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KTM evolves the 1290 SuperDuke R into an all-new beast

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It’s that time of year when manufacturers tease us with all of the next year’s new bikes, and this time, it’s KTM’s turn. 2022 brings a new KTM 1290 Superduke R and a Superduke R EVO, bringing with it KTM’s own brand of WP Suspension and their second-generation Apex semi-active units. Other than the revised suspension on the EVO model, some refinements to controls and some new paint colours it seems about it!

KTM Superduke R burnout

KTM’s hooligan Superduke has been their flagship bike since it was first released, and it has always sold well. KTM has promised the new model delivers everything the riders asked for (but have ignored me asking for an RC16 road bike for years).

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For 2022 the 1301cc V-Twin LC8 engine stays, making 180hp. Thinner engine cases and oil cooler mounts save 0.8kg. 60mm exhausts tubing optimises gas flow to the dual catalytic converters, however, these will quickly be swapped out for Austin racing pipes. It seems to be a KTM owner staple.

KTM Superduke R wheelie
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CAD designed wheels

A revised swingarm, with a 5mm higher pivot point gives more traction and front end feel and combined with engine mount adjustments in the frame, increases the anti-squat nature. Basically, it’s nicer to ride. Bridgestone S22 tyres wrap the latest CAD designed and tested wheels, using the software to optimise both high strength and low weight design.

SuperDuke R Evo gets Semi-active suspension

The new Superduke R EVO model features Semi-active technology bolstering the usability and brutalness of the existing Superduke, allowing the bike to be super soft for hard bumpy roads, but rock-solid for that trackday or canyon carve – all at the push of a button. With three damping profiles giving comfort, Street or sport for all needs. An optional Suspension Pro package offers three further damping modes, with Track, Advanced and Auto featuring.

Superduke R EVO
Suspension tuned by KTM test riders

Track mode provides the stiffest possible setting developed by KTM’s own test riders, which KTM says is perfect for fast tracks needing additional support under braking. Advanced mode suits the more technical and knowledgeable rider who wants to fine-tune every setting to the perfect detail allowing a selection from 1-8 for the fork and shock. Lastly, Auto mode is the most intelligent and detects differing styles of riding automatically adapting and updating settings, being softer and more plus through the city, stiffening up when speed and riding intensity increase. These changes occur without any interference, instantly and without any rider prompt.

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The Suspension Pro pack also includes a switchable anti-dive function which keeps the front end suspension travel minimal under hard braking.

On the rear end, there is spring preload adjustment through the TFT dash of up to 20mm in 2mm increments depending on the situation. Suspension pro mode also carries three automatic preload auto-levelling settings, low, standard and high. It sounds very much like this will adjust the height of the bike ever so slightly, giving more ground clearance and track-focused geometry at a higher height, with a lower seat height and more comfort in the low setting.

Blue KTM
Rather saucy blue number!

This year Superduke R also benefits from increased throttle response with a new quick-turn throttle, with a 65degree action, down by 7 degrees. Not only does this reduce time and travel to get to full throttle, but it also reduces wrist strain and reduces elbow drop too.

Two new colours are introduced to the Superduke R range, a blue and orange paint job is now supported by an all-new Silver and orange. The frame also comes in orange – a feature reserved for KTM’s R models, and the hot orange wheels are now a KTM icon.

Silver KTM
New Silver colours too

Bikes will be available in KTM dealers from January 2022 onwards, however were given no information on pricing, for either of the models or upgrades! For more information see the KTM website

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