Motonation Sdn Bhd has bring us this 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R in Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia for its first ever launch in Asia. This indeed is a good move since the rider can test the power and mainly the torque of this bike in proper way, that is the circuit where you can max everything out of this bike, only if you dare. In the morning, it was raining while I was driving there and thinking that this test ride might be a wet test ride. Luckily it turns out sunny and the track is dry. The KTM 1290 Super Duke R has managed to awakens the desire within the riders soul with its radical design and a big engine under its Trellis frame. Looking very beautiful on every side you see it, this is the bike worth waiting for and now it is already touches its feet to Malaysia.
The 1290 Super Duke R was developed since 2002, that is 11 years ago and the first final product is the KTM Super Duke 990 (as pictured above). The KTM Super Duke 990 was introduced in 2005 and has become an interesting naked bike to look for. It is then refined with two replacement model with same name in 2008 and 2011.
The 2005, 2008 and 2011 KTM Super Duke 990 comes in two colours that is in iconic KTM orange and another one in black. The design gradually become much more sharper and it looks like the evolution of this Super Duke can be compare like a stone carving taking shape slowly to become a sculpture. Then, there was the KTM RC8. The link of combining bigger engine to Super Duke 990 was triggered when somebody ask what if the engine of the RC8 fitted to the Super Duke? That would be awesome. The RC8 engine has a capacity of 1,195cc in liquid-cooled 2-cylinder 4-stroke 75° V arrangement which can maxes out 173hp. It is already good and could be a great combination to the Super Duke, but what the KTM engineers did is that they increase the engine capacity to 1,301cc and making this engine for a naked bike is bigger than the KTM RC8 which is a supersports.
In 2011, the idea was finalised and shown in the sketch above. The 2011 sketch shows a sharper and more stubby look of the Super Duke. The lines looks aggressive and the stance in like a beast waiting to pounds its prey (sounds like Sugomi, eh?).
On October 2013, the 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R is revealed to world and shows the design that is not far from the final sketch that still looks sharp and stubby. Actually, in my eyes, this bike looks better than the sketch, which is usually true in reverse (I mean, usually the sketch is more beautiful than the real bike, but this 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R is better than the sketch).
Now that the engine is enlarged in the combustion chamber which also means the increase in HP and torque, how much actually the power it gets? The numbers shown that this sweet 1,301cc liquid-cooled 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, spark-ignition engine, 75° V arrangement engine is rated at 180hp at 8,870RPM and the torque at 144Nm at 6,500RPM. That is much more powerful than the RC8 which only measures at 173hp and 120Nm only and the RC8 engine is already powerful to boot. The next thing that happened is that the throttle has become very wild initially. At only 6% throttle opening, there will 30Nm available on tap. 6% is a very little number and if you look at the twist of throttle position, it almost like nothing.
Electronics are used to rectify the problem and Ride by Wire (RbW) is used. A good note from KTM Street Product Manager, Joerg Schueller: “the electronics used is to support the rider, not to limit“. The RbW used to make the initial throttle opening is much more controllable, so that the torque transferred gradually. This will give a smoother throttle control and eliminates the power shock. If not, you’ll wheelie the bike everytime you exceeds 6% throttle opening. In order for the electronics to manage the throttle feel, three things are included that is the ABS Control, Traction Control and Lean Angle Sensor. The ABS Control is from Bosch 9M+ which is small and advanced to manage the braking for this beast. Traction control are also managed by Bosch MTC with 3-modes (disengageable).
The RbW comes in three modes that is Street, Sport and Rain. For Street and Sport mode, the differences is about the initial throttle opening curve but the maximum power is not limited where you can tap the 180hp if you want to. The Rain modes limits the power to 100hp and the throttle opening curve are much ‘softer’ to avoid the slip on wet conditions.
One of the reason the high torque extracted by the engine for the 1290 Super Duke is contributed by the use of lightweight piston. As pictured above, the piston is very slim made to fit the 108mm x 71mm bore and stroke dimension which shows that this engine is oversquare that can revs high easily. With this configuration, the piston will have a shorter area of contact to the cylinder wall and this can minimise the power loss due to the friction of the piston touching the cylinder wall. The piston is also a special parts for this Super Duke where it is lighter when compared with the engine capacity and piston weight ratio. It is lighter (in terms of the ratio) when compared to other bikes with the same engine capacity.
There is also a special model shown here that prepared with KTM PowerParts. On immediate observation, we can see that the exhaust is different which is Akrapovic. The livery is also a little bit different with few more brand names appears on it.
At the launch event, there are some familiar faces that we can see. There is Zulfahmi Khairudin and also Hafiq Azmi who were riding KTM last season. Next year, only Hafiq Azmi remains as the KTM rider. The tradition in KTM is that they will celebrate and honour their rider by giving a new KTM shirt to the new rider.
Making appearances for the test ride is no other than the popular comedian in Malaysia, Zizan Razak. Zizan test ride the bike and looks like he enjoyed it.
Jeremy McWilliams (next to Zulfahmi) who was the MotoGP rider in 90s were also there to test the bike.
Jeremy has been in MotoGP since 1993 until 2007. He helps to develop the KTM 1290 Super Duke R. Jeremy still got his guts when I see wheelie the bike easily on the straight and looks effortless. He only turns it down when taking corner. It is a great day to enjoy and hopefully KTM will brings in more interesting bikes to Malaysia.
2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R technical specifications
|Engine type||2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°|
|Power||132 kW (180 HP) at 8.870 RPM, 144Nm at 6,500RPM|
|Starting aid||Electric starter/12V 11.2Ah|
|Engine lubrication||Pressure lubrication with 3 Eaton pumps|
|Cooling system||Liquid cooling|
|Clutch||PASC slipper clutch, hydraulically operated|
|Engine management/ignition||Keihin EMS with DBW, double ignition|
|Frame||Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel trellis frame, powder coated|
|Handlebar||Aluminium, konifiziert Ø 28/22 mm|
|Front suspension||WP-USD Ø 48 mm|
|Front brake||2 x Brembo four piston, radially bolted caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mm|
|Rear brake||Brembo fixed mounted two-piston brake calipers|
|Brake system||Bosch 9ME Combined-ABS|
|Chain||X-Ring 5/8 x 5/16″|
|Steering head angle||65,1°|
|Wheel base||1.482 ± 12 mm|
|Ground clearance||140 mm|
|Seat height||835 mm|
|Tank capacity||18 l Unleaded premium fuel (95 RON)|
|Weight without fuel||189 kg|
It is finally here and this is the time to splash out the RM133,000 from the bank to get this 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke on the road. (RM128,800 basic price).