Motorcycles

Video: Gizmag rides the terrifying KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Loz faces his fears and rides the KTM 1290 Super Duke R
Loz faces his fears and rides the KTM 1290 Super Duke R
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KTM 1290 Super Duke R: fuel range is an impressive 280 km, vastly improved over the older model
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KTM 1290 Super Duke R: fuel range is an impressive 280 km, vastly improved over the older model
KTM 1290 Super Duke R: behind a fearsome spec sheet lies a brilliantly engineered bike
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KTM 1290 Super Duke R: behind a fearsome spec sheet lies a brilliantly engineered bike
KTM 1290 Super Duke R: aggressive looks from all angles
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KTM 1290 Super Duke R: aggressive looks from all angles
Loz faces his fears and rides the KTM 1290 Super Duke R
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Loz faces his fears and rides the KTM 1290 Super Duke R
KTM 1290 Super Duke R: 180 horsepower, massive torque and low gearing make for a brutal combination - but excellent throttle response tames this beast
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KTM 1290 Super Duke R: 180 horsepower, massive torque and low gearing make for a brutal combination - but excellent throttle response tames this beast
KTM 1290 Super Duke R: goes like little else, and handles beautifully.
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KTM 1290 Super Duke R: goes like little else, and handles beautifully.

Motorcycles can be a fun, cheap and easy way to get around. They can also be bowel-loosening widowmakers with absurd levels of performance for family-car dollars. The KTM 1290 Super Duke R falls into the second category. It's a road-focused hooligan machine with a giant 1301cc engine, 180-odd horsepower and 144 Newton-metres of torque. Twist the throttle in fourth gear and it will hoist you up to well over double the national speed limit on the back wheel. On paper, this thing is gut-shrinkingly scary, so, for your entertainment, we tasked Loz Blain with riding it for two weeks.

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KTM 1290 Super Duke R: 180 horsepower, massive torque and low gearing make for a brutal combination - but excellent throttle response tames this beast
KTM 1290 Super Duke R: 180 horsepower, massive torque and low gearing make for a brutal combination - but excellent throttle response tames this beast

KTM 1290 Super Duke R: fuel range is an impressive 280 km, vastly improved over the older model
KTM 1290 Super Duke R: fuel range is an impressive 280 km, vastly improved over the older model

KTM 1290 Super Duke R: behind a fearsome spec sheet lies a brilliantly engineered bike
KTM 1290 Super Duke R: behind a fearsome spec sheet lies a brilliantly engineered bike

Product page: KTM 1290 Super Duke R

8 comments
JohnHerron
The picture of the 990 Duke in the video is actually a 690 single... [You're correct. That one slipped through the editing process so our apologies – and well spotted – Ed.]
Arf
I always look forward to Loz's bike reviews!
Sven Ollino
You crack me up Loz!
Mirmillion
Great review but it would have been nice to see the wheelies on a closed circuit or airstrip. As well, KTM needs to get a better sounding exhaust note - something that warns car and truck drivers you just showed up on their doorstep...
David Whyte
No offence Mirmillion but if you are relying on noise for driver awareness your riding wrong. People who drive cages have windows up, aircons on and the music playing, they can't hear you, I just ride like they can't see me, and the ones that can might try to kill me.By the way Loz, nice review.
ChrisLeavitt
David Whyte, by all means, every rider should ride defensively. But even the most defensive rider can use an extra layer of protection. It's like having a deadbolt on your front door, in case the knob doesn't latch. I'd rather have others on the road able to hear me as well, just in case. I actually had a very close call once that would have likely been mitigated, had I put aftermarket (louder) exhaust on my bike before it happened, despite positioning myself to be seen. Arguments that loud exhaust put responsibility solely on other drivers are invalid; better to have as much protection as one can, and both defensive riding AND loud pipes are good layers of protection to have. That being said, Mirmillion, manufacturers must comply with noise and emissions standards; that's why bikes are shipped with quiet exhaust. But of course there are always several aftermarket variants that can change the sound.
warren52nz
Only about 3 weeks ago Gizmag showcased the Lightning LS-218 saying it was the fastest production bike in the world (and electric). So is this one now faster than that? If not doesn't the lightning deserve a mention by way of comparison? – The Lightning is the fastest in terms of land speed record, but the KTM accelerates harder than anything I've ridden at road speeds despite not getting anywhere near the Lightning's top speed - so two different kinds of fast, because above 100 km/h the Lightning absolutely rips your arms off. Loz
William R Henry
Loz,you are the man! Such wonderful articles and you are a true petrol head (Gear Head here in the states-Virginia).You would fit in here same as you do in your home land.Keep up the awesome reviews and writing mate!