In its first year of existence, KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R doubled down by winning both our 2014 Bike of the Year award and Best Streetfighter/Hooligan trophy. Now, the Super Duke R has become the choice machine for Best Streetfighter/Hooligan bike among MO readers – a triumvirate of accolades!
Versatility is the key phrase when describing the SDR. A spate of electronics yields an unintimidating naked bike that’s still fun and exciting to ride. Turn off the electronics and you unleash the Beast and all the wheelieing, wheel-spinning antics that come with 156 rear wheel horsepower and 96.5 lb-ft. of torque. Commute to work, ride it cross country or pass faired supersports at a local track day, the Super Duke R does all this without asking any compromises from its owner.
The twin-cylinder heart of the Beast is more than just a transplanted RC8 R engine. Prior to Super Duke R duty KTM engineers increased both bore and stroke from the race bike’s 105mm x 69mm to 108mm x 71mm giving the SDR a 106cc engine capacity upgrade to 1301cc. Controlling all this internal combustion chaos is a Keihin engine management system operated by a ride-by-wire (RbW) throttle.
At $17k, the SDR isn’t a cheap motorcycle, and it lacks amenities such as cruise control and electronic suspension adjustment – items found in BMW’s S1000R options list. But if what you want from a naked streetfighter is raw, visceral excitement, sound and feel, look no further than the KTM Super Duke R.