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2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Review

The 2020 model adds more power, lighter weight, revised chassis and suspension, and tuning intended to make it more manageable for everyday riding — less track tool, more street weapon.
Packed between the rider’s legs is a 1,301cc V-twin that churns 180 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque, linked to a six-speed gearbox with a quickshifter that enables clutch-free cog swaps. Feeding the powerplant is a ram-air intake that channels air between the LED headlamps, forming an insect-like beak up front. Though the jagged bodywork is visually unwelcoming, relatively high handlebars and a fairly well-cushioned seat make for relatively comfortable ergonomics.

32.9-inch tall seat and you’ll first notice the new 5-inch digital display front and center, offering a bright, clear graphics package with myriad sub-menus managing engine power, throttle response, wheelie control, and the like.

The wireless key fob also unlocks the steering lock and gas cap, and enables key-free startups.

KTM’s logical menu structure makes it easy to manage the bike’s settings via up/down/right/left buttons on the left handgrip. If you’re accustomed to the conventional switchgear you’d find on mainstream bikes, KTM’s sharp-edged buttons and switches might seem a bit too slavishly designed to match the angular bodywork. Though they are logically laid-out, their shape seems designed for design’s sake, not functionality. I had some trouble resetting the turn signal button, which seemed sticky on my tester, and a follow-up with KTM didn’t shed any further light on the anomaly. The redesigned switchgear does include nifty thumb/forefinger paddles that adjust the traction control for variable wheel slip, which is part of the optional Track Pack.

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