The 1290 Super Duke R is KTM’s pride and joy in the road bike world. For 2017 it receives a round of improvements making it an even bolder naked bike. Engineers in Austria focused on the usual stuff: more power, sharper looks and improved handling.
The Super Duke continues to be powered by KTM’s tried-and-true LC8-based water-cooled V-Twin. Renowned for its classic V-Twin character, including turbo diesel truck-like torque output (the 2014-2016 machine generates upwards of 90 lb-ft at the tire!), the 75-degree Twin gets a slight compression boost.
Titanium intake valves deliver fuel into the combustion chamber with the compression ratio increased to 13.6:1 ratio (versus 13.2:1 on the old model). Exhaust valves are still stamped from steel. Spent fuel passes through a redesigned Euro 4 emissions complaint exhaust system featuring stainless-steel headers and an internal valve that helps control sound and back pressure harmonics.
Above, each of the four-valve cylinder heads use “resonator chambers” for smoother torque onset at lower revs. Shorter intake trumpets (10mm) complement things and broaden the powerband KTM says. The bottom end also sees durability refinements with the thickness of the crankshaft’s output cone increased slightly.
On the dyno the Orange Brigade claims the engine is good for 177 ponies at the crank, which should equate to 152-154 horsepower at the 190-series Metzeler Sportec M7RR tire. KTM has a history of outfitting American-bound Super Duke’s with different rubber so it will be interesting if it comes with these German shoes. Either way, it will be a big upgrade from the lackluster Euro-spec Dunlop SportSmart hoops on its predecessor.
The steel-trellis frame and swingarm carry over however a new fork and shock were fitted. As before, both components are from WP. Suspension travel continues to be rather lofty for a road bike which help give the Super Duke a looser supermoto-style feel. Lastly, a different handlebar bend was fitted and the mounting position has shifted forward.
The Super Duke’s exterior has been tweaked. Specifically the subframe is now fully exposed via a thinner tail section. The forward body panels are edgier than before and reshaped LED lighting helps it get noticed on the street. The split symmetrical headlamp is especially eye catching.
The LCD instrument panel was exchanged for a color display and cruise control is now standard fitment. KTM’s Motorcycle Stability Control system carries over and now includes corning ABS functionality. Customers also have the option of upgrading the electronics allowing for individual adjustment of the MSC’s global settings. This should allow riders to better tailor each mode, i.e. more TC here, less there, disable wheelie control, etc.
No word on pricing or U.S. availability but expect a healthy price bump from the $17,399 asking price on the 2015 MY bike.