Tag Archives: 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Yep, I’m riding something other than a Harley-Davidson. I don’t know where to start talking about this motorcycle. I don’t usually ride these types of motorcycles. How about this “It’s Fucking fast.” Yep, that pretty much sums it up.  So if you don’t read any farther, you definitely know that this motorcycle is no toy.  This motorcycle has the capability to test your riding skills within seconds of you ride it, so beware.  Oh, one other thing I hope you like the color orange.

Okay, I’m going to throw this out there. KTM what’s up with the ORANGE? Every single KTM motorcycle has some orange in the paint scheme. Did KTM buy a whole bunch of ORANGE paint on sale? Is it part of the manufactures branding? As Jerry Seinfeld might say, “What’s the deal with the ORANGE paint?” Sorry about rant!

This is probably one of the most powerful motorcycles I have ever ridden. I owned a 2010 Yamaha Vmax and I thought that motorcycle was fast. But I’m pretty sure the KTM would beat the Vmax in a foot race. The Vmax might run the table from 0 to 60 MPH, but after that it’s all KTM. The KTM has about 156 HP at the rear wheel and weighs about 240 LBS less.  If you do the acceleration math, I’m pretty sure I’m right.

The KTM Super Duke 1290 R has my favorite engine configuration, the V-twin.  This engine displaces approximately 1300ccs as the pistons fly up and down. Fuel, air and exhaust move through the two cylinders via 8 valves doing a high-speed dance. The valves are controlled by two chain-driven overhead cams. Engine heat is removed through a liquid cooling system. The rev limiter puts a stop to everything around 10,000 RPM.  That’s probably a good thing. This engine has three oil pumps to keep everything lubricated.

The 6-speed gearbox worked like a charm. Although, I never made to the sixth gear during the demo ride. The engine produces tons of torque so there’s no big rush to get through the gearbox.  Neutral was easy to find when needed.  I wish the gear position lever was a little bit longer. The clutch is hydraulically assisted which translated to a light pull at the lever. The engine has an advanced type of slipper clutch.

This engine bangs out 152 HP @ 9250 RPM at the rear wheel.  The torque produced 93 lb-ft @ 8300 RPM.  That’s a lot torque for a 1300 cc engine. For a comparison, the Indian 111 Power Stroke engine produces a torque of 101 lb-ft  @ 2700 RPM.  The Indian engine has 28% displacement lead over the KTM’s engine. KTM has reduced piston weight to improve power gain during acceleration. I was on this motorcycle for 45 minutes and I didn’t feel any excessive heat from the engine.

The oil cooler is mounted on the right side of the engine. Kind of a cool idea, connected directly to the front cylinder lower half. No hose, brackets or a radiator mounted to the frame front down tubes. If you weren’t paying attention, you’d miss it.  It’s out of the way from coming in contact with your leg or foot.

The engine is controlled by a ride-by-wire throttle system. This motorcycle is loaded with electronic control systems. This motorcycle come equipped MTC (Motorcycle Traction Control.) There are three modes of operation. Yep, you’ve got to make a choice on the mode. Your choices are street, sport and rain. Each mode controls the amount of HP delivered to the rear wheel. Also, if that wasn’t enough, it also senses your lean angle. Yep, your lean angle! This added feature will help keep you from sliding across pavement just behind your motorcycle. If you’re old school you can turn off the MTC and put an end to this “electronic trickery.”

I’m not a big fan sport or naked motorcycles. They seem way too cramped to me. The KTM has a lot room and I didn’t feel cramped. I guess I could use the word “spacious” to describe the experience while I was sitting in the seat. I remember thinking to myself while riding this motorcycle, “Man if I put some beach bars and floorboards on this baby, I’d be all good then.” Good thing I’m not designing motorcycles for KTM.

The speedometer / information center is easy to read while riding the motorcycle. In the center is a very cool analog tachometer. To left of the tachometer is text screen. The text screen provides you with lot of data. This would include riding mode, ABS setting, engine temperature and few other things. The displayed information on the text screen and the settings for the “electronic trickery” is controlled by four buttons. The four triangle buttons are located on in front of the left handgrip. Very easy to reach with your thumb. To the right of tachometer is a digital speedometer. One thing you’ll notice right away with the speedometer is how quickly the values change.

Brembo calipers are installed all the way around.  The front caliper has four pistons and the rear caliper has two. The front disk brakes 320 mm and the rear disk brake is 240 mm. The ABS system is the latest design from Bosch. The ABS can be set to either street or supermoto mode. I’m going to take “knowledge leap” about riding this motorcycle in supermoto mode. I’m guessing it will let you lose traction on the rear wheel through a sliding turn. If you’re one of those people who likes to say “I don’t need no stinking ABS,” you’re in luck, because you turn the ABS completely off.

The Super Duke R weighed in at about 445 pounds with all the fluids. The seat height is damn close to 33 inches. Not for the inseam challenged. The wheel base is around 58 inches. This is one of the reasons why this motorcycle felt very stable. The fuel tank holds 4.8 gallons.   This should give you about a 200 mile range before running out of fuel. Front and rear tires are 17 inch.

This motorcycle is equipped with a single swing-arm to keep the weight down. The rear wheel is driven by a chain. Yep, there’s another method to cause the rear wheel to rotate besides a shaft or a carbon fiber belt. The rims are casted. The rims are manufactured using a low-pressure die casting process to reduce unsprung weight. There’s a lot of technology incorporated in this motorcycle.

The suspension is fully adjustable. The front forks are inverted with pretty much standard protocol for these types of motorcycles.  The rebound and compression damping on the front forks can be set separately and independently from each other. Same goes for the rear shock, plus you get two speed settings for the compression damping. All of this information is above my pay grade. I’m just looking for a soft ride which is what I got during the demo ride.

Another thing I sometimes dislike about these types of motorcycles is the fact that I can’t use the mirrors. Generally you can’t see behind you, but you do get a good look at your shoulders. But everything was groovy, I could see behind me. Probably a really good thing because you will be able to see the police cars chasing you… although it will probably be from a distance. Oh, yeah, that day will come too, don’t kid yourself. What do they say “absolute power corrupts?”

Would I like to own one of these motorcycles? Yes, hell yes. Would I be able retain my privilege to drive in the state of Illinois if I owned this motorcycle? Nope, I would end up riding the bus for about 5 to 10 years. If you have self-control, this may be the motorcycle for you. Go to your nearest KTM dealer and check it