Racing Or Just Around Town, There’s Something For Everyone In The New Super Duke R

KTM updated its 1290 Super Duke R ahead of MY2017, and that revised model carries over into MY2019 with a minor change in graphics, but little else. The factory tweaked some hardware on the 1,301 cc V-twin powerplant and increased compression for greater output than the outgoing version. Suspension also was buffed to deliver a stiffer ride with the full spectrum of adjustments so you can dial in just what you want as far as preload and damping values are concerned. The base model comes sans electronics for the most part, but the factory offers dealer-installed packages that address the lack of stock fandanglery and round out the electronics, plus there’s some race-related gadgetry to boot so there’s something for everyone on the new Super Duke R.

  • 2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V-Twin
  • Displacement:
    1301 cc
  • Top Speed:
    180 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    18199
  • Price:

KTM 1290 Super Duke R Design

2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
- image 834993
the adjustable shifter and brake pedal combine with the adjustable short-rise handlebar to make the Super Duke R one of the most ergonomically-flexible stock sportbikes on the market.

KTM’s top-shelf, hyper-naked 1290 Super Duke R carries itself with much the same panache as the previous models. A uniquely shaped headlight features an all-LED, split beam layout with a DRL halo that provides a little extra safety in the daytime. The shape of the headlight can clearly sets the SDR apart from the rest of the super-naked genre, as do the sweepy/spikey tank spoilers that act as a shroud for the radiator and serve as the only bit of body cladding on the whole machine.

A cut-down and cut-out front fender rides between a pair of beefy usd forks to give the front end a look that seems to say “serious business” in no uncertain terms. That angular look is mirrored by the tail section for a nice continuity of design, and in between, a scaffold-like, exposed Trellis frame reinforces the essential/industrial look of the Super Duke R.

An adjustable short-rise handlebar comes with four preset positions that deliver a 22 mm range of motion and allow you to dial in for comfort and control. Additionally, both the clutch and brake levers are adjustable as well, and that makes the Super Duke R a good bike for a wide array of body types.

The hand control area is kept clean by a single TFT display that handles all the instrumentation in one location, and is configurable so you can lay out the pertinent metrics in whatever format works best for you. Plus, it comes with both a blackout and whiteout background and high-contrast lettering for clarity no matter the lighting conditions.

Down below, the shifter and brake pedal are similarly adjustable with a trio of positions that combine with the hand controls to make the Super Duke R one of the most ergonomically-flexible stock sportbikes on the market. A tall fuel tank gives the front of the flyline a bit of rise with a precipitous drop to the deep-scoop seat that draws you down into the bike for a solid rider-to-machine integration. The rise to the p-pad forms your butt-stop and there’s a grab strap and subframe-mount, fold-up footpegs to complete the passenger’s gear. If you’d prefer a solo look, the factory offers a snap-on tail cover that hides the p-pad to give the Super Duke R a racebike finish, or you can opt for the Ergo Seat accessory for a relatively comfortable solo saddle. A mudguard extension mounts the tag and rear blinkers, and it’s backed up by a swingarm-mount hugger to finish the fling coverage.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R Chassis

2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
- image 834996
Given the power and response of the Super Duke R, it's a matter of 'when,' not 'if' the front end gets light.

The factory used Chrome-molybdenum tubing for the welded Trellis frame on the Super Duke R, and since the bones of the beast are so visible, they contribute to the overall aesthetic. The black model comes with a similarly monochromatic skeleton that is fairly inconspicuous against the innards, but the white version rocks a KTM Orange mainframe that really pops against the rest of the machine.

A cast-alloy, single-side swingarm completes the structure and keeps the unsprung weight low at the rear wheel. The steering head sets a rake angle of 24.9 degrees with a steering damper that takes the edge off any kickback that may occur; given the power and response of the Super Duke R’s mill, it’s a matter of when, not if the front end gets light and the bars want to kick in protest.

WP forks float the front end with the full spectrum of adjustments and separate functions split between the individual tubes, left-side compression damping, right-side rebound damping. The rear end also rocks a WP monoshock with the same level of adjustability plus a high- and low-speed compression damping feature so you can dial it in for conditions and preference. Components at both ends run with stiffer springs than the previous gen for a firmer ride and better cornering.

Dual Brembo M50 Monobloc calipers bite the 320 mm discs with a total of four opposed pistons with a twin-pot anchor and 240 mm disc out back. ABS comes stock with the Bosch 9.1 MP system that delivers corner-sensitive performance and factors in the available traction based on the forces acting on the chassis. Light alloy wheels round out the rolling chassis with Metzeler M7RR hoops to make the connection to the pavement.

Frame: Chrome-moly tubular space frame, powder-coated
Front Suspension/ Travel: WP USD Ø 48 mm/ 4.9 inches (125 mm)
Rear Suspension/ Travel: WP monoshock/ 6.1 inches (156 mm)
Rake: 24.9°
Steering Head Angle: 65.1 °
Front Brake: Dual 320 mm disc, Brembo monoblock four-piston radial fixed caliper, brake discs, floating
Rear Brake: 240 mm disc, Brembo twin-piston fixed caliper, brake disc
ABS: Two-channel Bosch 9.1 MP ABS (incl. Cornering ABS and Supermoto mode Disengegable)

KTM 1290 Super Duke R Drivetrain

2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Wallpaper quality
- image 834994
If you're into riding at the top end of the envelope, the factory offers a handful of packages just for you that include among them a quickshifter, Motor Slip Regulator, launch control, and the ability to disable the anti-wheelie feature.

The beating heart of the 1290 Super Duke R is a refined V-twin mill that rocks a 108 mm bore and 71 mm stroke for a total displacement of 1,301 cc. Compression was boosted to 13.6-to-1, up from 13.2-to-1, to increase overall power, and the velocity stacks had 10 mm chopped off to deepen the torque band and give you grunt lower in the rev range.

Machined titanium intake valves have a chromium-nitride coating that provides wear resistance and a new design to weigh in 19 grams lighter than the old steel poppets. Resonator chambers are built into the exhaust port in each of the four-valve heads in a bid to further widen the torque band with dual over-head cams to actuate and time the system. Dual sparkplugs in each combustion chamber ensure positive and thorough ignition, and overall vibration is kept low by the balanced flywheel/crankshaft to offset the reciprocating weight that itself is kept low by engineered conrods and the shortest pistons I think I’ve ever see. I mean these things are seriously barely more than a piston crown and wrist-pin boss with little to nothing in the way of a skirt.

The liquid-cooled mill benefits from a trio of oil pumps that provide plenty of forced/pressurized lubrication. Power flows through a hydraulically actuated slipper clutch that provides another layer of traction stability with a six-speed transmission to crunch the ratios and deliver a top speed of 180 mph.

A ride-by-wire throttle control works with a Keihin engine management system to control the induction. Like the ABS, the traction control is also of the lean-sensitive variety, so it delivers intervention levels that are adjusted for the shared traction between steerage, brakeage and acceleration forces. The Ride Mode feature gives you three separate power-delivery profiles so you can dial in the desired throttle response. Two of them – “Street” and “Sport” – deliver the full bodied, 177-pony response, but the “Rain” setting dials that back to 130 horsepower with earlier traction control intervention.

If you’re into riding at the top end of the envelope, the factory offers a handful of packages just for you. There’s the Track Pack that disables the anti-wheelie feature and brings a launch control to the table to help you nail your holeshots. Then there’s the Performance Pack that gives you a quickshifter to let you bang your way both up and down the range sans clutch action, and a Motor Slip Regulator that backs up the slipper clutch and helps secure the rear contact patch further yet. Plus, if you opt for the KTM MY RIDE package, you can network your smartphone with your bike via Bluetooth connectivity.

Engine: 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°
Displacement: 1,301 cc
Bore x Stroke: 108 mm x 71 mm
Power: 174 hp (130 kW)
Torque: 104 lb-ft (141 Nm)
Starter: Electric starter
Lubrication: Forced oil lubrication with 3 oil pumps
Transmission: 6-speed
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: PASC (TM) slipper clutch, hydraulically actuated
EMS: Keihin EMS with RBW and cruise control, double ignition

KTM 1290 Super Duke R Pricing

2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
- image 834995
It's a KTM, so naturally you have combinations of black, white, and orange with updated graphics starting at $18.2k for 2019.

Base MSRP on the 2019 1290 Super Duke R will set you back $18,199. As for colors, it’s a KTM, so naturally it rocks some combination of black, white, and orange. Take your pick between the white fuel tank, or the black one, both of which come with updated graphics for 2019.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R Competitors

2017 - 2019 Ducati Monster 1200 R
- image 833238
2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
- image 834992
Both are stupidfast bikes that you'll never get the most out of on public roads, so in that respect, the power difference hardly matters.

KTM is a tough act to follow, but I think I found a near-ideal competitor for the 1290 Super Duke R in Ducati’s Monster 1200 R. Nothing looks like a KTM quite like a KTM, but the Monster brings an undeniably muscular look to the hyper-naked genre, and since it’s a Ducati, it’s pure sex on two wheels.

Overall, the Monster is rather more typical in its looks with absolutely nothing in the way of superfluous body cladding even though it shares an industrial look with the Super Duke R owed to its exposed Trellis frame. Once we get past the tank spoilers on the Super Duke R, the two become more closely aligned in their look. Öhlins supplies the suspension gear at both ends of the Duc with the full range of adjustments to break even in the stems, but Brembo makes out like a bandit with this pair as it supplies the anchors all the way around with ABS as standard equipment.

Duc slips a bit at the powerplant with only 1,198.4 cc and 152 ponies up against the 177 horsepower KTM, though to be honest, both are stupidfast bikes that you’ll never get the most out of on public roads, so in that respect, the power difference hardly matters. Ducati is a bit prouder at $19,395, but at this price point, a few grand either way makes little difference.

He Said

“I am just shallow enough to prefer the Monster based on looks alone. The two are very similar in capability and are at the top of the food chain for liter-plus nakeds, and if I’m honest, I’ll admit that both of them scare the hell out of me performance-wise. I bet they scare insurance companies, too, if I had to guess!”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “You know, this bike is surprisingly comfortable. Okay, not tourbike comfortable, but more comfortable than I thought it would be. It has a good amount of power around town. You already figured out it can go fast, but it’s not bad for an around-town bike and handles low speeds quite well. The bike is tall, so you have good visibility in traffic, but the other side of that is there’s a bit of wind on your chest on the interstate. The 1290 Super Duke R is really a nice all-around bike. You can drag a knee if you’re so inclined, or you can putter around town and run errands. It just seems happy to do what you want to do with it.”

KTM 1290 Super Duke R Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°
Displacement: 1,301 cc
Bore x Stroke: 108 mm x 71 mm
Power: 174 hp (130 kW)
Torque: 104 lb-ft (141 Nm)
Starter: Electric starter
Lubrication: Forced oil lubrication with 3 oil pumps
Transmission: 6-speed
Chain: X-Ring 5/8 x 5/16"
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: PASC (TM) slipper clutch, hydraulically actuated
EMS: Keihin EMS with RBW and cruise control, double ignition
Chassis:
Frame: Chrome-moly tubular space frame, powder-coated
Front Suspension/ Travel: WP USD Ø 48 mm/ 4.9 inches (125 mm)
Rear Suspension/ Travel: WP monoshock/ 6.1 inches (156 mm)
Rake: 24.9°
Steering Head Angle: 65.1 °
Front Brake: Dual 320 mm disc, Brembo monoblock four-piston radial fixed caliper, brake discs, floating
Rear Brake: 240 mm disc, Brembo twin-piston fixed caliper, brake disc
ABS: Two-channel Bosch 9.1 MP ABS (incl. Cornering ABS and Supermoto mode Disengegable)
Dimensions & Capacities:
Ground Clearance: 5.6 inches (141 mm)
Seat Height: 32.9 inches (835 mm)
Tank Capacity (Approx.): 4.8 gallons (18 l)
Fuel Consumption: 42.2 mpg (5.57 l/100 km)
Dry Weight: 429.9 pounds (195 kg)
Top Speed: 180 mph

Further Reading

Ducati Monster 1200 R

2017 - 2019 Ducati Monster 1200 R
- image 833233

See our review of the Ducati Monster 1200 R.

KTM

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
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Read more KTM news.

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