2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R EVO First Look

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung
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The KTM 1290 Super Duke R is getting a new EVO variant for 2022, adding semi-active suspension to what was already a very potent package.

As we discussed in our 2021 Heavyweight Naked Bike Spec Shootout, the 1290 Super Duke R (along with the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS) is one of the few bikes in the comparison that does not offer some form of electronic suspension.

2022 ktm 1290 super duke r evo first look

That’s going to be rectified with the new 1290 Super Duke R EVO which receives a next-generation WP APEX semi-active suspension. The system offers three semi-active damping modes (Comfort, Street and Sport) along with a manually adjustable rear spring preload. The preload can be adjusted up to 20mm (0.8 inches) in 2mm increments through the menus on the 1290 Super Duke R’s TFT display.

2022 ktm 1290 super duke r evo first look

KTM will also offer an upgraded Suspension Pro package which adds three more semi-active damping modes (Track, Advanced and Auto) plus three automatic preload adjustment settings (Auto-Standard, Auto-Low and Auto-High) and an anti-diving setting.

2022 ktm 1290 super duke r evo first look

Beyond the electronic suspension, the EVO model is the same as the regular 1290 Super Duke R. For 2022, both variants receive a new quick-turn throttle. The new grip has a 65-degree rotation, 7 degrees less than the 2021 model. According to KTM, the shorter-throw throttle offers a faster response while reducing rider wrist angle and elbow drop at full throttle.

The 2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R EVO arrives in dealerships in January. U.S. pricing has yet to be announced.

Begin Press Release


2022 ktm 1290 super duke r evo first look

KTM’s flagship street motorcycle underwent its most radical re-invention in 2020, boasting a number of tweaks and engineering improvements. The 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R underwent dramatic weight savings with a reworked LC8 engine. The electronics package has also been updated, making THE BEAST one of the most technologically advanced naked motorcycles in the segment.

For the model year 2022, KTM has launched a new incarnation of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R that delivers exactly what riders asked for.

Dubbed the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO and drawing on the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R’s already legendary status among riders, the EVO brings more tech to the fore, adding 2nd generation WP APEX semi-active suspension from WP.

2022 ktm 1290 super duke r evo first look

With new Semi-Active Technology (SAT), the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO retains its class-leading hyper-naked ferocity but gains an even wider range of usability. This allows THE BEAST to go from a comfortable rocket on poor road surfaces to a hardened track-ready apex-splitting weapon – at a simple click of a switch.

Three different damping modes – COMFORT, STREET, SPORT – are available as standard.

In addition, the spring preload of the rear suspension can be set via the TFT menu to up to 20 mm in 10 steps, depending on the requirements of the rider. In this case, the adjustability setting ranges from 0% to 100%, in 10% or 2mm increments.

2022 ktm 1290 super duke r evo first look

In addition to the standard suspension settings, the optional SUSPENSION PRO package offers three more damping modes, namely TRACK, ADVANCED, and AUTO.

– TRACK provides the stiffest available setting developed internally by KTM test riders to provide the ideal setting for track days and specifically for faster race tracks where you need additional support under hard braking.
– ADVANCED allows the rider to select the level of damping for the fork and shock on a scale from 1 to 8. This suits more technical riders who are looking for the smallest marginal gains and want to fine-tune and tailor their suspension settings for their riding styles.
– AUTO is the most intelligent of the trio and is capable of detecting different riding styles and automatically adapting the suspension damping, being softer and more comfortable when cruising through the city, and harder and more focused when riding aggressively on a fast mountain pass. This auto adjustment between modes happens almost instantly without any interference in the ride.

SUSPENSION PRO also offers three automatic preload auto-leveling settings – LOW, STANDARD, and HIGH. In this instance, the suspension is able to adjust the preload automatically in accordance with the weight of the rider and recreate 3 defined geometries:
– AUTO-STANDARD: neutral and balanced geometry
– AUTO-LOW: relaxed, less aggressive, more comfortable geometry, with a lower seat height
– AUTO-HIGH: aggressive, agile track attack geometry, with a more loaded front end

Another optional feature on SUSPENSION PRO is an anti-diving setting that keeps the front-end high under hard braking. As with most electronic functions, it can of course be switched off if desired.

The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R and KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO continue to feature the RAIN, STREET, SPORT, and optional TRACK and PERFORMANCE ride modes, affording riders improved feedback about what the engine is doing, with less intrusive traction control and anti-wheelie mitigation. Selecting any of the above settings can be performed on the fly.

2022 ktm 1290 super duke r evo first look

Throttle response is given a further boost with the addition of a new quick-turn throttle twist grip, reduced by 7 degrees to 65 degrees. KTM R&D developed this solution not only to offer a faster and more responsive throttle, but also to reduce the rider wrist angle as well as the elbow drop at full throttle.

In terms of looks, the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R and KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO retain an aggressive street presence but introduce two new colorways. A familiar blue and orange livery is flanked by an all-new silver and orange, which complement the aggressive and hard-hitting appeal of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. The signature KTM orange frame – reserved only for KTM ‘R’ models – and hot orange wheels give a visible warning to competitors: this BEAST is ready to attack.

2022 ktm 1290 super duke r evo first look

A full range of specially created KTM PowerParts has been developed to personalize and further intensify your ride. A dedicated range of KTM PowerWear ensures the rider can give everything they’ve got and boosts their READY TO RACE performance.

The 2022 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R and KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO will arrive on authorized KTM dealer floors from January 2022 onwards. For more information, visit ktm.com.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

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  • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on Nov 16, 2021

    I'm the biggest KTM hater there is, but this is a beautiful bike! I love the look. The problem is that most KTMs are way too tall for my 28" inseam. I like that this comes with an "Auto-Low" setting. Does you guys yet know how low this really is? And, I'm afraid to ask, but what about the amount of green paper required to barter with KTM?

    • See 4 previous
    • Larry W Larry W on Nov 22, 2021

      When I bought my 1190 Adventure 5 years ago I rarely saw KTMs on the road. In the Colorado mountains today I still see more Harleys than anything else, with BMW second (mostly GS). Triumphs, KTMs, and Ducatis are each almost as common on the road as the beemers in a very close battle for third.

  • Starmag Starmag on Nov 17, 2021

    Losing the headlight, the points on the radiator and the orange would all be big improvements. I think it would still be identifiable as a KTM without those.