Just when you thought an excellent bike couldn’t get any better, KTM shows us how it’s done. With another clutch of trophies on the shelf the Austrian company launches a new flagship bike that’s a sure fire winner.
It’s all smiles for KTM and Team Red Bull who are riding high at the moment after their 15th successive win of the Dakar Rally. The 450cc Red Bull KTM ridden by Australian Toby Price stole first place while second place saw his team mate Stefan Vitko also riding home on an identical bike. Third was occupied by a Husqvarna (effectively a re-badged KTM).
The Austrian motorcycle powerhouse has consistently kept on top of its game since its amazing successes in these events. Its range of lightweight off-road style bikes are revered all around the world for their sharp handling, excellent durability and of course, superb performance.
With foot-forward cornering being the order of the day and wheelies arriving effortlessly with the lightest twist of the throttle, the KTM has found fans in virtually every country,and the latest 1290 Super Duke GT for 2016 is certainly no exception to the rule.
Based on the Super Duke 1290 R seen here charging through the bends at the Red Bull Ring the GT version has been tweaked slightly to provide all the fun of the previous model whilst also adding some creature comforts for those with mucho miles in the plan and a few tricks to meet those irritating new eco restrictions.
‘Aha’, I hear you say, they’ve detuned it!
Nope – the bike still pumps out a massive 173 ponies plus over 106 ft lb of that nice torquey stuff even with all the mods’. The Euro4 emissions are taken care of with the new exhaust, some clever bits of internal plumbing, a new cylinder head design and a twist on the electronics makes sure you don’t miss out on any fun.
To make the bike fit for those extra miles the rear subframe has been strengthened to take some snappy new pannier cases and there’s a slightly bigger seat if your carrying a buddy or a spouse with you. Heated grips, adjustable windshield and a 23 litre tank ensure that your long trek is both comfortable and hassle free.
New gizmos include the almost obligatory 3-mode rider switch (comfort, street and sport), a semi-active suspension system which picks-up on the ride in real time, Hill Hold Control making hill starts plain easy and there’s ABS and traction control, both of which can be turned off (but only at a standstill).
Shock preloads have 4 settings and the gear lever is a trick little affair which automatically varies cut out depending on your speed and the engine revs.
This new box of electronic trickery is engineered by Bosch, another bold step by the Austrians to take their bikes to the next level of refinement and reliability.
It’s details like this that allows this small but exciting manufacturer to punch way above its weight against the big boys time and time again, bringing home the trophies as they go.
It’s exciting times for KTM who are rapidly becoming a dominant force off-road, on-road and now with the release of the V4 Moto GP RC16, probably the race track too.
Watch this space.