KTM 1290 Super Duke GT review


A few weeks ago I flew to Majorca to ride KTM’s new 1290 Super Duke GT, a more touring-biased version of the mental Super Duke R naked bike and a less off-road focused take on the 1290 Super Adventure.

My first thoughts? I don’t really need to be here.

I didn’t really need to be there because upon closer inspection it appeared the new 1290 Super Duke GT was fitted with Brembo M50 brakes, Bosch electronics, semi-active WP suspension, and KTM’s home brew 1.3-litre V-twin powerplant. 

That’s the motorcycling equivalent of sticking Jennifer Anniston’s boat race, on Megan Fox’s body, with a bit of Jennifer Lopez chucked in for good measure.
 
You can’t really go wrong with that mix.
 
My one concern before getting on the GT was that KTM were going to fall into the age old trap when it comes to bike manufacturers building a sports tourer. It’s the same old recipe we see every time:
 
  • Take exciting powerful bike which handles well
  • Make it less powerful
  • Make it handle slightly worse
  • Put panniers on it, a screen and give it a more upright riding position 
 
Ok, so being a GT bike the KTM obviously does get panniers, a screen and larger fuel tank over the naked bike, but those are about the only compromises. The engine still makes 173hp, has enough torque to tow Gemma Collins several metres, and the chassis geometry is identical to the naked bike. If you’ve ridden the Super Duke R, you’ll know that’s a very good thing.
 
 
Almost all bikes have some sort of Achilles heel but it’s hard to pick holes in the GT. It has the power and handling department totally sorted, and then it’s specced - as standard - to the roof with all sorts of electronics, like: Cornering ABS, traction control,  lean-sensitive stability control, a digital gear indicator, heated grips, heated seats… Basically, if it exists, the GT probably has it.
 
The looks might not be everyone’s cup of tea and at £15,999 it’s not exactly cheap either, but I can’t think of a single bike out there that the GT wouldn’t hold its own against.
 
It’s fast enough to keep up with any superbike on circuit, has the comfort on tap for all-day riding stints with a pillion, and the practicality is there on offer too. 
 
It’s brash, it’s a perfect mix of sensibleness and nuttiness, it’s a KTM. I love it.
 
Mmmmm, Jennifer Anniston.
 
Key facts:
 
- Engine: 1,301cc V-twin with 173hp and 106.2lbft of torque
- Dry weight: 205kg
- Tyres: Pirelli Angel GT
- Seat height: 835mm
- Fuel capacity: 23 litres