KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE (2013 - 2016) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £290
Power: 160 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.9 in / 835 mm)
Weight: Medium (417 lbs / 189 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

It’s a massive leap forward over the old Super Duke which was far from a bad bike. The new 1.3 litre KTM has arm-ripping power, the best mid-range and roll on speed figures we’ve ever tested and is the most powerful naked bike on the market. It also has a flip side. It’s relatively light, easy to ride and perfectly fuelled. It’s just a shame the electronics hinder the fun.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The handling is much more forgiving than you’d expect for such a ‘beast’. It’s actually relatively light and easy to manage on the road. On track, the fully adjustable WP suspension can be easily tweaked transforming the naked bike into a sports bike. Only when really pushed hard on track do you feel the limitations of the standard Dunlops and the front feels a little vague.

Furthermore, we’ve also ridden the 2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R on Bridgestone S22 tyres.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The 1301cc, 75-degree V-twin takes your breath away it’s so mind-bendingly powerful. The figures speak for themselves: a tested 160.46bhp at the back wheel with 99.40 arm ripping ftlb or torque. There’s so much power it sends the front skywards in the first three gears with minimum effort once the electronics have been deactivated and takes just 4.79 seconds to get from 30-100mph in third gear. That beats any other road bike we’ve ever tested.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The biggest gripe with the old bike was the poor fuelling, but that seems to have been rectified with the new version which is arguably the best fuelled KTM to date. The 1301cc V-twin is entirely new; therefore it’s impossible to comment on the reliability, however KTM has a growing reputation for producing reliable bikes and the quality and finish is high, as is the level of components used.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

£14,000 makes the new Super Duke an expensive naked bike, considerably more than its closest competition, Aprilia’s Tuono, not forgetting both BMW’s basic naked S1000R and Triumph’s Speed Triple which are both under £10,000. If you want the most powerful naked bike out there, KTM are going to make you pay for it!

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

ABS is standard (and can be switched off) and there’s a ‘Supermoto’ mode which allows you to lock the rear. Traction control is also standard as are the three riders modes which effect the power and traction control intervention. The problem is you can’t switch off the traction control or ABS on the move and it always resets when the ignition is switched off.

Specs

Engine size 1301cc
Engine type 8v V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 189kg
Front suspension Fully adjustable WP 48mm
Rear suspension Fully adjustable WP
Front brake 2 x 320mm
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £290
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 17 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 160 bhp
Max torque 99 ft-lb
Top speed 159 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 10.93 secs
Tank range 150 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2013: model introduced

Other versions

None

Owners' reviews for the KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE (2013 - 2016)

7 owners have reviewed their KTM 1290 SUPERDUKE (2013 - 2016) 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 (2013 - 2016)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Engine: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Equipment: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Annual servicing cost: £290
4 out of 5
20 January 2018 by Dexter

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £300

Best feature for me is its powerful motor. It’s reliability over the winter months is questionable.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

A bit firm but what do you expect from a sporty bike?

Engine 4 out of 5

Stonking motor, but at low revs the big twin judders a bit. Perhaps I’m just not used to big twins.

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

It’s gone back to the dealership 3 times in 3 months. Always for electrical issues. I’ve been running it during this hard winter and the switch gear is suffering. It’s at the dealership awaiting its second set of electrical switches.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Not yet had its annual service so don’t know yet. However I’m getting mpg in the high fifties.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Pretty well equipped. But why on earth KTM on a 14 grand bike do you charge extra to activate the already installed quickshifter+ and Bluetooth connectivity? still the quickshifter is one of the best I’ve tried.

Buying experience: Buying experience from Drysdale Motorcycle (only Scottish dealership) was ok. The initial after sales experience could have been better. However, it seems to be getting better. Time will tell.

5 out of 5 Beast when you want it
24 July 2017 by Pip

Version: R

Year: 2016

Annual servicing cost: £290

This is the bike of dreams.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Ride is firm(ish) but comfortable & brakes are pull your face off good.

Engine 5 out of 5

Awesomely good

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Nothing to report, gone through winter & still looks good

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

It's not the cheapest but it's sooooo much fun

Equipment 4 out of 5

The 2017 model has a few bits i'd like but i wouldn't change it.

Buying experience: I would like to see a few more main agents in NW England but the Rocket Centre was great to deal with if just a little far for servicing.

5 out of 5 Beast is FUN
11 June 2017 by r7rph

Version: R

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £280

Tried the batch super makers but the Superduke was just too much fun & i had to have it... 2 years, 8k miles later i'm still grinning like a Cheshire Cat 👍

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Its never going to be as comfy as a big touring machine, i can ride for over 3 hours without discomfort, but then it's a hooligan machine & designed for lunatics 👍

Engine 5 out of 5

Soooooo much power

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Main beem switch broke but Rocket Centre sorted it asap

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

It's a beast so don't expect CB125 running costs, its expensive to buy but it's cheaper to run than most of its European rivals.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Exhaust sounds awesome on over-run. Save a few quid on tail tide & crash bungs at Evotech (better than oem parts)

Buying experience: I had to haggle but got a good price through the Rocket Centre.

5 out of 5
13 October 2016 by Breeny

Year: 2015

Glad that I have this bike, I love the big twins. I have owned the Honda VTR, Suzuk SLR and the Tuono R,, but the KTM SDR shines through, With the smooth power delivery, at slow speeds you can just roll on in 3rd gear and the bike just pulls and pulls, Spend most of the time in 3rd,4th and 5th gear, Easy to turn and very planted in the bends,

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

Awesome power

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Build quality is good everything works as it should,

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

will be changing the tyres as soon as the dunlops run down

Buying experience: KTM Birmingham were great, friendly and always there to help

4 out of 5 The definitive SPORTS Tourer.
15 September 2016 by Alphadeltabravo

Version: GT

Year: 2016

A true Sports Tourer. Some minor niggles but pretty perfect and less of a compromise than the Adventure Sports class. Perhaps not very pillion friendly with pannier only luggage. Design of the S/S swing arm makes chain lubrication tricky, really needs a centre stand. Droopy front end design is an acquired taste but the headlight throws a great beam.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

The semi active suspension works. Handles and stops brilliantly due to the lowish weight.

Engine 5 out of 5

The awesome 1301 twin defines this bike. Smooth yet punchy overall better than the 1200 DVT Ducati even though it isnt at its best below 4k revs. Geared for high speed top end cruising (6th is good for >80mph) gearing down to 16T front makes it better for UK roads.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Warranty claim for side stand.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

The standard screen works and can be easily adjusted on the move. Shame the QS is up only (no auto blip). Power Parts catalogue has all you need. Looks much better with aftermarket tail tidy.

Buying experience: KTM dealers still sparce and they still cant match solus dealers like BMW.

5 out of 5 i love this bike
17 August 2014 by toppo

got to be the most fun ive had on a bike , smooth and fast if u need it to be, handles well, nice power , and slow speeds fun to :)

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Incredible machine
25 May 2014 by SteveW19

This is the first naked bike I've had for many years. I've been running litre sports bikes and super bikes for years. But this KTM is just amazing. I'd expected to struggle at speed with no fairing, but I feel as comfortable as I do on my S1000RR plus there's more leg room due to the riding position. Brakes and handling are as you've read in the tests - beyond most of our abilities. The sheer grunt of the motor has to be experienced, I'm no wheelie king so when I'm planning and achieving wheelies simply by winding the throttle on it has to be one serious engine. Gearing is good but I notice that I'm usually in 4th gear on the open road which just reflects how fast this thing is at the top end. The only niggle that I have is the speedo accuracy which is a tad more optimistic than you'd expect. Hopefully that will be corrected in a future software update. Other than that I can't fault it, even the toolkit is impressive. Yes it's expensive but I challenge anyone to ride one and then be in the least bit hung up over the price. The standard exhaust sound good with a lovely burble and popping on the over-run. I've yet to play around with the 2 position handlebars but the levers are easily adjustable - the gear lever in particular can be set to your preferred height in a minute.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
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