2014 KTM Superduke 1290 Test Ride – Orange is the New Black

Is it sexy? Yes. Sexy in both black and orange.

Is it fast? Like shit off a shovel.

No really, is it? Stupidly fast.

Does it sound good? It’s a 1301cc v-twin with 180hp, bloody oath it does. Needs an aftermarket pipe to let it sing though (test bike had a Wings exhaust, sounded the goods).

Is it comfortable? Very. If you’re a bigger guy this will suit you perfectly. Wind protection is good also. KTM Powerparts seat is a pearler.

Is it easy to ride? Surprisingly the bike is a puppy dog at cruising speeds…until you crack the throttle.

How does it handle? Very well, imagine a sedate sports bike. Suspension soaks up bumps nicely.

Does it stop? On a dime.

Is it practical? Kinda…buy an adventure bike or car if you want practicality.

Is it economical? Much more than expected.

How is the dash? Great. Easy to read with all the bells and whistles (tank range, engine settings, odo, temps, fuel gauge, kitchen sink and more).

What doesn’t it have? Quick shifter. Huge oversight for me, especially considering the price and opposition (Tuono 1100, BMW S1000R).

Are there any negatives? The engine chugs in the low-mid range in higher gears (strange since the bike has enough torque to turn the earth). Handling is not as sharp as some. Traction control and wheelie control are intertwined, good for simplicity, bad for adjust-ability and wheelies (plus it resets when bike is turned off).

Reliability? KTM have had no big issues in the past and the 15000km service intervals are promising.

Is it expensive? At $26000 ride away you bet it is.

Do I want one? Ken’oath. I’ll take one in orange thanks.

Photo credit goes to KTM.com
Photo credit to KTM.com


  1. Couple of things..

    The one you rode has a quickshifter (I know, not standard).
    It has an over-ride which keeps the bike electronics setting at the one you chose, doesn’t reset after you have switched it off.

    It has an aftermarket intake and full Wings system, so the sound isn’t ‘normal’.

    I am told it is pushing out quite a bit more power than standard, plus has non-standard sprockets fitted, to assist in it’s warp speed acceleration. Previous owner stated 190bhp, I can’t comment, except that it is faster accelerating than my Busa (to a point).

    The reason for the KTM powerparts seat is the previous owner fitted adjustable pegs, lifting them up, to achieve more ground clearance, he then needed the thicker powerparts seat.

    When I first saw it, the original tyres were showing signs of wear edge to edge on both front and rear tyres, the owner telling me he never rode with the electronic aids switched on. I have never turned them off….

    It’s now running Pirelli Corser Rosso Diablo tyres (my favourite tyre, after having them fitted to my Hayabusa) and has been treated to KTM power part wave discs (long story).

    I always thought it had a warped disc, but I was told consistantly that wasn’t the case. After a particularly long ride, it grew two warped discs.

    It appears there is a bit of an issue with the SDR discs (from reading forums). Replacement discs were expensive and aftermarket ones were not readily available.
    I knew KTM made wave discs, and when I went to the dealership, discovered they were on back-order, so ordered them. They look amazing, am yet to ride the bike in anger to be able to say whether they have had a distinct improvement to what was already a decent set-up.
    It’s 15k sevice cost $300, the discs took it to around $1000 including fitting, was not something I expected (being an ‘exotic’). Compares very well with the Diavel I had.


  2. The next issue was a slipping clutch at some speed (can’t recall) in top gear. Decided enough was enough. I exchanged it last month, very very sadly for a ‘more sensible’ bike.
    Best bike I ever owned


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s