2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT And R

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

Mild changes for the GT and nothing new on the R

If you’re a fan of naked bikes or sport-tourers, odds are that you’re familiar with the offerings from KTM. Both motorcycles eschew the velvet glove and deliver the iron fist of sporting performance to riders. For 2019, the 1290 Super Duke R returns essentially unchanged while the 1290 Super Duke GT gets a raft of upgrades, bringing it in line with the R.

2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT First Ride Review

2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke R First Ride Review

2019 KTM Super Duke R Spy Photos

2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

How does KTM improve upon the 2017 MOTY recipient, the 1290 Super Duke GT? For 2019, it received some minor engine updates to its already potent package. The intake side of the combustion equation is improved via the use of resonator chambers and new titanium valves. To get the most power out of this change, the engine mapping was updated. Otherwise, the 1301cc 75° V-Twin remains unchanged. And that’s a good thing. The 108mm x 71 mm bore and stroke of the two cylinders already cranked out plenty of power for the greedy sport-tourers among us.

Aside from the engine updates, the GT’s touring capability was improved, too. The new windscreen and height adjuster should be easier to fine-tune to the rider’s preferences while also providing better weather protection. Similarly, aerodynamic handguards should slice the atmosphere efficiently while giving the rider wide-ranging comfort out on the road.

Information is delivered via a new 6.5-inch multifunctional TFT display, featuring KTM MY RIDE Navigation in addition to the usual information that sport-touring riders need on a long day in the saddle. Tucked away on the left grip, the updated cruise control switches make it easier to set and adjust your desired speed.

Another functional update comes in the form of the WP semi-active suspension. Utilizing three different settings – comfort, street, and sport – the system allows the rider to set the overarching suspension parameters, while the system adjusts the damping rates in real time.

2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

It’s hard to argue with near perfection, and the 1290 Super Duke R has been one of MO’s favorite motorcycles since its inception, racking up the 2014 MOTY plus the 2014 and 2015 naked bike MOBOs. So, KTM left the R pretty much unchanged for 2019.

2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

The 1301cc 75° V-Twin still kicks major butt, and all the other naked bike manufacturers know that it is a force to be reckoned with. So, perhaps KTM can take a year to sit back on its laurels.

However, riders who aren’t content with the off-the-rack Super Duke R can add accessory packs. An optional Track Pack gives the R launch control, spin adjuster, a track ride mode, freely configurable ignition mapping and anti-wheelie off function. Additionally, the Performance Pack adds motor slip regulation (MSR) and KTM’s Quickshifter+.

Evans Brasfield
Evans Brasfield

Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.

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  • Eddie Eddie on Oct 05, 2018

    I own a KTM super duke GT. The best bike ever and polarizing looks. With so many bikes with similar appearance nice a company embraces change. No warranty issues but most bikes are way more reliable than the past. Look at all the electronics in cars with long history no problems. No moving parts. I love the new LED headlight especially for safety. Love how KTM placing electronic driving aides on all the bikes as no one knows what they will do in an emergency. Keep the TFT screens coming!

    • Eddie Eddie on Oct 05, 2018

      Also, I have been riding for 50 years, professional motorcross and flat tracker. Anyone that states they do not need abs, traction control, or stability control is an idiot. You do not know it is there and it will help save your love life. How often do you practice emergencies on your bike? Probably not too often. Just like pilots and doctors practice emergencies you should also, both car and motorcycles.

  • Spiff Spiff on Oct 08, 2018

    I think KTM should put the GT and R on the same schedule. If this came out in 17 I may have bought it. I really like this platform, so I was buying one or the other. Someone more in love with the category than the bike may be tempted away.