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.
Each year around this time the MO staff gathers to contemplate the new breed of tasty two-wheelers coming our way. This is also when each editor begins positioning himself for a particular press launch. Last year, Preemptive Editor, Troy Siahaan made it abundantly clear that only an act of God would keep him from the R1 launch. This year he’s communicated the same thing about the new Suzuki SV650, a bike that, democratically, didn’t even make this list (Ouch. -TS).
Turn off the switchable ABS and Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) and KTM’s new 1290 Super Duke R slips, slides, wheelies and stoppies just like in the promotional video released a few months ago (certain skillset required). Leave these two rider aids on, however, and the “Beast” (as KTM affectionately refers to it) is as genteel as a 1301cc V-Twin boasting 180 horsepower and 106 ft-lbs of torque can possibly be.