MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT's Imperfect 10

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Few other bikes have impressed me more than KTM’s mongrel genius GT. Its ability to be whatever your mood wants it to be is infectious and endearing – but it’s not faultless. After 10,000 miles in the saddle, these are 10 things they could have done better.

1.  Nose job

The screen-like outer appendage that wraps around the headlamp gets dirt and moisture stuck behind it. You can tuck your hand underneath it but not properly clean behind it, which is both daft and pointless.

2.  Mind the gap

The (optional, £648.35) panniers have a fault in their design. Even when empty, the lid never closes flush to the body, leaving an ugly gap along the leading edge. Mine have never leaked, but some owners tell me theirs have.

3.  Fender offender

Both the front mudguard and rear hugger are too short, allowing the GT to fling muck over itself like an elephant in a mudhole.

4.  Insufferable light-on

The cornering lights are pleasingly effective, but they need better shielding to prevent them illuminating the fork leg, nose cone and inside the fork aperture – it’s really distracting.

5.  Get a shift on

The quickshifter is a nice thing to have, but KTM need to give either the software or hardware a good tickle. It’s no faster than not having a quickshifter, and is somewhat clunky.

6.  Fork off

The semi-active suspension is a nice feature, and works well enough on the rear, but I find the fork less pleasing. It’s clonky and you have to cycle through different settings every few weeks to keep it operating properly.

7.  Wearing thin

The paint on the exhaust shroud is a thin veneer, and it’s now peeling away in big chunks, which isn’t pretty.

8.  Push me pull me

The adjustable screen is largely unimpressive in any position – so why KTM gave it so many positions, and such a nastily cheap and blunt system of adjustment, is anyone’s guess.

9.  Brick-gear

The righthand switchgear is the size of a house brick, despite having few functions on it. The cruise control on/off button being located on the right also makes it hard to operate – so I usually reach across with my left hand because it’s easier.

10.  Exhaustive thinking

Popping the exhaust valve actuator immediately next to the back wheel, then not weatherproofing it isn’t the best bit of design I’ve ever seen. I give it a shot of lube after each wash to keep it moving, but I could easily see these seizing in the future.

See more updates about the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.

Richard Newland

By Richard Newland