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Super Duke 1290 launch: The lowdown

Pump Kinn, our bizarre alter ego discovering all things new for the Blog, is in Spain for the launch of the Super Duke 1290. Read on to see his first impressions…


A three hour flight to Malaga leads onto a 80km transfer to Estepona where a nice hotel and a full compliment of the KTM event crew await us. We are into the afternoon hours and the sun is shining and the sky is a welcoming blue. In the lobby, a group of British journos/testers/riders slope in the armchairs. Today they completed a session around the Ascari race track. One enthusiastically says: “The bike is great; the day was great, everything was great.”

KTM flags flutter outside but inside, next to the entrance, a machine is motionless and absolutely ready. The 1290 Super Duke R certainly carries an impact and causes the eye to widen. It seems petit but is muscular, narrow but butch and full of promise. It is even tastier in the flesh compared to the photos. Particularly in black.

Stepping back and crouching allows full appreciation of the V-twin hanging openly in the frame; what a motor. Monumental. 1301 cubic centimetres of performance and growl. The whole thing just invites you, and you can almost see and sense the pistons ready to charge.

I finally make it to my room where a launch presentation pack is there waiting. As soon as I open the document it triggers ten seconds of Super Duke engine sound that roars auspiciously through the room. The opening paragraph reads: “Welcome to the first roll-out of the all-new 1290 KTM Super Duke R; a product that is so much more than just a motorcycle. Lean back, take a deep breath and get ready for the widest smile ever and very, very long arms.” Nice touch.

Time for a quick lap of the facility. Downstairs Eva, the organising brains behind KTM’s launches and significant events for many years now, whirls around in the lobby and hacks on a laptop. There is plenty to do. The test bikes from today’s riding day will be cleaned and checked into the hotel garage. A dozen KTM technicians will be slaving away every day until late.

In the Conference room and in between squat tables and demo bikes for the journalists, Alex and Jule are sat at computers sifting and collecting the photos that were shot by the two photographers today. The finished files are then giving to the media to take away for their editorial.

Thus, a media test event is no picnic. 25 riders from all over the world consume two days of activity, first on the road, then on the Ascari track. There will be four groups through here and 38 new 1290 Super Dukes have been carted down to Spain from Austria, 34 of them for riding and the rest for exhibition and decorative purposes. The display role of the spare bikes is clear; so if you want to know if there will be cases and tank bags in the Power Parts catalogue next Akrapovic and other hot accessories the answer is ‘yes’.

Tomorrow is our day of riding around the fabulously beautiful roads in Ronda. And then to Ascari. More thoughts very soon.

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