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2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R unveiled

Published: 02 October 2018

Updated: 21 March 2018

The 2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R has been unveiled at Intermot in Cologne. Much like the 2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, the Super Duke R will get a modest power boost to 177bhp.

The new bike will also share the GT’s Quickshifter+ (an option on the R), cornering ABS, WP suspension, TFT dash and LED headlight.


There will be several options packages available for the R, including the Track Pack (launch control, spin adjuster, three throttle response settings and anti-wheelie off function) and Performance Pack (motor slip regulation (MSR) and Quickshifter+).

The 2019 model will be available with two new graphics options in black or white.

You can see this bike debut in the UK at Motorcycle Live from 17-25 November at The NEC.

Here's what MCN expected after spy shots were captured during testing:

It doesn’t seem five minutes since KTM launched a refreshed 1290 Super Duke R in December 2016, but spy shots obtained by MCN show they are developing a completely new bike ahead of the next step in tightening emissions regulations.

When the Euro5 regulations arrive in January 2020, motorcycles will have to produce roughly 30% less emissions than the current Euro4 rules. To achieve this, many bikes will need a brand new engine, which is what KTM appear to be testing here.

From the outside little appears to have changed, but internally we imagine there will be lots of changes. We also assume KTM will be desperate to keep the engine 170bhp+ as it currently is, but to do so likely involves running the engine very lean and hot, hence the new radiator that’s nearly double the size of the current model's unit. It also doesn’t take the eyes of a hawk to spot the enormous new catalytic converter lurking under the sump. What is odd, however, is that KTM have stuck with the LC8 V-twin, as we’ve seen them testing rivals’ V4s over the last few years. Obviously they have faith in the tried and tested big twin.

The bike in the photographs also has a brand new frame shape, but the main body is steel trellis like the current bike. The subframe too has changed, although in this case the steel trellis appears to have been ditched in favour of box section aluminium. With the slimmer frame and alloy subframe, it’s likely that a few kilos have been saved (albeit offset by the massive cat…).

As expected the new frame is wrapped in brand new angular bodywork and a new seat unit that echoes the hyper-aggressive direction that KTM have taken the naked bikes of late.

The other major change is the new single-sided swingarm and suspension. The current Super Duke R has a direct mount shock, however the bike in the photographs clearly has a suspension linkage. This gives KTM more options for adjusting the rear end characteristics and also gives them room to route the new exhaust. The swingarm is also much more heavily braced where the linkage is, presumably for increased stiffness. 

As much as we love seeing brand new bikes, don't hold your breath for this one. As it’s a Euro5-preparation model, we’re not expecting KTM to unveil anything official until the EICMA show in November 2019. We’d then expect it to arrive in dealers by spring 2020.


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