KTM might say it’s not competing in the superbike world, but its actions speak otherwise. The just-unveiled KTM 1290 Super Duke RR is basically a superbike in street-going clothes, with horsepower on par with recent-production litrebikes, and torque output that exceeds those track-focused machines.

When KTM revealed the RR this week, it was no great surprise; we’d seen the usual string of government documents and journo gossip indicating the machine’s development. By December, we knew the bike’s name, but we did not have the final build sheet for the hypernaked. Now, the machine’s been revealed in Europe.

Carbon-fibre, and lots of it. KTM shaved about 20 pounds off the R model, creating the RR. Photo: KTM

The updates

It doesn’t sound as if the engine itself saw many tweaks; the Euro mags all report 180ish horsepower, and 110 pound-feet of torque, which sounds basically the same as the 1290 Super Duke R. The significant changes come elsewhere, to the chassis and electronics.

The RR gets a new carbon-fibre subframe and forged wheels to cut weight, among other tweaks. There’s also a generous application of carbon-fibre bodywork. All in, KTM managed to trim about 20 pounds off the RR when compared to the R model; the wheels themselves are about 3 pounds lighter than the standard R model. A lithium-ion battery cuts another 5 pounds. The new Super Duke should weigh about 417 pounds at the curb, before it’s fueled up.

The RR comes with high-performance Michelin Power Cup2 tires, and track-ready WP Apex Pro suspension. There’s also a WP Apex Pro steering damper.

Along with new hardware, the RR gets new software. There’s new Performance and Track riding modes, allowing the rider to adjust rear-wheel slip, motor slip, throttle response and other electro assistance. KTM’s already spent considerable time perfecting its offroad electronic assistance software, and now it’s bringing that same approach to its street bikes, it seems.

KTM also has an extensive selection of aftermarket parts planned for this model.

This bike has real-world potential, but the marketing shows a lot of track use. And, the new Performance and Track riding modes seem to reinforce the advertising. KTM’s new naked is intended to be a trackday weapon. Photo: KTM

When will it come to North America?

At this point, we don’t know when KTM will ship the new machine to the US/Canadian markets, or if that will happen. KTM North America hasn’t officially told us the bike is coming, and no wonder—most of the new-for-2021 models aren’t coming here for months. There’s no reason to expect the RR will be here before the Super Adventure series.

KTM is only building 500 of these machines worldwide, so either way, there won’t be many coming across the Atlantic. As for pricing, we haven’t seen that either. Expect it to top the $20k mark in the US, and probably be close to the $25k mark in Canada.

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