KTM is teasing a collaboration with German tuning house Brabus, with a new naked bike based on the 1290 Super Duke EVO. According to the teasers, 2022 Brabus 1300 R is due to be announced on Feb. 11, but the bike briefly popped up on KTM’s official website. Those pages were quickly taken down, but not before we were able to get our paws on the official details and images.
The KTM 1290 Super Duke R has always been a sledgehammer of a motorcycle. While the blunt instrument approach to producing power has its fans, there is something to be said about using a little finesse when dishing out a gut punch. With the development of the 2020 model, which KTM has dubbed “The Beast 3.0,” the focus was on refining the techniques the Super Duke R uses as it brutalizes the laws of physics. And I think that it will produce even bigger smiles on the hearty souls who choose this mount to beat their local tarmac into submission.
This week you might notice Motorcycle.com being a little quieter than usual. The reason is because most of the MO staff are out riding in our Sorta Annual Big Adventure Bike Shootout. For 2018, we’ve gathered seven of the biggest and baddest adventure machines out there. The plan? To put them through their paces on both the pavement and the dirt. To prove we’re serious about the dirt part, each of the contenders here comes to us with wire wheels, except for one, which we’ll get to in a moment.
As we both braced for impact over what some (my wife) would consider too much speed for entering a parking lot over a large gutter, we were both pleasantly surprised by the 2018 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S’s semi-active WP fork and shock’s handling of the bumpy business in real time. When we both jumped off of the big orange behemoth we looked at each other, slightly taken aback at how well the suspension absorbed the bump.
It takes a really special motorbike to win our MOTY award, and the Super Duke GT comes from premium stock, as it’s based on the winner of our 2014 Motorcycle of the Year, the 1290 Super Duke R. The uncanny beauty of the GT is that it retains the wonderful virtues of the R and expands the platform with a plethora of comfort and convenience updates that enhance the bike’s appeal without appreciably hindering its performance capabilities.
Sport-touring motorcycles have a confounding job description. They need to be sporty and deliver plenty of performance capability while still managing to be comfortable enough for when the highway gets straight, flat, and boring. While both of our winners here lean towards the sporty side of the equation, they both manage to take the pain out of long days in the saddle while transporting us to distant locations with big smiles.
The “Best” bike in this category could be quite an elusive target. Who is asking? Is “best” the best bike in hardcore eastern Enduro settings? The best two-up on the interstate? Best at hitting some sweet jumps? Best at attacking a twisty mountain road? You see, every observer is going to mix their pavement and dirt a little differently, so no single on-off-road capable bike could really be the best for everyone. Understanding that, the ultimate “BEST!” On-Off-Road/Adventure motorcycle available in 2017 is unquestionably the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R! (Your mileage may vary, void where inhabited by short people, consult a Dr. for erections lasting more than five or six years.)
The KTM train just keeps on rolling. The other day we published spy photos of the forthcoming 390 and 790 Adventure models, while KTM posted a video of its upcoming 790 Duke. And rumor has it that KTM may be developing a Super Duke powered by a version of its MotoGP V4 powerplant. The biggest competition the current Super Duke R has comes from within its own company. For now, though, the 2017 Super Duke R remains the benchmark of naked bike desire.
Here at Motorcycle.com we’ve made no secret about the KTM 1290 Super Duke R being one of our favorite motorcycles, even going so far as to name it our 2014 Motorcycle of the Year. Since then, however, KTM’s competition has been upping their games in order to make their bikes compete with the almighty Super Duke. So, naturally, KTM had to respond, and it’s done so with this heavily revamped 2017 1290 Super Duke R, unveiled today at EICMA 2016.
Soon we’ll be assembling the combatants for our third naked bike shootout this year. Why another one? Because Yamaha’s new FZ-10 is forcing our hand. Our First Ride Review of the FZ-10 was published at the end of July, a mere week before our Naked Sports Six-Way Shootout hit the digital newsstand in early August. Prior to that, our 2016 Ultimate Streetfighter Shootout between the two reigning kings of the naked bike world – Aprilia and KTM – was published all the way back in April. Leaving the FZ-10 as ridden but not juxtaposed.
I didn’t pay to watch Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice because I’m failing to see the struggle. College Humor best surmises my disposition of the movie. Besides, why go the make-believe DC Comics route when we have a real-world shield and spear paradox between two super-powered nemeses right here before us: Aprilia’s Tuono V4 1100 Factory and KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R.
We probably didn’t need to travel to Spain to find out the Super Duke GT is a terrific motorcycle. After all, it’s based on our 2014 Motorcycle of the Year, the wonderfully capable and funtastically fast Super Duke R. What was yet to be discovered was how the changes from R to GT worked to transform the hooligan roadster into a proper grand tourer.