KTM’s 1290 Superduke R prototype – the best power-to-weight ratio ever?


1290 Super Duke R prototype

1290 Super Duke R prototype

The most exciting exhibit at either Intermot or EICMA was the first showing of the KTM 1290 Superduke R prototype – a super-lightweight, trellis-framed naked bike powered by a 1290cc version of the proven RC8R V-twin, complete with drive-by-wire, lots of (disengageable) electronic rider assistance, lashings of carbon fiber, new prototype WP suspension at both ends and the promise of a production version within 12 months.The excitement is based not so much on what is known about the new prototype, but what the bike is based on. The RC8 R engine upon which the bike is developed, produces 129 kW (173 hp) of power and torque of 120 Nm (88.5 lb.ft) in its 1190cc form, with rumors suggesting the new bike will have somewhere between 180 and 200 horsepower by the time it hits showrooms.

1290 Super Duke R prototype

Whatsmore, thanks to the removal of everything that’s not entirely necessary, the chrome molybdenum trellis frame and the carbon fiber everything else, this bike can be expected to be much lighter than the RC8 R which already tips the scales at 200 kg with a full tank and all lubricants.Hence the new 1290 Superduke R built with “ready to race” KTM ethos is undoubtedly going to be in the same category of power and weight as the best-of-breed Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, BMW S1000RR and Ducati Panigale 1199.

1290 Super Duke R prototype

Indeed, it just might be lighter than the Panigale with a better power to weight ratio than anything else, and it will come complete WITHOUT a praying-mantis-doing-yoga riding position.

1290 Super Duke R prototype

The last few weeks have seen a number of teaser images emanate from KTM, with even a recording of the bike’s snarling engine having been released before we saw it in the flesh.

KTM must feel that it is on a roll at present, having just won the inaugural Moto3 title and with its smaller sporty Duke’s gaining traction around the developing world thanks to the relationship with India’s Bajaj Auto, the third largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.


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