KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE R (2020 - on) Review
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Super Duke’s unique selling point has always been its V-twin motor’s monster amount of grunt. However, previous models were just too abrupt with this surge of torque and it overwhelmed the bike’s chassis and electronics to the point that the ride became too wild and you felt like you were fighting against, rather than enjoying it.
By dialling back this aggression, and refining its chassis and power output, KTM have made their naked bike far more fun to ride while still ensuring 'The Beast' retains a welcome bit of attitude. It’s had its claws trimmed, but its teeth remain nice and sharp…
MCN is on the roads of Portugal riding the 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R. pic.twitter.com/AsxFpjjyAk— Motor Cycle News (@MCNnews) February 2, 2020
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Road riders will certainly spot that the new suspension linkages allow the shock’s movement to be more progressive over a longer stroke, delivering a less choppy ride quality than the previous generation of Duke and helping the bike feel more settled under hard acceleration and over bumps.
On KTM’s suggested settings, both the WP Apex forks (which have spring preload adjustment for 2020) and WP Apex shock (which now has a handy remote preload adjuster) are hard to fault, delivering a compliant ride on the road and more than enough support for hard track riding.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The LC8 engine still dominates the show, but thanks to a series of refinements and a revised torque curve it feels far less aggressive and is much better for it. You still get that monster hit of torque, but it no longer smacks you in the face and means you can open the throttle with greater confidence, making for a more pleasant riding experience.
You need to treat it with caution though and turning off the anti-wheelie results in the first three gears becoming very exciting very quickly. That said, it feels less like it is trying to simply throw you off the back when you ask it to accelerate and the gearbox is far slicker.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The Super Duke R is built in Austria, not India like some of KTM’s models, however it is no secret that there have been a few issues with reliability and build quality in the larger-capacity Duke models.
KTM have ironed out most of the problems and there is no reason to suspect the new one should suffer from any major issues, as it is now a tried and tested engine.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Tuono Factory is more at £17,199 and so is Ducati’s new Streetfighter V4 at £17,595 (or £19,795 for the S), but PCP deals do tend to narrow this gap to within most riders' reach.
The Duke is stuffed with tech and new for 2020 is a six-axis IMU to control its angle-sensitive ABS and traction control. That sits alongside uprated Brembo Stylema monobloc calipers and KTM’s TFT dash, with a new menu structure to boot.
The Duke’s electronics have been uprated for 2020, too, and you get three rider modes; Rain, Street and Sport. There's also been a lot of fine-tuning to the various assists in the dash’s sub-menus, with optional extra Track and Performance modes now available.
Cruise control and a keyless ignition are standard fitment but a quickshifter still sits in the optional extra catalogue alongside heated grips and an adaptive brake light, which feels a bit of an omission.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 8v, V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||16 litres|
|Front suspension||48mm, WP Apex forks, fully adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Single WP Apex rear shock, fully adjustable, high and low speed|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm discs with Brembo Stylema four-piston radial monobloc calipers. Cornering ABS.|
|Rear brake||240mm single disc with two-piston caliper. Cornering ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||200/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||-|
|Used price||£14,000 - £15,700|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||178 bhp|
|Max torque||103.3 ft-lb|
|Top speed||165 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
2014: KTM 1290 Super Duke R hits dealers, replacing the 990 Super Duke.
2017: Second-generation Super Duke R has Euro 4 engine with 4bhp more, styling, electronics and chassis tweaks.
2020: A heavily revised third-generation Super Duke R now boasts a new frame, making it leaner, meaner and even more menacing according to KTM.
Owners' reviews for the KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE R (2020 - on)
No owners have yet reviewed the KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE R (2020 - on).