2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R First Look Preview

More power, less weight, and new instruments make The Beast even better.

The estimable Super Duke R gets even superer for 2020, with more power, a new chassis, TFT instrumentation, and updated electronics.
The estimable Super Duke R gets even superer for 2020, with more power, a new chassis, TFT instrumentation, and updated electronics.KTM

KTM's Super Duke R has achieved greatness since its 2014 debut for its blend of extreme power and sportiness with relatively comfortable ergonomics that sometimes makes us overlook pure sportbikes. For 2020, the Super Duker receives a host of new items like its frame, wheels, brakes, instruments, switchgear, and electronics. More power and less weight, too.

Changes For The 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

The 2020 Super Duke R has been restyled from front to back. Note the large exhaust header tubes, new wheels, and new Brembo Stylema monoblock brake calipers.
The 2020 Super Duke R has been restyled from front to back. Note the large exhaust header tubes, new wheels, and new Brembo Stylema monoblock brake calipers.KTM

The 1,301cc V-twin motor retains the same 75-degree architecture but gets lighter crankcases and new, 56mm top-feeder throttle bodies. Various other tweaks have cut 1.7 pounds of weight from the engine. Together with a new ram-air intake and larger exhaust headers with two catalytic converters, KTM now claims 180 horsepower (up 3 hp) at 9,500 rpm and a torque peak of 103 pound-feet at 8,000 rpm while producing 10 percent fewer emissions. Gearbox mods promise lighter lever effort and shorter throws, along with an up/down quickshifter.

Completely new is the frame, now with three times the torsional rigidity. The chromoly steel tubes are larger in diameter but with thinner walls, reducing weight by 4.5 pounds. The subframe is now made of a composite material that further saves weight. The bike’s claimed dry weight is 417 pounds.

The 2020 Super Duke R can be identified by its new headlight featuring a ram-air duct feeding a new airbox and its new TFT instrumentation.
The 2020 Super Duke R can be identified by its new headlight featuring a ram-air duct feeding a new airbox and its new TFT instrumentation.KTM

The Super Duke R’s suspension has been upgraded to WP APEX components. The burly 48mm fork is lighter and features split-function compression and rebound adjusters, as well as preload adjustment. The lighter rear shock uses separate gas and oil reservoirs, with individual high- and low-speed compression damping and preload adjustment without tools.

A longer single-sided swingarm is positioned closer to the output sprocket and 5mm higher to improve rear-wheel traction. Speaking of wheels, they’re new, too, and supposedly lighter by an unknown amount. They are shod with Bridgestone’s new Battlax S22 rubber.

As good as the existing Super Duke was, its instruments and switchgear were looking and feeling out of date. We’re happy to report that both are new for 2020, now with 5-inch color TFT instrumentation and modern switches with paddle buttons.

Naked sportbikes aren’t typically at home on racetracks. The Super Duke R isn’t a typical naked sportbike.
Naked sportbikes aren’t typically at home on racetracks. The Super Duke R isn’t a typical naked sportbike.KTM

Footpegs are now adjustable to two positions, and shift and brake levers are also adjustable for a customized fit. The one-piece handlebar is now slightly lower but adjusts over four positions over nearly one inch of variance. A restyled fuel tank (4.2 gallons) has been designed to better support its rider.

A full suite of electronics are available and include ride modes, cornering ABS, traction and wheelie controls, and cruise control. Optional is the Performance mode which adds further adjustability and engine-braking adjustments. The optional Track mode allows nine levels of traction control, launch control, and the ability to disengage wheelie control.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Price And Availability

This fully upgraded Super Duke R carries an MSRP of $18,699. They should arrive at dealers in February 2020. Stay tuned!

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Price And Specifications

PRICE $18,699
ENGINE 1,301cc, liquid-cooled, 75-degree V-twin, DOHC, 8 valve
BORE x STROKE 108 x 71mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 13.6:1
FUEL DELIVERY Keihin fuel injection, 56mm throttle bodies
CLUTCH Multiplate, PASC slipper
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain
FRAME Chromoly steel tubular trellis
FRONT SUSPENSION 48mm inverted WP Apex fork, fully adjustable; 4.9 in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION WP Apex shock, fully adjustable; 5.5 in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Brembo Stylema 4-piston calipers, 320mm discs w/ switchable ABS
REAR BRAKE Brembo 2-piston caliper, 240mm disc w/ switchable ABS
TIRES, FRONT/REAR 120/70-17 / 200/55-17
RAKE/TRAIL 24.8°/ N.A.
WHEELBASE 58.9 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 32.8 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 4.2 gal.
CLAIMED DRY WEIGHT 417 lb.
WARRANTY 1 year
AVAILABLE TBA
CONTACT ktm.com/us/