2021 KTM 1290 Super Duke RR First Look

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Double-R model upgrades suspension and adjustability while trimming off 20 pounds

KTM is taking its flagship naked bike to the next level with a limited edition 2021 1290 Super Duke RR. KTM will produce only 500 units of the Super Duke RR, but haven’t confirmed whether it will be offered in North America.

The Super Duke R is already a high performance beast, so, what went into KTM granting a double-R badge on a bike for the first time?

The biggest difference is a 20-pound reduction in weight compared to the Super Duke R, with KTM claiming a dry weight of 397 pounds and a wet weight of 441 pounds. This was achieved through the use of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber. The front fender, rear fender and chain guard, and fuel tank cover are all made of carbon. KTM also added a carbon brake cooling duct kit and ignition lock cover, two elements not included on the Super Duke R.

The Super Duke RR also receives a new subframe made of carbon fiber with an aluminum support that KTM claims weighs just 1.8 pounds. As we can see from the image juxtaposition above, the new subframe supports a single seat and rises up to a sharper point than on the Super Duke R. The LED taillights and rear turn signals are incorporated into the tail with a significantly smaller license plate holder.

The forged seven-spoke wheels were developed using data from KTM’s RC16 MotoGP bike, with KTM claiming a 3.3-pound reduction in unsprung weight compared to the Super Duke R’s rims. KTM claims it originally wanted even lighter wheels, but test rider Jeremy McWilliams said they weren’t stiff enough and didn’t provide enough feel to get the most out of the chassis. The wheels come clad in Michelin Power Cup2 tires which KTM claims offer an ultra-grippy dual compound architecture and quicker warm-up.

Other weight-saving measures include an Akrapovič slip-on exhaust made of titanium with a carbon fiber end cap and a lithium-ion battery.

For the Super Duke RR, KTM upgraded the suspension to a fully adjustable WP APEX PRO 7548 closed-cartridge fork and WP APEX PRO 7117 steering damper. At the rear, the SDRR uses a WP APEX PRO 7746 shock. In addition to adjustable compression (high and low speed), rebound, and preload, the 7746 also offers adjustable length between 13.9 and 14.2 inches, allowing riders to fine-tune the suspension geometry. KTM also added a new lighter CNC-machined triple clamp.

The 1301cc V-Twin engine is the same as the one powering the Super Duke R, claiming an output of 177 hp at 9500 and 103 lb-ft. at 8000 rpm. While the power numbers are the same as the SDR, KTM made changes to the throttle control. The electronics package offers a Track mode as standard and a new Performance mode. The traction control system is less intrusive in all modes while KTM reduced and smoothed the anti-wheelie system in some ride modes.

KTM also adjusted the throttle grip, giving it a 65° opening compared to the standard Super Duke R’s 72° opening. KTM claims the change improves throttle response while reducing the rider’s wrist angle and elbow drop at full throttle.

KTM modified the ergonomics on the Super Duke RR with a focus on higher-performance riding. We’ve already touched on the adjustable suspension length, and the RR also offers adjustable hand and foot controls and an adjustable handlebar position. KTM also angled the fuel tank slightly outwards to provide the rider more support under hard braking and when leaned over. At 33.3 inches, the seat height is a half-inch higher than on the Super Duke R, but the adjustable shock can bring that down to a slightly more manageable 33 inches.

And if the 1290 Super Duke RR isn’t already enough, KTM is offering a number of optional upgrades from its powerparts catalog.

As of this writing, the KTM 1290 Super Duke RR has only been confirmed for European markets. There is no word yet on North American availability, though it should be noted the Super Duke RR has been certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency so we expect an announcement to come for the American market.

2021 KTM 1290 Super Duke RR Specifications

Engine TypeLiquid-cooled 4-stroke, 75° V-Twin, eight-valves, DOHC
Displacement1,301 cc
Bore/Stroke108 / 71 mm
Power177 hp at 9,500 rpm (claimed)
Torque103 lb-ft at 8,000 rpm (claimed)
Compression Ratio13.5:1
Starter / BatteryElectric starter / Lithium-Ion battery (12 V 96 Wh)
Transmission6 gears
Fuel SystemKeihin EFI (throttle body 56 mm)
LubricationPressure lubrication with 3 Eaton pumps
Engine OilMotorex, SAE 10W-50
Primary Drive40:76
Final Drive17:38
Clutch PascSlipper clutch, hydraulically operated
Engine ManagementKeihin EMS with RBW and cruise control, double ignition
Traction ControlCornering MTC (lean-angle sensitive, 5 Modes, disengageable)
Drive525 X-ring chain
SilencerAkrapovic Slip-On Line
FrameChromium-Molybdenum-Steel trellis frame, powder coated
SubframeCast alumnum / Carbon
HandlebarAluminum, tapered, Ø 28 / 22 mm
Front SuspensionWP APEX PRO 7548 Close Cartridge front fork; preload, compression, and rebound adjustable; 5.1 inches of travel
Rear SuspensionWP APEX PRO 7746; compression (high and low speed), rebound, hydraulic preload adjustable; 5.5 inches of travel
Front BrakeDual Brembo Stylema Monobloc four piston, radially mounted calipers, Ø 320 mm disc
Rear BrakeBrembo two piston, fixed caliper, Ø 240 mm disc
AbsBosch 9.1MP 2.0 (with cornering ABS and SUPERMOTO ABS)
Front Wheel3.50 x 17″ forged wheel
Rear Wheel6.00 x 17″ forged wheel
Front Tire120/70 ZR 17
Rear Tire200/55 ZR 17
Rake24.4° – 25° (depending on rear shock length)
Trail3.9 – 4.1 inches (depending on rear shock length)
Wheelbase58.7 – 58.9 inches ± 0.6 inches (depending on rear shock length)
Ground Clearance6.3 inches
Seat Height32.9 – 33.3 inches
Tank CapacityApprox. 4.2 gallons, 0.9 gallons reserve
Dry WeightApprox. 396.8 pounds (claimed)
Wet WeightApprox. 440.9 pounds (claimed)

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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8 of 18 comments
  • Dootin Dootin on Apr 09, 2021

    For all you guys who wish their 600's had liter bike power.

    • See 5 previous
    • Dootin Dootin on Apr 14, 2021

      Its a very small and light bike with a shitload of power.

  • 10man 10man on Oct 06, 2021

    I enjoy imagining that I could actually use this machine for its intended purpose...to wrinkle every road in my neighborhood of the Ozarks. The reality is I would be wasting an incredible machine on public roads with my butt on it. This thing needs a bit of a fly screen, a talented and fearless rider and a race track.