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!

2014 Super Streetfighter Smackdown + Video

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 Super Duke R’s potent motor, incredible handling and comfy ergonomics make for a bike you can ride to, at, and home from, the race track.

The Super Duke R’s potent motor, incredible handling and comfy ergonomics make for a bike you can ride to, at, and home from, the race track.

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.

2014 Super Naked Street Brawl + Video

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.


Reader’s Choice Best of 2015 winners:

Best Motorcycles of 2014 Best Sport Bike
Best Streetfighter/Hooligan Motorcycle Best Touring Motorcycle
Best Cruiser Motorcycle Best Sport Touring Motorcycle
Best On-Off Road Adventure Motorcycle Best Value Motorcycle
Best Standard Motorcycle Best Dirt Bike
Best Scooter Best Electric Motorcycle
  • Julie

    Not that it’s not a lovely bike, it just seems very weird to rate it above the s1000r or the Tuono when it’s not objectively better than either while costing several thousand more.

    • Michael

      I test rode all the current crop of top end naked bikes and would absolutely buy the KTM first. The Tuono is a torture rack and is always “on”. It feels like it’s straining at the leash all the time; that gets tiring very quickly. The BMW is better than the Tuono (imho), and is virtually the equal of the KTM but simply doesn’t have the “character” of the KTM. I’ve had (and still own) lots of twins, mostly because of their personalities… I think the BMW is better value, but I will one day soon spend the extra and buy a KTM. This wont be the same for everyone of course, and its great there are so many high class bikes (the EBR SX too) in this class. We are so lucky :-)

      • Julie

        “I would buy first” isn’t the same as saying “This is better”. I was in no way suggesting that some people won’t have “more fun” on the KTM, or think that the KTM is “better looking”, or whatever the personal reason for just liking something more. And the description says “best”, not “favorite”.

        For example, I would say that the BMW s1000rr is the “better all-around motorcycle”, but I bought an Aprilia RSV4 instead.

        • Michael

          You may be right.
          Thank goodness for lots of good choices.

  • 12er

    I took one for a demo on Saturday and I still have an erection, should I seek medical attention?

    Best sounding stock bike I’ve ever hopped on. But like my Bro’s old 996, glad I rode it but was happy to give it back. I swore the speedo was in KM’s but it wasnt. Just too much for the bumpy roads I was playing on, and I never thought I’d ever say that. All I kept seeing is the red light on the tach as the front end kept shooting north. If I ever got in a position to do a lot of track days it would be the tool of choice, but my lack of self control cannot see living with one on the street.

    • Ingolf Stern

      the answer is the 690 Duke. all the fun, half the cost, stay out of jail (well, prolly, its still hard to not do wheelies. the only diff is you stay below 100 mph.)

  • DickRuble

    If only they put a windscreen and a fairing on it, KTM would have the best bike in any category, and not just for 2015.

    • Josh

      You just described their 1290 superadventure

      • DickRuble

        Nope, I didn’t.

        • Josh

          If you’re really just looking for a windscreen I’m sure you could put one on the SDR. But judging by your follow up comment, what you really want is an update to the RC8.

          • 12er

            A fly screen should do the trick on it. The tank offers quite a bit of deflection down low but nothing up top. The 1290 A or the RC8 are totally different animals, so I think I understand Dick’s point. Which what I assume is, keep the performance and ergo’s, add more wind protection.

          • DickRuble

            Yes indeed.

          • DickRuble

            I want the Superduke’s ergo’s, engine and electronics with wind protection. The RC8 has no ergonomics really.

          • Andrew

            Supposedly coming for 2016