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"Fast Bikes", January 1, 2013



Have you ever seen anything quite like this before?

Forget prostate trouble, you’re looking at the real reason why Tena for Men was invented. When KTM pulled the sheet off this, the Super Duke R 1290, the whole Eicma show dropped its collective jaw.

There’s not much left in the world that can impress us, but this prototype machine has certainly got us all in a fluster. But let’s try and maintain some calm, as we’ve got precious little to go on and we’re going to have to wait for the best part of a year before our cheeks meet its diminutive seat pad.

All we know is what you can see – although we can add a little more insight to flesh out the machine. The Super Duke R will use a pumped up version of the LC8 RC8 R motor, meaning KTM has upped the ante in the super naked class to try and compete with the muscular Ducati Streetfighter. Having said this, the Streetfighter hasn’t sold in massive numbers, largely down to its price, so KTM will have to consider this number carefully if it wants the Super Duke to be a sales, as well as a style, success. It’s going to pack around 160bhp at the back wheel, which is at least a 30bhp kick the current model. Those trading in the previous model are likely to have a rather entertaining test ride…

A new frame is required to house the motor, and it looks as if KTM is using a hybrid version of the RC8 and Super Duke to achieve this. The big news is the use of a single-sided swingarm. Typically, these add weight, but given this bike has aesthetic duties to fulfil, the extra mass used here is more than justified. The bike also uses a two exit exhaust system, with the front cylinder exiting via a slash cut can at the bike’s belly. Noise restrictions are likely to lead to compromises here when it comes to the production version, but we like the two exhaust set up and urge it to stay.

Components look to be all bling, with awesome ten-spoke wheels, suspension will naturally come from WP, with this prototype fitted with a set of gas charged forks that we’ve not even seen in WP’s range. The Brembo calipers look to be the new M50 units as used on the Ducati Panigale, so it’ll have no problem whatsoever in stopping.

There’s no tell-tail sign of any electronics on the bike, so as yet ABS and traction control is absent, but expect this to feature on the production bike with the latest generation of tech treats to grace the bristling machine.

And then there’s the styling. The theme of the Super Duke remains, but somehow the bike looks even more aggressive, helped by the absence of almost anything beyond the tank and the clinical tail piece.

In short, it’s awesome. If we’re lucky, we may see it in Autumn 2013, but as yet there’s no word in final spec or any indication on price. So for now, we’re just going to have to be content gawping at it – ain’t life sweet!

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