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KTM Officially Unveils 1290 SuperDuke R: 180 HP in a Lightweight Naked!



You can faintly hear a collective groan of ecstasy let loose by horsepower junkies worldwide. KTM has taken the wraps off its 1290 SuperDuke R and published full specifications. Does 180 HP in a 415 pound (claimed dry weight) naked do it for you? Appropriately called “The Beast” by KTM, this new monster gets top drawer components to go along with its stupendous 1,301cc v-twin engine.

Sophisticated electronics, of course, including much needed adjustable traction control and ABS. The brakes are superbike-class Brembos, and the suspension includes a massive 48mm WP fork.

Most recently, we posted a video of the big Duke playing on a racetrack with a BMW S1000RR which you can see in our story posted here. Below are the specifications released by KTM. You can also follow this link to a special web site set up by KTM with all the details. We currently have no information on U.S. price or availability.



ENGINE TYPE 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°
BORE/STROKE 108/71 mm
POWER 132 kW (180 HP) at 8.870 rounds/min
STARTING AID Electric starter/12V 11.2Ah
ENGINE LUBRICATION Pressure lubrication with 3 Eaton pumps
COOLING SYSTEM Liquid cooling
CLUTCH PASC slipper clutch, hydraulically operated
ENGINE MANAGEMENT/IGNITION Keihin EMS with DBW, double ignition



FRAME Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel trellis frame, powder coated
HANDLEBAR Aluminium, konifiziert Ø 28/22 mm
FRONT BRAKE 2 x Brembo four piston, radially bolted caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mm
REAR BRAKE Brembo fixed mounted two-piston brake calipers
CHAIN X-Ring 5/8 x 5/16″
WHEEL BASE 1.482 ± 12 mm
TANK CAPACITY 18 l Unleaded premium fuel (95 RON)



  1. Boris says:

    This “naked bike” styling fad needs to go away. Bolt a couple of stepladders together and stick an engine and wheels on it? Nah. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

  2. MG3 says:

    What is it with KTM?? They build some of the most incredible bikes on the planet, then throw those hideous gas-tank-fairing things on the front. Sorry, but I don’t get it, and I have been fantasizing about buying one for years. I love the powerful v-twin motors, the generally rugged and functional styling and build quality, but those plastic fairings make it look like some kind of very expensive toy. Anyone know if they can be removed without opening up other issues?

    • Nathan says:

      KTM is first and foremost a dirt bike manufacturer. Those “gas tank fairings” or styled to resemble a radiator shroud. I think they look fantastic.

      • MG3 says:

        Yeah, but at 180 HP this ain’t no ‘dirt bike’.

      • Lenz says:

        Sorry can’t agree with ya on the tank “fairings” – just a styling add-on at first impression. The headlight may have an aero design purpose but an earlier post suggested a close encounter of the hammer kind would be the best thing for it.

        If these tiny areas of concern provide the sum total of negative comment then KTM may have a sales success with this model if they don’t price it too high.

        • Brian says:

          A lot of KTM haters will find anything they can to knock the bikes. Its only because they can’t afford the bike.

          As for KTM’s higher price, KTM Owners don’t buy KTM to save money, they do it get get a high quality bike and superior tech that last.

  3. Randy says:

    I thought my S4R with 110RWHP and a shade over 400 pounds was more than enough. Nailing it in 3rd at 60 popped a long scorching wheelie, I can’t imagine nailing the throttle on this beast.

  4. TG says:

    Well, with the kind of person that I am & the bike that I ride now (09 Yamaha V-Max) modded & makes 198 hp & 157 ft pounds to the wheel at a mile high in elevation… I think I just might have to give the Duke a try… It’s just the fact of knowing that you have that much power on a bike & have to respect what it can do & know your limits. The minimalist styling is a plus but the tank shrouds will have to go when/if I own one… All in all, I like it & if it does make it here to the US, there will be one right next to the MAX…

  5. jimmi says:

    I’d like to see a “Classic” version of this bike sort of like the mid-80s version Suzuki GS1150 with a conventional round headlight, set higher relative to the triple clamp and without the bizarre looking KTM shield affixed to the tank. Everything else looks-wise seems spot on.

  6. Lenz says:

    An interesting number of “will I / won’t I – should I / sharn’t I” posts regarding this bike. It appears the power and minimalist styling stimulates the “Warning Warning Will Robinson” in some folks and has others needing to stand in the corner for a while until the boner wilts.

    The base model will make an outstanding platform for further evolution:

    – headlight off the 1190 Adventure R
    – wind protection off the 1190 Adventure R
    – nasty big exhaust off the RC8R

  7. Lowflying says:

    Awesome bike. Being an old guy, I would like a round headlight on it. And it would look good that way too. Otherwise, wouldn’t change a thing. Except maybe a frikkin’ loud exhaust can.

    What a beast!

  8. Nik w says:

    Nice bike once you fix the head light with a hammer.

  9. Mr.Mike says:

    I really like the style of this bike, and I also welcome the coming of our robot overlords.

  10. CR5 says:

    It’s always about throttle control. If you have none you shouldn’t be on a bike with 180hp.
    This is not a bike for beginners or for people with low self preservation instinct. Just like any “superbike” this will hurt you if you don’t ride it with skill and brains.

    If I had the money there would be one of these in my stable.

  11. TF says:

    Awesome bike and kudos to KTM! If there is a market, KTM will reap the benefits and if not, it will go away. To all the haters I have to say that there are those who said the same types of things about the CB750 or KZ900. If it’s not your thing, go buy a bagger and cruise from stoplight to stoplight with the rest of the crowd.

  12. Gary says:

    I have to say, in all honesty, that it might be difficult to keep from wheelying this thing over backwards, unintentionally. Upright ergos, with that much power, might be difficult to control. Unless its got some kind of electronic nanny that short-circuits the power when the front end comes up. I’d love to try one out.

    • Motorhead says:

      Very long swing arm extending out back looks like it’s designed to minimize wheelies. But that minimizes handling in the corners, I think. Anyone?

      • Norm G. says:

        illusion. that’s not a long swingarm. if one question’s their ability to control the throttle on this thing…? then that’s their first (and last) clue to… “step away from the motorcycle”.

      • Dave says:

        It “looks” long to me but not any longer than what we’re used to seeing on Liter class superbikes these days. While I Don’t know what effect on cornering swing arm length alone has, it didn’t seem to be a detriment on the original Yamaha R1 when they rolled that out as a feature.

        At any rate, horsepower wins all in racing. MotoGP bikes are 4-5″ longer in wheelbase than road going superbikes. They gladly sacrifice a little handling in order to put 250hp on the ground without looping out as easily as on a short bike.

        • Motorhead says:

          The Honda Repsol SuperGP wheelbase is 1.435 m, per this website
          That’s near the mid-point between the GSX-R 1000 and the long SuperDuke.
          Still sayin’ it’s a long wheelbase, which is good.

  13. halfbaked says:

    I look at this bike (and lots of other bikes on MD) and I don’t understand the people for whom it is apparently impossible to comprehend that anyone could disagree with their assessment that it is just incredibly ugly.

  14. Motorhead says:

    Amazing. Good ergos, check. Gobs of horsepower and torque, check. Light weight, check. Most important of all – no tank flange, check. I’ll buy it!!

  15. Gary says:

    Prepubescent. We live in an era of overly stylized motorcycles. It’s getting hard to just find an honest bike any longer.

    • mickey says:

      Uh..CB 1100 Honda

    • Stratkat says:

      every Harley since the beginning of time, Triumph, Royal Enfield, the new(?) Indians…
      there are plenty out there. some companies just prefer to advance design.

    • jake says:

      Well, given that Capitalism is based on “conspicuous consumption”, one would assume the longer it lasts, the more honesty and wholesome values it would by design squeeze out of its system. With that said, I quite enjoy the look of this bike… but then I also quite enjoy loose women, booze, and the short sighted, live for today, self-destructive lifestyle.

      It seems as if Western Civilization as we know it, as Eastern European profs. have been warning us for the past 100 years, is on an inevitable decline – meaning most of us are on a road of destruction along with it, one which we can’t get off even if we wanted to. So we might as well make the best of it and enjoy the sites and sounds of the road of destruction – the false, superficial images, the deception and inability to be honesty with ourselves, and the temporary highs – while we are on it.

      “False, superficial images, deception and inability to be honesty with ourselves, and temporary highs”, along with too expensive, would definitely describe in a nutshell this new KTM. But so what, I still like it.

      If this is dishonesty, then give me dishonesty or give me death.

      • mickey says:

        Im guessing you are not in your 60s jake. the world was going to end when I was your age too. Guess didn’t lol

        • jake says:

          Not saying it will end, just that it will get worse, more frustrating, and less tolerable.

          Since “conspicuous consumption” is based largely on impressing and being noticed by others (I know, most of the true and rugged individuals on here would never even think of such a desire), there was always an element of decadence and degeneracy in it from the very start. Think in terms of Hannah Montana vs. Miley “Half Naked” Cyrus. At the beginning, it is always easy to impress others. Being cute and cuddley is enough, but as time passes such safe and socially acceptable expressions of individualism become insufficient to arouse much attention, admiration, or envy. In response, cute Hannah then resorts to becoming naked, annoying Miley, sticking her tongue out inappropriately, sitting naked on a wrecking ball, and making simulated love to an unwashed sledgehammer in public. She in a nutshell is the story of America.

          It’s just the natural evolutionary path of degeneracy inherent in a Capitalistic society. Knowing all of this, I still like this wretched excess of bike though. Just as I’d like decadent Miley more too, in spite of her antics, if she was better looking and had more singing and dancing talent.

    • Pork Chop Express says:

      Quite the contrary, I think today you can find just about any type of bike you could possibly want. I’m not exactly sure what an “honest” bike is but I don’t think a bike gets much more honest than the new SD. Frame, big motor, great brakes and great suspension with a comfortable riding position. Yes, it will have traction control and ABS but that’s something we’re all going to have to get used to with modern bikes and so long as it’s reliable I welcome the technology. The styling is hard-edged but it is also very minimal. There’s not much unnecessary stuff on there unlike so many cruisers and large bore touring bikes I see today. “Prepubescent”…..that’s great! You obviously have a good sense of humor. 🙂

  16. Agent55 says:

    I’d have to compare every detail with the concept bike, but this is looking a lot more homely than what we were originally shown. Obviously the stock exhaust, mirrors & rear fender aren’t helping. Maybe the paint scheme is at fault too? Just looks more frumpy than before.

  17. Neil says:

    I like it. My 919 takes off from a stop nice and smooth and will practically idle in
    traffic with no problem. I can’t imagine that much horsepower on public roads, but then again, on the street it is all about getting more torque and horsepower at the same time which a twin does well. I like a bike which makes you want to ride it. Too cold? A little wet? Lazy and want to take the car? You don’t commute? This is a bike that could make you want to ride no matter what. The tank and bodywork are pretty ugly. Bug like. But it’s really about the ride in the end. Would you want to ride it more than once? My Suzuki TU250 has plenty of power at all but highway speeds and even then it winds onto the highway with the aftermarket pipe and larger front sprocket just fine. That being said, I like this machine for what it is. Brute power and aggressiveness that say, ride me.

  18. Norm G. says:

    this is what should’ve become of Honda’s jewel of an RC51/SP1. there’s nothing wrong with that engine. just bore it out and recycle it in a minimalist (read low cost) chassis like KTM, and like they’re supposedly doing with the V4. perhaps there’s still hope…? though, the trend will certainly have come and gone at the “glacial” pace moto-ops tend to happen inside BIG RED.

  19. Kentucky Red says:

    415 pounds, 180 horsepower. If you don’t want to ride this bike (at least once), then you’re not a motorcyclist. Yea, I said it.

    • Tom says:

      I completely agree with you. It hits all the senses with the subtly of a large sledge hammer.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      BAM! +1

    • Dave says:

      Can you hear the collective gasps of millions of riders who don’t care?

    • mickey says:

      I’d like to ride it once, but wouldn’t buy one. Is that what you mean?

    • Daytona James says:

      Agreed KR. I love this bike… and I hate it. Forgive me for explaining.
      My whole life, I’ve been guilty as much as the next guy wanting more, better, faster. A stint of club level road-racing and some cross-country racing when I was younger allowed me to develop that mindset of weekend superhero. Yeah, I can handle it… wanna see a wheelie? This is what motorcycling was for me, as it likely is / was for many. There is nothing more rapturous than rolling hard on the throttle when you’re heeled over, knee down, tipping back up through an increasing radius corner and feeling all that the motor can deliver. Triple shot espresso please.
      The hate part you ask? It’s what’s wrong with our society in general I think… the unceasing need for more – the definition of unsustainability. From an unfamiliar and certainly unpopular perspective in motoring circles, the desire for more is rarely tempered by the reality that more simply accelerates our sprint to the lemming cliff. Bigger housing, more kids, more food choices, more fashionable clothes, more wow, more killing in the movies, keeping up to the Dow Jone’s… all of it promotes what is loosely referred to as the ‘American Dream’ but none of it can be sustained.
      In a society deeply invested in this mindset and these values, it is difficult to draw back from the guilty pleasures. I still love the freedom and thrill of motorcycling and recently introduced my wife to long-distance touring. We’ll continue to enjoy that as long as it’s practical but there is a strong sense that the playing field is changing… in fact, the days of the game as we know it may be numbered. Personally, our motorcycling will evolve into much less ‘new one every year’ and much more ‘McGuyver it to the end’. With any luck, a new and less materialistic set of values will free us from our addiction to Mo, Mo, More.

      • drassif says:

        That my friend is a nice speech. I agree with you and then,some.

        Who is John Galt?

      • BlackCayman says:

        I guess Yamaha thought they would address some of your concerns a couple of years ago when they penned and then manufactured a “Less is More” triple called the FZ-09.

        Or Honda with its simple CB500s

        Me thinks thou doest protest too much. Just becasue so many people are materialistic and spoiled doesn’t mean you have to be caught up in it – Go ride your motorcyle

      • MG3 says:

        Hey James, I think you are making a fundamental mistake by equating the march of technology with a ‘lifestyle group’ that is never satisfied with what they have, even if what they have thoroughly delivers on its original promises. Sure there are some people out there who can never get enough ‘stuff’ in their garage. They buy whatever shiny new toy comes along. But there are many more who buy something, use it, appreciate it for what it is, and only replace it when they believe a significantly better product has arrived. Since I am still driving a 1982 Goldwing I guess I am in the later group.

        There are plenty of things ‘wrong’ with out society, and you noted a few that I agree with, but people buying things they don’t really need isn’t one of the major ones, IMHO. Most people don’t act that way. It’s too hard on your savings account. What’s a savings account, you say? HaHa. Most of us still have them so we at least will not starve when we can’t work any more.

        Anyone who consumes conspicuously usually sees the light and changes their behavior, eventually. It’s part of getting ‘older and wiser’. But because some do is no reason to lose faith in the ‘American Dream’. After all, there is nothing in ‘my’ American dream about having the latest and greatest of everything.

        Sorry, I know this is just a motorcycle comment forum, but you brought up some very interesting points, and they do relate somewhat to this particular edition of the ‘excess express’.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I guess I’m just another spoiled, materialistic poser trying my best to keep up with the Jones’s.

        My house is large. Much, much bigger than I need. Even bigger than I want. I didn’t buy it to impress anyone, though. Nor did most of the people living in my neighborhood.

        I buy whatever toys I want. I don’t need any of them, and I can sustain this errant behavior indefinitely. I am not trying to keep up with anyone: I just like toys. Why is this bad?

        Sometimes I run out and buy the newest, more-est, best-est thing to hit the market. Sometimes I don’t. Why should either scenario bother anyone?

        I think you have confused the “American Dream” with the concepts of entitlement and instant gratification. My Pakistani neighbor can tell you all about the former. The latter two are byproducts of half-wit politicians and prosperity respectively.

        Want to know one of the main reasons I buy the latest and greatest when I do? So that I don’t HAVE to “McGuyver it to the end.” I much prefer to ride the darn thing. Those great used bikes don’t just materialize into the marketplace. Show some love!

  20. mechanicus says:

    (insert gratuitous transformers comment)

  21. abanta says:

    Because we want to:)

  22. donniedarko says:

    Im not mad at it. My bike has 150 rwhp and I never use it fully. So what. I like going from 0-50 quickly to. This bike is remarkable. Complete excess. Well done

  23. bad Chad says:

    Not for me. Far to much power for any open road. Two years from now, if nothing changes we will have street bikes exceeding 200 hp, what is the point. Don’t give me that, “because we can, bs either.”

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      If you’ve never had the opportunity to crank the throttle on something like this, then you just don’t understand. You either fear it and condemn such a machine, or fear it and love it. Even if just a few times a year you find yourself on an open road all by your lonesome even for just 30 seconds at a time, the feeling of awe is worth it.

      Or pony up the $150 every now and then and have a ball at the track for some real addiction.

      • Hot Dog says:

        Saddle up boys, we’re going for a spin! The marketplace sells people what we want, not what we need. Wretched be such sweet excess. I’d love to scare the Bjesus out of myself for 8 months of the year and recover with garage candy extraordinaire, for the remaining 4 months of winter.

      • jake says:

        If that’s what it’s all about, then why not just go more often to the amusement park. You’ll get the same insane, out of control acceleration, you won’t have to wear a helmet, and it’d probably be alot safer (and possibly cheaper too).

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          It is about excess, pure and simple. If I were that concerned with cheap and safe, I wouldn’t ride a motorcycle at all. And being a passive rider on a roller coaster is not comparable to piloting a motorcycle in my opinion.

          Besides, why would I go to an amusement park to get my thrills when I could have one parked in my garage, available to me whenever I want? Even if I didn’t get the chance to truly flog such a bike that often, it can still bring me joy every other day of the year. Almost any bike is fun, even slow ones. This one just has a warp drive button for when you feel so inclined. And I like that. I might even ride it to an amusement park.