2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

Editor Score: 94.5%
Engine 19.75/20
Suspension/Handling 14.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.5/10
Brakes 10/10
Instruments/Controls4.25/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.25/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 9.5/10
Value 8.75/10
Overall Score94.5/100

We probably didn’t need to travel to Spain to find out the Super Duke GT is a terrific motorcycle. After all, it’s based on our 2014 Motorcycle of the Year, the wonderfully capable and funtastically fast Super Duke R. What was yet to be discovered was how the changes from R to GT worked to transform the hooligan roadster into a proper grand tourer.

2014 Ultimate Streetfighter Finale

But it would be unfair to think of the GT as just an R with a windscreen, as it underwent a cornucopia of changes: KTM claims the GT’s development required more than 30 man-years of work. That might sound a bit hyperbolic until all the upgrades are added up.

The GT brings a host of electronics previously unavailable on the SDR, including a semi-active suspension, Cornering ABS, cruise control, heated grips and KTM’s first quickshifter. The GT also receives as standard equipment electronic tire-pressure monitoring, self-canceling turnsignals and LED cornering lights.

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The Super Duke R is blessed with one of the greatest motorcycle engines of all time, and the GT gets a revised version of KTM’s 1301cc V-Twin engine. It’s purported to push out the same 173 crank horsepower and 106 lb-ft of torque as the SDR, but it hits its torque peak 1000 revs sooner (6750 rpm) and is said to have no less than 86 lb-ft available at just 3250 rpm. Credit a new cylinder head with narrower intake ports and reshaped combustion chambers.

This Orange colorway is available in addition to the Anthracite version of the bike I rode at the launch. The titanium slip-on muffler is an option from KTM’s Power Parts catalog.

This Orange colorway is available in addition to the Anthracite version of the bike I rode at the launch. The titanium slip-on muffler is an option from KTM’s Power Parts catalog.

Moreover, the engine was required to meet tough new Euro 4 emissions regulations (40% less pollution than Euro 3, according to KTM’s Erich Friedl), so the GT has a new pre-muffler and catalyst under the engine, plus a new stainless steel muffler with internal flapper valve that boasts seven maps to moderate noise emissions for all six gears plus neutral. Friedl says that tuning in smooth drivability while meeting Euro 4 emissions is extremely challenging.

The GT’s angular nose points its way through apexes. Note the exhaust plumbing under the engine necessary to meet noise emissions requirements.

The GT’s angular nose points its way through apexes. Note the exhaust plumbing under the engine necessary to meet noise emissions requirements.

All that said and we haven’t yet gotten to the new bones of the GT. The headlight is pushed forward and mounted on a nylon composite bracket that also supports the sharply angled fairing, windscreen and the VDO instruments we’re accustomed to seeing on KTMs. Fuel capacity is upped from 18 liters to tour-worthy 23 (6.1 gallons). At the rear, a bespoke subframe is built from aluminum tubes, a structure that supports a longer pillion saddle and integrated mounts for the saddlebags developed internally by KTM rather than using off-the-shelf bags. The panniers are optional in Europe but standard in North America.

Ergonomically, the GT’s 25mm-wider handlebar places hands 5mm higher than the SDR. Further adjustments are available by reversing the handlebar clamp, which brings the bar ends 12mm closer to a rider, and the clamp also has an alternate mounting hole that provides another 10mm of adjustment. And, as with any one-piece handlebar, it can also be rotated in its clamp to suit individual taste. Footpegs for both pilot and pillion have been lowered for extended legroom. Nubs for shifter and brake pedal can be set to three positions to suit feet of different sizes, and both hand levers are adjustable for reach.

Saddlebags taper inward to clear room for legs of a passenger but still boast a decent 30 liters of capacity and can carry full-face helmets. There are two audible clicks when closing the bags to indicate they are solidly latched. The Duke GT's load capacity is a considerable 496 lbs, more than three K. Dukes.

Saddlebags taper inward to clear room for legs of a passenger but still boast a decent 30 liters of capacity and can carry full-face helmets. There are two audible clicks when closing the bags to indicate they are solidly latched. The Duke GT’s load capacity is a considerable 496 lbs, more than three Kevin Dukes.

Lorenzo’s Land

Mallorca is an island off the east coast of Spain known to race fans as the home of three-time MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo, and it’s also a kissing cousin to the party island of Ibiza. It now adds host of the Super Duke GT launch to its C.V. Happily for our group of hooligans, a dearth of traffic enforcement seems to be part of the charming island’s many endearing features.

The Super Duke GT is a fairly gangly steed, with a seat perched 32.9 inches from the ground. But considering it houses 1301cc of power, the bike is remarkably manageable. Clutch pull is surprisingly light for being able to handle such a stout motor, and the precise transmission requires just a soft nudge to navigate through the gears.

Unsurprisingly, the GT proves to be easy to ride quickly with the same neutral handling enjoyed from the SDR. The bike feels nicely narrow between knees despite the larger volume of the fuel tank. It scales in fully fueled (about 37 lbs of gas) at 503 lbs.

Unsurprisingly, the GT proves to be easy to ride quickly with the same neutral handling enjoyed from the SDR. The bike feels nicely narrow between knees despite the larger volume of the fuel tank. KTM says it scales in fully fueled (about 37 lbs of gas) at 503 lbs.

I began our ride in Sport mode and with the WP semi-active suspension toggled to its Comfort setting, both fairly easily navigable once the system is learned via the four buttons on the left switchgear. Sport mode has reasonably smooth throttle response and also allows modest wheelies if they’re smoothly pulled. The quickshifter programming proves to be excellent for street use, adapting to the way the bike is ridden by incorporating ride-by-wire throttle control, rather than just simply cutting fuel and spark, when the internal mechanism is nudged.

The suspension’s Comfort mode is amazingly plush in normal use and automatically dials in firmer damping when ridden more aggressively. It’s fine up to about a seven-tenths pace when it begins to feel too loose. WP claims its active damping valves adjust within just 10 milliseconds.

Comfort and Street modes have anti-dive programming that keep the longish-travel suspenders (4.9 inches up front; 6.1 out back) from pitching awkwardly. Surprisingly, Sport mode doesn’t use the anti-dive strategy of the other modes, causing noticeably more front-end dive. This has the benefit of steepening the rake angle and delivering slightly easier turn-in response, but I preferred the even-keel balance of Street mode. The Sport mode has baseline damping similar to the SDR but automatically adjusts itself through a range depending on riding style, speed, etc.

The Super Duke GT is equipped with Pirelli Angel GT tires rather than the Dunlops of the SDR. Cornering clearance is generous for a bike in the sport-touring category.

The Super Duke GT is equipped with Pirelli Angel GT tires rather than the Dunlops of the SDR. Cornering clearance is generous for a bike in the sport-touring category.

When talking about any Super Duke, meaty engine performance is always part of the story, and so it is with the GT. Big power is packed from top to bottom, pulling smoothly and strongly from 3500 rpm, allowing a rider to run a gear or even two taller than what might be optimal. The knockout punch comes into play at about 6500 revs when a tidal wave of torque threatens to loft the front end without additional provocation in the bottom three gears.

The V-Twin’s exhaust note is sweet and mean, with a stimulating burble on overrun. The noise from the titanium Akropovic slip-on doesn’t sound much different from the OEM muffler. Vibration from the 75-degree Twin can get intense at high rpm, but it’s not an issue at cruising speeds. It’s spinning at 5000 rpm at 85 mph. The footpegs do without vibe-defeating rubber inserts, which shows that problematic vibration wasn’t evident during the GT’s developmental stage.

030316-2016-ktm-1290-super-duke-gt-_3MC1636The GT’s braking performance is exceptional, using Brembo’s stellar M50 monoblocks that I adore on every bike they’ve been fitted to. Furthermore, the bike’s Bosch MSC includes Cornering ABS, which takes the bike’s lean angle into account. Perhaps you’re one of those old-school relics who think they’re so talented they can operate brakes better than a computer. One journalist who believed that ended his day on his ass after tucking the GT’s front end entering a corner too hot. Technological progress has advanced the state of the ABS art to amazing new levels.

Smooth deceleration is aided by a slipper clutch and by the system combining a bit of rear brake when the fronts are applied; actuating the rear brake doesn’t apply pressure to the fronts. Further help can be provided by the optional ($200) Motor Slip Regulation system which slightly lifts the throttle plates to prevent the rear wheel from locking during sloppy downshifts. MSR levels are, like TC, tied to the three ride modes, so they can’t be set independently to suit rider preference.

And that’s part of one of the GT’s few shortcomings. Competitors from Europe allow independent adjustments of most of their electronic rider aids, but KTM links them to the ride modes. So, for example, if you prefer the throttle response of Street mode, you’re stuck with its associated TC setting that is too intrusive for my tastes and pretty much nullifies any wheelies.

The cockpit is familiar to anyone with recent experience on KTMs, with instrumentation that is eminently readable but lacking the visual pizzazz of modern color gauges. The Garmin GPS is an extra-cost option.

The cockpit is familiar to anyone with recent experience on KTMs, with instrumentation that is eminently readable but lacking the visual pizzazz of modern color gauges. The Garmin GPS is an extra-cost option.

Additionally, traction control and MSR are linked, so if you want the TC off, you’ll have to also deal with no MSR. Meanwhile, Ducati typically provides eight levels of TC, which can be set independently, and three levels of Engine Brake Control which can be set individually. KTM allows a rider to switch off TC, which is nice if, say, you’re a wheelie hound, but it always switches itself back on when the engine is shut off, even when leaving the key switched on, necessitating another trip through the menu system.

A potential foible for traditional sport-touring riders is the GT’s wind protection. While the windscreen’s adjustment can be conveniently done on the fly to seven positions, it comes up short on coverage compared to a typical sports tourer. With the screen set in its highest position, wind hits me (at 5-foot-8) firmly at shoulder height.

The tinted shield shown on this bike is an extra-cost accessory, despite an inner shield (seen at its lower part surrounding the headlight) being tinted. Ironically, the clear shield that comes standard actually costs more to produce because it needs paint and tinted areas so the headlight doesn't reflect back to a rider at night.

The tinted shield shown on this bike is an extra-cost accessory, despite an inner shield (seen at its lower part surrounding the headlight) being tinted. Ironically, the clear shield that comes standard actually costs more to produce because it needs paint and tinted areas so the headlight doesn’t reflect back to a rider at night.

Ergonomically, the GT’s layout is near ideal for my body and preferences. I liked the slight forward lean that feels sporty but places almost no pressure on my wrists. the one-inch wider handlebar provides the leverage to quickly bend the GT into corners both slow and fast. Legroom is plenty adequate, and the seat never caused discomfort. Long-distance riders might want to consider springing for the accessory comfort seat that coddles a butt in plushness and includes a three-position heating element. It comes at the cost of being about 10mm higher and a price yet to be determined.

Standard features that deserve praise are the handy tire-pressure-monitoring system that supplies readouts in the LCD menu screen and includes a warning light on the primary screen if pressures drop critically low. We also appreciate the inclusion of self-canceling turn signals that automatically switch off after 10 seconds (the clock ceases counting when the bike is stopped) or 150 meters, whichever comes first. Optional Hill Hold Control ($225) engages and releases smoothly and is a nice feature for anyone with short legs or who is carrying a passenger or heavy load. Oddly, it switches itself off and releases the brake after five seconds.

The Super Duke GT is one of the few sport-touring bikes with performance levels high enough to do well on a racetrack.

The Super Duke GT is one of the few sport-touring bikes with performance levels high enough to do well on a racetrack.

And then there’s electronic cruise control which we’ve come to regard as necessary equipment for any bike designed for touring use. The KTM’s can be set in third gear or above and is noteworthy for allowing set speeds to be as high as 125 mph!

Speaking of high speeds, it’s worth mentioning KTM has established a speed limit for riding the bike when equipped with saddlebags. If you recall from our epic 9-bike Sport-Adventure shootout last year, we experienced some weave when caning the 1190 Adventure and 1290 Super Adventure at speeds above 100 mph when fitted with panniers. For the GT, KTM says speeds should be kept below 113 mph with the bags. I was able to exceed 125 mph without any stability issues. No, I didn’t attempt to set the cruise control! As with the SDR, the GT is equipped with a WP steering damper.

KTM’s attention to detail is usually excellent, which makes this wire for the heated grips nestling a little too closely to a rider's thumb unsightly and slightly irritating. The wire moves with the twistgrip, perhaps risking potential connectivity issues after several years on the road. Also, a separate switch for the heat settings would be more convenient than toggling through the onscreen menu for it.

KTM’s attention to detail is usually excellent, which makes this wire for the heated grips nestling a little too closely to a rider’s thumb unsightly and slightly irritating. The wire moves with the twistgrip, perhaps risking potential connectivity issues after several years on the road. Also, a separate switch for the heat settings would be more convenient than toggling through the onscreen menu for it.

While the GT’s MSRP hasn’t yet been set, it’s expected to retail right around the $20,000 mark when it becomes available in the U.S. in September or October. At that price, it’ll be about $2800 more dear than its older brother. And while one certainly could tour on a Super Duke R by tossing on some bags and a windscreen to create a facsimile of the GT, you’d have to do without highly desirable features like active suspension, cruise control, adjustable wind protection and tire-pressure monitoring.

Ultimately, the Super Duke GT’s performance capabilities – engine, chassis, brakes, electronics – vault it to the top of the list of ultra-sport sport-tourers. KTM continues on its impressive roll to solidifying itself as a leader in motorcycle excitement.

2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
+ Highs

  • A motor as good as they get
  • Comprehensive suite of electronics
  • Quickest lap times of sport-tourers
– Sighs

  • Electronic rider aids not independently adjustable
  • Minimal wind protection for the S-T class
  • Instruments looks plain for a $20k motorbike
2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT Specifications
Engine type 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°
Displacement 1,301 cc
Bore/stroke 108/71 mm
Power 127 kW (173 hp) @ 9,500 rpm
Torque 144 Nm (106 ft-lb) @ 6,750 rpm
Compression ratio 13.2:1
Starter/battery Electric starter/12V 12Ah
Transmission 6 gears
Fuel system Keihin EFI (throttle body 56 mm)
Control 4 V/DOHC
Lubrication Pressure lubrication with 3 Eaton pumps
Engine oil Motorex, SAE 10W-50
Primary drive 40:79
Final drive 17:38
Cooling Liquid cooling
Clutch PASC slipper clutch, hydraulically operated
Engine management/ignition Keihin EMS with RBW and cruise control, double ignition
Traction control MTC (3-Mode, disengageable)
Frame Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel trellis frame, powder coated
Subframe Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel trellis, powder coated
Handlebar Aluminium, tapered, Ø 28/22 mm
Front suspension WP Semi-active Suspension USD Ø 48 mm
Rear suspension WP Semi-active Suspension Monoshock
Suspension travel front/rear 125/156 mm
Front brake 2 x Brembo Monobloc four piston, radially mounted caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mm
Rear brake Brembo two piston, fixed caliper, brake disc Ø 240 mm
ABS Bosch 9ME Combined-ABS (incl. Cornering-ABS and super motomode, disenengageable)
Wheels front/rear Cast aluminium wheels 3.50 x 17”; 6.00 x 17”
Tires front/rear 120/70 ZR 17; 190/55 ZR 17
Chain X-Ring 5/8 x 5/16″
Silencer Stainless steel primary and aluminium secondary silencer
Steering head angle 65,1°
Trail 107 mm
Wheel base 1,482 ± 15 mm
Ground clearance 140 mm
Seat height 835 mm
Tank capacity approx. 23 liters/3.5 liters reserve
Dry weight approx. 205 kg

 

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  • 12er

    While I usually like KTM’s anguler styling all I can see in this is “spy vs spy.” My Multi is safe, for now…

  • Born to Ride

    I want about 70% of this bike. 70% of the displacement, 70% of the electronics, and 70% of the price. That would be perfect.

    • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

      Sounds like you need an MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800!

      • DickRuble

        Last you reviewed the TV 800 you mentioned the seat to peg to be cramped. From the pictures above, it looks like KD’s legs are uncomfortably folded as well.

        • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

          Yeah, that’s interesting about Duke’s legs. I haven’t sampled the GT yet, but the Super Duke R had loads of leg room, and I’m much longer than Kevin :-)

          • Wes Janzen

            I’d love to read a long term review of the TV 800. It’s on short list that now includes the GT to replace my aging Ducati ST3. On the one hand, I figure I’ve pushed the boundaries by using the ST3 as my commuting bike and amassing 100K miles – so the TV should be the obvious choice. Still, if the GT offers similar mileage and weight, it’s hard to say no to more power. Low end grunt, especially, makes for more fun in town so long as weight and wheelbases are kept in check.

          • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

            Bingo, wheelbase, really all the geometry, is just as important as weight and power. As for the long-term prospects, the TV 800 isn’t ever likely to be available in the U.S. press fleet long enough for a sufficient loan period, we asked.

          • Wes Janzen

            Agreed. Heat management is often a benefit of a smaller bike, as anyone that’s had to roast in summertime traffic can attest. I forgot to mention that.

          • Kevin Duke

            With any luck, MV will get the TV plated and ready for our SoCal testing soon. BTW, the ST3 was was my fave Duc ST. Glad to hear you’ve put six figures of miles on yours!

          • Wes Janzen

            I hope so, I’m looking forward to hearing your review from something other than a launch and after some more seat time. Likewise on the GT. The Duc has been surprisingly reliable, all things considered. However, unlike some people, I’m happy to see more electronics on the modern machines. I’ll bet 9 times out of 10 that the electronics benefit me more than they cause problems; certainly they can’t be more troublesome than sporadically weatherproofed 2004 Ducati gear.

        • Born to Ride

          Cramped compared to what? A BMW GS1200? The TV800 has seemingly double the legroom of my ST.

          • Darrell

            BMW GS1200 is a elephant & TV800 Don’t compare to 1290GT You wantt more leg room buy a car ,Lol !

          • Born to Ride

            Umm, That was my point. It’s okay, reading is hard.

        • Kevin Duke

          Try on a Super Duke R for size to see if your legs feel cramped. Amazing amount of legroom for a bike with this much sport in it, and the GT has a bit more room still.

          • DickRuble

            That’s what I wanted to know. Thanks.

        • mugwump

          According to this it should be as comfy as an FJR. http://cycle-ergo.com/

      • Born to Ride

        Goddamn it Sean I know! It’s ~20,300$ OTD with 1.9% financing… 20 friggin grand man, ugh!

        • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

          It’s a sexy Italian. High cost and headaches are part of the “experience”.

          • Infadel Macgee

            Wrong . Ktm is Austrian .

          • denchung

            Follow the discussion thread; he was describing the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce.

          • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

            The MV Agusta Turismo Veloce’ 800 that we are discussing in this sub-thread is in fact 100% Italian.

        • appliance5000

          You can’t even get a Toyota Camry used for that price.

    • SteveSweetz

      Sounds like a Yamaha FJ-09 except 55% of the price, but also more like 50% of the electronics and 30% of the suspension refinement. Otherwise kind of fits the bill.

      • Born to Ride

        FJ-09 is a fine bike, but it isn’t very inspiring and the budget components are a turn off. The MV fits the bill more accurately, but sadly it is 95% of the price. Like Sean said, you gotta pay a premium for all that sexy.

        • SteveSweetz

          Perhaps not inspiring looks wise, but the engine is a peach. Replace the suspension and still have cash to spare. Lack of cruise control the only remaining major problem, but throttle locks work well enough for the purpose.

          • Born to Ride

            OTD pricing on new FJ-09 (not that you’d ever pay it) is 10.5k plus at least a grand for “setup” plus tax. Lets be conservative and say 13 grand. Replacement of the suspension and brakes, plus the addition of quality hard bags, a center stand, and heated grips would put the FJ-09 in the 16-17 grand range. 3 grand isn’t enough “cash to spare” when I walk into my garage and have to look at an FJ-09 instead of a TV800. But that’s just me.

          • SteveSweetz

            Like you say, you’d never pay list for the Yamaha. Center stand comes stock. Heated grips: $280. Yamaha hard panniers + mounting hardware (which I think are decent): $500. Suspension, anywhere from $800-$2500 depending on how extreme you want to go, so more like $15K-16K; but let’s be honest, many of us probably wouldn’t notice the stock suspension isn’t great if we didn’t have motorcycle journalists telling us that.

            I get it, it’s not the MV (which is undeniably a beauty), but $4000-5000 could still make the difference between a bike you can actually own and one you can only pine after, and if that’s the case, I’ll take the former over nothing.

            Of course all that said, the real answer this whole time has been the Triumph Tiger 800 :)

          • Born to Ride

            Well, nothing implies that I don’t have 3 road going motorcycles sitting in my garage… But your numbers are a bit off. Factory Panniers are 973.96$ plus tax(Yamaha Catalog), and I hate mediocre brakes and suspension. I’d end up spending a grand on each end and another 500 on brakes easily. Granted, this wouldn’t all have to happen at once, but the point was that a stock to stock comparison of the TV800 and FJ-09 isn’t fair to the MV, because it is a premium product with premium components and the Yamaha is a budget bike through and through. Additionally, if you add all the mods up to make the FZ perform as nice as the MV, the cost difference isn’t as much as it seems and you’ll still be missing nice features like the single side swingarm, active suspension, TFT instrument panel, cruise control, and sexiness.

          • SteveSweetz

            So if your standards are so high you settle for nothing but the best, why complain about price?

            Didn’t suggest the FJ wasn’t a “budget” bike, but for many riders who aren’t going to track their sport tourer and ride it at 10/10ths, it’s good enough…

          • Born to Ride

            I agree wholeheartedly that it is good enough, especially if you buy one lightly used 3-4 years from now for 5 grand. I have owned budget bikes that I purchased and fixed up so that they rode the way that I wanted them to. My original comment about desiring a bike that had 70% of the SD GT displacement and features stemmed directly from wanting to avoid that process. I would pay the extra for a high quality motorcycle that needs nothing right out of the box. 20 grand is just a lot of money for a bike, regardless of how awesome it is.

          • Wavshrdr

            Another option, while not an ADV look, for those on a budget is the Ninja 1000 ABS. The factory (optional) bags are quite nice if a little small. Can’t really see the mounts when off. A great motor and much better suspension than the FJ/FZ series. Brakes are excellent and ABS/traction control works pretty well though not best in class. I rode one as my commuter bike (my commute was about 600-700 miles each way depending on the path I take. I left on Friday and back in time for work on Monday.

            I have a great sport touring bike for longer trips (BMW) but I was looking for something a bit more playful than the Ninja and when I heard about the SD GT, it really piqued my interest. I had looked at the SDR at the bike show and was pretty impressed. This definitely looks like a good option for me.

          • Born to Ride

            The Ninja 1000 was one of the bikes I cross shopped in the used market when I was buying a commuter. I ended up with a sprint 1050 because I found an excellent deal, and because the annual insurance premium on the ninja was 50% more. Also considered the Honda VFR 1200, which by all accounts is an excellent motorcycle in this category as well.

          • Wavshrdr

            I was looking at the FZ and then went toward the FJ. Walked into to buy the FJ and they had the Ninja there. It was used and almost no miles and still under warranty. I couldn’t pass up the deal. I too had looked at the VFR1200 but too heavy and not enough range.

            I bought the Ninja with the plan of it being more short term as I have a other bikes. I just needed something to rack up a few miles and be reasonably fun. It does a great job in that area but not exactly an inspiring ride. The motor though is the centerpiece of the bike. Very strong down low and good top end pull. Same crappy fueling like the FJ/FZ though. Ivan’s reflash helped that out and added even more torque down low.

            While the insurance is more than my other bikes, it is still only about $400 year. That isn’t terrible I guess.

            The more I read about the GT version of the Super Duke, the more interested I become. As long as the vibration isn’t terrible, it looks like a great choice for my next bike.

          • DR N

            Old news thing of the past junk compared to KTM 1290 GT

      • appliance5000

        FJ is very compact and purposeful in person. Good looking machine with a great engine. Really fills an underpopulated niche. Not sure this slab of overkill is that niche though.

        I’d definitely take the FJ.

  • john phyyt

    Perhaps it is too much to ask ,in this litigious age. But could KTM copy Yamaha MX’s in making available a plug in adjustment tool . One could then pre-program your own optimal settings as the default. Because; after a while of ownership one just gets on and rides and if it were preset to your exact wishes rather than defaulting to this or that, I believe it would really enhance the ride experience. My own bike has defaults which were not to my liking and I went aftermarket to a reflash which sets them where I want them.

    • spiff

      Yeah, it seems like a bit of a pain. Imagine adjusting the seat and mirrors every time you got in your car. Plus the lack of customizing settings is shit for a $20k bike. These are the only complaints I see with this thing. Heck I can store my helmet, gloves, jacket and change my shoes if I wanted to. A lot of good things spoiled by computer programers.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        It is not computer programmers. It is by design. KTM is not stupid. They can make the bike do whatever they like. Traction control is turned on by default when you turn on the bike because if it was a different rider who didn’t know traction control was turned off, they could kill themselves on a 173 hp bike. The settings for ABS, MTC, MSR and suspension are combined into ride modes (such as comfort, street and sport) for rider convenience. Most riders don’t want to go through dozens of settings every time they go out to ride or when conditions change. It is only an inconvenience for extreme riders like Kevin Duke who want to ride the bike as dangerously as possible. Most normal everyday riders do not have a problem with any of the settings.

        • spiff

          I am well aware that it is not a mistake. The beauty of motorcycling is now interacting with computers (they are programed). Sometimes the results are below my expectations. The dongle will help with saving settings, I would just like to have the freedom with the rest of the electronics package as say Aprilia.

    • Kevin Duke

      The GT’s electronic settings are saved so the bike is programmed exactly how it was last ridden. All except for the TC if it was switched off.

  • JerryMander

    In America we measure torque in ft lbs

  • Sayyed Bashir

    Cruise control set to 125 mph? Ha, ha, ha!

  • Michael

    I wonder if the handle bar can be used on the SuperDuke… I’ve been looking for wider bars with no success as yet. Any ideas?

    • spiff

      Did you look into Protapers, and other motocross bars?

      • Michael

        No. I had basically done a number of Google searches (usually works) and looked at Renthal bars. They have a “fat bar” that seems like the right fit, but I was hoping someone might be making something specifically for the SD. Need to make sure that they not only fit, but that don’t hit anything – right. Thanks for the tip, I’ll take a look.

  • Starmag

    I probably shouldn’t say it, but your gold digging girlfriend has a really big nose.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Love it or hate it. If you like the bike, you will get used to the nose, even start liking it. It gives the bike an aggressive look and matches the overall stance. KTM uses premium components. You get what you pay for. Know of any other off-track bike that has Brembo M-50 brakes?

      • Starmag

        Sure, she’s got some expensive jewelry and body enhancements that you’ve paid for, but that’s just for the immature to have bragging rights to justify her big nose when you’re seen with her on the street.

        Thankfully I think we’ve reached “peak beak”,( if we haven’t I’m frightened ), and we can start to go the other way. Damn the DR Big and the Toucan it flew in on.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          So you don’t think this is a high performance bike that people will buy to ride daily and cross country? You are just going to be stuck on the nose thing? It doesn’t occur to you that the headlight may have been placed in that position for practical and performance reasons (for example the 5″ front suspension travel)? It is evident that you probably don’t have the means to buy this bike and are just going to make fun of it to make you feel better.

          • Starmag

            Awww, isn’t that cute. Sayyed is in love. Sayyed and KTM, sittin in a tree….

          • Sayyed Bashir

            You didn’t answer any of my questions.

        • Ian Parkes

          Here’s hoping we’re past peak beak. I see Honda scorned it on the Africa Twin, and if that dirt oriented bike doesn’t need one…

      • Born to Ride

        Ducati monster 1200s and r

        • Sayyed Bashir

          And any more? And how much do they cost?

          • Born to Ride

            Less than the KTM

          • Sayyed Bashir

            So $18,695 for the R, which is slightly less than the KTM because of its smaller engine, but still too high for Mr. Starmag above, whom I was trying to convince that KTMs are expensive because they use premium components. This proves my point.

          • Born to Ride

            I didn’t say “a lot” more than the KTM. You implied that only the panigale and yamaha R1m have those calipers. You sir, were incorrect.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            My question was directed at Starmag whether he knew of any other off-track bike that had Brembo M-50 calipers. The main point I was making is that the Super Duke GT uses premium components which are used on very few other street bikes and that is why it costs so much. As I said before, you get what you pay for.

  • http://www.themotorcycleobsession.com/ Chris Cope

    Such a gorgeous machine.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Thank you. I could buy every one of KTM’s bikes, especially this one. What’s not to like?

  • Old MOron

    When you MOronic editors first raved about the likes of the Super Duke R and the S1000R, I thought, “I don’t need such hi-po bikes.” Then one day I rode the S1000R at the local dealer’s demo day. Since then, the whole experience has been nagging at me, because I really liked the bike.

    Similarly, when I read stories about high-end bikes like this, I find them interesting, but it’s pretty easy to convince myself that I don’t need “all that”. Except that since the S1000R made me realize what is possible, now I get curious about these high-end bikes, too. Fortunately the $20K price tag is going to cure me of any dreaming. I’m not commenting on what the bike is worth. I’m not up in arms over price gouging. I’m just saying that I don’t want to pay that much for any bike.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Only if you are serious about riding.

    • Grant

      Same. Test rode an S1000XR and WOW! Absolutely amazing. Best bike I’ve ever ridden and (IMO) worth every penny BMW charges for it… I’m just not willing to pay that much money for any bike.

  • spiff

    Did you ride the bike with and without the bags on it? Are they nice to carry when off the bike? Mainly into a hotel etc.

    • Kevin Duke

      Rode it only with the bags. They’re fairly light, so they’re not bad to carry – just the usual awkwardness of walking with hard bags. Bag liners are sold as an accessory.

  • Michael Mccormick

    Wish KTM would do something similar with their new 690 Duke.The price could be around $10,000 and I could afford one.

  • JoMeyer

    What are the chances of a head to head between the SDR GT and the Super Adventure? Obviously without the “off-road” stuff? Seems to me that for road touring these 2 are very very close. Based on the reviews I have read. Because if aimed as a sports tourer, I’m not sold by how it feels only carving canyons or only commuting. I want to know if it does al that plus habe the ability to actually tour cross country. With or without a pillion.

    • Kevin Duke

      If you use a Super Adventure without the off-road stuff, then what’s the point? The GT is definitely a SPORT-tourer, while the Super-A is less sporty and is versatile off pavement, so it seems to me the results of a comparison would be a foregone conclusion.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      The GT is for sport touring. The SA is for adventure touring. Two different types of touring. You can tour cross country on either. It depends on what kind of touring you want to do. Taller suspension, more luggage capacity and bigger gas tank on the SA. With a pillion, you would be happier on the SA. Single guy, you would be happier on the GT. But no off-road options. Going around the world or to Tierra del Fuego? The SA would be better.

  • Wavshrdr

    When do the vibrations get intense? At what RPM? This could be a deal breaker for me. I get the whole not many vibes at cruise but … be a little bit more specific.

    Sometimes I like to twist the throttle, not just ride in the “non-vibey” rpm band all the time. I have a few bikes that the vibes increase to the point that I don’t want to spend much time near redline. Who needs a rev limiter when the bike will vibe you into submission like electro-shock therapy at high RPMs. Or getting your hands smacked every time you go near the cookie jar.

    I get the who wide torque band, low end grunt, etc. Most of my bikes are that way. I want something that will be strong down low, pull hard all the way to red line, and do it without my hands going numb at any RPM.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I have the 1190 Adventure R and there are no vibrations. When you get close to the rev limit, maybe there are vibrations, but I never go that high. The bike goes fast enough so that you don’t have to wring it out unless you are on the track.

    • Kevin Duke

      One rider’s intense is another’s mellow. Vibey in the 2k rpm before its 10.5k rev limit. Nothing to worry about. Check our many pieces on the SDR, and I don’t think you’ll find a complaint about its vibes. Just thought it was worth pointing out because it’s not as smooth up top as, say, the 90-degree V-Twin of a Duc Multistrada.

  • mugwump

    The next big question is what is the date and location for test ride opportunities. Also what specialty tools, ie. electronic diagnostic devices are required for maintenance. I have no faith in the local shops to perform work that I cannot do other than a local independent Harley shop. He actually has a passion for motorcycle and takes pride in his work.

  • spiff

    I wonder how comfortable the passenger accommodations are?

    • Kevin Duke

      Excellent for a sportbike, firm and cramped compared to an ST1300.

  • Darrell

    Baddest bike on the planet, Know ones make a perfect motorcycle but this one is to me ,
    Electronic rider aids not independently adjustable
    Minimal wind protection for the S-T class
    So what !

  • Peter Swinton

    Love the bike, especially from a performance perspective, but I have a couple questions about the touring aspects.

    Any word on a tail rack & top box? Those reveals on either side of the tail cowl and the mount points for the rear grab rail look like they could be intended for an OEM accessory rack. Given the way this thing can accelerate, a box would ensure the passenger stays where they should. Also I read somewhere the carrying capacity was 496 lbs above wet weight. Can you confirm? If it is, 3 bags would be required.

    After having a drive shaft seal go on a Tiger Explorer while touring in Europe, I have no issues with chain final drive. But any long distance tourer with a chain needs a center stand. The Super Adventure comes standard with one. Will KTM offer one on the GT? Standard or OEM accessory?

  • DuckyRider

    One pretty amazing bike. Gotta say I’m thinking about it. $20k, but life is short. I’ll admit the SuperDuke1290 would make the transition to the GT with no change in wheelbase or size at all. The growth in girth..has me a little less excited…but I’m sure it’s manageable.

    Sidebar comment, however, I too prefer the separate TC and ability to change engine maps and the suspension, even tho linked eventually, in the Ducati Multi-strada 1200s. I also have had a Ninja 1k, and thought it a nice bike but still a little more knee bend than I like and a little stiffer than I like.

    Have a FJ09 in the garage and consider myself a pretty lucky guy. I love love that bike, and agree that a little touch of suspension magic – maybe WP style – and it would be beyond wonderful – maybe I have a lust for bikes like the Hyperstrada and FJ – the mid-size motorcycle. Can’t say I’m hurting for power. I do ride it more than the Multi. Why? It’s smaller, lighter, and a little more agile.

    In the city which would you prefer…The FJ09. The freeway? Pretty nearly equal. Long trip hauling A and I would take the Multi, likely. But I’m never missing something when riding the FJ.

    I keep saying to friends, if only the FJ was a 1050 and just as compact, with hi-tech suspension, and only 10lbs heavier.

  • Donald Silvernail

    “a new pre-muffler and catalyst under the engine, plus a new stainless steel muffler with internal flapper valve that boasts seven maps to moderate noise emissions for all six gears plus neutral” – Yuck – no way, I’m out!