Bike Reviews

2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Review

26th January 2017

Super Duke debuted back in 2005 with the 990. Every bike released since has only evolved in sophistication and performance. The present model 1290 Super Duke is the best so far post its 2014 release. The popularity of the bike grew to an extent where the nickname “The Beast” became synonymous with the 1290 Super Duke. The extravagant Super Duke R nicknamed The Beast 2.0 carves its own in the shadow of the Beast.


All bikes manufactured presently are Euro 4 compliant. KTM adheres to the same standards and the new Beast 2.0 is built with an LC8 motor, making fast, faster. The latest engine pumps out a maximum torque of 140Nm at 6752rpm and 141Nm at 7000rpm. With an engine so powerful, it comes as a pleasant surprise that the movement is smooth. This is linked to the change in the resonator design. Increased torque in the Beast 2.0 is a direct consequence of the 10mm shorter intake flange. All the inlet valves of the V-twin engine are premium built in titanium with a coating of chromium nitride. The design of the combustion engine is flat and the compression ratio is increased to13.6:1.

The ride by wire system on this bike is enhanced. Instead of relying on and responding to the signals received from the throttle twist grip, here the throttle commands are translated to the ideal position most suited for the ride conditions. Involuntary incidents of wheelies are now replaced by controlled lifts. 


There are three riding modes, Rain, Sport and Street. There is an additional option of Track Mode which includes anti-wheelie lift-off, launch control, MTC spin adjuster and throttle response selection through which the spins between levels 1 to 9 is chosen. 177hp is delivered in ride Sport and Street mode. Rain mode, however, limits performance to 100hp. The engine purrs gently below 5000rpm without showing signs of a beast within. Throttle response is comparatively swifter than the previous models and most aggressive in the Track mode. The bike is still an exceptionally good ride, matured in terms of handling and performance. The braking system is superlative, thanks to the Brembo M-50 Monoblock, quad piston calliper fixed with a 320mm twin disc brake. There are two additional floating discs with an adjustable space between the handlebar and the handbrake lever. The Beast 2.0 is a regal monster on road. It offers a safe ride as well.

The punch line of “Ready to Race” is more than a marketing ploy. KTM’s dedication to engineering bikes that can compete in the Dorna MotoGP series is commendable. Starting this year, KTM has signed a five-year contract to participate in the premier class, in the group Moto 3 and Moto 2. Red Bull KTM Ajo Motorsport team is gearing up to compete.

This is not the first time KTM is making its presence in the MotoSport world, for years KTM was the official manufacturer of 250cc bikes for Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.

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