Test Ride: KTM Superduke 1290 R

IMG_5028 adjA menacing presence of matt black and gloss black combo body and rims on bright orange trellis frame. A very angular and muscular tank amplifies the aggressive looks. Further inspection reveals high quality parts like the Brembo brakes, WP suspension front and rear and Akra slip-ons that makes the soundtrack phenomenal.Braap- braap! This street brawler means business and has serious hardware to back it up.

WP front and back, Akra and Brembos, this bike is littered with high-end bits.

Everyone knows V-twins make good low end power. With 1301cc of displacement in V75 configuration, it gets a little crazier than just good low end power. There is just no lag at all and at almost any RPM range in any gear, well almost. The urgency suggests the claimed torque of 144NM and 180BHP is way too modest. Even at Road setting, the power is exhilarating. If you do not respect the beast, it will return the favour. Skipping a heartbeat or two is almost a certainty when you twist full throttle and you are hanging on for dear life. High speed cruising (if you can call 200km/h cruising) is manageable and rather sedated though this beast can reach the 300km/h mark with ease.


This powerplant is just a gem. The best from KTM so far.

Enter the weekend and we were blessed with good weather and so we decided to do a test run. The route is PJ- Gombak- Bentong- Gombak- PJ. A good mix of trunk roads and highways that spans about 150km.

The ride started late as usual. After filling up the 18 liter tank, we pushed off. LemangTo’Ki in Bentong is the destination for brunch, that turned out to be lunch. The bike performed amazingly on the highway pushing speeds above 200kmh with ease.If I have to sum up the experience in one word,it’s the acceleration!… acceleration!…that grin inducing acceleration. This bike is quick. Damn quick!

The bike inspires confidence, soaking up bumps and undulations. The Brembo monoblocs are simply superb. Stopping on demand and well modulated. No complains in the stopping department, that’s for sure. The OEM Dunlop Sportsmarts performed its duties well offering plenty of grip at all times.


The LED headlight is very bright to see, and be seen

Though often labeled a bad-ass, we found out that it can be well behaved when necessary. The stop-go traffic on the trunk roads tested its ability to handle normal day-to-day routine of the normal commuter. Though we doubt most will buy this bike to commute. Just remember what you’re riding and you’ll be just fine.


Dashboard is simple and does the job.

The second test ride was a night ride from PJ to Kuala Selangor and back. Another 100km in the dark. The bright LED lights paved the way along the dark trunk road towards Kuala Selangor as it muscled its way among the unsuspecting vehicles. Here the suspension is really put to test as there are many uneven stretches and bridge gaps that are built like ramps. After a good seafood meal we made our way back and the fuel indicator still shows 2 bars. Very surprising as the bike was really pushed hard. We suspect the range on this bike could reach 300km on a full tank if ridden sensibly.

The Spartan LED display shows all the necessary readings that a modern bike should. The easy-to-use buttons to toggle in and out of modes make it almost idiot proof. Am happy to report it took me less than a minute to understand how to use the buttons. There are 2 modes- Sports and Road, and you also have the option of switching off the TCS and ABS (which I think is suicidal).IMG_5020adj


For anyone brave enough to push this beast to the limit. Indeed it is Ready to Race!

The only downside of this beast that I can think of is its 835mm seat height. It’s perfect for me being 6’1” but I believe this will be a barrier of ownership as the vertically challenged rider might not be able to straddle this beast. However, as they say – if there’s a will there will be a way.


Come out and play

For those interested in getting this Beast, it is available for RM135k OTR from MotonationSdn. Bhd – KTM CBU importer. They can be contacted via phone at 03- 7859 9160 or email them at [email protected]

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