The first thing you’ll notice about the KTM Super Duke 990 is probably how cool it looks. This fuel-injected sport cycle with a 999cc, displacement, liquid-cooled, V-Twin engine would look as in place in a Fast and Furious movie as on the highway, and whether you go with the orange, black, or white paint job, there’s no question you’ll turn heads on the Super Duke as you whiz down the road.
The Super Duke comes in the standard 990 or the even mightier 990 R model, and either one will probably give you just about all the power you can handle, even if you’re accustomed to riding sport bikes. The other thing that stands out about the KTM Super Duke is what a comfortable ride you get. With a wide, padded seat and a well-positioned aluminum handlebar, you can settle right in and feel confident that you have total control over the vehicle. The only drawback in the seating configuration may be the 33.5 inch seat height, which is a bit high, but this should really be an issue for only the tallest riders.
The dash display is a combination of classic gauges and modern styling, with an orange backlight illuminating an analog gauge and an LCD display supplying you with critical information. It’s got a nice look to it, although it’s a bit on the small side, so you might have to squint a little to verify your numbers.
The KTM Super Duke is not quite as maneuverable as some sport bikes; it doesn’t take corners that sharply or change direction excessively fast, although it is a bit heavier than some of the bikes it can compete with in this area. Similarly, the stopping power provided by the Super Duke’s brakes is good, but not the best among similar sport bikes. The suspension on the 2008 KTM Super Duke 990 is well-balanced. You get a comfortable ride while one still firm enough to take on some racetrack action. The six-speed manual transmission is easy to manage with its hydraulically-actuated clutch, so even if you’re not an expert rider, you can definitely have some fun with the Super Duke. While this bike has good power, there are others that give you more. That being said, the Super Duke can run with just about any comparable bike when it comes to getting up to speed off the line.
You’ll get some noise out of the Super Duke, but it has a more refined sound than some of the more spirited sport bikes, and you’ll get a little vibration, especially at lower speeds. It’s nothing too distracting, and it shouldn’t affect your ride too much, especially since the firmly constructed and well-positioned mirrors stay solidly in place even when the bike takes on a little bit of shake.
Should you buy the Super Duke? If you can get a good deal on one, you’ll probably be happy riding this sport bike. It looks great and it’s fun to drive. It’s far from perfect, and it doesn’t have the best engine or the most power among sport bikes in its class. That being said, it’s an extremely flexible bike. You probably won’t win many professional track battles on it, but you might take down an impromptu drag race, and this bike will definitely hold its own in challenging urban environments and on the highway. It’s not necessarily the best or fastest sport bike on the road, but for a casual rider, or a bike enthusiast who’s not necessarily looking to take the racing world by storm, it can be just about the perfect bike.