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KTM Introduces 1290 Super Duke R EVO For U.S. Market

The KTM 1290 Super Duke R is already an amazing motorcycle, as MD confirmed in our testing. For 2022, KTM is introducing the 1290 Super Duke R EVO with the latest generation semi-active suspension from WP, along with other changes and new graphics.

Here are the details from KTM about this new model, which should be in U.S. dealers this winter:

MURRIETA, Calif. – The ever-popular KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R roars into 2022 with a new brace of colorways and second generation WP APEX Semi-Active Technology (SAT) suspension along for the ride, delivering a new EVO derivative – THE BEAST, EVOLVED.

KTM’s flagship street motorcycle underwent its most radical re-invention in 2020, boasting a number of tweaks and engineering improvements. The 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R underwent dramatic weight savings with a reworked LC8 engine, and the electronics package was also updated, making THE BEAST one of the most technologically advanced naked motorcycles in the segment.  

For model year 2022, KTM has launched a new incarnation of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R that delivers exactly what riders asked for. Dubbed the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO and drawing on the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R’s already legendary status among riders, the EVO brings more tech to the fore, adding new WP APEX semi-active suspension from WP.

This electronically enhanced BEAST takes the halo model to new levels of capability and adaptability as the leader in the 2022 DUKE range, which includes the return of the playful KTM 200 DUKE, the class-defining KTM 390 DUKE and the sharpest street weapon, the KTM 890 DUKE.

With new Semi-Active Technology (SAT), the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO retains its class-leading hyper-naked ferocity but gains an even wider range of usability. This allows THE BEAST to go from a comfortable rocket on poor road surfaces to a hardened track-ready apex-splitting weapon with the simple click of a switch.   

Three different damping modes – COMFORT, STREET and SPORT – are available as standard. 

In addition, the spring preload of the rear suspension can be set via the TFT menu, ranging up to 20 mm in 10 steps, depending on the requirements of the rider. In this case, the adjustability setting ranges from 0% to 100%, in 10% (or 2 mm) increments.   

In addition to the standard suspension settings, the optional SUSPENSION PRO package offers three more damping modes, namely TRACK, ADVANCED and AUTO. 

  • TRACK provides the stiffest available setting developed internally by KTM test riders to provide the ideal setting for track days and specifically for faster race tracks where you need additional support under hard braking.
  • ADVANCED allows the rider to select the level of damping for the fork and shock on a scale from 1 to 8. This suits more technical riders who are looking for the smallest marginal gains and want to fine-tune and tailor their suspension settings for their riding styles. 
  • AUTO is the most intelligent of the trio and is capable of detecting different riding styles and automatically adapting the suspension damping, being softer and more comfortable when cruising through the city, and harder and more focused when riding aggressively on a fast mountain pass. This auto adjustment between modes happens almost instantly without any interference in the ride. 

SUSPENSION PRO also offers three automatic preload auto-leveling settings – LOW, STANDARD and HIGH. In this instance, the suspension is able to adjust the preload automatically in accordance with the weight of the rider and recreate three defined geometries: 

  • AUTO-STANDARD: neutral and balanced geometry.  
  • AUTO-LOW: relaxed, less aggressive, more comfortable geometry, with a lower seat height.   
  • AUTO-HIGH: aggressive, agile track attack geometry, with a more loaded front end.     

Another optional feature on SUSPENSION PRO is an anti-diving setting that keeps the front-end high under hard braking. As with most electronic functions, it can of course be switched off if desired.  

The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO continues to feature the RAIN, STREET, SPORT and optional TRACK and PERFORMANCE ride modes, affording riders improved feedback about what the engine is doing, with less intrusive traction control and anti-wheelie mitigation.   

Selecting any of the above settings can be performed on the fly.  

In terms of looks, the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO retains an aggressive street presence but introduces two new colorways. A familiar blue and orange livery is flanked by an all-new silver and orange, which complement the aggressive and hard-hitting appeal of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO. The signature KTM orange frame – reserved only for KTM ‘R’ models – along with hot orange wheels, give a visible warning to competitors: this BEAST is ready to attack.  

A full range of specially created KTM PowerParts has been developed to personalize and further intensify your ride. A dedicated range of KTM PowerWear ensures the rider can give everything they’ve got and boosts their READY TO RACE performance.   

The 2022 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R EVO will arrive on authorized KTM dealer floors alongside the rest of the DUKE family from this winter onward. Also look for the returning 2022 KTM 690 SMC R supermoto machine to arrive at dealerships this December. For more information, visit


  1. Curt says:

    I had a 2017 and loved it. Bonkers and more practical than you’d believe – the ultimate paradox (or close to it). This one addresses a couple of issues so it can only be wilder. Ever since I sold the last one I’ve been looking for the day I could replace it. I’m in line for the first one in town.

    These bikes are obviously polarizing. You like ’em or you don’t. That’s why they make a myriad other bikes (plenty of bike with round features and no orange). Just after the financial crash in 2008, I looked back on the late 90s/early 2000s and figured the golden days of motorcycling were behind us. With today’s proliferation of ridiculously awesome motorcycles, I’ve changed my mind. Cheers!

    • mickey says:

      I think the point is, besides there being other bikes that are not orange or pointy, someone may like the features, weight and performance of THIS bike,(or KTMs in general) but would like it more if it wasn’t so shall we say garish.

      • tuskerdu says:


      • Curt says:

        Totally understood. The features and performance of this line of motorcycles make them compelling. That’s a real dilemma if the styling isn’t quite to a person’s taste. So one has a decision to make, don’t they? 😉

        • todd says:

          In anyone’s hands, this bike has no more performance than a number of better looking motorcycles. The only dilemma is whether you want to look like a poser-squid when you still end up bringing up the rear of the mid-pack on group rides or against SV650s at your local track days.

          • Curt says:

            Todd, motorcycling is about having fun. Literally. A person should ride what they want to ride. Everyone is slower than the World Champ but it’s still their choice to ride however briskly they want, on the bike that makes them happy. You might want to ask yourself why you view others who don’t agree with your taste in motorcycles, with such disdain.

  2. tuskerdu says:

    enough with the orange.

  3. Ivor Rowland says:

    All I get out of this report is the whole package has to be dumbed down in order to ride the thing…What’s the sense of goo goo horsepower available but you dare not try to use but only a half of it…the total review is centered on stupid electronics and handling quirks that prevent the rider from enjoying it’s full potential…methinks we are at the point whereby no normal human could ever be expert or crazy enough to attempt wfo..!….Where do I’s totally mad..

    • TF says:

      Beg a test ride on one, even an older generation bike. It is likely the most user friendly 170 hp motorcycle you will ever experience.

    • Curt says:

      I’d second what TF said. Get a ride on one, long enough to try out the various settings. These things are mad, PLENTY of fun, and ridiculously tractable and easy when you want to be.

  4. Rob says:

    Dear Ducati and KTM,

    What is with the hideous headlights on what are otherwise great looking bikes? I do not want to ride what looks like to be from the front an insect.



    • Jeremy says:

      I quite like them.

    • Motoman says:

      To each their own. I love the look of most of the new style bikes. But as I’ve mentioned I am more concerned with what it does than how it looks. I am a trick hardware junkie though. From follows function I suppose.

  5. Anonymous says:

    And I thought the new Ducati Streetfighter was ugly.

  6. Donk says:

    Great bike I’m sure. As a KTM fan I wish they didn’t use the Evo name from the last generation of Ducati air cooled Monsters.

  7. Tim says:

    Still don’t like the headlight or the lamb-chops but, boy oh boy, what a machine.

  8. Mick says:

    I find it odd that all these bikes with cropped tail sections resort to these pieces of garbage, because that were they end up, hanging off the bike to hold the license plate or whatever. How about a luggage rack that preforms the same function? Maybe they would still end up in the trash. But at least the bike would be equipped with some hard points for luggage options.

    It has been nearly thirty years since the street bike industry created a design the gained any notice from the world at large. Now it’s just retro that misses the mark or weird. Is it that the industry has gotten too cheap to hire talented designers or that the gene pool has edited that talent out of the human race?

    • Dave says:

      That’d be like putting a luggage rack on a race car. This bike is for riding, not traveling. They know who the audience is and what they want. They make other bikes better suited to carrying stuff, they have big huge engines too.

    • Jerry says:

      KTM and Ducati are businesses. Their job is to build what people want to buy. Both companies seem to be doing just fine, so people must be buying what they are selling.

      If you can’t find anything on the market that you like, it sounds like the problem is you, not them. Why don’t you start a company and build motorcycles exactly how you want to, and see if you can sell enough of those bikes to stay in business…

      • Reginald Van Blunt says:

        People can only buy what manufacturers produce, stupid looking or not. So – here’s an idea.
        Where as all these modern bikes have incredible performance but ugly looks, why dosen’t a plastic or composit, existent manufacture, build replacement parts to eliminate all the sharp edges, fold creases, etc. with smooth natural flowing, bolt on outer mold line after market stuff.
        I know scale is a problem but at least try on some of the most popular bikes first. Nothing is getting any better by the big name motorcycle manufacturers.
        Retro will never miss the mark, it worked for a very long time because it was a functional interface between the natural world and man.

  9. av says:

    I wonder if it cold starts and runs for few minutes on one cylinder like 890?

  10. Dave says:

    Let no man complain that the fuel tank is too small…

  11. Skybullet says:

    WHEN KTM offers a new version of the 1290 Super Duke GT, they ought to have two models. One following the styling of all their other bikes and one with Conservative, Traditional, Functional, maybe even a round headlight retro look. They might be pleasantly surprised that the buyer for the GT is more mature (ok, older but still wanting state of the art engineering) and they are having a hard time warming up to the radical swoopie look. It’s working for Triumph.

    • st1100boy says:

      I’m not too picky about styling (an obvious statement from a guy who has owned a 2nd gen Tuono and a pair of Super Duke Rs), but I sure do want to see a new GT released for ’22. I don’t care what it looks like, I just want it.

      • Lawrence says:

        Prove you’re not picky and get a first-gen V-Strom…

        • Dave says:

          He said he wasn’t too picky about styling, not performance. Judging by the bikes he’s owned, v-storms will need 2-3x the horsepower before they warrant enough consideration to have their styling disregarded.

    • TimC says:

      The new Street Triple is admittedly better but the headlight assembly is still weird.

  12. newtonmetres says:

    One hell of a great looking bike!!!!

    • Delmartian says:

      Surely you jest. I think most all KTM’s, from their overly-angular origami-styling to their florescent orange paint, are Fugly. I just don’t understand what the attraction is, other than, sure, they’re all incredibly capable motorcycles with awesome performance. It’s just that I have no interest whatsoever in buying one, since I can’t get past the disturbing looks. But obviously there are many, many KTM owners who would disagree with me. I always wonder though, do KTM buyers really think their bikes look good, or are they willing to put up with the questionable styling and color schemes because the bikes are such excellent performers ? Dunno.

      (For reference, my bikes are a 1997 Triumph Daytona T595 (955cc) and a 2012 BMW K1300S HP (High Performance) model. Now THOSE bikes look fantastic. 😉

      • kg23 says:

        I have a mint 2000 KTM Duke II with 22K miles. Last week a guy came into the bar and said “Whose new KTM is that?! What model is it?”
        The styling is polarizing but it sure has legs.

    • Motoman says:

      I love the looks too but looks are down the scale for me. To each his own. I used to sell KTMs and they look much better in person, IMO. I am a hardware junkie though but I realize most of it is way above the average rider’s skill-set.

      • Motoman says:

        Didn’t realize until later but, I really should have said… way above most everyone’s skill set… maybe highly rated racers could get the most out of it.

  13. ABQ says:

    As I stare out the window at the pouring rain I wonder what kind of motorcycle I would be riding if I were not a middle aged brokeass gimp. Lately Motorcycle Daily has featured some naked bikes that that are so desirable that they qualify as porn. Hot naughty porn.
    Knowing that this is the kind of bike that is way out of my league, even though I do have the money, I will say my sour grapes:
    “That tail is too high for me to mount. Cut it off.” And I don’t like orange.
    As I look at it with some lust in my heart, I admit the window is closed, the shades are pulled and the curtains are closed. I take one last look and snuff out the light. Close my eyes and dream on.

  14. mickey says:

    Is that the stock exhaust? Nice

  15. VLJ says:

    That blue one looks like the album cover for Hendrix’s Axis: Bold As Love, or maybe one of Jimi’s jacquard-pattern guitar straps.

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