2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Revealed!

2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke R – Overview

The suspension, wheels, chassis even the tank and subframe of this next-generation prototype 1290 Super Duke R, spotted during testing in Austria, don’t appear to be a completely new bike.

However, the test mule has a new headlight that takes an already odd design, which is presently KTM‘s signature, making it much more unconventional.

With a vertically split, stacked arrangement of bulbs bracketed by boomerang-shaped LED strips, KTM’s current street models share versions of a headlamp unlike anything else on the road.

The LED running lamps in the recently spotted prototype have been mutated into wholly independent pieces that grow from the sides of the headlight assembly on winged-profiled struts.

It’s as if Darth Vader’s TIE fighter from Star Wars was transferred onto a motorcycle’s nose.

2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Instead of the current design’s vertical center slot, the main headlamp includes a pair of smaller, centrally located lenses vertically stacked with those struts radiating out from them.

The prototype lamp seen here is still in development. It’s missing the LEDs that will almost certainly be installed along the front edge of the “floating-wing” features on the sides.

In addition, the primary lenses appear to be aftermarket parts rather than the stylized units we’d expect to see on a production-ready motorbike.

Nevertheless, the new look is noticeable and may provide advantages over the current layout.

KTM has decreased the apparent heaviness of the design without sacrificing the fundamental aspects that make it instantly recognizable by using smaller light units in the center and introducing gaps to the surrounding sections.

2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Furthermore, the new design will allow for better positioning components like radar sensors, which the company has already used.

Forward radar is now standard on the new 1290 Super Adventure S.

However, it protrudes from a cavelike tunnel drilled into the bike’s nose and does not appear well integrated.

Such a sensor (or others, such as cameras, might be included as part of future safety equipment) could be more readily disguised with this new design, assuming it’s adopted across KTM’s range.

2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

The latest side panels widen from the fuel-tank cover to accentuate the prototype’s reduced apparent heft on the headlight.

The new design aligns the front edge of the panels vertically with the fork and extends further down than the present bike’s.

Additional panels with the KTM emblem flank the radiator on the sides, jutting forward and overhanging the front tire.

It’s a visual technique that gives the bike a nose-down, front-heavy appearance.

The effect is created by combining the current stubby and tall tail unit with a less intrusive license plate hanger with the existing stubby and tall tail unit.

A new panel covers the back of the instrument cluster, and the turn signals now sprout from that unit rather than the sides of the headlight cowl.

The previous Super Duke R’s wheels, Brembo brakes, and WP suspension appear to be intact, and this version does not appear to have the new Super Duke R Evo‘s semi-active suspension.

What is the top speed of the KTM 1290 Super Duke R?

159 mph top speed (estimated)

Is the KTM 1290 Super Duke a trustworthy motorbike?

One owner gave the KTM 1290 Super Duke R four out of five stars for reliability, with one point deducted for the bike’s finicky indicator switch.

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