Brabus 1300 R: High-end German car tuning house joins forces with KTM for second time

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KTM have renewed their partnership with high-end German tuning firm Brabus to create another limited-run batch of 1290 Super Duke R Evo-powered special editions.

The Brabus 1300R Edition 23 follows on from the bike first seen in February 2022 and will be limited to just 290 units at a price of £36,999. That might be £18,500 more than a standard Evo, but last year’s shipment of 154 sold out in a mind-boggling one minute and 55 seconds.

If the name Brabus sounds familiar to you, it’s because the German firm specialise in producing highly tuned versions of Mercedes’ road cars. They’re also currently working with Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Maybach and more. They know their onions.

Two 2023 Brabus 1300 Rs parked together

Being based on the SDR Evo, the 1300R gets the same 1301cc V-twin engine producing a claimed 177bhp at 9500rpm and 103.3lbft of torque at 8000rpm. You also get the same trellis chassis, single-sided swingarm and subframe.

Being based on the Evo, you also get the latest WP Apex semi-active suspension – meaning six damping modes. This includes a clever ‘Auto’ function that automatically alters depending on your riding inputs.  

All 290 bikes went on sale on Thursday, 16 February 2023 and – given the popularity of the last iteration – there are unlikely to be any left by the Friday.  

Away from the engine and frame, it’s the styling that sets the Brabus apart from its orange siblings, with swathes of carbon fibre and CNC machining going someway to justifying the monster price tag.

2023 Brabus 1300 R side view

This includes carbon air ducts, a new carbon headlight cover, and a fresh belly pan. The machined elements include the adjustable clutch and brake levers, plus the moveable foot pegs and reservoir caps. Each bike will also be numbered for authenticity.

The result is a bike that wouldn’t look out of place in the line-up of KTM’s sister brand Husqvarna – with the round LED headlight sharing a stark resemblance with the one found on the Norden 901 adventure bike.

Sticking with the styling, there’s now also a new pillion seat cover, which sits flatter than last year and works with the carbon fibre under tray to create a more minimalist look at the back end.

The 2023 Brabus 1300 R is based on the KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo

Elsewhere, the Brabus also benefits from nine-spoke forged wheels, which replace the KTM’s five-spoke design. Overall, they are unchanged from last year’s machines, but now come in all black for a stealthier look. The seat has been reupholstered to feature the Brabus ‘crest’ too.

The rear wheel is also partially shrouded by a twin exit shotgun-style exhaust, which replaces KTM’s single exit and comes engraved with ‘Brabus’ and ‘1300’ – one per end can.

Where previously on sale with licks of red either on the tank or seat, this year’s bikes will be split into two 145-strong batches of ‘Superblack’ and ‘Stealth Grey.’ Visit for more.

Brabus 1300 R: Limited edition tie-in with German performance car firm results in this jaw-dropping 1300

First published 11 February 2022 by Ben Purvis

Brabus 1300 R on the road

We got the scoop on the KTM Brabus 1300 R last month when the Austrian firm’s new supercar tie-in model was caught testing on the road. Now it’s official and the bike looks every inch the high-end machine that Brabus customers are used to.

You’ll have to be quick if you want one. KTM is only making 154 examples of the Brabus 1300 R, with 77 in each of the colour options of Magma Red or Signature Black. Why 77? Because Brabus was founded in 1977, specialising in creating high-end, highly-tuned Mercedes-based cars.

You don’t have to look too hard to see that the Brabus 1300 R is based on the existing KTM 1290 Super Duke, more specifically it takes elements from the range-topping Super Duke Evo and from last year’s limited-edition Super Duke RR.

Brabus 1300 R in two colour options

A distinctive new look is achieved by adding a Brabus-branded version of the circular headlight from Husqvarna’s Vitpilen and Svartpilen, as well as new carbon-fibre scoops either side of the steel, 16-litre fuel tank. You can see why some were fooled into thinking the spy pictures earlier this year showed a future Husky model rather than the Brabus.

Those intakes feed the same V-twin engine that’s used in the existing 1290 Super Duke, which retains identical performance figures –178bhp and 103lb.ft of torque arriving at 9500rpm and 8000rpm respectively – despite the new intakes and a bespoke, Brabus-only exhaust system with stacked silencers and a black ceramic-coated finish.

The frame is also straight from the Super Duke, but with a carbon-fibre seat unit similar to that used on the Super Duke RR, helping reduce the bike’s weight to 205kg including fuel, exactly halfway between the 210kg Evo and the 200kg RR.

Brabus 1300 R TFT dash

Other elements that are purpose-made for the Brabus 1300 R include the ‘Monoblock Z’ nine-spoke wheels, reflecting a design used on many of the firm’s cars, which are fitted with the same Bridgestone S22 tyres used on the Super Duke Evo, 120/70-17 at the front and 200/55-17 at the rear. Unique Brabus-branded Gilles footpegs and Magura HC1 levers, both CNC-machined, also distinguish the new model, as does a special start-up screen on the TFT dash display.

With the Super Duke Evo as its basis, the Brabus 1300 R gets the same extensive suite of tech with traction control, engine brake control, ‘supermoto’ ABS, cruise control, tyre pressure monitors, auto-cancelling indicators and keyless ignition.

The switchable riding modes are similar to the Super Duke RR’s, including Track and Performance modes as well as Rain, Street and Sport settings. The bike also benefits from the Super Duke Evo’s semi-active WP Apex SAT forks and shock, with ‘Suspension Pro’ to automatically detect load and set the rear preload to suit, with three heights – Low, Standard or High – for the rider to choose from via the dash.

Brabus 1300 R right side

Other settings include ‘Track’, ‘Auto’ and ‘Advanced’ modes, the last offering eight stages of selectable damper settings for the front and rear.

Those stunning looks and top-notch parts don’t come cheap, though. Brace yourself for a £34,549 hole in your bank balance if you want one!

Brabus 1300 R: High-end German car tuning house joins forces with KTM

First published 21 January 2021 by Ben Purvis

Brabus 1300 R spied in testing

Over the last 45 years Brabus have established themselves as one of the world’s most respected car tuning firms, but in 2022 the company will make their first move into bikes with this machine – the Brabus 1300 R.

If you think it looks like a KTM 1290 Super Duke R, that’s because it’s a restyled and uprated version of that bike, with Brabus forming a connection with KTM that mirrors their relationship with Mercedes in the car world.

Although there’s been no official announcement, the Brabus move to bikes has effectively been confirmed by documents including a trademark for the name ‘Brabus 1300 R’, which registered at the European Union Intellectual Property Office in December 2021, specifically to be used on motorcycles.

Even more importantly, the bike has been type-approved for road use with a listing that gives its name as the Brabus 1300 R but shows the maker as KTM.

The approval document shows that the bike is heavily based on the 1290 Super Duke R. It features the same 1301cc V-twin engine, with unchanged performance of 177hp at 9500rpm and 103lb.ft of torque at 8000rpm, and the dimensions listed on the document show it’s also largely the same in overall size.

Distinctive Brabus wheel design is carried over to the bike

The only changes are fractionally narrower bars – 816mm across instead of 843mm – and a 5mm reduction in wheelbase. The rear end is straight from the Super Duke RR, complete with the same carbon-fibre subframe and the use of carbon around the bike means it weighs just 205kg – 5kg less than a Super Duke R.

The WP Apex suspension appears to be the same ‘SAT’ semi-active kit seen on the 2022 Super Duke R EVO.

While there has been speculation that the bike in these spy pictures might be a new Husqvarna Vitpilen 1301, fuelled by the use of a circular headlight like those used on Husky’s other models, that doesn’t add up.

Husqvarna’s bikes might be KTM-derived, but they all feature entirely new bodywork. In contrast, this Brabus machine shares the original KTM hardware, simply adding new carbon-fibre side panels, a cowl around that round headlight and a small lower cowling, plus a new end can with twin exits.

The wheels are also unique to the machine and are designed to perfectly match the Brabus Monoblock Z Platinum Edition car rims (above).

The bike’s market position and performance will put it into a similar bracket to the limited run of 500 Super Duke RRs that sold out in less than an hour when they hit the market last April despite a £21,499 tag.

Ben Purvis

By Ben Purvis