First, we got the latest-generation KTM 1290 Super Duke R, in 2019. Then, last year, we saw the 1290 Super Duke RR unveiled, with higher spec (not for North America, though!). Now, KTM is preparing to debut the Super Duke R EVO, as (presumably) the pinnacle of that line.
The news comes straight from Asphalt & Rubber, who once again leverages its network of Bothan Spies to bring us this news (head to Asphalt & Rubber to see a photo of the bike). A&R doesn’t have a whole load of specs for the bike; editor Jensen Beeler says the new EVO model will come with a quick-turn throttle and higher-spec WP suspension (as you’d expect, since KTM owns WP). According to A&R, the EVO actually gets semi-active suspension.
What else do we know? Uh, not much. Obviously, there will be new paint. Asphalt & Rubber’s write-up says the price tag will be $19,599 plus taxes and fees in the US, with availability in January. That’s less than $1,000 over the standard 1290 Super Duke R MSRP, so don’t expect performance to be much more extreme. However, the semi-active suspension alone would be a welcome upgrade, even if there’s no other technical trickery, and well worth the upgrade.
Sorry, hosers—no word yet on Canadian availability or MSRP.
A new battlefield?
When the EVO arrives, it will come into the market as the latest in a new breed of bikes: The Hypernaked class.
It’s a distinct turn for the manufacturers, who long saw the naked bike class as a place to pawn off slightly out-of-date technology. Not so, anymore! Instead of a previous-gen engine “re-tuned for the street,” manufacturers are now putting 200 horsepower or more into aggressive chassis built along superbike lines, and adding highly adjustable electronics and suspension.
But why? These things will grossly exceed the speed limit in first gear, so they can’t be ridden to their full capability on public roads. And, there’s no roadracing series for them, at least not on a serious level. They aren’t in World Superbike.
Instead, the Ducati Streetfighter, MV Agusta Brutale and other similar machines are now coming into the world as “halo toys,” with the performance of a litrebike, but more comfort for the real world.
However, with all the marketing images that show these bikes on-track, we’ve got to ask: How long before we do see a class for these in an FIM-sanctioned international racing series? Why isn’t it happening already? Surely there would be interest from both spectators and manufacturers.