Sports-touring took a massive turn for the better when KTM released the 1290 Super Duke GT in 2016 – and now it looks like the wildly entertaining continent-crosser is to get a dose of added practicality and luxury.
The current KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is great because it’s so bonkers. The 170bhp V-twin can back into a corner while exiting on the back wheel one minute, then ridden two-up with luggage the next.
It’s one of the daftest and most brilliant bikes in the sector – although it’s still got its fair share of niggles. But these new spy pics, scooped near the firm’s Spanish test facility, suggest a decent model update for 2019.
More miles, more fun
The Super Duke GT is essentially a Super Duke R with a windscreen and panniers, but the R has moved on since the latest GT was revealed at the end of 2015, so it makes sense for KTM to update the GT too – and the most obvious visual change is the love-it-or-loathe-it front end.
The Super Duke R has had the protruding headlight for some time and while it does look like it could do someone a serious mischief in a crash, it also looks incredibly effecive at channelling airflow. The GT’s whole front cowl has also changed, with new fairing lowers (still incorporating cornering lights) stretching out further than the old model. There’s a new screen too, which is larger – hopefully less wobbly – and with any luck has dispensed with the shonky height adjust- ment mechanism for some- thing slicker.
All this points to making the bike even more comfortable for covering long distances. The tank appears to be the same size (23 litres), giving a 200-mile plus range without the sensation of wrapping your legs around a tanker.
Bedknobs and blippers
The current GT has pretty much every piece of electronic trickery going – but there are a few things missing. It has a quickshifter but not an autoblipper (it’s an option on the Super Duke R), so the update is expected to include this as a standard fitment. The R also boasts riding modes currently missing on the GT – although the optional Track mode will likely be swapped out for a Touring mode.
All of this will be controlled through the new-to-the-GT, full-colour TFT dash as currently fitted to the rest of the 1290 Super Adventure range. As well as controlling various elements of the bike, the TFT dash allows the rider to use KTM’s MyRide functions, giving you control of your phone via Bluetooth.
Cosmetics and electronics aside, the Super Duke GT appears largely unchanged at its core, with the frame, suspension, wheels and brakes rather familiar. While the engine looks almost identical, there are some small changes to the casings that suggest tinkering has taken place inside the mill.
If it does go on sale in 2019 – one year before the Euro5 rules come into force, placing even more stringent emissions and diagnostic regulations on bikes – it’s logical to assume KTM will have ensured the engine is fit to pass these tar- gets without much meddling (such as increased catalytic material in the exhaust).
As the current 1290 Super Duke GT retails for £16,299, we’d expect the price to creep up with the addition of new tech although KTM will be keen to keep it under £17,000.
1290 Super Duke GT highlights
- New fairing for more comfort
- 173bhp, 1301cc V-twin
- New electronics and TFT dash
- Same frame, suspension and wheels
- Expected late 2018
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