KTM’s Super Duke model range is first and foremost a good representation of what the Austrian brand understands through the word ‘Streetfighter’, but also the stripped down interpretation of the RC8 models. That’s how they end up delivering the 2009 KTM 990 Super Duke R and the simple model following the same recipe as in the case of the Superbike models and, implicit, expecting approximately the same results.
As much as KTM’s design crew would achieve in matters of visual similarity, although very nice and helps create a constant and distinctive scheme on all their sports models, the 990 Super Duke R and 990 Super Duke will always stand apart from the 1190 RC8 R and 1190 RC8 simply because of the totally different riding feel, performances etc. It all starts with the 999cc, four-stroke, 75-degree V-twin engine (best known as the LC8) making both the Super Duke R and the Standard model not only competitive, but even ready for the track. For instance, “R” model’s engine develops 130 hp at 10,000 rpm and 102 Nm at 8,000 rpm which is even more impressive when mentioning the bike’s 410.05 lbs weight. That’s also what the simple Super Duke will have to move around, but with 118 hp at 9,000 rpm and 100 Nm at 7,000 rpm so it’s a Super Duke to meet most riding demands.
2009 KTM 990 Super Duke R
The 2009 KTM Super Duke R is not only more powerful, but more capable to be ridden aggressively especially around the corners as it features a 67.3 degree rake and 93.9 mm trail compared to the base model’s 66.1 degree rake and 103mm trail. The only disadvantage of the “R” model is that it features a slightly higher seat (15mm or 0.6”) than the Standard model’s 850 mm or33.46" one.
KTM has found that offering diversity is the key to selling almost twice of the same bike and that’s what they achieve with the ’09 Super Dukes. More revs and a sportier chassis not only increase performance, but popularity among riders as well.
2009 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 S
And we all know how much that counts when the competition is strong. In this case, it is represented by the Ducatis Hypermotard 1100 and 1100 S, two bikes built in the same style (even though the name indicates something else) and powered by a less powerful (90 hp at 7,750 rpm) engine, but which delivers maximum torque (76 lb-ft) at only 4,750 rpm so it is a hyper motard after all. The source of all fun and excitement is a 1,078cc, L-twin cylinder, two valves per cylinder Desmodromic, air-cooled motor and, like in the case of the Dukes, this thing features a six-speed tranny.
Weighing just a little less (390 lbs - 1100 S and 395 lbs - 1100), the 2009 Ducati Hypermotards are simply built for corner carving and suiting a variety of riding needs so that’s what positions these bikes next to the Super Dukes from KTM.
2009 KTM 990 Super Duke R
KTM always managed to stand out with their uniquely modeled bikes, especially those that are destined for street and track use and the Super Duke, but especially the Super Duke R have their maker’s emblem stamped all over them. Angular lines dominate the stripped down bodywork while the streetfighter headlight looks like having been cut out from a fully faired model. Hmm…now which would that be? The Standard model is the only one to feature a passenger place to crash and, also, colors available for this model are Orange, White and Black.
Both models ride on the same 17-inch wheels with 5-spokes and feature the same wheelbase. Also, the V-twin engine can be spotted behind a network of frame pipes and the small body panels aimed at enhancing the already very aggressive look of the Super Duke. The ’09 “R” model destined for the US market stands out thanks to an Orange Frame (also present on the European “R” model) and Black color scheme. Those bikes that won’t be leaving their homeland will not only feature the aggressive tail, but a Black and White color scheme, just like the 2009 KTM 1190 RC8 R does.
From what we’ve come to find, if KTM wanted to deliver a unique ride than they’re truly successful as the 2009 Super Duke R is versatility itself around town and a blast on the track. The Austrian manufacturer’s greatest achievement for ’09 is the fact that they managed to improve the top end of the LC8 engine without sacrificing the low and midrange rush that made this thing so notorious in the first place. Instant power is always available a twist of the throttle away and that, combined with the bike’s light handling and versatility, will always get a skilled rider fast at work and fast around the track.
The riding position, although aggressive, feels rather natural and not at all demanding on the rider’s arms or back. Wind protection though is not quite the thing to crave for if planning on buying this Duke, but riders doing so are more interested in stunt performing rather than high speed traveling so it’s a target well selected by KTM. Wheelies are the easiest thing to perform, with or without using the clutch, and the bike feels overall light and very flick able.
2009 KTM 990 Super Duke R
A motorcycle with no passenger seat is clearly built for performance and well worth being taken on the track. This is where the Super Duke R unveils its racing velleities. While the engine is as good of a performer as initially noticed, the chassis is now 100 per cent valued and doesn’t manage to disappoint. This bike corners very sharp thanks to good weight distribution and the proper suspensions (48mm WP USD fork and WP mono shock) performs as well during the high speed straights. Stability is the word in this case, but also if it comes to braking performance. The Brembo units featuring two piston calipers for the two 320mm front discs and a single piston, floating caliper for the rear 240mm disc ensure safe stops each time they’re demanded while hard braking before tight corners will always get that rear wheel dancing if the rider swings well.
The 990 Super Duke R is the kind of bike that blows everything out of its way on curvey back roads, but tends to fall just behind veritable superbike models at the first patch of road. It is perfect for different riding situations, but we found that the “catch me if you can kind of action” suits it like a glove.
KTM hasn’t yet made the MSRPs for the Super Dukes public, but we reckon they’ll spin around $15K so stay tuned to see if our prediction becomes reality.
2009 KTM 990 Super Duke
All in all, the 2009 KTM 990 Super Duke and Super Duke R are virtually positioned in a class of their own as not even the two Ducati Hypermotard models can manage with the impressive street and track abilities of these things. Positioned in between hyper motards and superbikes, the Dukes stand for performance unlimited by the environment in which they ride and address to experienced riders eager for adrenaline.