How KTM 1290 Super Duke R Was Born

The KTM 1290 Super Duke R kind of took the world of naked bikes by storm, if not by its tremendous power, then by its ultra-radical design and in-your-face brutality. Unlike other similar bikes relying on long research using select customer input and focus groups, the Beast was created in-house by a handful of dedicated people at Kiska and KTM, and the results is truly stunning, to say the least.
KTM 1290 Super Duke R 1 photo
Things started off from an idea which was as alluring as it seemed very hard to put in practice: creating a bike which pretty much everyone could ride at their level. And if KTM thought of using a common engine, maybe things would have been easy, but the heart of the future bike was the most brutal of all the Austrian engines, the upgraded version of the RC8 mill.

Testing and tuning revealed that the 1290cc version of the RC8 engine, itself derived from the LC8 power unit was capable of delivering stunning performance, and so the bike was to be built around it. And since a pure road-aggression machine was the ultimate goal, design house Kiska decided there was no room on the KTM 1290 Super Duke R for anything which did not make it better or faster.

Several board members were asked to ride the early versions of the bike and come up with their own ideas and vision on how should be the bike be developed. One of the hardest tasks was designing the single-sided swingarm, but the result looks truly glorious, with the exhaust integrated in the same package and zero performance compromises being made.

Reduced and refined, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R boasts exceptional rideability for everyone, in every situation, and such compliance is rather unique among naked bikes of such power. With 180 hp and available in multiple trims, the 1290 Super Duke R seems to be the spearhead of what KTM wants to be the first step in becoming the global leader in the naked segment.

Video thumbnail


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories