If you saw my text review of KTM’s new SD GT, you witnessed an old grown man gush about a new Austrian motorcycle. If I had to choose a bike to ride across this vast country to a trackday, it’d probably be this one.

An evolution of the Super Duke R, our 2014 Motorcycle of the Year, the GT ticks all the boxes on my list of ideal sport-touring qualities: reasonable comfort; high-grade handling; an inexhaustible well of power; automatically adaptable active suspension; world-class brakes; adjustable windshield; top-shelf electronics; 6.0-plus-gallon tank; and standard hard-shell saddlebags. In fact, the 94.5% I scored it is the highest number I’ve ever awarded on our single-bike scorecard.

Downsides are few and minor, assuming a price tag around $20k doesn’t frighten you away from this orange and black gem. I might like it better with flashier color instrumentation, and I’d prefer the electronic rider aids were independently adjustable rather than tied to the bike’s ride modes. And perhaps while traversing Nebraska on the way to Virginia International Raceway I’d wish for a bit more wind protection.

Otherwise, the Super Duke GT is pretty much my conception of the ideal sport-touring rig. I’d happily suffer through lubing the chain every couple of days on my transcontinental slog to VIR. And here’s what I thought about it after a day ripping around Mallorca…

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  • Michael Howard

    Getting an Error #2035 on your vids using Firefox 44.0.2 on Windows 7 Home Premium.

  • DickRuble

    A few passes in front of the camera and some actual riding footage without the background music or commentary would’ve been nice.

    • Kevin Duke

      Agreed, but we were at the mercy of KTM shooters and what they supplied. Please send airfare for our own shooter next time. 😉

  • Starmag

    KTM, the most monochromatic of manufacturers. Henry Ford “you can gave any color you like as long as it’s black” ( and orange). Perfect color combo for one day a year in America.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      How much orange do you see on this bike?

    • Tinwoods

      Who gives a sh*t about the color!?! This bike seems near perfection. Paint it.

    • Ser Samsquamsh

      Luckily I really like orange but you have a point. A little orange goes a long way. One of the least popular colors. The KTM brand identity is held together by strong shapes, lighting, frame, power plant. Not everything needs to be white, black and orange.

      • Starmag

        Apparently KTM themselves don’t think they make good enough products to break away from their own black/orange branding. No other motorcycle manufacturer feels they need to cling to a certain color to sell their products.

  • Uncommon Sense

    This bike is starting to grow on me. KTM still doesn’t have it on their website.

  • spiff

    You mentioned elsewhere (I think it was you) about the Akrapovic not sounding all that different from stock. Is this Akrapovic more restricted than others? Is it offered as stock, and if so how much more?

    • Kevin Duke

      It’s an optional accessory that is apparently legal.

  • John B.

    If I needed to replace my sport-tourer this bike would be at the very top of my list. The orange and black color scheme and the uninviting KTM dealer in my neighborhood are the only drawbacks for me.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      What do you mean by a uninviting KTM dealer? Most of them are dirt bike fanatics. At least you have a dealer nearby for support. Many people don’t have that luxury.

      • John B.

        The closest KTM dealer to me also sells Moto Guzzi, Triumph, Honda, and Aprilia, and has a great accessories and gear collection so you would think it would be a fun place for enthusiasts.

        For some reason, I don’t feel welcome at the dealership. There’s nothing specific I can point to, however, I don’t need reasons to trust my emotions.

        In contrast, I really enjoy the Kawi dealer where I bought my bike. Maybe it’s the resident cat who naps in my jacket while my bike is being serviced, or the owner who shares his life story with everyone who walks in the door, or the service tech who is totally baffled by my lack of motorcycle technical knowledge.

        Bottom line, I always know when I’m welcome, and when I’m not.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          My dealer only sells KTM and Husqvarna, and has been selling KTMs and Pentons for 40 years. He and his son run the business (it is right next to the largest BMW dealership in the area which also sells Triumph, Ducati and Vespa (Piaggio)). Both are avid dirt racers, both 2-wheel and 4-wheel. They have taken good care of me from the time I first walked into the dealership 1 1/2 years ago to put a deposit on my KTM 1190 R (to be ordered from Austria). I like my Harley dealership too which is a little distance away but everyone has treated me very well. I always have a three-year pre-paid maintenance plan with them for my Harley.

        • Ser Samsquamsh

          Are they competent and honest? If so and they aren’t too friendly, they’re just being appropriately Teutonic.

    • JoMeyer

      Emotionally an inviting purchase. But agreed on the dealer. I have not had good comment on our local dealer and the bikes sold here seems to have durability issues. I’m sure there are many who have no complaints and no issues. Every brand has this. But for me KTM as an option for anything is out.

    • mugwump

      Sadly I’ve taken a bike to the nearest dealer that sells street KTMs for service, to generate some paperwork when I was thinking of selling cause I get it when I say to someone, no I’ve done all the work, and that is biggest niggle in purchasing the GT.

      • Jon Jones

        The factory-to-dealer support is terrible with KTM. I’m starting to hate them.

  • JMDonald

    This bike is a peach. I’m liking it. I’m wanting it. I deserve to have one. Too bad about the chain drive.

    • Douglas

      Yeah, a belt drive at minimum…..

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Chain drive is no problem. I don’t know why people are so afraid of chain drive. I have chain drive on my KTM 1190 R and belt drive on my Harley. I spray the chain with chain lube every 600 miles and that is it. I have 10,000 miles on my KTM with no other service needed. It is the most efficient and lightweight mechanism for transferring power to the rear wheel.

      • Tinwoods

        Who’s afraid? I’ve owned over thirty bikes in my life, and all but one (K1200R) were chain driven.

    • Micheal Kiefer

      So everone, every bike I’ve owned, Harleys, Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, has been chain driven. What’s the main concern? Unfortunatly, it’s been a few years since I’ve had a bike, but I’m entertaining the idea of getting back in and KTM seems like a great choice (but a little pricey). What is the recommended service interval for a chain nowdays and just what all does it entail? Back when, every couple thousand miles you pulled the master link, removed the chain, gave it a solvent bath, oiled it and put it back on. I understand chains are constructed a little differently nowdays, is that good or bad?

      • JMDonald

        My personal preference is shaft drive because it requires very little of my time to maintenance. Even with the sealed chains of today a rider must lubricate/maintenance them on a regular basis. I have always found this to be a messy business. Chain lubes today are a lot better than they use to be no doubt. Maintaining a chain is not near as bad as it once was. Chain drive is the most efficient way to transfer power and it makes sense for a lot of bikes. On a long distance tourer I don’t want to have to worry about lubing up every few hundred miles. There is nothing wrong with chain drive.

        • Kevin Duke

          Good post, JMD! Yep, maintaining a modern O-ring chain isn’t too onerous anymore, but I suppose some people don’t want to do any. A shaft is good is pretty much maintenance-free unless or until it breaks. But it also costs more to build a bike with a shaft, and a shaft weighs significantly more. It also exerts a greater amount of influence over a bike’s rear suspension, and it costs a few percent of power. Worst of all, a shaft makes wheelies more difficult. 😉

  • Old MOron

    Alright, alright, I admit it. You MOrons tempted me with the S1000R, the new Brutale, and now the new Thruxton. But damnit, I will not pay $20K for a motorcycle. The KTM is out. Uh, good vid, though.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      $20K is nothing for a bike.

      • Born to Ride

        “$20k is nothing for a *Harley* ”

        Fixed that for ya.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          This bike is well worth $20K. Has a lot more features and performance than a Harley.

          • Born to Ride

            You’ll get no argument from me that the bike is worth it, but to say 20 grand is nothing for a bike is tantamount to claiming 20$ is nothing for a burger. Sure, this may be the best damn burger you ever eat, but compared to the average price of its burger competitors, it is one tasty… er, expensive burger.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I spent $22K for my 2007 Harley Softail Custom and $22.5K for my 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R. The Harley included a 5 year extended warranty and a pre-paid maintenance plan. The KTM included crash guards, luggage rack, alarm system, heated grips and riding apparel for myself.

    • JMDonald

      OM what’s 20 grand to a high stepper like you? It probably costs you that much a week to maintain you home in Beverly Hills.

      • Old MOron

        LOL, I give off a high-stepping air, do I? Let me know if you ever make it back to Socal. We can go for a ride, and you can confirm or revise your suspicions. What is it you always say? Oh, yea…

        Lang may yer lum reek.

  • mugwump

    You’re going to be at VIR in May? I’ll look for you and the bike. Gen 1 FJR, NY plates, tent camping area.

  • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

    Foot pegs are up high enough for sport but perhaps too high for touring? Not sure I could maintain the position for 8-12 hour days.

    • Ian Parkes

      Surprising what you can get used to. Found the leg bend on my VFR a bit tight to begin with but, after acclimatising, I did several 8-11 hour days in a row on a 10- day blast and didn’t notice anything in my legs at all. One shoulder got a bit achy but pegs aren’t a suspect. I fancy lack of of cruise control as the perp for that one.