2017 KTM STREET MODEL RANGE | Bike Tests | Latest Tests | Top Sellers in Australia
When Austria’s finest sent us an invite to its new Sydney HQ to ride the updated KTM street range, Matt O’Connell snatched that orange ticket
The Beast (now 2.0) is such an apt name for the 1290 Super Duke R and I loved getting the chance to throw a leg over it. Neither the sharp, edgy styling nor the proven LC8 V-twin powerplant needs any introduction. Could there be a better way to spend a winter’s morning?
Since I rode the first iteration of the Beast, KTM has changed a few things on the bike…
There is an increase in power by around 3kW to (a claimed) 130kW, a 500rpm higher redline, re ned electronics, and some tasteful styling tweaks. The most notable change visually is the new headlight assembly that features LED strips on the edges that resemble lightning bolts.
The extremely slimline tailpiece makes for an even more aggressive look and complements the sculpted trellis frame. Even standing still this bike looks fast and oozes street cred, either in white or black.
Rolling out onto the chilly South Circuit at Sydney Motorsport Park the feeling from the original Beast hits home – it’s all about the engine. Or more to the point, KTM has done such a good job on this bike, that’s the rst thing you focus on.
Once we got moving I also noticed a big improvement in the electronics – the throttle response and anti-wheelie is a lot smoother. There are three selectable engine modes and KTM keeps it relatively simple: Rain, Street and Sport. Street mode was a good starting point – you still get full power, but the throttle response is softer and more forgiving.
As the bikes were dialled in and grip picked up, my con dence grew and I switched to Sport mode. The new ride-by-wire throttle has a much snappier response, but while it does demand respect, I still wouldn’t say it’s intimidating. You could say that Rain and Street tame the beast, while Sport unleashes it.
There’s a host of other rider assistance behind the scenes including traction control, anti- wheelie, and cornering ABS by Bosch, with all settings visible on the ultra-modern TFT display. It’s worth noting there are even more sophisticated electronic options available if you purchase the ‘Performance Pack’ or ‘Track Pack’. KTM didn’t enter MotoGP for nothing.
We didn’t really get a chance to stretch the legs of the Super Duke R on the tight South Circuit, but you can take it as a given this bike is freakishly fast in a straight line. Given the ergonomics, I feel like it’s most at home in the twisty stu anyway – the handlebar and seat position make it a breeze to move about and change direction quickly, especially with my taller 182cm frame.
The OEM M7 RR Metzeler is a sports-touring tyre and of course, every rider wants softer rubber at the track. On re ection, however, the technology in these tyres is pretty damn amazing – the heat cycle is incredibly fast and the feedback consistent. If you were planning on doing lots of track riding, yeah, you would probably change to something softer,
but these Metzelers can still be pushed bloody hard by your average punter.
O the track there are more features to impress including self-cancelling indicators, cruise control, keyless ignition and tyre pressure monitoring.
I think the key to the Beast is the excellent feedback provided by the chassis and tyres – if the bike is about to step out of line you will know with plenty of warning. That means you can focus on carving up the track and having a blast. And on that crisp winter morning at SMSP that’s exactly what happened.
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