KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE R (2017 - 2019) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£220|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The beastly KTM 1290 Super Duke R was chiselled and tweaked in 2017 with slightly more power, suspension and styling updates. But its new electronics took centre stage with more refined rider aids and a new Track riding mode, which lets you choose differing levels of throttle response and allows you to turn anti-wheelie off with the traction control still active.
- Related: Best naked motorbikes
- Related: KTM 1290 Super Duke GT long-term test
- Related: 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R revealed
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Revised WP suspension had new internal damping settings and heavier fork springs - up from 95 to 100N/mm. On the road it offers a plusher ride and on track there’s lots of more control, agility and feeling through the tyres. It now comes with Metzeler M7 Sportec RR sports rubber as standard.
The riding position is more aggressive, but still comfy, thanks to new bars that are 20mm wider, 5mm lower and 18.5mm further forward.
EngineNext up: Reliability
KTM have given its 1301cc V-twin motor the Euro 4 treatment for 2017, so it’s quieter and emits 10% less CO2. But the Austrian supernaked was never conceived to stop the ice caps going liquid and the good news is the KTM is still as unhinged as ever, even if it has gained nearly a stone in weight (6kg) thanks to those meddling Eurocrats.
The revised motor makes a claimed 177bhp, up 4bhp over the previous model, thanks to a new crank, cylinder head, titanium inlet valves, a higher compression ratio and 10mm shorter inlet trumpets, which let the 1301cc V-twin rev an extra 500rpm.
It would be tricky to notice the modest power hike unless you rode old and new Super Duke Rs back-to-back, especially with the extra weight it’s carrying, but it’s still a corker of an engine that oozes grunt. Even as low as 2750rpm it’s making 74ftlb of torque.
On track the KTM is nothing short of sensational. It leaps out of corners, even in lazy gears, and demolishes the straights in a thunderous gush of superbike-like lunacy. With no fairing it’s hard to hang on at such high speeds and after a day spent on track you’ll leave with arms and neck like Popeye.
But despite the motor’s savagery when you poke it with a stick, it’s docile and friendly at normal speeds with a beautiful on/off throttle response.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The Super Duke R is built with impressive attention to detail and top quality parts, but it’s no secret they’ve had their problems with quality and reliability with some machines. But the Austrian firm are constantly developing and improving their machines and most riders have had nothing but trouble-free ownership.
We don't currently have any 2017 KTM Super Duke R owners' reviews on MCN.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
This machine is right at the priciest end of the super naked scale, especially when you start adding accessories. Yamaha’s brilliant MT-10 is the undoubted class-leader in the value stakes, costing a whopping four grand less than the KTM.
You now get keyless ignition and cruise control in standard trim, along with quality WP suspension, Brembo calipers, three riding modes, traction and wheelie control and ABS. Pay extra and you can also specify the extra Track riding mode, a quickshifter, autoblipper, heated grips and any number of sexy KTM Power Parts accessories.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 8v, V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||18 litres|
|Front suspension||48mm, WP forks adjustable for rebound and compression damping|
|Rear suspension||Single WP rear shock, fully adjustable|
|Front brake||2x320mm discs with Brembo four-piston radial caliper|
|Rear brake||240mm single disc with single-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||190/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£220|
|Used price||£9,300 - £13,000|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||177 bhp|
|Max torque||104 ft-lb|
|Top speed||165 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
Although there is only one model of 1290 Super Duke R, the platform also birthed the creation of the 1290 Super Duke GT sports tourer, which is essentially the same bike with slightly more wind protection and practicality.
Owners' reviews for the KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE R (2017 - 2019)
3 owners have reviewed their KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE R (2017 - 2019) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£220|
An experience for sure, but not without noticeable faults.
Brakes are excellent, good feed back and initial bite. Suspension wasn't that great, it sits very tall and I found the rear pogo'd and the front was very vague. I was considerably slower on track than my Daytona 675 because I just couldn't get confident in the front end, even after lots of setting up and adjusting. On the road, it's ok, pegs are nice and low, feels comfortable but again, very tall.
The party piece, an absolute revelation and makes you forget most of the flaws. It's just all encompassing, so much torque and violence it beggers belief. It actually feels like the engine is too much for the frame, like it's trying to twist the frame up, it really is staggering and will destroy almost anything from 30mph onwards.
Overall finish isn't great, certainly not up there with Triumph, Ducati etc. Plastics feel a little cheap, paint easily chipped. I had multiple engine warning lights before I reached 2000 miles, majority were ghost faults and a turn off and on again sorted it, but then the quick shifter failed.
Surprisingly good on fuel, insurance was less than a speed triple, MT-10 and S1000R. First service around £200, pretty average.
Plenty of electrical toys, but only at a premium extra cost over stock.
Buying experience: Bought from Premier Bikes in Oxford, excellent service, great range of bikes.
Annual servicing cost: £150
If you want a bike that feels like a really comfortable very fast Cross between a Super Moto and a sportsbike This the bike for you if you can afford it. Also it’s a lot of fun on track days + you can fit a certain amount of luggage so be great to get to Spain when possible. It is a bit high in the seat I’m 5ft 8 ins and wouldn’t want to be any shorter.
Bikes as happy on the track as it is on the road great all rounder in my opinion.
What an engine it is genuinely awesome and when you get used to dropping one less gear on a corner and using the torque it’s a really great feeling, it really is a pleasure to ride and it makes you smile constantly.
It’s a nicely built bike but since owning it the only problem I had was Switchgear packed up causing lots of warnings and as I ran out of warranty it cost £540 to fix £394 of that was the switch gear. It’s quite common for radiators to start leaking check Facebook Superduke Carnage page for cheaper fix than new radiator. Oh and fuel gauge packed up too but was replaced under warranty.
Love the riding position it’s so relaxed if you play with the suspension settings that are printed on the underside of seat and are in handbook you can firm up for track days.
Buying experience: Got the bike Ona pcp deal trading my Ducati Monster 1100 in as a £5000 deposit but still had to pay extra to turn on all the trick electrics and quickshifter on which is a bit tight of KTM and they only offer £6400 to buy it back at end of pcp deal knowing they’re going to get probably £9000 - £10000 as it’s mint and only about 5000 miles on clock plus factory rearsets power parts seat and hump factory rearsets etc.
Annual servicing cost: £300
This bike makes me grin ear to ear every time I ride it, and I've owned for 2 years! Poke it and it's a monster, be easy and it's a docile commuter and actually comfortable for 150mi rides. It's wondrous in the mountain twisties. With the full akra at 10k rpm it sounds like a dream. It flatters riders with it's capabilities. I have several motorcycles but this one will remain in the stable for a very long time! Best feature is the motor! Worst feature is stock sound (easily fixed).
For what it is the comfort is fantastic and it is a great all around bike. If im going over 150miles or need to take more than a backpack I'll take my Super Adv S, but I'm no iron butt. For me, the SDR is at it's best on the mountain twisties (im not a track rider). Will never put someone on the back of it, not what it's made for!
Power everywhere from low, mid, high - I've never had a better, more flexible, more balanced powertrain on any vehicle..from slow to on the pipe, there are no weak spots. I did put the full akra kit with PCV, AT, Dyno tuned it, but not because it needed it, just because I could, wanted better sound and investing in such a fantastic bike is a no brainer.
Only issue was a weeping break resivour...10k miles! Excellent build quality all around, no issues with paint, trim, anything!
The 18k service is approx $1k I believe - eg for valve adjust, etc...
Must have Power Parts accessories include: heated grips & comfort seat. I added CRG Arrow mirrors to cleanup the front. Stock tires and brakes are fantastic, stock exhaust heavy, ugly, poor sound. Dash functionality is effective. Ride modes, cornering abs/tc, all the electronics are awesome! Track mode let's you hang it out there as you desire!
Buying experience: Bought new in late 18 so got a good discount from the dealer.