redefining the sports bike
Tell me what a sports bike is again?
There is a certain segment of the motorcycle marketplace that wants to have its cake - and eat it. Instead of a hyper-focused high-speed machine, a rider of this sort wants a fast bike, great handling, and to carry everything, including the kitchen sink.
We are, of course, referring to the sports touring motorcycle, where versatility and the ability to munch the highway miles in comfort are the prime criteria. Aside from the Starship Enterprise - which can carry the kitchen sink at warp speeds - the KTM 1290GT comes in a close second.
So what is it?
The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is a slightly updated 1290 Super Duke R with changes to the fairings and engine, the latter having a new head design with intake port slit further upstream from the valves and modified combustion chambers for improved combustion. New mapping, plain bearings, and timing for the 75-degree V-twin engine go a step further and are intended to reduce vibration and engine noise, thus allowing KTM to meet ever-restricting vehicle emissions standards, while at the same time helping the bike maintain huge horsepower numbers and a wider torque curve.
Power output is 173 hp at 9500 rpm and 106.2 pound feet of torque at 6750 rpm. This is a for-real high-performance engine, not an oversized luggage lump.
The throttle is ride-by-wire and the engine management has revised mapping. For smooth downshifts the 1290 Super Duke GT has a slipper clutch plus Motor Slip Regulation (MSR), a system that monitors the drag torque of the engine and slightly opens the throttle to quickly match engine speed to wheel speed and avoid tyre hop or drifting at corner entry.
Accompanying the riding modes (Sport, Street and Rain) of the 1290 Super Duke GT is Traction Control (MTC) that varies depending on which riding mode is in use. Obviously, the modes are for providing maximum comfort and confidence so the MTC is most intrusive in Rain, and least intrusive in Sport. It can also be shut off.