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Every chance we get, we profess our love for KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R, MO’s 2014 Motorcycle of the Year. Aggressive styling matched with a monstrous engine, sophisticated electronics, sportbike-like handling, and reasonable comfort all combined to win our hearts that year. For 2016, KTM is adding to its impressive lineup with the SDR’s cousin, the 1290 Super Duke GT. Aimed for those wanting a Super Duke R but with all-day comfort and some storage space in the form of saddlebags, the SD-GT inspires big hopes in us. In fact, E-i-C Kevin Duke will be putting it through its paces at the bike’s launch in Spain during the beginning of March.

In advance of Kevin providing riding impressions of the bike in his First Ride Review, I’ve compiled 10 fun facts about the Super Duke GT I learned during a recent visit to KTM headquarters in Mattighofen, Austria.

  • Ian Parkes

    Nice. It comes through in the above but another of the great things about this bike is how little it was designed by committee. Ex GP rider Jeremy McWilliams (another Brit) was largely responsible for the dynamics. After their initial surprise that he wanted to take it right away from a sportsbike riding position, they pretty much left him alone with the technical team. And he made sure the tech actually worked as rider aids, not just sales aids. For example, despite being in the top percentile of riders worldwide, he can’t better his lap times with ABS off.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I wonder why Triumph doesn’t take advantage of these brits unorthodox ideas. “Comfort and complacency are the enemy” as Craig Dent said.

      • Novatoan

        I think they tried that with the Tiger Explorer. Don’t think it worked. Triumph have tied themselves too tightly to tradition, in my opinion.

  • john phyyt

    That wiring harness scares me. When the bike is 10 years old, components will seem ancient. .. Wonder if there will be a cottage industry ; converting bikes back to basics. With chinese bits and pieces.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Are you going to be riding the same bike beyond 10 years? The ECU is sensing and controlling all components of the bike by CAN bus, even the headlight bulbs, horn, switches, turn signals, tire pressure monitors, etc. There is no way to bypass the system. Even if you replace the halogen headlight bulbs with LED bulbs which use less current, the ECU will throw a fault.

      • Old MOron

        LOL, you’re not making the bike seem more appealing.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I wasn’t trying to make the bike seem more appealing. I was just trying to correct the impression that large KTM bikes could be “converted back to basics”. This is technically impossible due to the ECU and CAN bus. If you take out the wiring harness, nothing is going to work. There is actually less wiring because of the CAN bus, and the design is simpler, even though there is a lot more functionality. Most people when presented with old bikes and cars do not want them. I have been riding my 2007 Softail Custom for 8-1/2 years. If I do not trade it in for the 2016 Low Rider S (with a 110 cu in engine and 115 ft-lb of torque at 3500 rpm) coming out in March, I will be riding my Softail Custom for many more years.

    • john phyyt

      Whilst riding I was thinking in my helmet, I don’t have blue tooth etc and apart from watching and reacting to each situation. I got all deep about my immediate future. I am quite pessimistic about my personal job prospects, and I won’t be in a position to own one of these bikes. I then thought what if one comes up , which, has been dropped through the ice into salt water.
      It would most probably be used for parts, but if you could pick it up for very little, what would be the way to get it back to functionality. I thought it would require heaps of tinkering, and perhaps even a conversion to carbs, but in my future world where money is rare and scavenging is the only way. Suspension, lights, ignition, fuel, brakes, have to chip away at each problem
      It wouldn’t be pretty, imagine painting it with a brush, but way cool.

      • Novatoan

        I’m sure you could do a carb retrofit, but the computer aided valve timing and ignition would be the real bear. But that isn’t the worst thing. One of the two plugs in the GT is only available from KTM. The other can be sourced from Yamaha.

        Might just want to keep a spare KLR 650 around, just in case!

    • Ian Parkes

      Doesn’t bother me. Like most things, design of electrics and especially connectors is way better than it used to be. It’s not clear yet what their reliability will be in 10 years’ time but I’m picking it will be way better than 10-year-old bikes (or cars) exhibit now – and they much better than 20-year-old bikes (and cars). For that matter. I’ve got a 15-year-old bike with 40,000 miles on it. It’s not loaded with electronics but it has EFI and a reasonable array of sensors and interlocks etc and the only electrical failures have been headlight bulbs (two) and a reg/rec.

    • Novatoan

      The average 10 year old Toyota has a harness three times as long. I would not be concerned.

  • Ducati Kid

    Troy,

    Time shall tell if KISKA’S styling is accepted or not.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      KTM sold 180,000 bikes last year and made 1 billion euros. Is that acceptance enough for you?

      • Ducati Kid

        SB,

        HONDA deals in MILLIONS (product) and BILLIONS (income)!

        15 Million in ASIA, 286 Thousand Stateside during CY 2014.

        (All HONDA Two-Wheeled vehicles are reported as Motorcycles)

        Acceptance ….

        Recall KTM totals cited are for largely DIRT intended product.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          KTM has been selling more street bikes than dirt bikes in recent years. The question was not whether Honda sold more bikes than KTM, but whether Kiska’s styling was accepted or not. With 180,000 bikes sold last year, that question is answered.

          • Novatoan

            Sayeed, I’m not sure that is correct, from what I understand most of their sales are Moto. But you may have sales numbers, so of course I will stand corrected.

            And they can add one more 1190 ADV sale to their balance sheet this year, as I have one on order.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Congratulations on your 1190 ADV! You will love it. I just came back from spending half my Sunday riding dirt roads and river crossings on my 1190 R with a friend on a 1200GS. The last KTM annual report for 2014 shows dirt 40% and street 38%, but in 2015 I think the street sales exceeded dirt because of all the new models (1190, 1190 R, 1290 Super Duke, 1290 Super Adventure, 1050, 690 Duke).

    • TroySiahaan

      Kiska has been designing KTMs for over 20 years. Sounds like the styling has been accepted…

      • DickRuble

        When performance and ergonomics are so far out there that all competition is a dust spec in the rear view mirror, styling makes little difference.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Yes, light weight and high performance are important, but the way the bike looks is important to many people, especially for street bikes. After all showing off your bike on cruise night and at Alice’s Restaurant is just as important. If they do not want another UJM, they will go for a KTM. On the other hand, for some people the KTM styling is too far out there.

          • Novatoan

            I think the Germans and the Austrians are taking styling much more seriously now, BMW’s head of design has said as much. What I see from both manufacturers is a lot of angularity, with lots of tight angles and fold/bends. Look at the tank of the new R1200R, then compare it with the old model, for an example.

            I like the looks of the GT, but think in ten year’s time someone will be making a panel kit to make the Predator beak go away.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            BMW GSs have always had a utilitarian look, and that’s the way BMW and their customers like it. KTMs have been Kiska designed for 24 years and their designs are becoming more angular and extreme, especially in the Super Duke line. I think the so-called “beak” of the GT, which is actually the headlight nacelle, is a functional compromise, to give the front wheel maximum travel without hitting the headlight.

    • Novatoan

      I think it will. The thing that most impresses me with KTM is their commitment to not only improving the design of their bikes, but also the fit and finish. Before introducing the 1190, the overall finish on a lot of their road bikes left a lot to be desired, but from what I see in showrooms nowadays the bikes appear to be of a bit higher quality. BMW and Ducati are still the leaders here, but I think KTM is catching up.

  • DickRuble

    It’s odd that a Brit would use “aggressiveness”, an American term that rhymes and correlates with clueless, to describe his (rather mediocre) design. As much as I appreciate the Super Duke, I don’t consider style to be one of its qualities. Aprilia Futura was a much more inspired design. That was 15 years ago. Let’s cut the BS and jump to the road test.

    • TroySiahaan

      In my time conversing with Dent, it was clear to me he’s not your typical Brit. I think his designs show that. And I, for one, really dig the Super Duke’s styling. But I’m weird like that.

      • Ian Parkes

        What’s a typical Brit?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Dick, great job! Snubbing Brits and KTM at the same time. How in the world can you link “aggressiveness” to clueless? Mediocre design? Who has ever heard of a Aprilia Futura? The Super Duke R is the most aggressive design out there. Show me another bike like it. It is aggressive even when sitting still.

      • DickRuble

        Just for kicks, here’s the Futura. It was and still is the best looking ST of the last 20 years.

        http://www.motorstown.com/images/aprilia-rst1000-futura-06.jpg

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Yes, that is a nice looking bike, but too tame for me. It doesn’t look like it is going to pounce on you and eat you alive. Not “aggressive” enough. Maybe Aprilia should hire Kiska too.

        • Ian Parkes

          Agreed. Looks like they’ve stuck the bits where they need to go, not like Kiska’s exploded diagrams.

        • Infadel Macgee

          meh doesn’t do anything for me

        • Novatoan

          I think the styling of the Futura was certainly ahead of its time. Certainly a better looking bike than the VFR800.

          The pannier design has been widely copied since then.

          • DickRuble

            I don’t think the VFR was Futura’s target, the Ducati ST4 was.

        • gdbizns

          Nice! And a nice picture.

          But it’s a fairing bike with side caskets… Anyhow, I like this kind of soft design, not so much sharp edges. Some might differ.

        • DR N

          Its ok,Looks a bit dated

    • Novatoan

      “Agressiveness” as presently used derives from Freud’s writings. Clueless indeed.

      • DickRuble

        Ah, the dear charlatan Freud. So.. what does Freud say about your mother?

        • Novatoan

          Nice attempt at a redirect. Who is the charlatan now?

          • DickRuble

            Aggressiveness may have been used by clueless translators to convey tendency to aggression or propensity for agression. Freud wrote in German. Now go back to your Legos.

          • Novatoan

            Nahh, think I’ll go ride my moto instead.

      • gdbizns

        Freud was anyhow a pioneer, he realised the meaning of “abwehrmechanismus” (is it defence?) and these comments kind of are proof of its existence…

        People hate individualists and love everyone being the same as they are but who would do then the innovations?

    • gdbizns

      I don’t like aggressions, they just bother me. May be because I have issues with my behaviour, or have had… Some may like it to a degree and it suits me. I like my KTM it’s a nice and easy pussycat, goes well (and like hell if asked. like cats do…) and behaves well (at least now when have the better steering damper…). I did hurt myself with it but it was my fault, the bike was quite well-behaving in a very difficult situation.

      Style is for onlookers, I don’t notice it at all while rding. And as they say, beauty is ithe eyes of the gunholder…

  • mugwump

    If we use the number 1 to represent the volume of an FJRs side cases, what number represents the SDGT side cases?

  • gdbizns

    Ad talk aside, I’m sure the SDR1290 wiring loom was not designed – it just came… Ok, all manufacturers do that garage (or is it backyard?) work. Anyway, would like to have a decent one, one day. And, they have some very nice quality level parts there (like valves from Del West might be expensive but top class).

    And what about the airbox? Will the person who designed that, come forward? I would like to give him a tube of RTV as a present so he too can have an airtight one…

    And the airducts! They are to me an example of not a thorough design but a surface-oriented attitude.