KTM 1290 Super Duke R | DOIN’ TIME | Long-Term Bike Test

KTM 1290 Super Duke R | DOIN’ TIME

Long-Term Update: Dealer service and adding GPS

WRIST: Zack Courts
MSRP (2014): $16,999
MILES: 12,710
MPG: 36
MODS: Dealer service, TomTom GPS
UPDATE: 10

The 1290 went back to the KTM mother ship for its second scheduled service, admittedly a little bit late, and I learned a few interesting things. Included in the scheduled maintenance chart (I found it at ktm.com) is an estimate for how long each service should take a KTM dealer to complete—handy for getting a quote and checking your dealer’s work. The estimate for my KTM’s 15,000-kilometer service was 116 minutes, and my local dealer quoted me $350. In the end they reported the work took 160 minutes, but happily the final bill was $363.58; as far as I’m concerned 14 bucks is in the ballpark.

KTM’s 15,000-kilometer service is extensive, basically involving a front-to-back check of the bike’s systems, from wheel and swingarm bearings to cooling and drainage hoses to brake pads and fuel pressure. In doing so the dealer alerted me to a recall for battery cables, some of which were manufactured incorrectly by the supplier and installed on some 2014 1290 Super Duke models. Problems with the cables manifest as “bad contact or poor connection” with power supply and ground connections. Although my 1290 never displayed any electrical issues, it’s worth checking with your dealer if you own a 2014 Super Duke.

Lastly, I questioned the dealer about any issues with 1290 Super Dukes having slop or play in the rear hub, after reading complaints/concerns online. They reported no such problems with any 1290’s that have come through the shop—and my bike isn’t exhibiting the malady yet—so as far as I’m concerned it’s still a mystery.

Next on the agenda was a GPS install. Specifically, TomTom’s new Rider (tomtom.com), a motorcycle-specific system that looked like it would fit in the 1290’s minimal cockpit. Installation is uncomplicated; the biggest challenge was finding a source of power. A TomTom-provided cable offers plenty of length, and pre-stripped ends make adding connectors easy, but finding power was a little tricky.

How convenient is that? KTM is kind enough to incorporate two power taps into the Duke’s wiring harness. Other KTMs (dating all the way back to the 950s) offer these hook ups as well, though locations may differ depending on the model.

Boss-man Cook directed me to the helpful pages of superduke.net, which in this case had concise and specific instructions for where to find KTM’s accessory outlets for power, nestled under a subframe spar, beneath the seat and behind the battery. In fine KTM form, accessory power is labeled and fitted with standard female spade terminals for convenience. After confirming that ACC2 (accessory 2) offers switched power—as opposed to ACC1, which draws from the battery even with the key off—I plugged in the TomTom’s power supply. (Note: You’ll need your own male spade terminals to connect to the bike, and test the leads to make sure you know which is power and which is ground. Also, leave the seat off until the unit is mounted to the bar, so the slack in the wire can live safely under the seat.)

TomTom provides mounting systems from RAM Mounts, one that pinches the bar and one designed to mount to the clutch reservoir. Neither looked as clean as the Handlebar Clamp Base with M8 Screws ( rammount.com; $12/set) that take the place of a handlebar pinch bolt and allow the mount to hover just over the steering stem. Taking care not to pinch the wire providing power and allowing the bar to swing freely lock to lock, I placed the TomTom Rider in a convenient spot in the 1290’s cockpit and dived into the setup menus. Plan on a few minutes here, too.

I’m surprised at how bulky it is, but overall the unit’s fit and finish is impressive. The screen is bright (but darkens automatically at night) and the touchscreen works with gloves on, both key features. Next up will be testing TomTom’s sense of direction—it has a “winding routes” function I’m looking forward to trying. TomTom has an updated Rider system on the horizon, so I’ll get familiar with this one in order to test the latest and greatest in a couple of months.


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How convenient is that? KTM is kind enough to incorporate two power taps into the Duke’s wiring harness. Other KTMs (dating all the way back to the 950s) offer these hook ups as well, though locations may differ depending on the model.

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