Today’s Friday Forum Foraging post comes to you from New Salem Borough, Pennsylvania and the KTM forums, where we find this fine example of a 2019 KTM Super Duke R. Looking at the pictures alone, it seems like this owner has taken good care of his SDR. Having long been one of our favorite streetfighters, the Super Duke R is a thrill machine. Starting with its 1301cc V-Twin, the outrageous engine is anything but short for power. Coupled with a strong WP suspension and Brembo brake package, the SDR lives up to KTM’s Ready to Race mantra.
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.
The Aprilia Tuono 1100 and KTM Super Duke R have been going at one another for years. They’ve both won MOBO awards and numerous shootouts against one another, as well as other contenders. Both bikes were upgraded for 2017, improving the performance of each. We may or may not conduct another shootout between the two, but prior to if and when we do, we’re curious to know which bike our readers think is the better hooligan.
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.
More often than not, a world press launch is held somewhere not far off the beaten path of familiarity. The local language may be French, Spanish, Italian or some other Latin dialect, but the sights and sounds don’t fall under the guise of the really exotic. The 2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke R launch in Qatar was a little different. While Qatar is very westernized (I saw an Applebee’s in downtown Doha, for chrissakes!) there’s no forgetting you’re visiting an area of the world that’s fundamentally dissimilar. Architecture, fashion, culture and cuisine are constant reminders that things are different. And sand, lots and lots of sand.
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.
No shootout has been as difficult as this one pitting the Aprilia Tuono V4R APRC ABS against the BMW S1000R and KTM 1290 Super Duke R. Not just in how tight the outcome of the scoring (which was stupid close), but more so in the intangible elements of emotion, sensation and the if you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand bliss of why we ride motorcycles.