Judging from how the KTM 1290 Super Duke R stacks up against its competition (like the Aprilia Tuono V4 R APRC ABS, BMW S1000R, and Ducati Monster 1200 S), the Austrian’s were right in calling the new Duke “The Beast” in their pre-launch marketing.

With 180hp coming from its 1,301cc v-twin engine, and 106 lbs•ft of torque (74 of which start at just 2,500 rpm), KTM has built a road-eating monster in the new Super Duke R.

Taming that beast is no easy task, though luckily the KTM 1290 Super Duke R is one of the Austrian company’s first motorcycles to get traction control. But as our friend Iwan learned at the international press launch in Spain, the Super Duke R still packs quite the punch.

KTM’s tame motorcycle racer, and development rider for the Super Duke R, Jeremy McWilliams was on-hand for the press launch as well. Unfortunately for McWilliams though, there appears to be something wrong with his race-spec Duke, as the front wheel has trouble staying attached to the ground. He should probably have the boys take a look at it.

Source: KTM

  • AGP

    That is some amazing riding right there. There are very few people in the world that he would not “embarrass” on a racetrack. :)

  • Make no mistake, I would love to get embarrassed by McWilliams any day of the week.

  • Steve

    So many victims so little time. I wouldn’t let him ride my 2nd hand R1 ;)

    Yellow Power Ranger held him up a bit. :)

  • Yung

    :-O so sick

  • John

    Screw the XR1200… This is what the AMA needs to run for a spec racing class.

  • SBPilot

    Ok I know Jeremy is going to be fast, but the rate some of these journalist are riding is pathetic. How the can you feel what a motorcycle does when you ride that slow. Every bike will feel vaguely the same when you ride at that pace. Bikes only start to show their personality/design when you actually push them or ride them for their purpose. This bike is clearly designed to be ridden like a hooligan, yet these journalist look like they are doing their licencing test or something.

    Ok I don’t expect an a journalist testing an ADV bike to be leaving blackies on a track, but they wouldn’t would they. They would ride it for 2 hours over all sorts of terrain and slow in-city stuff and report. It’s relative.

    Motorcycles produce some of the most exciting emotions and feelings in us, yet I can’t grasp why so many videos I see on youtube or articles I read in magazines seem like the journalist are not very…well, excited.
    My theory is because it’s their job and they do it so much, they are no longer so sensitive these feelings anymore. Shame. But seeing this video also answers that question a bit, ’cause, at least from this video, almost all the journalist ride like their mother is watching them.

  • jimmy smith jr

    Ahhhhh Jezza….once a racer always a racer….I would expect no less from the last guy to put a 500cc two stroke on pole against the diesels.

  • Bryan

    He likes making that thing a unicycle :) I love it at 5:08 when you think he’s in too hot and about to crash. A few seconds later he still manages to blast right through the corner and wheelies out of it. Impressive!

  • jake318

    I am looking forward to add a KTM RC8RR version of the BEAST to my Stable of 15 various Literbikes/Superbikes . No need for the latest factory traction control ect, just drop the 180 hp-103 lbs torque KTM 1302 cc V-Twin in the lightweight RC8 chassis and its good to go.

    BTW For those wanting/needing traction/wheelie control …GRIP PRO 2 traction/wheelie control unit can be added for around 750/1000$ and is FAR SUPERIOR to ANY factory Traction control option offered by the manufacturers.

  • Motohead8

    To SBPilot: Development rider vs Journalists. No contest. Jeremy probably has hundreds of hours of seat time and the suspension setup specifically for him and tires to his liking. Journalists are probably on baseline/default factory settings and don’t want to push it for fear of wrecking bike that isn’t theirs, so give them a little credit. Also, its a press launch, there’s no guarantee those are all experienced riders out there.

    With that said, all things being equal, Jeremy would still murder them.

  • Lee

    No surprise there. Wouldn’t expect much less from a world class rider like McWilliams on track with mere mortals. Cool video.

  • Gabe

    I hope some of the journalists who think they are shit-hot were there. A couple come to mind.

  • proudAmerican

    Very cool. Reminds me of riding my buddy’s Ducati 1098R.

    I referred to the throttle as the “Front Wheel Lifting Device.”

  • Doug

    @John – these would make an interesting spec class racing series, but as a direct replacement to the XR1200 class BTR Moto is making a cool bike for that class. Their bike would be a good replacement to the XR1200 b/c it uses an HD big twin (Twin Cam) motor; but they use their own transmission for an ultra compact drivetrain, which allows them to package it in a racebike geometry. It currently weighs 405 lbs.

    Consider the x00,000 of big twin riders that show up at Bike Week… If the XR1200 Class was replaced with bikes like BTR Moto’s & then marketed effectively, a lot of seats could be filled for many AMA races. Granted, the BTR’s performance is not on par with this fantastic KTM, but the BTR has the geometry & weight as that of many liter bikes. It’s not only much improved over the XR1200 but it includes a motor millions of riders have in their bike. The AMA can use that association for revenue & entertaining racing.

    @Jake318 – great idea. It would be great to see that bike when finished.

  • tony

    “ride like their mother is watching them.”

    hilarious! quote of the day right there! and is it just my shitty computer or does this thing sound like a popcorn maker on steroids? and yes, don’t think i’ve ever seen a front wheel lift like that?!

  • SBPilot

    @Motohead: Oh I know, Jeremy is the development rider so he knows the bike like the back of his hand. But I’m focusing not on the rate he’s passing the journalist, rather, I’m focusing on how the journalists are riding. That being, some way off line, some extremely stiff, some braking mid corner after their initial braking already was done (which is frightening to see) etc. Of course there were some doing great lines just slower.

    I don’t buy the whole it’s a press launch and default settings. Many bikes handle very well out the box without making a click (that’s what Jeremy is there to help the factory decide).

    But alas, I take everything back because I don’t know if this was their first lap, 10th lap or 20th lap. So, I’ll assume they were on cold tires…but if they weren’t….

  • Some clueless commenters here, do y’all actually ride motorcycles for Realz or are ya just posers?

    Fawning over the skills of a rider who isn’t even pushing the bike that hard, while failing almost entirely to mention who the real star of this video is, the Super Duke. What, is he a friend of yours, will he be reading this? Gunna get you backstage somewhere? *teenage girl squeal* sheesh! :)

    No matter how lame and utterly devoid of riding skills the journalists on the other bikes may be, one must assume that they know how to twist a throttle, right? I mean these publications are not hiring people who are literally afraid to fully open the throttle of these bikes on a straightaway, are they?

    If not, then it really wouldn’t matter who’s on the KTM, just look at the way it’s effortlessly reeling in the other bikes on straights, that’s not riding skill, that’s engine power. My teenage daughter could do the same on that bike. I’ll grant you he does seem to be embarrassingly out braking them and going through the corners alot better, but that’s to be expected.

    A better test would be to put the journalists on the KTM and Jeremy on a Ducati. But I’d rather see this bike go up against some top sport bikes, like an 1199 or rsv4, since the engine hp power is in their class and surpasses them in torque. It also looks like the chassis performance is closer to their class as well. It would be a lot fairer to put the journalists on top-tier sport bikes, and then see what happens.

    If I had one of these KTMs, I think the first thing I would change is the mountings for the brake and clutch reservoirs. They are way too vulnerable on the top of that high flat wide bar. If you go down, and I’d say it’s very likely that most riders who push the boundaries of this bike will be going down at some point, those reservoirs are going to get mangled or ripped off entirely. They need to be either protected or moved to a less vulnerable locale, so you don’t have to call a tow truck every time you get a little crazy and high side this motha’.

  • singletrack

    Just because one can craft a nice story about motorcycles, doesn’t mean one can ride fast. Precious few journalists can ride anywhere near a local pro’s pace, let alone a GP riders’.
    And conversely, precious few racers could write an entertaining review of a motorcycle.

  • The range of talent at a press launches like this is wider than you think, and I mean that in both directions. There are some seriously talented riders out there writing for publications, and then there are some guys who I worry about.

    To be fair though, this is a new bike for all those guys, and I wonder how many have been around Ascari before…I know I haven’t. The other thing to remember is that they’re not there to set blazing lap times, they’re there to be able to write a story about a new bike. Not always two things that go hand-in-hand when you’re trying to compare riding modes, traction control settings, chassis setup changes, etc.

  • Ekimyrf

    Aron. B

    There may be some cluless commenters on here but I bet they have twigged the other riders WERE on the KTM

  • Gabe

    There are a few pedantic bloggers out there who love to write about the readers needing to do this or that to become better riders. I’d like to think they were getting passed by McWilliams at close quarters.

  • paulus

    Awesome. KTM’s are just so forgiving. The suspension seems soft by sportsbikes standards, the bars too wide, the position to upright… but they work amazingly.
    I am sold!

  • TexusTim

    @ jake 318…really dude ?? you have to tell us about your 15 sportbikes ? cmon…o and I guess all of them have traction controll too…….lol

  • Well, golly. That KTM just looks to be stupidly fun. I betcha I could hang onto my license for at least 30 min.

  • Fatal Flaw

    Too bad this appears to be a video game and not a real video.
    All unsymmetrical one-sided swing arms like this will ever be top winners as no amount of single arm mass can overcome the wheel twist that occurs with the torque of severely twisting side-to-side. The oversteer is pronounced — the riders may get used to it and compensate somewhat, but can’t overcome the lighter weight, symmetrical, aerodynamic swing arm that all successful motorcycles have always had, vis-à-vis Repsol et al. Hire a structural engineer, KTM.

  • AGP

    Ha ha.. WTF are you blabbing about? Tell Fogarty how a single sided swingarm “will never be top winners.” And “aerodynamic swingarm…” that is pure gold right there. :D

  • Ian John

    Wow, hasnt this been a touchy subject.
    I think you all need a Snickers…..
    Well done Jensen as always.
    Well done for KTM for something so fresh.
    who ever the rider, what ever the ride. If we can all get off our valliant steeds commute, race, tour. Smile, have beer and rejoice in the fact that as motorcyclist, we are all one and one for all.
    Chill ma broth’as

  • Keith

    I’m with Ian. Chill people, besides unlike y’all I know how I ride on a motorcycle that’s unfamiliar to me and NOT mine while on unfamiliar roads. Cautious and on eggshells…with naked aggression. Kind of says it. Now to go read the tea leaves that are that particular KTM’s dash board. None of you even mentioned the 3rd /4th gear roll-on wheelies. heh, to busy whining and not enough attention paid to what’s going on around you.

    Back to the giggle fest, keep fighting the good fight precious.

  • Norm G.

    re: “but can’t overcome the lighter weight, symmetrical, aerodynamic swing arm that all successful motorcycles have always had”

    it’s a good job Fabbro wasn’t listening when he penned the 1098. this resulted in the SSA getting taken out back behind the woodshed. bologna then added another 4 championships in the modern era to their CV.


  • Norm G.

    re: “rejoice in the fact that as motorcyclist, we are all one and one for all.”

    (thank you Norm G)

    (you’re welcome Jensen and various and sundry motorcyclists)

  • Norm G.


  • Norm G.

    remember, JB (no,not Jeremy Burgess) first told us about this in October, but December’s fast approaching and many locations won’t air unless a ticket minimum is met.

    HUSTLE UP…!!!