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.
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.
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.
£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!
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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.