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The Super Duke 1290 R Is KTM's Craziest Production Naked Ever


It produces 180PS from its 1,301cc LC8 V-twin engine

  • The bike tips the scales at 189kg dry.
  • It gets a comprehensive electronics suite and keyless go.
  • KTM has given the Super Duke top-spec suspension and brakes.

India is quite crazy about KTM’s Duke range, and sitting right at the top of the food chain is the manufacturer’s 1290 Super Duke. Taking things up a notch, KTM has just unveiled an even more hardcore version of the bike, in the form of the 1290 Super Duke R.

It is designed to be a very muscular motorcycle, with a large, sculpted fuel tank and very long extensions. The five-spoke alloy wheels look stunning, especially at the rear where the view isn’t blocked by brake discs. The exhaust system looks almost hypnotic as it meanders its way from the cylinder heads to the end-can, and it wouldn’t be a proper KTM without an exposed orange trellis frame.

This Super Duke R squeezes out 180PS and 140Nm from its 1301cc V-twin motor to give you a considerable shove in the backside every time you twist open the throttle. KTM has fused the bike’s nostrils and eyes (try not to visualise this literally), with a ram-air intake integrated into the LED headlight unit.

All this power is reined in using a comprehensive electronics suite that includes traction control, 4 riding modes, engine brake control, cruise control and supermoto ABS. The Super Duke R also gets a tyre pressure monitoring system and all these electronics can be controlled via a colour TFT digital instrument cluster which also gets Bluetooth connectivity.

To ensure that the Super Duke R doesn’t tie itself in knots, KTM has given it some top shelf underpinnings. The trellis frame is suspended on fully adjustable WP Apex suspension at both ends, with the shock absorber mounted to the swingarm via a linkage. The swingarm in question is a beautiful single-sided unit, and stopping power comes from top-of-the-line Brembo Stylema calipers.

This bike may seem bat-s**t crazy on the surface, but ease of use comes in the form of an adjustable handlebar, hydraulically-actuated clutch, adjustable footpegs and adjustable levers for both hand and foot controls.

It is highly unlikely that this motorcycle will come to India anytime in the near future, so we’ll just have to appreciate it from afar and marvel at its engineering genius. It must be mentioned that while this is KTM’s flagship motorcycle, it isn’t quite as powerful or lightweight as the new Ducati Streetfighter V4 or MV Agusta Brutale 1000 RR. Does it really bother us? Absolutely not. We’re just smitten with the design.

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