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HAZARD OF DUKES – 2020 KTM SUPER DUKE R | Bike Tests | In this issue

As if the KTM 1290 Super Duke R actually needed improving, KTM does exactly that and lobs a lighter, sharper and more powerful weapon into the ring

I’ve been a convert of KTM’s two-wheeled General Lee since the original Super Duke appeared back in 2003. The all-sliding, all-drifting, front-wheel lofting devils have had me wheeling my well-intentioned streetfighter projects to the back of the shed for nearly two decades now. And when the Austrians released the first of the 1290 versions in 2013, aptly dubbed ‘the Beast’, a little bit of wee come out. That was followed four years later by the Beast 2.0, for which I was almost willing to resort to fisticuffs rather than give it back following our nakedbike comparo last year (AMCN Vol 69 No 05).

The Beast 2.0, is a hoot to ride, there’s very little to complain about. Its stonking, knee trembler of an engine is capable of inducing evil hilarity whenever you give it a handful and I’m yet to meet a person who has actually ridden a 1290 Super Duke and didn’t like it. Sure, it’s not perfect and it’s not for everyone, but man, if you have a pulse and you aren’t mildly aroused by that V-twin engine then perhaps knitting is more your pace.

Now, with not a whole heap of water under the bridge, you may be thinking that the 2020 version might be a selection of well-meaning but superficial updates to spur on a few sales. But nup; the Austrians aren’t resting on their laurels and have fronted up with a fresh new Super Duke R that KTM claims is 90 percent new.

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Test Pete Vorst

Photography KISKA GmbH & Schedl R