Since 2005, the Super Duke, with it’s blend of supermoto hooliganism and supernaked speed, has been KTM’s flagship wheelie weapon. After a big update two years ago which saw ‘The Beast’ receive engine, chassis and electronic updates, we weren’t expecting KTM to announce a radical overhaul of the Super Duke for 2022. And they haven’t. The KTM 1290 Super Duke R remains much the same as the old one, with some new colour options and an updated switchgear. But there’s a new kid in town; the KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo.
What’s so special about the Super Duke R Evo? Well it’s a Super Duke, for starters, so there’s quite a lot special about it. 180hp, 140Nm of torque, and wheelies for days and days and days. But what’s special about the Evo, compared to the ‘normal’ Super Duke R? One thing, and one thing only. It’s WP’s second generation semi-active suspension.
It was only a matter of time before there was a Super Duke available with electronic suspension. And by the sounds of it, KTM and WP are having a go at doing it properly. You get three damping modes, COMFORT, STREET and SPORT, and you’ve got ten levels of rear preload adjustment; all adjustable via the TFT dash.
And because KTM love an optional extra, ‘Suspension Pro’ can be activated (presumably with the purchase of a ‘Power Parts’ dongle). That’ll give you three more damping modes, TRACK, ADVANCED and AUTO. TRACK being the stiffest, raciest setting, for the fastest tracks. ADVANCED being the most adjustable, allowing you to finetune your suspension to match your riding style. And AUTO being the most ‘intelligent’, able to detect the way you’re riding, and alter itself to suit.
Suspension pro also has three pre-set preload settings, LOW, STANDARD and HIGH, and an anti-dive setting, which gives the front end extra support under braking. You can turn that off though, if you want. A front end that doesn’t dive when you get on the brakes can feel quite alien to most people, myself included.
Both the 2022 KTM Super Duke R models come in either blue and orange or a new silver and orange paintjob and have an updated switchgear. They’ve also got a new, slightly quicker action throttle, too.
Prices should be confirmed mid-December (2021), but the 2021 Super Duke R was £15,749, so I’d expect the new one to be something similar. And I’d expect the Evo to be another £2k- £3k, that’s roughly the premium you pay for electronic suspension.
What’ll it be? KTM 1290 Super Duke R or KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo?