The adventure-tourer segment is one of the few bright spots in a motorcycle market that’s in a slump right now. These bikes are big, expensive… and profitable.
Arguably, BMW defined the niche with its GS. But just like every car manufacturer (including sports-car brands like Porsche) rushed SUVs into production once they saw how popular the type was, so too have motorcycle manufacturers crowded into a segment BMW once more-or-less ruled undisturbed.
The new-for-2019 KTM Super Duke GT is like a summary of what it takes to compete in this segment. It’s necessary — but not enough — to have a smooth, flexible ride that’s comfortable for long-distance touring and has generous power on tap. More and more, bikes without technical farkles will be left behind.
That’s what KTM has given the 1290 Super Duke GT for its 2019 update.
Sure, they worked on the liquid-cooled, 1,301cc LC8 V-twin. There are new titanium valves and intake resonator chambers for (claimed) smoother low to midrange torque, delivering 175bhp (130kW) and 104 ft-lb (141 Nm) of torque. And that will be welcome.
But the real work is in the electronic wizardry upgrades that the GT gets. There are now three settings available on the WP Semi-Active Suspension — Comfort, Street, and Sport. Quickshifter+ allows for clutchless shifting up and down the gears. Lean-angle sensors for ABS braking and traction are now standard. There are LED cornering lights on each side of the tank. There’s push-button preload adjustment.
The new windshield can be adjusted while you’re rolling. The cruise control is new. The new electronic data all gets displayed on a new 6.5″ multi-function color TFT screen. The display connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, meaning you can use the KTM My Ride app to change audio volume and accept phone calls with a touch of the screen. And the headlight is now LED.
Quite a list. But that’s what it takes to compete in this market nowadays.
KTM took the wraps off of the 2019 Super Duke GT at INTERMOT in Cologne. DriveMAg Riders were there and had KTM Product Marketing Coordinator Gustav Greiner walk through some of the updates.