KTM 1290 Super Family – All you need to know

  • The KTM 1290 Super family is the flagship range for KTM.

  • Built around the 1301cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 75o V-Twin in different tuning they are exhilarating to ride.

  • The 1290 Super family consists of a naked sportbike, sport-tourer and adventure-tourer.

KTM’s 1290 Super family represents the pinnacle of motorcycling, not only in terms of engineering but also in design. But most of all, it’s the thrill of being on two wheels that they provide, never straying from the Austrian giant manufacturer’s “Ready to Race” philosophy.

Apart from a fully-faired sportbike, the 1290 series consists of the types of stupendous motorcycles that not only provide entertainment and smiles every kilometre, but also practicality in virtually any situation.

With the assistance of KTM Malaysia, we’ve assembled the power family for Christmas and the new year.

1290 Super Duke R

The 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R broke new grounds in providing a real kick to any rider, be they new or seasoned ones. Even veteran motojournalists who have ridden hundreds of bikes in their careers and lifetime swooned over it.

This was the start of “The Beast” and the “super naked sportbike” category.

But as if the 1290 Super Duke R could not be improved further, KTM went ahead and bettered even themselves. For 2017, the 1290 Super Duke R was built from the ground up.

The first thing anyone notices about the 2017 model is the fierce and distinctive split headlamp. The channel which splits the two sides actually performs as a cooling duct to reduce the temperature of the LED headlamps. Additionally, the main beam will come on automatically when the motorcycle is coming to a stop during daytime running.

The 1301cc, 75-degree, V-Twin engine was reworked and retuned for more power, yielding a horizon-bending 177 bhp and 140 Nm of torque. Specs on paper doesn’t reflect on the true character of the new 1290 Super Duke R, however.

While the 2017 model is faster than ever, it builds its speed in a smoother and controlled manner. Riders will not find a sudden burst of speed as if the bike has a hidden NOS injection system. This encourages confidence and smoother riding for even greater enjoyment. KTM did this by designing resonator chambers on the cylinder heads to smoothen the torque output.

The frame, chassis and riding position of the new 1290 Super Duke R have likewise been revised. The new frame is stronger yet lighter, the state-of-the-art WP suspension is fitted for total control. The brakes are Brembo all around, with M50 Monobloc four-piston calipers up front for maximum safety.

The new handlebar is 20 wider, 5 mm lower and 18.5 mm more toward the front. It also features a 22mm adjustment range to fit riders of any physique. Such placement puts more weight onto the front wheel for maximum control, besides provided better wind protection.

What’s a powerful motorcycle if not to be enjoyed in safety, correct? The KTM 1290 family are technological wonders and the 1290 Super Duke R is no exception. Gracing the bike are a plethora of electronic aid including Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC), Ride-by-Wire throttle, Ride Modes, Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC), ABS, Race On System, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), and Cruise Control, among others.

Owners can also upgrade the bike with the optional Quick Shift +, Motor Slip Regulation (MSR), My Ride connectivity suite, besides the Performance Pack and Track Pack.

1290 Super Duke GT

The 1290 Super Duke GT is KTM’s answer for a big bore sport-tourer that not only gets you places but flies to your long-distance destination while blasting other sport-tourers into the paddy fields. Yes, a bike has that effect when it’s built on the 1301cc 1290 Super Duke R’s engine platform.


However, the 1290 Super Duke GT differs from the 1290 Super Duke R in terms of comfort. The GT features a large frontal bodywork with an adjustable windscreen for wind protection on long rides, while mounting points for the panniers have been built in.

Likewise, the suspension uses the WP Semi-Active electronically adjustable variety, which varies its damping rates on the go. You could choose between Sport, Road and Comfort damping modes, besides the load for one rider, rider with cargo, rider with passenger, and rider and passenger with cargo. The system will keep the bike in optimum chassis balance for optimum handling at all times.

And handling (besides the speed, of course!) is where the 1290 Super Duke GT truly excels.

If there’s a bike in this world that seem to self-steer through a corner at blinding speeds, this is the one! No other large capacity sport-tourer has the propensity to steer into a corner and blast away like it, while remaining superbly composed over anything the road throws at it – all the while you’re seated comfortably on it.

Just like its 1290 brethren, the 1290 Super Duke GT is laden with the some of the best motorcycle technology available to the public. The electronics suite includes Ride-by-Wire, Ride Modes, the aforementioned WP Semi-Active Suspension, Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC), LED Cornering Lights, Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC), Quickshifter, Cruise Control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), ABS and many more.

You could upgrade your 1290 Super Duke GT by adding the optional Hill Hold Control (HHC) and Motor Slip Regulation (MSR).

1290 Super Adventure S

Along with offroad bikes, adventure bikes have been the hallmark of KTM.

The 1290 Super Adventure S and its more offroad-oriented 1290 Super Adventure R brother are the flagship KTMs.

Although the 2017 model had evolved from its predecessor, the 1290 Super Adventure T, KTM had almost entirely revised it.

The most obvious change is to the design. KTM had wanted a look that doesn’t replicated other bikes in the market and something that’s unmistakably KTM. When the designers split the LED headlamp to incorporate the cooling channel in between – voila! – the result was something never seen before.

The engine is based on The Beast but retuned for overall smoothness and absolute reliability such as DLC coating on the cylinder bores and a long service interval. It still punches out 160 bhp and 140 Nm of torque. But to demonstrate its flexibility, 108 Nm are already available from as low as 2500 RPM!

Its chrome-moly steel trellis frame is again, strong and light, weighing only 9.8 kg. Both ends are suspended by WP’s Semi-Active Suspension, update for this bike to carry almost any load you wish.

The 1290 Super Adventure S is also a technology-laden adventure-tourer, but has additional features specific to it. In addition to the usual fare, the bike has Offroad Ride Mode, Offroad Traction Control, Offroad ABS, lean angle sensitive Cornering ABS and Combined Braking.

You could upgrade your 1290 Adventure S with a suite of features as part of the optional Travel Pack which includes Quick Shift +, Hill Hold Control (HHC), Motor Slip Regulation (MSC) and My Ride.

Wahid's lust for motorcycles was spurred on by his late-Dad's love for his Lambretta on which he courted, married his mother, and took baby Wahid riding on it. He has since worked in the motorcycle and automotive industry for many years, before taking up riding courses and testing many, many motorcycles since becoming a motojournalist. Wahid likes to see things differently. What can you say about a guy who sees a road safety message in AC/DC's "Highway to Hell."

Related Articles