With the 1290 Super Duke R getting an overhaul last year, it was only a matter of time before KTM either updated the Super Duke GT, or dropped it from the lineup. From what we’re seeing on the Interwebz, it looks like KTM is going with Option #1.
Debuting as a 2017 model, the Super Duke GT is an interesting machine—it’s a sport tourer, with an emphasis on sport. But, it doesn’t have the typical bodywork you’d see on a machine like that. The FJR1300 and its ilk are covered in plastic, to hide the bike’s ugly bits and protect the rider from the elements. Also, they’re usually fairly heavy, and run a shaft drive to minimize maintenance.
The Super Duke GT is more plasticked-up than the Super Duke R, but it’s still pretty stripped-down when compared to the FJR and other bikes from that bracket. It’s built for speed, with a chain drive to make production easier and minimize weight. It’s based around the same platform as the Super Duke R, and while it’s a bit heavier, the original model still retained the R’s no-nonsense, bare-knuckle-brawling attitude. Hard bags, heated grips and a larger, adjustable windshield are standard equipment.
Although it never gained the popularity or the notoriety of the Super Duke R models, the GT managed to survive in the lineup, even though it’s outside KTM’s normal theatre of operations. Then, earlier this month, a few online outlets ran photos of a new-for-2021 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, ostensibly going through final testing, or maybe photography runs. The man behind the handlebars? None other than famed racer Jeremy McWilliams.
So what’s coming next season? Check out the spy photos on Motoblog. The new bike doesn’t see a massive bodywork re-style, just a bit of tweaking here and there to fit over the new chassis. Like the 1290 Super Duke R, the GT has an updated chassis—but the previous GT’s chassis wasn’t exactly the same as the R, and on the new model, the frame is different too. There’s a new exhaust (part of the Euro5 emissions updated, probably), a new instrument panel and other tweaks.
It’s highly possible we’ll see this machine unveiled as early as this week, as this is new bike season. However, COVID-19 has disrupted everything, so we may end up waiting a while yet. Either way, it does seem like GT fans will be able to update their bikes with a new frame and engine, probably with about 180 horsepower.