KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Test: KTM 1290 Super Duke R (Baujahr 2020)

Can it be a little more?

The KTM 1290 Super Duke R is called a beast by the manufacturer itself. This can be safely forgotten, because a dangerous motorcycle, which is only waiting for the pilot's mistake, is not the Power Naked. But a fascinating thing, as the test shows.

Queen instead of Duke

Well, is that still a facelift? Or a new construction? Be that as it may, the third generation of the great Super Duke wants to do even better than its two predecessors. The data is not spectacularly different in relation to this, because three hp more or six kilos less would not be worth talking about with a normal machine. With this KTM already, because the absolute numbers increase the anticipation for the test: If 180 hp hit less than 200 kilos, then the mail goes right.

But first a look at the motorcycle itself: The Super Duke belongs to the Power Naked bikes and there she does not want to be the Duke (Duke), but the Queen. Super Queen, then. It has to compete in this position against powerful rivals, such as Ducati's Streetfighter V4 with even higher performance, but also Kawasaki Z H2, BMW S 1000 R or the Yamaha MT-10 want to make her the buyer's favour.


Electronic safety net

Reasonable people could ask whether it makes sense to screw a 180 hp V2 of the Brutalo faction into a bike without any windshield. Reasonable people, however, rarely ride motorcycles and if so, not Super Duke.

This motorcycle is clearly at the top of the superfluous, which makes her heart fly in the Motorradtest.de team, especially since the predecessor and the Ducati Streetfighter have turned out to be extremely entertaining test bikes.

To ensure that the Super Duke leaves but does not fly, the KTM engineers spun a tight-knit safety net. Therefore, in addition to curve ABS, traction, wheelie and stoppie control are also included. Each desired configuration can be finely adjusted by the driver by means of sensible operation and easy-to-read display.

But let's go now.

imagePhotos: Motorradtest.de

PS Monster on tour

You don't have to like V2 engines, of course. But the vast majority of them cannot deny one thing: character. The 1,301 cc engine of the Super Duke has absorbed it with breast milk, snorkeled in excess. Already with 3,000 tours 110 Newton meters are available, so the passage is enormous. A maximum of 140 Newtons at 8,000 rpm, another 1,500 tours later, the maximum power of 180 hp is reached.

And yet it is not what surprises the most. It is not the constant power that can hardly be used legally off the race track, the fascination, but the way the KTM delivers. The engineers have reduced the flywheel mass of the engine, which leads to an almost digital gas acceptance: at full throttle it pulls the hands out of the gloves, with jerky gas removal the power abruptly collapses.

A racing engine, but a suitable for everyday use: jerking or stuttering, chain-beating or other rumblings the V2 pinches itself. From 2,500 tours onwards, things are progressing enormously.

We forgot the test start because of the engine description. Then just delivered here in a quick run: Display as I said high-contrast and easy to use. Menu navigation extensive, but logical. You can also get on with the KTM, but you should not be very small. Once on, you sit inside and well integrated. The hands fall on the handles as if by themselves, the sitting position is relaxed-sporty. All the best, as long as you don't have to sit on the tiny seat bun at the back. "As with almost every Naked Bike", the knowledgeable say what is true, "totally superfluous" we say of Motorradtest.de, which is even more coherent.

The KTM would now have an opportunity to prove to be a beast, because now we come to the chassis and the brakes. But even though the KTM isn't a juice, it doesn't bang the bench in the best of its values at every opportunity. It does not want to be a comfort-oriented motorcycle and it should not be: with this performance, the chassis must be beyond doubt in terms of precision and stability, and that is it. According to KTM, the new truss of the frame should be three times more torsion-stiff than before. The low weight of only 200 kilos helps her with the curve hatz, because she is also handy. And the brakes of Brembo, what do they do? Brakes. So that it's a force.

Where it is, is at the front

So KTM has delivered a cheat pack, because neither is it a beast, nor a duke. What luck. It is a power on the street, but a manageable one. The Super Duke stands for driving fun without end, when the sheer performance counts. It is pure irrationality, a fun bike without high utility value.

If you are looking for something like this, you will be happy here, provided you like the edgy design. But isn't that always the case?

The test bike was provided to us by Bergmann & Söhne in Hamburg.

Price / Availability / Colours / Years of Construction

  • Price: 17.834€
  • Used (3 years old): 9.500€
  • Years of construction: since 2014
  • Availability: very good
  • Colours: black, orange

Zubehör für die
1290 Super Duke R

  • Moneta
  • Polo
  • Amazon

Pro & Kontra

  • powerful motor
  • Stable chassis
  • Operation
  • Electronic helpers
  • Brakes
  • Sociable suitability
Von unserem Team geprüft:




198 kg
Ab. Weight
415 kg
835 mm
1,497 mm

Driving Performance & Range

0 to 100
3.1 s
Tank contents
16 l
5.57 l
287 km
250 km/h

Motor & Power Transmission

Engine design
2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V2 75°
Number of cylinders
1,301 cc
108 mm
71 mm
180 HP
140 NM
Number of gears

Suspension & Brakes

Lattice tube frame, powder-coated
Suspension front
WP-USD x 48 mm
125 mm
Strut rear
WP-Monoshock by deflection
140 mm
Suspension rear
Single-arm swingarm
Brakes in front
2 x Brembo Stylema Monoblock Four-piston radial caliper, brake discs, floating
320 mm
Tyres at the front
120/70 ZR17
Brakes rear
Single disc, Brembo two-piston fixed saddle
Rear tyres
Two-channel anti-lock system of type Bosch 9.1 MP