KTM unleashed its new 1290 Super Duke R at EICMA.  Saying the bike has been “re-Beasted,” the revised machine has undergone its most radical re-invention ever.

Highlights of its new form include a completely new chassis, styling, and electronics.  While undergoing its re-birth, the 1290 Super Duke R has lost weight and gained power.  That can be a powerful combination.

Here’s what we’ve found so far.

Super Duke 1290 R Engine

The 2020 Super Duke R received a boost in horsepower and torque.  Its 1301 cc LC8, V-Twin, has undergone subtle but significant development. KTM says the engine has been optimized to be lighter but retains its torquey character.  The revised engine acts as a stressed member, and its linkage mounts add to the bikes overall structural integrity.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

KTM has boosted the power of the Super Duke R’s LC-8 engine.

Ram air airbox

To maximize power, KTM has designed an all-new ram-air intake that is positioned in the new headlight mast.  Its arrangement maximizes airflow into an all-new CFD optimized airbox with new, smaller resonator chambers.  As a result, airflow maximum is achieved by forcing air into the combustion chambers.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Integrated behind the headlight nacelle is a ram air airbox.

The ram-air reduces the chance of low air pressure and increases the fuel burn rate.  A byproduct of the new design is the addition of a new easy-to-access air filter box, making servicing easier.


The new frame uses the engine as a means to increase torsional rigidity with the net result that the KTM 1290 Super Duke R is three times stiffer than its predecessor.  The new setup maximizes feedback from the chassis and the front tire.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Wider diameter tubes with thinner walls help KTM shave off 2 KG from its predecessor’s frame.

Also, the frame now uses wider diameter tubes with thinner walls.  This change provides the single most significant weight-saving measure on the bike.  Ultimately, the new tubes save 2 KG when compared to the previous model.


An all-new and lighter composite subframe saves weight and increases functionality. KTM kept the weight paring philosophy and have the passenger seat, license plate holder, and taillights bolt directly onto the subframe structure.  As a result, no additional brackets or attachments are needed.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

The Super Duke 1290 R has a new composite subframe.


A longer single-sided swingarm has been repositioned closer to the output sprocket for more control when putting the power down. Additionally, KTM says there is a substantial increase in feel and traction.  The swingarm’s pivot-point has been moved, improving overall geometry and travel.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

A longer single-sided swingarm helps improve feel and handling.


KTM claims every suspension component has been considered to improve the handling, adjustability, and performance.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Reworked suspension components grace both ends of the new machine.

Front fork

A Lighter and fully adjustable WP APEX fork features split function compression and rebound settings.  KTM claims that this allows riders to fine-tune the front end for spirited riding conditions or be set for a plush ride for long hours on the road.   Lastly, adjustable preload settings will help you find the ultimate front-end stance.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

The front end uses a WP Apex fork with split function compression and rebound settings.

Triple clamp

The triple clamp is new with lighter forged aluminum fittings and an offset of 32 mm, while an aluminum steering column helps to trim more weight.

Shock absorber

The newly developed WP APEX rear shock absorber has separate gas and oil reservoirs.  It lighter and more compact than its predecessor.  The shock is also fully adjustable, with individual high-and low-speed adjusters, and a ‘no-tools-needed’ manual preload dial for easier rear shock set-up.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

At the rear, a WP Apex shock absorber uses separate gas and oil reservoirs.


The 1290 Super Duke’s wheels are the product of a sophisticated CAD system.  The result is a wheel that is specifically engineered down to be lighter and stronger.  The new wheels are lighter than before and reduce rotational mass.


Bridgestone developed the new S22 tires – 120/70/17 in the front and 200/55/17 rear specifically for the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. The tires feature a fine-particle silica compound, and offer improved grip in wet weather conditions, and provide handling characteristics good for both the road and track.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Bridgestone specifically developed its new SS 22 tires for the new 1290 Super Duke R.


4-piston BREMBO Stylema monobloc calipers help bring things to a rapid stop.  They clamp onto twin 320 mm floating discs up front.  At the rear, a twin-piston floating caliper grasps a 240 mm disc.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Brembo Stylema monobloc calipers clamp onto twin 320 mm floating discs.

Ergonomics & Comfort

According to KTM, the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R has been created “for spirited performance riding without compromising rider comfort.” It’s restyled tank provides better rider support, while lower, variable handlebars and adjustable footpegs offer improved comfort on the road and more control on the track.


Riders can find their optimal seating position with the Super Duke R’s adjustable 760 mm wide handlebar. It offers a tailored reach with four positions over 21 mm, front to back.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

The 1290 Super Duke R boasts an all-new TFT dashboard, and a four-position adjustable 760 mm wide handlebar.  In addition, the left grip side utilizes revised switchgear.

Menu switchgear

The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R boasts an all-new TFT dashboard and increased functionality.  KTM claims that a great deal of testing was done to develop robust and intuitive motorcycle switchgear.  For example, riders can now adjust the wheel slip via paddle buttons on the switchgear while in TRACK MODE or can set two programmable switches for fast access to favored features or setting of their choosing.


A two-piece seat addresses both rider and passenger comfort.  KTM says that passenger comfort has been thoroughly thought-out and has been designed to allow for real-world, 2-up riding.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

KTM says it thought out the new two-piece seat to maximize comfort when riding solo or with a passenger.


In anticipation of significant lean angles, KTM has considered the positioning of the footpegs for both racetrack use and comfort on the road.   Further refinement of the pegs is also possible with two adjustment positions, which lift the pegs higher and further backward.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Two-position adjustable footpegs are standard.

As may be expected, the gear shift pattern can be easily reversed to a five down, one up arrangement for track days. Shift and brake levers are fully adjustable as well.

Fuel tank

Completely new and made of steel, the 16 liter (4.2 gallon) fuel tank has been designed to support the rider on the street and the track.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

The fuel tank is now steel and has a 4.2-gallon capacity.

Sharp tail

The all-new, lighter composite subframe is designed to reduce weight.  To eliminate the need for brackets, the passenger seat, license plate holder, and taillights are attached to a neat and tidy tail.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Eliminating the need for brackets, the passenger seat, license plate holder, and taillights are attached to a neat and tidy tail.

LED headlight

An all-new headlight mask doubles as an intake snorkel.  But the real feature of the front end is the twin LED headlights.  They provide “ample” illumination when it’s dark.  Daytime running lights also increase visibility and conspicuity to help ensure that you are more visible to other road users.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Twin LED headlights help to provide “ample” illumination.

TFT display

In the cockpit, a new angle-adjustable 5 inch TFT screen features a fresh design and innovative new functionality.  An updated menu structure gives riders faster access to the various features and allows for additional customization of preferred riding setups.  The scratch-resistant bonded glass display also helps to reduce glare.

Rider aids

The 1290 SUPER DUKE Rs electronic features have received an update.  They now provide more feedback from the engine and less intrusiveness from the safety systems. This results in improved Quickshifter+ settings, more refined and natural feedback, and smoother, more intuitive anti-wheelie functions.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Rider aids have been revised and updated.

Ride modes

To give riders more feedback and control, all ride modes have been reworked and updated. This results in less intrusive traction control in all modes and smoother anti-wheelie functions.

Rain mode
“Rain mode” is for slippery conditions.  It provides maximum traction control, a very smooth throttle response, and less power.  , keeping the front wheel on the road when you need it.

Street mode
“Street mode” is made for daily use on everyday roads. Full power, default throttle response, and limited-slip traction control keep things controlled on the road.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Revised Ride Modes offer control for differing conditions.

Sport mode
Set for a more spirited ride, “Sport mode” tightens up the throttle control, reduces traction control slightly, and allows the front end to lift under hard acceleration. And- unleashes all the horsepower.

Track mode (optional)
For full-on race attacks, an optional “Track mode” allows the rider to customize certain features to best suit their riding style, such as the level of slip allowed by the traction control and turning off anti-wheelie control.

KTM My Ride

KTM MY RIDE lets you control your smartphone without losing control of the bars.   The KTM MY RIDE mobile app syncs to your smartphone, giving you turn-by-turn navigation and access to your music library.  It also allows you to make and receive phone calls on the fly.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

The KTM My Ride mobile app synchs to your smartphone.

Released technical details:


  • POWER IN KW – 132 kW (177 HP)
  • CONFIGURATION – 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°
  • BORE – 108 mm
  • STROKE – 71 mm
  • STARTER – Electric
  • LUBRICATION – Forced oil lubrication with three oil pumps
  • TRANSMISSION – 6-speed
  • COOLING – Liquid-cooled
  • CLUTCH – PASC (TM) slipper clutch, hydraulically actuated
  • EMS – Keihin EMS with RBW and cruise control, double ignition


  • FRAME DESIGN – Chrome-moly tubular space frame, powder-coated
  • ABS – Two-channel Bosch 9.1 MP ABS (incl. Cornering ABS and Supermoto mode Disengegable)
  • CHAIN – 525 X-Ring

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