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The 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R is the third generation beast. What is he?

KTM Duke is a family that is recognizable on the streets and already has a whole army of fans. Therefore, it is not surprising that KTM continues to develop the model. In any family, there must be someone especially big and scary, here this crown was taken by the KTM 1290 Super Duke R. The 2020 model was developed under the name “The Beast 3.0” – “Beast 3.0”.

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The first animal of its kind was born in 2014 – the 1290 Super Duke R powered by the LC8 KTM engine. In 2017, the engine received a number of electronics and mechanics updates. This was the second generation – “The Beast 2.0”.

“The Beast 3.0” – became even angrier, even easier, even more dangerous. Is he as good as expected?

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Great weight loss

One of the main tasks that the creators of the new model were solving was the total lightening of the motorcycle. According to the manufacturers, almost 90% of the third generation Super Duke R has been revised.

The dimensions of the stiffeners are reduced as much as possible! And with this simple trick, the engine lightened by as much as 800 grams! Further, the layout of the oil lines in the engine has changed. Because of this, it not only became lighter, but also eliminated some of the frictional losses. Even the cooling pump is not that heavy now.

The exhaust system has dropped a kilogram. The gearbox, manufactured by Pankl Racing Systems, is not only lightweight, but also has a short stroke. Speaking of the gearbox, there is the possibility of adjustment and access to a longer stroke.

The frame dropped a couple of kilos and traverse another 200 grams. Lightweight aluminum and carbon subframe. The central parts of the structure are thinner than at the attachment points and on the ribs. The motorcycle has dropped the excess noticeably. Now its dry weight is 195 kilograms.

“The mass of a motorcycle – how can it be?”

Engine update

At the moment, the LC8 twin is really the most kicked in KTM, although it is similar to the previous one – also 1301 cubic centimeters and a camber of 75 degrees. But the engine added only three horsepower compared to the second generation sibling. On the exhaust – 177 horsepower and a peak torque of 140 Nm at 8000 rpm. By the way, at low and medium speeds, he now also has a temper, which could have been lacking before. Looking ahead, the increase in power has been achieved while addressing the challenges posed by the stringent Euro 4/5 emission regulations. For this, the exhaust system is equipped with two catalytic converters.

The increased performance is attributed to the addition of shower head nozzles, which are located on each of the two inlet pipes. Thus, fuel grinding and spraying of the combustible mixture at the upper speed is more efficient.

For the best engine performance, it needs to “breathe” well. The engineers used the principle of inertial charging. The previous model had dual air intake ports, while the third generation uses a central air intake. It was placed between the headlights and increased by a quarter – by 2.8 liters. The intake itself is closed with a grate to protect it from foreign objects.

Added to this is a completely redesigned exhaust system. It’s not just lightweight. To compensate for the difference due to the length of the manifold pipes (depending on the cylinder), the head tube on the rear cylinder is made larger in diameter than on the front one.

Frame, swingarm and handling

KTM said that torsional rigidity is increased by lightening the frame. An interesting fact is that the engine itself is here part of the supporting structure, which is now three times stiffer than the previous model.

Due to the fact that the engine in the frame was raised by 38 millimeters, the center of gravity became higher.

The steering column angle has increased, and the traverse has moved forward by three millimeters. Trail remained unchanged. But they already say that such innovations in the corners only play into the hands of the pilot.

The single-sided pendulum has also become lighter, but according to manufacturers, it is 15 percent stiffer, and even longer. The WP Apex Multifunctional Suspension has many adjustment possibilities. Thus, the motorcycle is easy to adapt to the owner, riding style and road quality. Taken together, these indicators add a lot of points to the cashier of a motorcycle’s stability and handling.

Wheels, tires, brakes

You have already noticed that the words “new” and “light” apply to almost any part of the motorcycle … Therefore, the principle is the same here. The Bridgestone S22 is a collaborative effort between KTM and Bridgestone. The point is that the rear wheel has a softer carcass, which has a positive effect on the contact patch and maneuvering when exiting a turn.

Immediately we see cast five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels. The front brake is a 320mm disc with 4-piston Brembo monobloc calipers, while the rear is a 240mm Brembo twin-piston fixed caliper. due to this particular system – minus another 90 grams of weight.


The aggressive design of the motorcycle is due not only to the desire to emphasize the sporty characteristics of the model. But the manufacturers do not hide the fact that the KTM 1290 Super Duke R will find a place both in the city and on the track. When you look closely at the fairing and think about how this affects aerodynamics, it becomes clear the true meaning of design – creating downforce against the front of the motorcycle. And from all this, a sporty fit follows reasonably.

An unexpected solution is the design of the landing at the tank, which should give more comfort and confidence to the pilot in braking. However, with the new structure of the air intake and this landing, the tank lost almost two liters of volume.

The control system deserves special attention. According to the manufacturer, enough time has been spent on the development of the remotes so that the driver has everything he needs “at hand”. But the “track” mode is no longer in stock, you will have to be content with the basic ones: rain, road and sports. Although it should be noted that the electronics of the KTM 1290 Super Duke R is not offended, if you need to prepare it for serious races, you can always achieve the desired result by installing the necessary options. Not free, of course.

If you want the Quickshifter feature, then you have to spend money because it is available as an optional extra. This is what is missing in stock form!

Truth in the eye

This is how imperceptibly we came to the disadvantages. The catch is that with a comprehensive rework, a total upgrade, everyone was waiting for something much more powerful. Yes, he became light. Yes, it has become more interesting in terms of the engine. Yes, he has a lot of good-quality lotions. On the official website, it now costs almost 1.8 million rubles. Can you find something “tastier” for that kind of money?

The KTM 1290 Super Duke R has already been compared to the fast-paced Ducati Streetfighter V4 and MV Agusta Brutale 1000RR.

Of course, “Beast 3.0” will compete for a place under the Sun, and how well – time will tell.

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