The KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo is a torque monster. Once wheelie control is turned off, it will lift the front wheel on command. Experts only, please. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

Some motorcycles are lượt thích Buddha, such as a Gold Wing gliding down the road in near silence, its deep bucket seat cradling your fundament and scarcely a vibration felt at the feet and hands. Others are lượt thích mad dogs, snarling & pulling at their chains, ready to lớn rip, tear, & lacerate at a moment’s notice. The original KTM 1290 Super Duke R was pretty much the latter – an idealized naked hyperbike that was introduced in 2014. It had terrific power, satisfying daily-rider ergonomics, & the immediate response that earmarks most race machines. KTM’s “Ready to Race” slogan was aptly fulfilled.

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The 1,301cc V-Twin is the star of the show, & the Super Duke’s minimal bodywork & trellis frame does little to lớn hide it.

Now, after eight years of evolution, the latest-gen 1290 Super Duke R Evo goes further with the addition of multi-mode semi-active WP suspension khổng lồ the KTM’s existing electronic elements, including throttle-by-wire, ride modes (which adjust throttle response and engine power), cornering ABS & traction control, wheelie control, cruise control, & more. Our test xe đạp was equipped with the Tech Pack, a $899.99 option that adds an up/down quickshifter, Motor Slip Regulation (MSR), Suspension Pro, and Track Pack.

The settings may be configured statically or on the fly via multifunction switchgear on the left handlebar. The multilayered thực đơn appears bright & crisp, day or night, on a 4.8-inch màu sắc TFT screen, which also includes a hockey-stick-style tachometer, a large digital speedometer, a gear-position indicator, and various annunciators.

With its top-shelf components và comprehensive electronics, the KTM is designed khổng lồ work equally well on road or track.


Let’s take a ride. There is no traditional ignition key, but rather an electronic transponder with a flip-out key that’s used only to lớn unlock the seat. Approach within a few feet of the bike & the transponder & machine connect wirelessly. A quick press of the master power nguồn button on the right handlebar unlocks the fork & gas cap và illuminates the instrument panel.

From there, climb aboard and tag the start button. The highly tuned 1,301cc DOHC 75-degree V-Twin whirs and churns like a Massey Ferguson before firing and settling into a grumbling baritone idle through its enormous stainless headers. Sound pressure recorded at idle at helmet height was 88 decibels. Và it gets louder as the revs build, naturally along with wind noise.

Bikes in KTM’s naked and adventure lineups nội dung a common kiến thiết language, with a vertically split headlight surrounded by a daytime running light.

While the liquid-cooled motor warms up – we found the KTM to be somewhat coldblooded – use the opportunity to configure the electronic engine và chassis parameters for the ride. Which invites a fair question: What kind of ride?

First, select a ride mode: Street, Rain, and thể thao modes are standard, while Performance và Track modes are part of the optional Track Pack. Next, select a suspension damping mode: Comfort, Street, and thể thao are standard, along with electronically adjustable rear preload (in 2mm increments). Track, Advanced, và Automatic modes are part of the optional Suspension Pro package, which also adds automatic preload leveling with three modes (Low, Standard, & High). You can also turn off both traction control & MSR, turn off the quickshifter, và select an ABS mode (Road or Supermoto, which deactivates ABS at the rear wheel). Or not. Everything can be left in mặc định settings, và you can just grab a gear và go.

The scratch-and glare-resistant TFT display shows speed in a big, bold fonts with a hockey stick-style tachometer at the top.

It would take much more space than we have available to đánh giá all the settings và permutations. It takes some time khổng lồ get familiar with everything, but for most riders the only settings that will be regularly changed are ride mode & suspension mode. Two customizable profiles allow riders to configure their favorite settings & toggle between them using a switch on the right handlebar. Set it & forget it.


Let’s start the ride with the mặc định Street ride mode & the genial Comfort suspension mode lớn get a baseline understanding of how the semi-active suspension interplays with the carryover electronics. It’s surprising what a pleasant motorcycle the 1290 SD-R Evo is with these soft settings. The suspension – a 48mm WP inverted fork, a linked monoshock, và a single-sided swingarm – is surprisingly comfy. Rowing across town, I found the steering characteristics lớn be pure joy. The Super Duke is nimble & agreeable for any necessary urban maneuver, from tight turns to lớn quick lane changes to lớn streaking away from offensive traffic.

KTM’s optional Suspension Pro package adds an anti-dive function to lớn the semi-active suspension, preventing the fork from compressing excessively under heavy braking.

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Switching khổng lồ the Street suspension mode, the ride quality still proved fine for a rabid naked bike making a claimed 180 hp. So is the engine’s vibration signature, a minor miracle in that the motor is bolted solidly to the space frame’s thin-wall chromoly tubing, và serves as a stressed member. The motocross-style tapered aluminum handlebar wears a pair of 6-oz bar-end mass dampers, which change the bar’s resonant frequency lớn quell engine-induced vibration in the grips.

The semi-active suspension is made by KTM subsidiary WP. An array of electronic sensors & actuators adjust damping in real-time based on conditions và riding behavior.

Breaking không lấy phí of town onto a winding two-lane highway, I toggled to sport mode for both ride & suspension, which firmed up damping characteristics và shock spring preload, quickened throttle response, unleashed full power, & loosened up traction và wheelie control. Lượt thích observing a dog perking up its ears, the countenance of the Super Duke noticeably sharpened. Gone was the relaxed, easy cadence of Comfort & Street modes; thể thao settings picked up the pace, và so did I. Ride aggressively or casually, Honey Badger don’t care.

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Bikes equipped with Suspension Pro have six suspension damping modes and three automatic rear preload modes.

In fact, the twin-spark engine is so flexible, it can just lug around as a torque boss or rage lớn its 10,250-rpm redline. On Jett Tuning’s dyno, the KTM generated 166 hp at 10,000 rpm và 96 lb-ft of torque at 8,400 rpm at the rear wheel in thể thao mode. Horsepower increases steadily with revs, while torque is prodigious throughout the rev range, exceeding 80 lb-ft from 4,000 rpm to lớn redline.


In town, the profiles and liên hệ patches of the Bridgestone Battlax HyperSport S22 radials – 120/70-ZR17 front & fat 200/55-ZR17 rear – proved most agreeable. Linear, predictable, và confidence-inspiring. With their fine-particle silica compound, these refined treads are said lớn excel in conditions from rain to racetracks. We hit neither on this test, but on every mile of street, road, & freeway we covered, they proved highly satisfying.

A word now about seating. Though dimensionally small, the pilot’s seat feels more standard than sportbike. In other words, it’s just right for most riding activities. (If you want lớn go sport-touring, kiểm tra out KTM’s accessory Ergo rider’s và pillion seats.) With no front fairing or windscreen, it’s full wind blast, baby. Complementing the fine steering geometry, the ergonomics are refreshingly sensible compared to lớn superbikes – that is, except for the wide tank/airbox combination that splays knees unnaturally. Further, with its hard finishing panel at the rear, the tank can be a ballbreaker if sudden braking intrudes.

With ride modes, suspension modes, ABS modes, and other settings, the 1290 Super Duke R Evo is highly configurable. Though nicknamed The Beast, the KTM can play many roles, from docile lớn hyperactive.


For the most fun part of this test, high above the đô thị on empty mountain roads, I toggled to the Track ride mode, which is included as part of the Tech Pack. It maximizes throttle response & power, allows rear wheelspin to lớn be adjusted on the fly over nine levels, and turns off wheelie control. (A more street-oriented Performance mode offers the same features, but also allows riders to use cruise control và the KTM MY RIDE multimedia system.)

In Track mode, everything gets really focused. Throttle response, already made more direct thanks to lớn the new 65-degree quick-turn throttle (reduced by 7 degrees), which also helps reduce wrist angle & elbow drop at full throttle, becomes immediate. The Track suspension mode likewise dramatically firms things up. Although harder-edged, these settings make the Super Duke the ultimate confidence-inspiring machine for attacking road or track. With so much horsepower cued up & lacking the runoff of a modern racetrack, I backed out of this after several miles and reverted lớn the slightly more docile sport ride and suspension modes.


Our thử nghiệm of the Super Duke R Evo revealed its complete mastery of all kinds of roads, including fast sweepers và tight corners, off-camber bends, & varied surfaces. Throughout, it required no undue tugging of the handlebar khổng lồ change directions, engaged in no weird chassis hijinks or bobbles, and stayed faithful & true in whatever conditions appeared. Building such a tenable package is complicated, requiring a refined blend of chassis geometry và stiffness, mass placement, suspension design & tuning, power nguồn delivery, adaptive electronics, & way more. Và the Bridgestones make it all work, whether at trolling speeds or lightspeed. All primary controls – including throttle, clutch, shifter, & front và rear brakes – are balanced with a well-connected feel.

Switchgear and menus are intuitive.

There are a few demerits, but they’re relatively minor balanced against the total 1290 SD-R Evo package. Some of the handlebar switches are poorly shaped. Particularly egregious is the triangular turnsignal switch; activation feel is fine, but canceling requires pushing what feels like the pointy over of a carpenter’s pencil. Additionally, the headlight high/low switch, toggled by the left forefinger, should be larger, và the horn button is too far from the left thumb. & that 3.2-inch horn! I’m sure it’s stamped with the letters “moo,” emitting barely a plebian bleat no better than a newborn calf’s. Riders deserve better, và not just Super Duke pilots. Lastly, while I was personally happy with the clutch và front brake lever adjustability, the thumbscrews are small, và the adjustment range might not satisfy riders with small hands. Balancing this, the shift lever và rear brake pedal (and fork stops) are also adjustable, albeit with some light wrench work.

The Super Duke R Evo’s optional quickshifter can be turned on or off through the electronics menu. It works spectacularly for rapid upshifts, but is quite sensitive, & so a careless cảm ứng of the gear shift lever interrupts power. Admittedly, this only caused problems during particularly aggressive riding. Bottom line, for track duty or raging up a mountain road, the quickshifter is a fine addition; for street riding, though, I was happier deactivating it.

The Beast’s confidence-inspiring handling & stout motor are delightful when bending into corners và exploding out of them.

Part of the Suspension Pro package is a programmable anti-dive feature. I well remember hammering bikes with conventional inverted forks & cursing the nosebleed dives they’d make under hard braking while rushing downhill. No worries with the SD-R Evo, as this feature keeps the chassis more balanced and its rider happy. While eclipsing miles of narrow, twisting downhill road, the 1290’s chassis, Bridgestones, and Brembo brakes with Stylema 4-piston radial front calipers seamlessly mastered the conditions, with excellent feedback và precision. The tires offer an additional advantage of sticking even when they’re cool. Translation: Premium DOT thể thao tires are a great choice for the wide range of conditions that this improved Super Duke can handle.



As much as I enjoyed my time aboard the 1290 while bending it into & out of undulating mountain corners, the KTM proved lớn be well-mannered on efficient-yet-boring freeways. That’s the real magic of bikes like this with fully customizable riding dynamics. You can tame the power, soften the suspension, & set the cruise control, all while queueing up your favorite song on your smartphone. At 70 mph on the freeway in 6th gear, the engine turns a relaxed 3,500 rpm. The motor seems to lớn be at its smoothest exactly at this point, perfect for touring or droning commutes. On the highway, I found no detriments lớn the nimble steering geometry; the 1290 tracked beautifully & retained excellent stability.

Modern bikes lượt thích this latest Super Duke augment riding fun while reducing certain hassle factors. Pull into a gas station, drop the sidestand, hit the kill switch, và pop open the fuel filler without ever pulling the fob out of your pocket. From the 1290’s 4.2-gal. Tank, over a phối of city, freeway, & mowing-down-the-mountain riding, we netted 35 mpg, yielding nearly 150 miles of range. The transponder that allows key-free unlocking, starting, và fueling also simplifies locking. When parked, hit the power nguồn button to lớn shut down the bike, then hold it down again to lock the steering.

The Super Duke’s structural chassis uses a tubular-steel trellis main frame, a composite subframe, và a cast-aluminum single-sided swingarm.

During a night ride, I happily discovered that the Super Duke’s twin LED headlights are vastly better than the first Super Duke’s halogen system. KTM surrounded the headlight array (split up the center khổng lồ feed twin ram-air openings) with a racy illuminated surround in white and orange, KTM’s signature colors. Thoughtfully, the headlight assembly can be quickly removed for track duty with three fasteners and an electrical plug. Same goes for the rear turnsignal/license plate assembly. The TFT display, which automatically adjusts background colors in low-light conditions, seems even more beautifully illuminated at night. The switchgear illumination is modest but gives a general idea where the key switches are.

The 2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo is a highly attractive motorcycle for riders with serious sporting intentions – và the skills to lớn go with them. For me, it’s close to lớn a perfect streetbike thanks khổng lồ its instantaneous response, excellent dynamics và feel, agreeable ergonomics, và the added bandwidth of its new semi-active suspension. Let’s be clear though: In its most active state, a Super Duke pushes the boundaries of sanity for streetbike performance. Vì chưng we actually need such a device? Nope. Bởi vì we want one? Absolutely!


2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo Specs