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KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE GT (2019-on) Review

Published: 08 March 2019

Updated: 05 December 2019

If you can stomach a KTM the revised GT is probably the best road bike you can get

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

If you can stomach a KTM the revised GT is probably the best road bike you can get

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is so astonishingly good I reckon it’s (probably) the best road bike you can get. Punchy performance, poise, cultured handling, adjustable comfort, easy, effective electronics – I can’t criticise any.

All the updates are welcome, effective and good value – particularly the TFT screen and, with a comparable BMW R1250GS and Ducati Multistrada 1260 S (both costing more), nor is it as expensive as first feared.

On paper it’s perfect – if only it had the Ducati’s looks, kudos and class or the BMW’s reputation, residuals and dealer experience…

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

Being a V-twin, the GT is manageable and respectably light – far less imposing and intimidating than a comparable four such as Kawasaki’s Z1000SX, BMW’s S1000XR or the big boxer R1250GS.

Neutral and ‘just right’ in fact. Add the that a supermoto-style attitude (the GT is a development of the KTM 1290 Super Duke R), protective fairing, top notch electronically-adjustable WP suspension and race quality Brembo M50 brakes, plus some of the most intuitive and effective electronics in the business, and the GT adds up to a brilliantly handling and truly versatile – and comfortable – street bike. Even the tank range and Pirelli tyres are faultless.

Engine 5 out of 5

The familiar LC8, 1309cc V-twin now boasts lighter titanium inlet valves which help raise the rev ceiling by 500prm, in turn boosting peak power a smidge to 175bhp from 173 (not that it was exactly lacking before).

Though on face value a gruff and fearsome 175bhp beast, open the GT’s taps and it’s immediately revealed as incredibly rapid and effective – and surprisingly refined, too.

Street mode delivers the full 175 ponies but with the response softened a touch from the more instant Sport mode. Rain mode knocks it down to 100bhp. But all impress thanks to perfect fuelling and slick delivery.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Early days so it’s difficult to say with any certainty, but while KTMs of yore have been a little blighted by stories of warped discs and leaking engines it’s also true that this is a refinement of the old and fit, finish and general build quality have all improved. Ultimately, though, only time will tell.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Not cheap but a Multistrada or BMW GS with the same spec is actually more. What’s more, for the £500 hike over the old you get TFT screen, LED lights, improved screen, new quickshifter/auto-blipper and slight performance improvement.

The GT literally wants for nothing – it even has heated grips – and is, on paper, beyond criticism. The only question marks are against residuals, dealer experience and reliability.

Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

An all-new front cowling/fairing holds not only a flashy new 6.5in colour TFT dash derived from that used on the KTM 1290 Adventure S but also an improved, enlarged, adjustable screen, uprated LED headlight plus keyless ignition and a couple of surprisingly useful cubby holes. 

The backlit switchgear has been uprated to work in tandem with the new dash while KTM have also taken the opportunity to sensibly reposition the cruise control onto the left bar (being awkwardly on the right was among the criticisms of the old bike).

While the quickshifter now operates up and down with dramatically more aplomb, there are also mapping and suspension tweaks, a new optional Track mode (not on our test bike), USB charging point, plus a conspicuous improvement in fit and general finish. There are even heated grips as standard.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2019
Year discontinued -
New price £16,799
Used price £10,500 to £14,800
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost -
Max power 175 bhp
Max torque 104 ft-lb
Top speed 180 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 43 mpg
Tank range 215 miles
Engine size 1301cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v 75º V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 23 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 209kg
Front suspension WP 48mm forks semi-active, electronic damping adjust
Rear suspension WP 48mm forks semi-active, electronic damping adjust
Front brake 2 x 320mm Brembo front discs with Brembo 4-piston radial calipers. Cornering ABS
Rear brake 240mm Brembo rear disc with Brembo twin-piston caliper. Cornering ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2016: GT introduced as a sports-tourer based on Super Duke but with fairing and luggage options. Phenomenally potent and well-equipped.

2019: Updated version gets new fairing with revised adjustable screen, new TFT display, revised switchgear (now with cruise control on left bar, LED lights, subtle engine and electronics improvements and more.

Other versions


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Photo Gallery

  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT on the road
  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT dash
  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT rear
  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT static
  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT turning right
  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT turning left
  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT engine
  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT sunshine
  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT brakes
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