass is completely numb. Having sat on a stock seat I believe that may be even worse. How a manufacturer with such engineering abilities as KTM can produce a touring bike with a seat as bad as uncomfortable as this one is beyond me. I am considering buying an aftermarket air saddle which is just plain annoying. But as I said overall this bike is amazing, I love riding it and is exactly what I wanted - a high tech touring bike thst is a blast in the twisties.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Giving the bike a 4 because of the seat. But that is probably a relatively cheap and easy fix. Have not had a pillion on the bike yet.
Engine
5 out of 5
Power delivery, engine torque, its sublime. Some people I have spoken to were horrified at the 175hp numbers. But unless I am mistaken, even with all the electronic aids, one still has control of the throttle. The engine is fantastic, pulling out of turns at low RPM has me grinning from ear to ear and the engine braking is so good going into corners that quite often I don't need to touch the brakes. Plus the booming engine sound on overrun is addictive.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
So far so god. Early says yet
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Not the cheapest bike out there but considering all the top of the line components, electronics and build quality the KTM Superduke GT is probably a decent value.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Heated grips Heated seat TFT dash / computer is awesome. Electronically set ride modes, suspension, miriad of options is exactly what I wanted. Engine Suspension Brakes
Buying experience

Dealer. Experience has been OK so far.

5 out of 5

The Refined Beast

17 May 2019 by Bill

Traded 2017 R1200GS for this and never looked back. Power and handling are amazing. Tears up twisties without a thought.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Ride all day with no complaints.
Engine
5 out of 5
The bike never runs out of power or torque and sounds like it isn’t even working.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
TFT, keyless ride, lean angle ABS, electronic suspension, TPMS, heat grips, bought optional heated comfort seats, cruise control. All functional and work as advertised.
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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