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KTM Introduces 1290 Super Duke RR: The Beast Gets Beastlier

When we reviewed the new KTM 1290 Super Duke R several months ago, we were blown away by the compact size, agility and awesome power of the Austrian naked. Now, of course, KTM ups the ante with the 1290 Super Duke RR announced earlier today. Taking 20 pounds off the already-light machine with loads of carbon fiber, lighter wheels, lighter battery, etc., the new bike promises to be an adrenaline junkie’s wet dream.

The bad news? We don’t see the RR on the U.S. KTM web site, and we have no word when this limited-edition (500 units worldwide) might be available in the U.S. market. Below is the full press release from KTM.

KTM continues to surprise, taking the ever-popular KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R platform and forging an even angrier BEAST. Being the first machine menacing enough to wear an ‘RR’ badge, it sits proudly at the top of KTM’s street range as a limited-edition flagship motorcycle, developed around one key statement: Pure Performance.

Only 500 of these ultra-rare Naked machines will be built, with the European allocation being available exclusively via an online pre-order portal.

Based on the latest KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R prototype, the RR is a demonstration of what happens when your R&D department is allowed free reign. It’s a true definition of READY TO RACE, with added exclusivity, exotic componentry, and premium workmanship.

The figures tell the story – 1,301 cc, 180 hp, 180 kg, and 140 Nm, translating into a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1, with enough torque to tear open the bitumen. Make no mistake, this BEAST is all about track-ripping performance. It is a no-compromise Hyper Naked motorcycle that has been conjured up from the darkest depths of the performance lab to decimate lap records.

Weighing in at a whole 9 kg lighter, the RR is more agile, stiffer, and offers better high-speed stability than the standard KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. The wheels too have gone under the knife, shedding a massive 1.5 kilograms of unsprung weight. These are wrapped in ultra-sticky Michelin Power Cup2 tires, dramatically upping the track readiness of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR.

However, the biggest area of influence comes in the form of WP’s finest components. Up front, the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR makes use of fully adjustable WP APEX PRO 7548 Close Cartridge forks, together with an adjustable WP APEX PRO 7117 steering damper. At the rear, an APEX PRO 7746 Shock takes charge, which has been custom-made to the specification of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR.

Carbon fiber has been used extensively in the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR’s construction, with the subframe also receiving the lightweight carbon treatment. This has allowed designers to reimagine the tail of the BEAST, creating a unique single-seat unit, with redesigned LED taillights incorporated into new LED turn signals. These also include KTM’s adaptive brake light as standard.

All of this, not to mention the biggest Euro5-compliant V-Twin engine currently available in a Hyper Naked motorcycle, makes the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR the ultimate backstreet weapon or track day tormentor.

It gets its power down to the ground thanks to a new quick-turn throttle twist grip, with a 65-degree opening angle – a 7-degree reduction over the standard KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R’s 72-degree grip. This was developed to deliver improved throttle response, but also to reduce the rider’s wrist angle and elbow drop at full opening.

As with all extreme track terrors, this BEAST would not be complete without a lightweight AKRAPOVIČ “SLIP-ON LINE” exhaust system. Made from titanium with a carbon fiber end cap, it provides the ‘bark’ to the BEAST’s bite. For the absolute power-hungry, a full system AKRAPOVIČ KIT “EVOLUTION LINE” is available as an optional extra.

Notable features on the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR include:
// The most powerful V-Twin engine to ever power a naked motorcycle
// 180 hp and 180 kg give the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR a 1:1 power/weight ratio
// New WP APEX PRO suspension and Michelin Power Cup2 tires
// New carbon fiber bodywork
// Lightweight lithium-ion battery, saving 2.5 kg
// Ultra-lightweight forged wheels, saving 1.5 kg of unsprung weight
// Carbon fiber subframe with a redesigned single seat
// Prototype-inspired CTG
// Exclusive KTM PowerParts package
// Limited to only 500 units worldwide

The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR isn’t only impressive when it comes to hardware. Under its carbon-scaled skin hides the most complete track-orientated electronics package ever seen on a KTM – and all as standard.

Most notable of all in this package are the advanced Track and all-new Performance modes, which allow riders near-unlimited adjustability options for rear-wheel slip, throttle response, Launch Control, and Motor Slip Regulation.

While the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR already boasts a full range of never before seen components and bodywork, a full range of KTM PowerParts has also been developed for those riders looking to boost its already frightening performance and track-ready viciousness.

And let’s not forget, riders of the ultimate Naked motorcycle need to not only perform, but also look the part. For that reason, a dedicated range of KTM PowerWear has been developed to give KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR riders the utmost confidence when at the absolute ragged edge.

The exclusive KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR is available in limited quantities and can be pre-ordered from 8 April, 10:00 CET here for European markets. For information on availability in other markets contact your nearest authorized KTM dealer.


  1. Curt says:

    I’m gonna need me one of these. See you guys out there. Ride safe!

  2. joe b says:

    A long time ago, I rode a Honda CB750 that although looking box stock, it was a sleeper full tilt performance engine. Yeah, it still had stock carbs and the 4/4 exhaust, but it was 824cc, had perf cams, and if you nailed it going 65mph, it would wheelie in third, carrying the front wheel past 100 if you let it. It was a monster. Not a lot of people knew then, that a bike could be that explosive, powerful, just plain FAST. That was in 1970. Now, some Fifty Years (50) later, a bike like this comes along in the same vein, that has that explosive engine, and modern everything else. And some wonder why? or nit-pick its angular look. That some ask, even ask why, is dumbfounding to me. I guess they must ask the same question about the Indy 500, or going to the moon. There is no answer for that. I just shake my head, its impossible to explain it to them. I gotta go now, and ride my Honda CB1000R, and do a couple wheelies, when no one is looking… (I’m almost 70 now)

    • Motoman says:

      “it still had stock carbs and the 4/4 exhaust, but it was 824cc, had perf cams, and if you nailed it going 65mph, it would wheelie in third, carrying the front wheel past 100 if you let it…”

      Yeah, maybe not. Says the 60 something guy who owned a 1980 CB750F back in the day with similar mods. Agree with everything else though joe b.

      • joe b says:

        Motoman, Not everyone’s “built” CB750 are the same. You know. Maybe it would carry the front wheel to only 90mph, but who’s looking at the speedo, when your going 90-100mph with the wheel in the air? When it redlined, and you shifted, it came down. My point, was even then, some 50 years ago, a bike like that was really something. Working as a line tech in the high desert of So Cal, for 30 years, and each year getting to ride the new models, it was pretty easy to see how each year, the bikes got better, faster, smoother, with more comfort than previous years. My CB1000R I own today, is probably a direct result of that one ride. By the way, that bike was built by Tom Deluxe, and the cams were prototype. Today, its no big deal for a big inline 4 to have the power to wheelie and go 100mph. I can only assume the new KTM is a bullet, smooth, comfortable, and stops. Some of us dream. But now that I’m almost 70, i can see selling my VFR1200DCT and getting a little 250 to wring its guts out, all the time, maybe a 20 year old GSXR750 or something, so many bikes, so little time.

      • todd says:

        You guys are forgetting this was in the early seventies; adjusting for inflation, that pumped 75hp, 500 pound bike in 1970 is the equivalent of a 500hp, 300lb bike today.

    • Bill says:

      I too had a CB750. Mine was a 75 F version. I also modified it extensively and expensively. 900 kit, race cam, smooth bore carbs, porting and polishing, electronic ignition, race pipe,etc. At a guess, l estimate those mods would have added significantly more power than Joe b’s big bore upgrade. It enabled my Honda to handily outrun the KZ900’s and 1000’s of the day. Sadly, one riding season was all the overstressed bottom end could handle. Regardless, it did not perform 3rd gear 100mph wheelies and in all likelihood would be outgunned by a modern 600 supersport. Since this was the 70’s, l suspect old joe might have been experimenting with something that altered his perception of speed somewhat.

      Similarly, I have ridden the 1290R and while it is torquey and quite fast, it is no match for a current 1000 sport bike, particularly in the upper gears. In fact, a healthy GSXR 750 will show it a tailight at elevated speeds.

      Still a great bike and a well ridden 1290R is a formidable weapon. Just not the all conquering beast.

    • Max says:

      I can do a wheelie on my lawn tractor. But if you’re into running away from cops at 180 mph, this is your machine.

  3. dt-175 says:

    so everybody that doesn’t like this bought a triumpf thruxton?…

    • mickey says:

      Can’t speak for anyone else but no, I bought an CB1100, which to me looks like a motorcycle should. Keeps me happy with 1/2 the horsepower of the “Beastie”

    • Motoman says:

      Hmmm, trying to figure this comment out. Fine bike the Thruxton, just like mickey’s CB1100. Different cup of tea from the Super Duke (say it like Wylie Coyote) but all fine motorcycles.

      Unbelievable when you think of how much choice we have now.

      • mickey says:

        I was thinking I was starting to sound a bit like todd (I don’t need no stinkin horsepower lol)

        yea the choices we have today are amazing. Now if they would only build a bike that would make Mick happy ha ha.

    • Max says:

      Matter of fact…

  4. Fastship says:

    I just traded my MultiStrada for the non-pirate version. Since we (in the UK) can no longer go abroad the need for a “fun” bike is compelling. After a (very) quick test ride I was hooked; it invoked the same emotions and feelings I had when I first opened the throttle on my first “real” bike, an RD350 when I was 17 years old. This is what I need in my life right now, I imagine this is what crack cocaine feels like.

    I take delivery on May Day.

  5. greg says:

    I’m now riding my second 1290r,i crashed the first one.Iam 61 years young and have owned bikes from the seventies to now…27 bikes,all sport bikes except for the Queen Marry(2008 kawasaki concourse)..The KTM is the most fun bike i have owned…great power,good handling,just tons of fun on the track and street..its not the best looking bike out there,just ride one and you won’t give a shit what it look’s like

    • Bill says:

      Now Greg. All your riding buddies know the real reason you ride those sit-up straight naked bikes. Your lacey thong creeps up your ample backside on a real sportbike.

      • greg says:

        Ah,the sound of a yamaha left behind by an incapable rider…

        • Bill says:

          Don’t be so hard on yourself, Greg. I wouldn’t exactly say you’re incapable. I can’t see that lacey thong when l’m ahead of you.

    • Motoman says:

      “just ride one and you won’t give a shit what it look’s like”…. my feelings exactly.

      • greg says:

        Thats right Motoman….i actually think the 1290r look’s pretty good,however some don’t(take Bill for instance)..the thing just rips,i’m old,no need to impress anyone(except Bill)

        • Motoman says:

          So I used to sell bikes when the SD came out. In person it looks much better, nasty mo-fo with a function over form vibe. I love it.

          Funny thing about age. 40 years ago I used to laugh at old guys wearing loafers, dress socks, plaid shorts and a Hawaiian t-shirt. Now I totally get it. They just didn’t give a shyte what anyone else thought, they were comfortable.

  6. Marcus says:

    KTM’s looks are very polarizing. Early on I really liked the origami styling when most didn’t know what to make of it.
    But now I’m tired of it.
    KTM should know that if they built a version where it looked “normal”, they would sell a lot more.

  7. Jim says:

    Why no new RC8 again?

    • Jeremy says:

      KTM announced a while back (2015?) that they would no longer be making large displacement sport bikes because they were too dangerous for the street. Thank goodness they took action to save us from ourselves.

      Apparently, 180 HP safety nakeds are the way forward.

    • xLaYN says:

      Ahhhh the RC8, I remember the poster on SR, so angular and unique.
      I think the RC51 was the end of those 1000 cc vtwins and probably inline with Jeremy’s “too dangerous” (to produce if honda will sell better) comment.

  8. Harry says:

    On a broader view, understand that this topic is redundant. But, why does anyone need a bike like this on the street? I don’t get it. It’s capable, if not speed governed, of over 200 mph. The speed limit on interstates in the West is 80 mph. Guess my personality is too conservative or practical. Personally I have more fun riding a more modest machine at its limit than a more powerful machine at half it’s limit. The only reason I ride is for the pure enjoyment of executing a turn with precision. Braking, leaning and accelerating out. I search out roads with curves, hate the flats. Guess I just don’t have the skill set to ride this monster.

    • fred says:

      It’s not about “need”, at least as I understand the word. The “Beastlier’ doesn’t really fit my needs, wants, use case, skill set, or budget.

      Perhaps I’m even more conservative or practical than you – I just enjoy riding, even slow, on the flats, in traffic, commuting, and even in inclement weather. Of course, I prefer curves and hills on a clear, bright day, but it’s not necessary for me to enjoy the ride.

      I’m fairly confident that I would enjoy the RR, but would probably splat myself if I tried to explore its limits.

    • joe b says:

      The age old question, no one has given a good answer for why not?

    • TimC says:

      “Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube.”

      – HST

    • hh says:

      Harry, I don’t think you get the higher ground by coming across as: transparently disingenuous; boastful; argumentative; and self-aggrandizing.

    • Curt says:

      “But, why does anyone need a bike like this on the street?”

      Well, to each his own. I like them because of the pleasant riding position (relative to a sportbike), and the instantaneous “go” at any rpm in any gear. The street doesn’t (legally) provide room to reach the torque peak in pretty much any gear on a superbike. The super nakeds aren’t limited in displacement, so they have a satisfying grunt out of any corner, any time, any rpm, any gear, without spending a lot of time winding up the bike and making a bunch of noise. There are lots of ways to find satisfaction on a bike (pretty much any will do). These do something special. Ironically (?) I wasn’t tempted to speed (much) on my Gen 2 SDR. The wind blast provides instant and convincing feedback to take ‘er easy.

      Ride safe!

      • newtonmetres says:

        Well put ! You dont NEED that power but its fun to ride : to have surplus HP and TORQUE even if you dont explore the full potential.Besides where can you anyway except on the racetrack or a deserted road. Im 67 next week and i ride a B-KING : best bike out of 17 Ive owned. First was a Yamaha 80cc two-stroke

        • Jay Jonas says:

          That Yamaha 80 was a pretty,fun,neat bike. If you still don’t have it I bet you wish you did.

  9. newtonmetres says:

    I could get used to the looks-in fact I know i could with 180HP and 180KG.

  10. Gary says:

    I hear the Super Duke is not Super Reliable. True? I keep hearing stories about fritzy electronics …

    • Curt says:

      I had a couple of minor glitches on the dash of my 2017. No biggie, considering what that bike did for the soul literally every second it was running. Lots of bugs are described here and there. For a lot of reasons, not the best “only” bike, so just have a backup and enjoy.

    • Jim says:

      No problems with my ’14. Just eastern bike owners talking smack because their machines don’t measure up.

  11. motorhead says:

    Nothing bores me like watching television reruns. Or reading last month’s newspaper. Or seeing the same motorcycle built over and over for decades. Keep bringing out the new bike designs!

  12. Brian says:

    The seat is level when you sit on it. I think this RR spec was necessary to maintain the family pecking order after the 890R came out. I just bought a normal Duke 890 and I am learning to love orange!

  13. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    I’m getting used to the looks, but until KTM extends the headlight up and over the instrumentation like a bikini fairing and makes the human butt seat parallel to the earth, no go. When will the performance madness end ? WoW !

  14. VLJ says:

    “My pet whine is…”

    Literally everything. You’re worse than Mikey from Life cereal.

  15. Some bikes are unapologetically ugly/functional. This is one and I approve..its going to piss off the haters then leave them in the dust..

    • todd says:

      That’s funny. You do realize a bike can’t do anything without a rider. Therefore, performance of a bike is almost entirely determined by the skills of that rider.

      • Jeremy says:

        Sure, but any asshat can roll on the throttle in a straight line and leave that much better rider on the clapped out SV650 in the dust. Most of the country rides on fairly straight paved lines, so there will be lots of dusting regardless of rider skill.

        • todd says:

          “Most of the country rides on fairly straight paved lines”. Seriously? I’m sorry. How terribly boring!

          • Jeremy says:

            Yeah, I feel bad for those poor suckers too, but it’s da troof.

          • mickey says:

            That’s the thing about reviewing bikes. There are different demands and priorities for someone from say New York City, and Bozeman Montana, Southern California or Southern Indiana.Idaho or Florida…and that’s just in this country. World wide our conditions very so widely, it would be virtually impossible to make a motorcycle that could satisfy all of us, without even going into height, weight, age and physical condition of all the riders.

  16. Hot Dog says:

    I happen to like the looks of it. A lot of the old Dogs on this site want a cookie cutter out of the past.

    • mickey says:

      lol we are what we are. One of these days (quicker than you think) you too will be an old dog. Would love to be around to hear you yelling at all the youngsters about their hair, clothes, music, and machinery they have an affinity for. It’s how it has always been … and how it will always be.

      Maybe they will be al hot for electric bikes and you will miss the feel and sound of an ice machine.

      • Hot Dog says:

        Jee whiz Mickey, thanks for the compliment as I’m only 68 years old. I’ll be a old dog, when I sit on the porch with the hounds and yip/howl at every bike that I don’t like the looks of. I’m not old enough to golf yet, so I feed my young age by admiring most motorcycles. In fact, I’ve got a CRF300 Rally on order. Us youngsters know how to live.

    • marloweluke2 says:

      Totally agree. I’m old but not THAT old. I like it.

  17. David J Smoot says:

    How many of those horrid lines will you be able to see from the cockpit as you rip down your favorite road?

    Form vs. function arguments will never be agreed upon because we all place different relative importance (just ask my wife).

    The older I get, the more function trumps form because form is ephemeral and the societal consensus on attractive form will regularly change. But you take a gearhead from anytime in the last century and most will agree more power = good, less weight = good, shorter stopping distance = good.

    You’re not wrong if you care about looks, you’re just doomed to be chasing a moving target. If that works for you, enjoy life.

  18. jim says:

    the insect aerodynamics are patently ugly. ktm makes the ugliest bikes around. their other qualities may be phenomenal but that can’t overcome the look. then again i thought led zepplin was marginal too.

    80 hp 140 kg i’d pay for that combination even ugly as a ktm.

    • Mick says:

      KTM does seem to be stuck in the weird headlight trend of the late nineties. And what’s up with the giant radiator shrouds?

      The vestigial tail section atrocity is and industry wide obsession that I would be very happy throw the electric chair breaker on.

      As a dirt biker I actually like dirt bike based styling. But this is dirt bike on bad acid styling.

      When I was young old people hated my music. I always wondered what the young would do to offend me when I got old. They got started right away in the seventies and eighties by making all the cars ugly. While the were at it they refused to let actual musicians make music. They hire dancers now and have the same two no talent guys write all the songs. Then they set their sights on motorcycles. First came the hideous headlight trend. Then they destroyed motorcycle racing both on road and off with their ridiculous four stroke engines. I haven’t been to an event or even watched a race on TV since 2002.

      Now this. Weird headlight? Check! Impractical nearly useless tail section? In spades! Giant pterodactyl on bad acid radiator shrouds? Um… Well that’s new. Congratulations on finding a new and interesting way to be irritating.

      What’s next? Stay tuned. BMW hasn’t done anything really crazy in a while. They’re due.

    • VLJ says:

      “then again i thought led zepplin was marginal too.”

      I will never trust you. – Dave Grohl

  19. mickey says:

    It may be insanely powerful and fun to ride, but there isn’t a line or angle on that thing that is pleasing to my eye.

    • Dave says:

      Maybe when ridding as intended, the light bends and makes it look like an orange and white Kawasaki KZ1000.

      I like this one better than some of their others. The more even distribution of orange, white and black works for me. I don’t think “practicality” is on anyone’s list among those who’d actually buy this bike. This is meant to be a focused exotic.

  20. Grumpy farmer says:

    Would love to hear it at full song with the optional can.

  21. st1100boy says:

    I’m on my second Super Duke R. Love it. But the bike I’m REALLY looking forward to is the new Super Duke GT. We’ve seen spy shots, so I can’t see it not coming out. I’m getting a little older and will move to a cooler climate, so the GT is probably where I need to be.

  22. joe b says:

    What a superb machine. Everything in life is about timing and location. We are living in the future. Now, que the negative comments about all the tiddly bits some individuals dont like, forgetting how impressive the machine as a whole really is.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hear they are insanely expensive to buy, maintain and insure. They’re also Orange.

      There, got those tiddly bits out of the way.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        They’re also quite some ways off the pace, compared to actual fast bikes, on any track where bikes get to actually go fast. Even if perhaps less so in bench racing disciplines, than in most other forms….

        At current power levels, by the time acceleration is no longer wheelie limited, it is becoming aero limited. Rendering silly-powered nakeds a bit moot, as far as doing any real tormenting at tracks are concerned.

        No doubt a fast bike, though. Although a similarly developed 890 would likely be at least as fast, anywhere an, again similarly developed, liter bike wouldn’t be.

        • Dave says:

          This is probably why the RC8 was really discontinued. Leaves them able to build “impressive” naked bikes that will sell instead of mediocre (but probably still awesome) sport bikes that will get passed over by the spec-sheet shopping squids.

    • Goose Lavel says:

      I believe there insanely expensive to buy, maintain and ensure. They are also Orange.

      There, got those tiddly bits out of the way.

    • cw says:


      Have you heard yet about about them being insanely expensive to buy, maintain and…

    • Mick says:

      My pet whine is that they don’t make a bike that is half as powerful and significantly lighter. Nobody does.

      The weight of an 80 horsepower bike hasn’t really changed in decades.

      • VLJ says:

        “My pet whine is…”

        Literally everything. You’re worse than Mikey from those Life cereal commercials.

        • Jerry says:

          “Pet”, as in “one of many”? That kind of pet?

        • Mick says:

          Sorry VLJ. I’ll try to be a good little consumer about three or four lifetimes from now. Until then I’ll leave that to you.

          Have you bought a pickup that can’t even carry your golf clubs yet? You’re so rad.

          • VLJ says:

            So, we can add pickups to your never-ending list of pet whines.

            Got it.

          • Mick says:


            I bought six new pickups with about the same spec. Then they stopped making that spec because the car people have an aversion to 8 foot boxes.

            I buy used trucks now in protest. The car people ruined the half ton in 2007. The 2009 that I bought, my last new truck, was a joke.

            The last time I bought a new street bike was 1994. I still buy new dirt bikes. Two strokes naturally. The last motorized vehicle still made by a couple of OEMs for the people who brought them to the dance.

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