IN KTM’S ONGOING quest to build more powerful motorcycles and design weirder headlights, the Austrian powerhouse has just yanked the covers off the new KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R and 1390 SUPER DUKE R EVO.

The new KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R celebrates the DUKE series’ upcoming 30th birthday with more power, better suspension, and a smorgasbord of subtle refinements. It looks angrier and wilder than ever too, adopting many of the aesthetic tweaks seen on the new KTM 990 DUKE. KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R EVO goes a step further, with electronically controlled semi-active suspension.

The SUPER DUKE’s new 1390 designation indicates a capacity bump for its already punchy V-twin engine. KTM increased its bore from 108 mm to 110 mm, pushing the displacement to 1,350 cc. That makes it good for 10 more horses and 5 Nm more torque than before, bringing its output to 190 hp at 10,000 rpm and 145 Nm at 8,000 rpm.

The updated mill also sports a variable valve lift system via a shifting cam that behaves according to where in the rev range you are. According to KTM, it’s there to ensure optimal power and torque throughout the whole range, with variable fuel mapping to meet Europe’s ever-tightening emissions standards. The 1390 SUPER DUKE also features a redesigned airbox and ram air system, new throttle bodies, and a repositioned top-feed injector that promises smoother power delivery. Revised gearing at fifth and sixth gear makes it even more of a blast at top speed, too.

The SUPER DUKE’s chassis hasn’t changed much, but it’s been augmented with new suspension components. 48 mm WP APEX open cartridge forks prop up the front, adjustable for compression, rebound, and preload. Out back, a WP APEX piggyback shock splits its compression adjustment into high- and low-speed adjusters.

The SUPER DUKE EVO, however, takes all that and adds the latest version of WP’s ‘Semi-Active Technology’ system. It’s an electronically-controlled variable damping system that adapts in real-time, based on your riding style and the road surface. There are five damping modes, selectable from the Super Duke’s TFT display.

An extra ‘Suspension Pro’ pack is available ex-factory, which includes additional ‘Pro’ and ‘Track’ suspension settings. It adds the ability to set suspension preload electronically according to your height with three base settings, and it includes an anti-dive setting. Then there’s the ‘Factory Start’ feature, which automatically lowers the rear wheel at a standstill for more traction off the line; not unlike the start systems used in MotoGP.

Stopping power comes from twin four-piston Brembo Stylema monobloc calipers up front, gripping 320 mm discs. A 240 mm disc sits out back. A new Brembo master cylinder offers more adjustment than before, while a self-venting system means that the clutch and brake master cylinders don’t require regular bleeding.

Electronic aids include multiple riding modes, ABS, traction control, and optional extras like anti-wheelie control and launch control. The optional track mode comes with two display settings for the bike’s TFT screen so that you can choose to focus either on your lap times or telemetry data.

The KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R has undergone several visual changes too, starting with its headlight. Taking the traditional alien-like DUKE headlight design to new heights, the deeply recessed LED unit follows the same lines as the 990 DUKE’s new light. The setup is split into daytime running lights and a ‘regular’ headlight, with sensors that adjust the LED intensity according to ambient lighting conditions.

A new 17-liter fuel tank sits up top, flanked by sharper shrouds that echo the geometry of the headlight. Out back, the tail section has been trimmed down to the extent that it’s shed its taillight; taillight duties are now handled by the rear combination turn signal LEDs. The rider geometry is slightly sharper too, thanks to a subtle repositioning of the tank and handlebars.

Like its predecessor, the SUPER DUKE is compact, angular, and lean. But it’s considerably more aggressive-looking now, with a spec sheet to match.

We can’t wait to swing a leg over it!


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