Not since the heady days of the 600cc sportbike wars have we witnessed competition between manufacturers as fierce as it currently is between Aprilia’s and KTM’s super streetfighters. With the arrival of the Super Duke R in 2014, the monstrously torquey V-Twin-powered hooligan has been in a lock step dogfight with the Tuono and its rip-roaring V-Four. So enamored were we with the SDR it won both Streetfighter and Bike of the Year awards in 2014. For 2015 the SDR retained its streetfighter of the year title over the Tuono, but in 2016 an updated Tuono took away the SDR’s streetfighter crown by virtue of offering a nearly equally equipped but more affordable RR model alongside its top-of-line Factory version. The Tuono duo also claimed honorable mention for motorcycle of the year in 2016.

For 2017 both bikes were again tweaked with a variety of mostly electronic upgrades, gaining full-color TFT gauges and cruise control in the process. Again this year the Tuono is available in two flavors, RR and Factory, while the SDR remains a solo act with a couple of optional packages available for upgrading the bike’s already astounding performance. Because the bikes are so equally matched, we’re basing our choice of winner (like we did last year) upon the Aprilia’s dual-model offering, and more so because of what the RR brings to the table at a price point thousands below the MSRP of the base model Super Duke R.

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The 2017 Aprilia Tuono was presented to the media at COTA following the MotoGP races alongside its racier RSV4 brethren. The same-day introduction provided an interesting venue for not only comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences between the Tuono and RSV, but more so between the RR and Factory Tuono models. The RR brings to the table everything the Factory model does (157 rear-wheel horsepower V-4 engine, Brembo M50 front calipers, up/down quickshifter, as well as a litany of other electronics) for a relatively affordable $14,999. At $17,499 the Factory model enjoys Öhlins fork, shock and steering damper in place of the Sachs units on the RR. And, even at this higher price, the fully outfitted Tuono comes in $600 under the price of the base model Super Duke R, that, at $17,999, still lacks adjustable traction control and an up/down quickshifter.

2017 Aprilia Tuono 1100 RR/Factory First Ride Review

We’ve noted in the past that between the two the Tuono is the more formidable track weapon compared to the Super Duke R. In fact, in our First Ride Review of the 2017 Tuono we posed the question: Is it still a streetfighter if it’s this good of a track bike? The Tuono’s shorter gearing was evident when spinning laps around COTA, but otherwise even the RR model is a scalpel of a streetfighter in a closed-course setting compared to the ganglier SDR. Sharing the same chassis with RSV4 it’s no wonder why the Tuono is as good as it is at the track. On the street the Tuono is every bit the Super Duke R’s measure, making deciding between the two a matter of personal preferences that even we couldn’t reach an accord, awarding a rare tie outcome in our 2016 Ultimate Streetfighter Shootout.

However, outfitted as it is and brimming with equal performance at a price $3k less than the base model SDR, it’s impossible not to give the Tuono RR the nod as the streetfighter to have for 2017.

The lowly RR is so good in fact, that following a full day at Laguna Seca on a well-used 2016 Tuono RR equipped with a fresh set of Pirelli Supercorsas, Sean Alexander committed buying a Tuono 1100 as his very next motorcycle. He was serious, saying that he can’t imagine a finer motorcycle to ride 500+ miles on the street and then also have that much fun on a racetrack. When he dreams at night, he dreams of a V4 Tuono.

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When it comes to KTM, any bike with word Duke in its title guarantees you a stellar streetfighter. The 390 and 690 Dukes are the smaller-displacement single-cylinder streetfighters in KTM’s hooligan lineup, and while the 1290 Super Duke GT may be draped in touringish attire, make no mistake, it’s the most aggressive, high-powered and bag-equipped sport-tourer we’ve ridden. But if unadulterated naked performance is what you desire, look no further than the Super Duke R. The SDR’s 1301cc Twin pumps out more than 80 lb-ft of torque as early as 3,800 rpm on its way to a peak torque output of 96 lb-ft at 8,100 rpm. The arm-yanking thrust, regardless of gear chosen or speed travelling, is intoxicating.

2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke R First Ride Review

The base model SDR brings to the table all the qualifiers of a great streetfighter, but to keep pace with the menagerie of electronics available on the Tuono, an SDR owner must purchase the Performance Pack ($475.99) to get the quick-shifter+, motor-slip regulation (MSR), and smartphone integration known as KTM My Ride, and the Track Package ($299.99), which includes Track ride mode (in addition to Street, Sport, Rain), the option to disengage the anti-wheelie function, Launch Control, adjustable traction control, and a choice of Street, Sport or Track throttle sensitivity. The combined price of the two packages bring the Super Duke R’s MSRP to a hard-to-swallow $18,775 ($1,276 more than the Factory Tuono and a whopping $3,776 more than the RR model).

The Super Duke R is not as track-oriented as either Tuono model, but it’s a formidable naked able to easily dispatch fully faired sportbikes, and might be the best sporty motorcycle for big and tall riders. On the street the SDR is hard to beat, offering a roomy seating arrangement and more available power where you need it most, compared to the Tuono’s tighter rider triangle and revvier four-cylinder. Too bad KTM can’t reign in the price a little. If Aprilia can include an up/down quick-shifter on a $15k Tuono RR, we think KTM should be able to include the same technology on an $18k SDR.

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  • john phyyt

    I think that good QS has now become essential kit on any motorcycle which is considered premium. It simply adds to the fun. . .

  • Mahatma

    OEM streetfighter/hooligan is an oxymoron IMO

    • spiff

      OEM hooligan?

      • Old MOron

        Can you say “SDR”?

    • Auphliam

      I agree, and I believe that is the true separation between these two bikes. While the Ape may be the best “Streetfighter”, there doesn’t seem to be anything “Hooligan” about it. The SDR, on the other hand, seems to epitomize hooliganism…and as Gabriel noted, a big SuMo is more true “Hooligan” than either of these.

      • DickRuble

        The FZ09 is more hooligan than any of these.. and more comfortable. Hooligans rarely have fat bank accounts or sit sipping coffee waiting for a $90 oil change at their KTM dealership.

        • spiff

          Did my 600 mile service at the local KTM shop. That is 37% of what they charged me. I hope my obligation to them is full filled.

          • DickRuble

            You fit the MO definition of a hooligan… you throw money at people.. You got a new Katoom or something?

          • spiff

            Yup.

          • DickRuble

            Nice.. please keep us posted of your adventures at and with the dealership. What did they do for $250, change the oil and check valve clearance?

          • spiff

            It was only $241, and I think they checked the chain.

          • DickRuble

            You think? You didn’t watch them do their Kabuki theater? Chances are then they just rang the register.

          • spiff

            The more I think about it, I think they stuck it up my back side because I didnt buy the bike from them. Then again I didn’t buy from them because they were going to stick it up my back side. A good dealer is a valuable thing.

          • DickRuble

            Good dealer? It’s like saying good herpes.

          • spiff

            I disagree. You can get rid of a dealer.

            In fairness I should say I am more than happy with the guys that I got the bike from.

          • spiff

            ..

          • toomanycrayons

            “You fit the MO definition of a hooligan… you throw money at people.”-DickRuble

            1%-er/hooligan wasn’t always a bad aspirational definition. The identity pie just never got bigger. These bikes are the “identity” compensation for supporting deep-hooliganism where it matters. They are just notes in a bottle saying: “Spend debt money.” They might also be cigars…

      • Mad4TheCrest

        Agreed the Tuono isn’t so much ‘Hooligan’ as ‘Race’. It’s got a freaking pit lane speed limiter for chrissakes!

  • John B.

    I see no reason to argue with these choices or the rationale employed to reach them.

    • toomanycrayons

      I often wonder why the cool/desire factor in bike reviews never seems to include what someone 6′ 2″ might look like on them. “Circus bear” comes negatively to mind as a rationale:

      http://motorcycle.com.vsassets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/050217-2017-aprilia-tuono-1100-factory-left-action.jpg

      This guy looks about 5′ 6.” When you’re looking down on the windshield how good can it look? Not to say that these aren’t shallow metrics, especially when compared to the usual things like…the usual things.

      • John B.

        Sean Alexander is a big dude, and he said previously the Tuono is comfortable. I’m 6’3″ 235 pounds, with a long torso, and I felt very cramped when I sat on a Tuono. Various MO editors have said the Super Duke is the better choice for big and tall riders. Of course, The Super Duke is much more expensive and (IMO) not as aesthetically pleasing. Go big or go home… right?

        • That’s the funny thing about the Tuono and its RSV1000 superbike siblings as well… they’re all extremely compact, yet none of them are ever actually uncomfortable. I think it’s the seat-to-peg angles and also the seat-to-tank-to-knee relationship that seems to relieve seat pressure, prevent leg cramps and also help keep a little weight off your wrists. In addition to that Laguna track day, in the last month I’ve piloted one to/from Monterey, plus all around the city streets of LA, Irvine, and Monterey. They are my spirit animal.

      • Kevin Duke

        This guy is T-Rod, and he’s nearly six-feet.

        • toomanycrayons

          Everybody in America is “nearly six-feet.” 😉 Looks a little cramped. I’m not saying “circus bear” cramped. Yes, I am….

          • Gabriel Owens

            I used to want the bmw s1000r so bad. I absolutely love that bike but it all came crashing down the day i finally got to sit on it and i didn’t fit. Just too cramped for my sport touring aspirations.

          • toomanycrayons

            Yeah, we’ve all been there. You need some music from the ’70s to really bring that all back, right?

            https://youtu.be/soDZBW-1P04

          • Gabriel Owens

            Yes, make that the soundtrack to royal jordanians tour of Europe on his s1000r last year.

        • DickRuble

          Wow.. a giant..

  • Gabriel Owens

    Whichever is the most comfortable to ride is the one id chose. Im 6’1 225 with pins and plates holding my bottom half together, so comfort is a very high requisite for me.

    • spiff

      Try the KTM, including the gt.

      • Gabriel Owens

        Ive sat on, but not driven both. Own a fjr and cb1000r. Im happy. Japanese bikes from now on. Learned my lesson.

        • DeadArmadillo

          Smart fellow.

        • DickRuble

          Write an essay so others can learn too, and yet others can have fun reading.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Sometimes I wonder if you like any motorcycles at all.

          • DickRuble

            Had you asked yesterday before 1PM, I’d have asked you if you were a mind reader. As of 6PM (when I finished rejetting for the bizillionth time, and sorted out the issue with my wife’s Vespa) I am saying DEFINITELY. It’s likely to change, though. I just sent an email to a guy selling his CB500F.. fuel injected..

          • Gabriel Owens

            Starting in 2015 my grandfather passed (I lived with him for last 5 years of his life), I contracted h1n1, lost the first knuckle down on my middle finger of my left hand, broke my shoulder in a wreck, sank my best friends jet ski (we’re no longer friends), my mom lost function of both her kidneys and now im her primary care giver, was in hospital 30 days and have had a portion of my large colon removed, have a enlarged spleen thats going to be removed, find out next Wednesday if i have multiple sclerosis, and owe the hospital 87,000 dollars. Still got a better outlook than most. Motorcycles bring me joy. Hopefully they can for you too.

          • DickRuble

            I’m sure sinking the jet ski wasn’t your fault.. Besides.. they’re a total waste of money. Don’t feel bad.

          • Kevin Duke

            Holy crap, I thought I had things to bitch about! Best wishes to ya, GO!

  • JMDGT

    Another reason to buy one.

  • Gabriel Owens

    The best hooligan bike made is actually the Husqvarna 701 supermoto….how bow dat?

    • Old MOron

      How bow an upvote for you?

    • spiff

      It is a shame Aprilia gave up on the SXV.

      • DickRuble

        If you had to do maintenance on one SXV, you’d know why.

        • spiff

          I owned one for almost five years. Awsome bike… once they were gone through.

    • Michael

      And soon the KTM 790… Maybe that takes this prize next year?

    • DickRuble

      It belongs in the Rich-White Collar-Sunday 4-6PM-(Do I Look Good?)-Hooligan category, with the Tuono and the SDR.

      • Gabriel Owens

        Thems fightin words.

      • Curtis Brandt

        Interesting viewpoint. My ’17 SDR is a daily driver/commuter, and I know a guy whose Tuono is the same for him. Your view is not the only one.

        • DickRuble

          Does that make you a Hooligan? Sounds like you fit my description to the dot. And yeah, you nailed it.. in 99.9% of the cases these bikes are commuters … err …nooo.. I meant garage queens.

          • Curtis Brandt

            Doesn’t make me a hooligan (already was), but massively enables. LOL.

            I guess where I differed from your description is that the hooliganism is not limited to 4-6pm on a Sunday. Just a (relatively) quick switch from buttoned-down to wheelie-controll-off and disable rear wheel ABS and you’re good to go. (It does take a good job to afford one of these babies, for sure.)

            Funny thought, regarding hooliganism. These bikes, as much as any, make it prudent to keep electronic controls active, just in case you make the slightest imprudent throttle input over some unfortunately slick tarmac. So when your buddy taunts you to pull it up, despite an ample and willing powerplant, it takes a few seconds of menu diving to comply! The word “irony” applies, I believe.

          • DickRuble

            I can see the picture: “Wait mate.. let me check the manual..how do you program the wheelie?”

          • Curtis Brandt

            That’s about right. Ha ha. It’s like a wheelie “waiting period”. If you still want that monster wheelie in 10 seconds, she’s all yours!

          • Gabriel Owens

            Thats nasty nasty lady talk.

      • spiff

        Well, do I look good. (Not a question.) Lol

      • Tinwoods

        Hey, another moto-racist. I’m curious what you ride, Dick?

    • Tinwoods

      Ah, no.

  • They are all great! But it’s up to the rider to give them character.

    • toomanycrayons

      Wasn’t Steve McQueen’s solution just to have character, himself?

  • Auphliam

    Streetfighter and Hooligan cannot simply be packaged together anymore, IMO. Especially with bikes like the Hypermotard, 701 Supermoto, or even the 690 Duke out there in the wild.
    The Tuono seems to be the better Streetfighter. There’s little question about that. But, while the SDR may have been king of the hooligans when it first appeared, these bikes present a level of sophistication that has transcended the genre, IMO. Case in point, there is nothing “hooligan” about a state of the art electronics package.

    It’s time to separate the categories. I know you don’t want to hear this, but you guys are just going to have to start testing more bikes.

  • Rocky Demits

    i want a super duke

    • spiff

      If you have the dough, do it.

      • Tinwoods

        And if you don’t, get the poor man’s next-best-thing like I have: a used Superduke 990.

        • spiff

          Never rode the 990, but I am all about the Super Duke blood line.