When the 120bhp KTM Super Duke 990 was launched in 2005, it was one of the first of the modern generation of high-tech no-compromise supernakeds, with high-power engines, superbike chassis gear and track-ready handling. Fast-forward to 2022, and the Super Duke R is now a 1290 model, with 180bhp from its 1,301cc 75-degree 8-valve V-twin engine, and an all-new next-generation semi-active WP APEX Suspension Pro setup, incorporating automatic preload setting on the new Super Duke R EVO version.
The firm’s in-house WP suspension brand has provided a totally revised electronic suspension system, which now includes a motorised spring preload system, as well as the usual different damping mode programs. The preload control can be used in manual adjustment mode by the rider, via the TFT LCD dash to adjust the preload through ten 2mm steps.
Alternatively, on the optional Suspension Pro system, there’s a new auto-levelling function, with three auto-preload modes – Low, Standard and High. Standard is a neutral, balanced geometry, Low is relaxed and less aggressive, with lower seat height, while High dials in a more track-biased geometry, loading up the front end and make the whole chassis even more aggressive.
Finally, the optional Suspension Pro system has a switchable Anti-Dive function to keep the front fork extended under hard braking, as well as extra Track and Automatic smart damping modes.
It’s an intriguing next step in the semi-active suspension technology – up till now the semi-active system has been restricted to the damping adjusters, and extending it to the spring preload should make for an even more powerful riding aid, on road and on track.
Away from the EVO’s new suspension setup, which adds a couple of kilograms to the 200kg overall weight, the KTM Super Duke 1290 R range keeps the same steel tube trellis frame, single-sided swingarm, and hardcore supernaked bodywork. It’s had a styling makeover for 2022, with two colour options: blue/orange and silver/orange with orange wheels and frame.
The engine is mostly unchanged – it had a full makeover last year to meet Euro5 emissions regs – but there is a small tweak to the throttle, which now has a 65-degree quick-turn twistgrip, for even faster throttle action.
The new 2022 KTM Super Duke 1290 R and R EVO will be in dealers from January. No word on UK prices as yet, but expect a bit of an increase across the board, plus a premium for the new EVO variant.