Fraser discovers that this latest version of the awesomely powered, yet refined, super-naked from the Austrian manufacturer – one of his favourite ever bikes – is now even better
Cards on the table before we even get started – I am a big fan of KTM.
I have long advocated the Austrian manufacturer’s machines, which are generally excellent – and often outstanding.
The credentials of its off-road models are unquestionable – taking victory in 17 of the past 20 Dakar rallies, for example.
Yet it’s road-going bikes remain somewhat underrated among certain sections of the Brit biking community – a situation which myself and other bike journeys find slightly baffling.
That’s because KTM offers some of the most high-performing, high-quality and truly exciting motorcycles on the market today.
Which brings us the the one we are looking at here – the 1290 Super Duke R Evo.
The bike was launched back in 2014 and this 2022 model is the third generation of what KTM calls “The Beast”.
With a 1300cc V-twin churning out nearly 180bhp in a bike weighing just 190kg, the name is apt, as is KTM’s “Ready To Race” slogan.
Awesome – Acceleration is breath-taking
The acceleration on the Duke is awesome, the throttle response super sharp (requiring 10% less twist than the previous model) and the front wheel seems to want to lift at any opportunity.
There’s bucket-loads of torque in hand too, with most of that in the mid-range.
Yet this motor is surprisingly refined and the bike is equally comfortable and perfectly manageable around town, as well as on long-distance jaunts, especially with the cruise control activated.
Refined – Engine is powerful yet manageable
There are three ride modes – Sport, Street and Rain.
A quick-shifter and auto blipper are also add-ons, at a cost of around £360, which seems a bit of a cheek on a bike costing almost £18,000.
Besides that superb engine, the stand-out feature on this bike is the WP Apex semi-active suspension.
This comes with Comfort, Street and Sport settings – and an optional Suspension Pro package adds Track, Auto and Advanced.
Classy – Stand-out livery, with sleek, aggressive lines
It’s a superb system which makes a real difference to the feel, comfort and handling of the bike.
The Auto setting is particularly impressive, first adjusting to the load and then constantly adapting the damping as you ride to suit your style, speed etc.
The Pro package also includes an anti-dive function which keeps the front up under aggressive braking.
Top-notch Bridgestone S22 rubber helps keep you firmly connected with the tarmac.
Doing a fantastic job of bringing you to a stop are progressive but super-powerful Brembo Stylema calipers and twi 320mm discs, plus lean-sensitive ABS.
Neat – Colour TFT dash
The traction control is also cornering sensitive and there’s all-round LED lighting, tyre pressure monitor, keyless ignition and fuel cap, smartphone connectivity and a neat colour TFT dash.
Long one of my favourite bikes ever, all I can say is the Super Duke R is now even better.