MCN Fleet: The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is good, but not perfect

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I couldn’t believe my luck when I was entrusted with KTM’s 1290 Super Duke GT. Grabbing the keys in early February, I couldn’t wait to put its 173bhp V-twin to the test on track and lose my European touring virginity. It was going to be epic.

Fast forward to early March 2021 and there’s been one rain-soaked track evening, no Euro adventure and only 6500-miles on the clock. Gutted. Thanks Covid.

More long-term tests

That’s not to say the year was a total washout though and between lockdowns the Austrian powerhouse has become one of my favourite bikes. Aggressively styled, incredibly fast and comfortable enough to swallow hundreds of miles between fill-ups, the GT proved itself to be a true all-rounder – even managing to be calm and refined on sub-40mph jaunts into traffic-filled city centres and achieving 50.01mpg.

Where the GT really stood out was on weekend rides. Despite a fat 23-litre fuel tank in front of you, the bike feels narrow between your legs and more of an engaging proposition than its more bulbous 17in-rimmed rivals such as the BMW S1000XR and Kawasaki Versys 1000.

Cornering on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT with luggage

The chassis works with the electronic WP suspension to create a nimble package that rails through fast bends. Not only this, but the bike will happily tour in comfort – taking three days and 860 miles around the south coast in its stride, with the cruise control and adjustable screen upping the comfort stakes en route.

Optional extras

Touring was made easier by a pair of £700 KTM panniers, which took everything I needed and were a doddle to take on and off. What helped less was the £218 ergo heated seat, which gave me a numb bum after around 150 miles. If you’re touring, leave the standard unit on. Other mods included a £787 Akrapovic slip-on end can and £306 Track Pack electronics update, which allow you to cycle through nine stages of traction control on the fly.

Electrical upsets

For all of its good points, the bike has thrown up a handful of phantom warning lights on the 6.5in TFT dash and the keyless fob stopped responding during a road test in the summer. Some 3000 miles later, the TFT dash had to be replaced under warranty due to water ingress – not something I would expect to happen after 10 months of garaged ownership.

If you’re in the market for a bike with superbike power and the comfort to carry you to the south of France, the GT is a great option, but be prepared for a few issues along the way.

You can read about my full year with the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT below.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT previous updates:

Dan poses with the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

MCN Fleet: KTM 1290 Super Duke GT vs Super Duke R

Published: 14.01.21

Dan takes in the KTM 1290 Super Duke R

The 1290 Super Duke GT is not the only road-biased bonkers V-twin in KTM’s bright orange toy box. Both generations of the Austrian tourer have been based on the ballistic Super Duke R super naked.

Updated for 2020 with a fettled engine, fresh frame, new styling and more, the R has everything any next-generation KTM GT is likely to have, minus the big tank, electronic springs and screen, but is it the better option of the two? I spent a few days with one to find out.

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Riding the KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Although powered by a 1301cc twin and featuring an 835mm seat height just like the GT, the R gets a 7-litre smaller fuel tank – meaning a comparatively narrower package despite the bars, pegs and riding position feeling similar. Out on the open road, it feels like business as usual, with plenty of go at every crack of the throttle and a glowing TFT screen up front. It’s slightly heavier on your wrists, but remains comfortable and refined.

Now Euro5 compliant and receiving a number of internal upgrades to trim back some of the snappy aggression, the big naked is one step ahead of our GT, which features the last-iteration’s Euro4 lump. Quieter, less vibey at any speed or revs and possessing less of an appetite to wheelie when you soften off the electronics, it still shunts forward like a full-bore artic truck, but feels more grown-up and sanitised by comparison.

With manual WP suspension at both ends, set up beautifully for UK tarmac and rolling on a grippy set of Bridgestone S22s, you can ride the R at a calm, relaxed pace in comfort, taking in the surrounding views to the gentle burble of its elongated pipe. Like the GT though, this can all change at flick of a wrist, turning the user-friendly upright into a corner carving masterpiece.

Cornering on the KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Although tested in late October last year, the pared-back R inspired enough confidence for me to take full advantage of the dry autumnal blacktop – snatching big leans and even bigger smiles along every B-road you encounter. It’s also supremely comfortable and with a screen, I’m confident you could tour on the R no problem.

The lack of wind protection becomes noticeable when things get particularly animated and on one blustery weekend outing, I found myself riding into a headwind, straining my neck to maintain forward vision. Although this is a factor with all nakeds, I was soon wishing I was on the GT, which would’ve been just as fast and capable, with none of the aggro.

On top of this, the R’s fuel range indicator left me in a tight spot on a hard-shoulderless stretch of the M1 when it jumped from a predicted 50 miles to zero in less than the 20 miles I had to the next service station. What’s more, the cruise control switchgear feels like a cheap afterthought, going from an easy-to-reach tab on the GT to two separate speed adjusters.

Super Duke R switchgear is slightly awkward

So, which is the one to have? If you’re looking purely for punch, then the Super Duke R is a no-brainer. But if you fancy a bit more versatility and like the idea of clipping on luggage and smashing out a European tour, then go for the GT. That said, you might want to hold onto your cash for a little longer, because if the R is anything to go by, any new GTs will be nimbler, faster and more refined. Plus, the arrival of a new one could mean serious deals on old stock (MY20 GTs are now just £13,999).

Watch MCN’s 2020 super naked group test here

Water ingress to the TFT dash halts progress on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

Published: 14.01.21

The KTM's TFT dash needed to be replaced

During my year’s ownership of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, I have been asked plenty of questions regarding its reliability. For the most part, it’s been spot on and I have happily reported on thousands of effortless miles, come rain or shine, between extended periods of lockdown.

Having had the keys since February, it has wormed its way into my heart as one of my favourite road bikes. That said, whilst my love for the Austrian missile has grown, it hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows.

More long-term tests

Since the first occurrence at 917 miles, there have been a handful of phantom warning light pop-ups on the 6.5in TFT dash. Although these were no real cause for concern, it’s not something I’ve experienced as frequently on any other bike.

As well as this, the KTM stopped responding to the keyless fob altogether in the summertime – leaving me stranded. Simply fixed by disconnecting and reattaching the battery and then behaving well for the next 3000 miles or so, I was convinced the reliability problems were behind us. Unfortunately, less than a week on from my three-day, 860-mile tour to the south coast, it let me down again.

Riding to work the following Wednesday morning, the TFT dash stopped working, plunging the cockpit into darkness. Confused, pissed off and with the bike still running fine, I headed for home to consult KTM UK and discovered on the way that the quick-shifter and auto-blipper were also no longer operational.

It turns out the full-colour screen had experienced a small amount of water ingress. This then had a knock-on affect on the quickshifter.

KTM state that this is ‘an extremely rare occurrence on this model’ and that any bike with a valid warranty would have the issue remedied with a new dash, fitted by a dealer.

Although it’s good to know this would be covered under warranty, it is a disappointing development in my time with the GT. For all of its impressive performance, touring ability and handling prowess, this should not happen on a 6500-mile-old bike costing £17,199 without any extras.

When everything is working, the Super Duke GT is a fantastic package, but longer-term reliability outside of warranty is something to be considered.

Video verdict: Living with KTM’s 2020 1290 Super Duke GT

Published: 08.12.20

After covering around 6500 miles across 2020; watch an in-depth video review of the #MCNFleet KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, to find out exactly what Senior Writer, Dan makes of the machine so far.

More long-term tests

Cornwall or bust: Coastal minibreak puts KTM Super Duke GT to the test

Published: 08.12.20

Stopping for a coffee on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

If you’ve been following my journey with the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, you’ll know I’ve been desperate to sample its touring capabilities. With no sign of Covid clearing and Europe out of the question, I booked some cheap last-minute hotels in mid-October and set off for three days in Devon and Cornwall.

With clean clothes, spare masks, disc locks and waterproofs easily stuffed inside the KTM’s panniers (£699.54) and a light rucksack on my back, I headed south from my Lincoln home with the only goal being to eat at least one pasty in Cornwall and an ice cream by the sea.

More long-term tests

Dan takes in the views in Cornwall

A trip of 859-miles, it turned out to be one of my best spontaneous decisions ever. Not only great fun, it exposed the big Duke to a variety of challenges; from mud-clogged single tracks, to hours of motorway and some the best coast roads you’ll find in the UK.

Being an impatient so-and-so, I opted to smash out the first and last 250 miles there and back on motorways, maximising playtime in my southern destinations. This was a doddle; simply flicking the screen into its highest setting, tapping on the cruise control and relaxing. There wasn’t even any traffic to worry about.

Despite the 23-litre fuel tank, I did need to stop for petrol on both of these stints, having started with a full load. This actually provided respite for my backside, which started to go numb after around 150 miles of upright cruising. Disappointingly, this is due to installing KTM’s ergo seat (£217.98), which offers a cosy three-stage heating element, but also reduces long-distance comfort. If you’re a fair-weather rider, spend your cash elsewhere. I never needed more than the lowest setting to combat the autumnal chill.

Once at my coastal destination, the Duke excelled in every scenario. With the suspension and throttle maps altered at the touch of a button and the screen shoved down for greater airflow and involvement in the ride, the V-twin brute scythed its way through hundreds of scenic wet and dry miles, with the sporty Metzeler M9 RR rubber beneath it never once getting upset.

The trip also highlighted the competence of the electronics package, working in tandem with the circa 2000-mile-old hoops to confidently command every strip of wet or dry coastal tarmac.

Dan sets his destination on the sat-nav

With buckets of torque on hand and a fresh road-legal Akrapovic slip-on (£787.02) reverberating between the dry-stone walls, I could effortlessly slip past lines of tourist and agricultural traffic – with enough poise and precision to get the most out of every countryside cracker I came across.

Even the wettest stints were excellent fun and with each evening’s pub visit, I was left pondering how good it would’ve been in the peak of summer. Not only from a riding perspective, but the excellent views. I can’t wait to head back to the A39 from Lynton and Lynmouth to Porlock in particular, sampling its high-rise twists, turns and exciting undulations in the warming sun, instead of drizzly autumnal mist.

Powerhouse packhorse: Bolt-on extras unlock a more practical side to the Super Duke GT

Published: 21.10.20

Parked up on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT with luggage

Equipped with a 1.3-litre V-twin and tipping the scales at a measured 236kg, you could be forgiven for thinking the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT would be a bit of a handful around town.

Based on a Super Duke R and stuffed with more torque than a Ducati Panigale V4, I was just as surprised as you might be to find it was actually a big pussy cat. Barring an occasional bit of throttle jerkiness at very low speeds, it feels well balanced and comfortable – with a light clutch to make filtering a piece of cake.

More long-term tests

Loading up luggage on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

In fact, it was so good, that the KTM started becoming my go-to transport for bagging daily essentials from the supermarket. This got me wondering how I could expand its carrying capacity, so I turned to the KTM Power Parts catalogue and ordered a set of colour-matched side cases to stuff in a few more pints of milk.

Priced at £699.54, although an expensive addition, I believe they actually enhance the bike’s looks; shrouding areas of the sparse rear-end, they’re finished in an excellent glossy orange that really glows in the sunshine.

Clipping into pre-existing lugs in the subframe and slotting into mounts on the pillion pegs, there’s also no need to fork out for an additional mounting kit, and they’re capacious, too. Their maximum carrying capacity is 7kg.

On top of having plenty of space, they are also a doddle to take on and off, locking in place with a turn of the key and a satisfying click. Once removed, an integrated carry handle makes them easy to lug about, and internal netting helps keep their contents in place.

Despite these plus points, I managed to briefly get a full-face helmet trapped inside one of the boxes after failing to close it properly.

Entirely my fault; at no point do KTM claim the panniers can take a full-face lid, and I won’t be trying it again. Another niggle is the stiff locking mechanism sometimes means you pull the back cover off the key fob when twisting. Not a major problem, just a bit annoying.

While all of this has taught me a lot about the luggage, I’m almost certain supermarket trips are not what the designers had in mind. So, to test their ability over distance, I’m planning an overnighter to Devon. A round trip of at least 600 miles, it should allow me to stretch the bike’s legs and see if the units offer enough capacity for some proper touring fun.

MCN Fleet: KTM 1290 Super Duke GT story so far

Published: 16.09.20

Riding the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

It was a crisp early February morning in the MCN carpark when I first set eyes on the 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. Angular, aggressive and booming from its single exhaust can, there was the promise of all-day comfort, superbike straight-line pull and all the tech I could ever want or need.

I was going to use it every day and I was going to pluck up the courage to go long-distance touring. Less than two months later, we were into the coronavirus lockdown. Bugger. Still, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy riding and after just shy of 4500 miles, here’s what I reckon so far…

More long-term tests

621 miles

Being a stickler for the rules, I like to follow a running-in process as closely as possible. The KTM was no different, with the manual stating you must not use full throttle or exceed 6500rpm until the £215 (at the time) first service at 621 miles (1000km).

On a smaller bike, this could present issues, however the circa 173bhp 1290 will happily exceed motorway speeds at just 4500rpm in top, meaning you can make all the progress in the world without unnecessary stress to the big V-twin.

Filling up with fuel on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

1000 miles

Despite there being plenty of poke without giving it a big handful, I was gagging to give the KTM a big twist of my right wrist to see what it could do. I was expecting it to be fast, but my word – it pulled harder and shunted forwards quicker than I could’ve ever imagined, snarling aggressively and popping on the upshift like a 60s American muscle car.

Prior to lockdown, I looked forward to my daily dose of aggression to and from work with a beaming smile and, barring a phantom warning light at 917 miles, the bike remained perfectly well-behaved.

Cornering at Cadwell Park on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

2500 miles

From there, the KTM continued to shine; ferrying me across the country to any destination in comfort, as well as taking care of daily duties such as the occasional food shop when travel was limited and the desire to ride was overbearing.

Even after weeks of sitting stationary in the garage during lockdown, the £69.99 OptiMate 4 charger kept the battery primed and it started first time. A quick once over at the fluids and a few pumps of air in the tyres and we were away.

3000 miles

Following the lockdown, the GT was part of a back-to-back test with its closest road-biased rival: the latest BMW S1000XR.

A two-day epic in 30-degree-plus temperatures, it was the first time the KTM’s engine heat became noticeable – toasting my inner legs and bum during prolonged stints at a standstill.

Every other ride before and since, the heat has caused me no discomfort – actually adding some welcome leg warmth on colder days. Unfortunately, this test also saw the KTM’s key fob refuse to communicate with the bike after refuelling.

Unable to lock the steering or start it up, it brought an abrupt end to our road test and left me stranded for hours. It was eventually fixed by undoing and reattaching the battery to reset everything and hasn’t happened again.

Panniers add some helpful practicality

4000 miles

Determined to harness a little more practicality, I have now installed a set of £699.48 official hard cases, which slot into pre-existing mounts beside the pillion seat and behind the rear pegs.

Feeling sturdy and finished excellently, they clip-in tight and look part of the motorcycle rather than a cheap afterthought. Not only do they hold plenty of shopping, they also swallowed my Airoh GP500 helmet when I’m parked up at my destination. Bonus!

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT makes a splash at Cadwell Park

Published: 12.08.20

Cornering at Cadwell Park on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

When I took delivery of KTM’s 1290 Super Duke GT in March, two things were certain in my head. I was going to go on a long tour and tackle a trackday.

Four months and a global pandemic later and there’s been no tour and limited opportunity to get on track. But, when a No Limits evening at Cadwell Park presented itself in early July, I jumped at it.

With the forecast promising sunshine and dry tarmac, it looked like the perfect opportunity to scratch my track itch. But much like the rest of 2020, I was left thinking about what could’ve been…

Staying dry until around 2pm, the heavens opened and didn’t stop, spawning deep puddles along the start/finish straight and a stream across the exit of Charlies. Joy.

Hall Bends at Cadwell Park

Riders to the collection area

I’m the only road bike in the fast group, and also the only one on road tyres – OE Pirelli Angel GTs. Unaware of the conditions out of sight, I leave the bike in its sportiest settings. Traction control firmly on.

It soon becomes apparent how impressive the Angel GTs are in wet conditions; bags of feel, allowing me to brake hard and tip in more aggressively than I could on sportier hoops, with enough bite at the rear to best 120mph on the straights.

That said, the torquey twin caused the rear to break away through some corner exits and up the Mountain climb, although always caught by TC. In hindsight, a softer throttle map and suspension set-up would’ve helped.

The bike gets Pirelli Angel GT tyres as standard

Into the next session things got better, the conditions remaining the same and me now up-to-speed with the bike’s behaviour. We even managed a couple of overtakes and kept pace with other fully-fledged track mules. Then the rain got harder and soon a lack of wet tyres became a concern.

Not wanting to cause an accident, I pulled in after two laps of session three and called it a day. Frustrated by the conditions and convinced the bike would excel on a dry track, I’ve now fitted a set of Metzeler M9 RRs and will make my return to a dry circuit soon. I hope.

Your questions answered on life with the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

Published: 12.05.20

Riding the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

With any recent plans of riding – outside of essential travel – put on hold, I have been spending my time answering your burning questions about the 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.

Before Coronavirus I covered 2400 miles of all-weather commuting, weekend rides, two-up adventures and countless motorway stints. Below are my impressions thus far. Got anything you’d like answered? Email me on Watch a full Q&A video below:

Have you taken a pillion and what was it like? Alex Jessop

Just before the lockdown, I took my younger brother Matt on a 100-mile round trip to Melton Mowbray along the glorious A607. Despite him being considerably taller than me at 5ft10in (I’m 5ft6in on a good day) there was plenty of room and separate, well-padded seats for both of us. Those coming from larger road-biased adventure bikes (such as the Kawasaki Versys 1000) will be used to more room between rider and pillion though.

With electronically adjustable WP springs, setting the bike up for the extra weight can be done quickly and there’s plenty of power for making progress. Keep that traction control on though, or the front wheel will be up and down like a pogo stick!

Is it a true GT? How long before numb bum sets in? Russ Ryan

I’ve done around 220 miles of constant motorway between stops on multiple occasions and although not that fun, it was perfectly comfortable.

The only times I stopped were to get fuel. I am hoping to sample the optional £217.98 ergo seat in the near future, which should provide even more cushioning and comfort.

How do you find the screen for noise/protection? Graham Bell

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT screen

If you’ve come from a sportsbike or naked, the GT will give you all the wind protection you could hope for. That said, it is smaller than what’s fitted to some other GTs or adventure-sports bikes. I run the screen in its tallest setting, which provides me with plenty of protection for daily riding and minimal buffeting. Taller riders could be worse off.

Would you choose it over a KTM Super Adventure? Paul Rogers

Having ridden the latest SDGT almost daily and a Super Adventure S to Wales and back in 2017, my personal preference would be the GT.

The Adventure would arguably be better in all weathers, but I like the GT’s road-biased nature and manageable size. That said, if you like getting muddy and hitting the green lanes, then there is no substitute for the Adventure model. A smaller adventurer may be more manageable on the rough stuff, though.

What is the bike’s most endearing quality? Damian Woolfall

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT engine

The engine. All. Day. Long. Not only does it sound great, but it delivers usable punch anywhere in the revs. Wind it up on a back road and you can’t help but laugh as you’re shunted forwards at superbike-spec speeds. It’s also an overtaking assassin and pulls like a locomotive in any gear – making it a rural commuters’ dream.

Update three: Where next for the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT?

Published: 20.04.20

Dan ponders his next move with the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is already a great bike and when ridden around the MCN250 in 2019, fellow tester Phil West said it was ‘(probably) the best road bike you can get.’ Strong praise indeed.

This begs the question of how I can improve on its near perfection for daily use. After 2400 miles, I have compiled a list of proposed changes, which should mould the Austrian brute into an even better proposition.

Can you hear me?

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT Akrapovič slip-on exhaust

Although the Euro4-compliant stubby exhaust provides a devilishly good soundtrack from tickover to the redline – rumbling nicely and occasionally popping on the upshift like a finely fettled BSB bike – I want to unlock more from the 1301cc twin.

Enter the KTM PowerParts catalogue and the titanium Akrapovič slip-on exhaust. Costing a wallet-denting £787.02, although not an essential mod, it looks far neater than the standard pipe and saves a claimed 1.5kg.

There are louder options out there, but I want to go on track and that means staying on the right side of the noise tester.

Sitting comfortably?

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT ergo seat

I am a massive wuss when it comes to the cold. I don’t like it and am one of the last to ditch the heated layers. Afterall, why just be warm enough, when you can be lovely and toasty?

For that reason, another extra that has caught my eye is the £217.98 ergo seat. Heated and offering three height settings, it should provide some additional comfort.

There’s also nothing actually wrong with the KTM’s standard seat; it’s very comfortable, well-shaped for dynamic riding and with such a big twin underneath, becomes slightly heated by the rear cylinder on longer rides. Whether this option is worth the money remains to be seen.

Gripping times

The KTM comes fitted with Pirelli Angel GT tyres

Another avenue I am keen to explore is tyres. The GT comes on Pirelli’s Angel GT and I cannot fault them thus far. Used daily, with over a thousand miles of dual carriageway and motorway work and multiple ventures with a pillion, there are minimal signs of wear.

They also have bags of grip in the wet and dry. However, once Covid-19 has blown over, I am determined to test the bike’s mettle on my favourite back roads and on track and, as such, will look to test some more sporty rubber – such as the new-for-2020 Metzeler M9 RR.

Moving into the autumnal months, I expect I’ll switch again and having spoken to owners of the GT, I have been recommended plenty of rubber – including Michelin’s Road 5 GT.

How have you blinged your Super Duke GT? Get in touch and let me know:

Update two: KTM 1290 Super Duke GT’s instant shove is a real selling point

Published: 06.04.20

Cornering the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

Super Duke GT is the perfect name for KTM’s latest £17,199 sports tourer. It sounds like some sort of aristocratic superhero, and that description isn’t too far wrong. Refined and powerful, it’s as ballistic as long-distance motorcycles come, without sacrificing usability. I’m head-over-heels in love with it.

Posing as a beautifully finished grand tourer, complete with comfortable seat, easy-going road manners and user-friendly motor, the growling KTM transforms into a 173bhp V-twin missile, capable of out-gunning most superbikes, whenever the mood takes you.

After two weeks of daily commutes, weekend exploration and 150-mile motorway slogs, I am smitten, but it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Here’s how I got on for the first 1000 miles.

0 miles

As a self-confessed flapper and someone who has to check a door’s locked 10 times, the idea of a keyless ignition terrified me. After all, how do I know where the key is if I can’t see it?

It took about a week before I stopped frisking my pockets and can now slip the key in my jacket without fear of losing it completely. The keyless fuel cap means less time messing about at the pumps, too.

Another mild cause concern from the outset was the sidestand. Although flicking down effortlessly and being easily accessed whilst you are sitting on the machine, it stands the bike quite tall and I was worried the KTM could topple over on loose surfaces. So far my fears have proved unfounded, however.

Parked up at Brands Hatch on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

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300 miles

The first proper maintenance came in late February, during a trip to the Carole Nash MCN London Show. I had travelled from my home just outside Lincoln and following the 147-mile trip, the well-lubed chain had stretched to the point of resting on the swingarm.

Tightening it back up was easily done using a 17mm socket borrowed from the KTM stand at the event and a C-spanner included in the decent onboard tool kit. Simply loosen one bolt and adjust the hub behind the sprocket. Easy.

Adjusting the KTM's chain in a London carpark

621 miles

The running-in period was 621 miles (1000km) and during this time the manual states you must not use full throttle or exceed 6500rpm.

On a smaller capacity bike this could be problematic, but with around 173bhp and 104ftlb of torque, using less than 6500rpm is easy, with motorway speeds (plus VAT) achieved in top gear at little more than 4500rpm. Expect parts and labour to cost around £215 for this work.

A first service on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

917 miles

With full power unleashed, the following 300 miles were nothing short of amazing. With all the power in the world at your right wrist, muscle car soundtrack, excellent Pirelli Angel GT rubber and oodles of comfort, it did everything I wanted, and I was genuinely excited to see it at every open of the garage door.

That was until an error message pinged up on the TFT dash at 917 miles. Pulling over to a stop and turning the bike on and off saw the message disappear and, having consulted KTM UK about the issue, it hasn’t resurfaced since. My excitement returned.

1000 miles

Since that error message came and went, the Super Duke has been good as gold. Treated to a thorough scrub every weekend and a mid-week rinse to de-gunk the exterior, it has ferried me to and from work, across country lanes and down south to Brands Hatch in perfect comfort. The chain hasn’t needed any further adjustment and there are no signs of surface rust.

You can watch a first impressions video below:

Update one: Exploring the versatility of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

Published: 17.03.20

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT side view

KTM’s 1290 Super Duke GT sits at the extreme end of the sports-touring segment. I want to find out if this thumping brute is more than simply a superbike expat’s wet dream; testing its ability as a daily commuter, weekend tourer, town tackler and (of course) trackday scratcher.

The rider Dan Sutherland, Senior Writer, 24, 5ft 6in. Year-round commuter, weekend blaster, riding for eight years.

Bike specs 1301cc | 173bhp | 209kg (dry) | 835mm seat height

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