When KTM redesigned the Super Duke GT for the 2019 model year, MD was one of the first publications to test the bike. You can see our report here. In short, we loved the 2019 model, which combined comfort, great handling and awesome engine performance. The bike we are testing here is a refinement of the 2019 model. An evolution from that model that was available in Europe for 2022 and has just arrived on our shores for 2023.
MD wrote an article summarizing the changes from the 2019 model previously tested. Highlights include a new Euro 5 compliant 1301cc v-twin engine, making an identical 175 hp, according to KTM, a larger TFT display and lighter wheels borrowed from the Super Duke Evo.
In many ways, we were expecting a very similar experience to the 2019 model but found some surprising differences during our testing.
First and foremost, the new engine that complies with the stricter Euro 5 emission standards has a significantly different character despite reaching the same peak horsepower. The power delivery is still smooth and predictable, but seems to have been tamed somewhat from the 2019 model.
Our test unit, as is typical for KTM press bikes, had the optional performance mode and tech pack. In addition to the three standard ride modes, (the most aggressive being Sport), our test unit had the ability to adjust traction control, adjust launch control and turn wheelie control completely off.
Other electronic controls remain similar to the 2019 model, and include motorcycle stability control, cornering ABS and motorcycle traction control. If you like to “back it in”, you can switch ABS to Super Moto mode, allowing the rider to lock up the rear wheel.
The same comfortable ergonomics and upright riding position, coupled with adjustable windscreen, heated grips, and cruise control mean the Super Duke GT is still a capable tourer, in addition to being an equally capable sport bike. Missing for 2023 are the formerly standard saddlebags, which are now optional.
The bright TFT display is slightly larger (7” versus 6.5”) and brighter. New switchgear makes the already intuitive function control even simpler.
The bike still comes with a proximity key fob that puts the rider in control as soon as he is near the bike. We used to miss the old-fashioned ignition key, but we are getting used to the newer alternative.
The engine, as we said, is rated at the same peak horsepower, but feels more tame in the standard settings. Acceleration is still plenty strong, but we found ourselves dialing traction control back to level 3 (level 9 is the most intrusive). It appears KTM has taken a more conservative approach to traction control and the standard setting limits the severity of the power put to the rear wheel in most conditions. Dialing back the traction control to a less intrusive setting brought the engine back to life, however, and the same instant, vicious acceleration we had come to know and love in 2019 was still there.
We can’t say that we noticed any difference with the slightly lighter wheels this year, but the handling was already stellar in 2019 and continues to be so. The 2019 model was shod with Pirelli Angel GT tires, and the new model gets Continental Sport Attack 4 rubber. Again, not much difference noted as both sets of tires provided good feedback, grip and confidence.
The electronically adjustable suspension that we praised in 2019 is still very good, but it may be just a tad behind the latest system found on the new Super Duke Evo that MD recently tested. Damping control is very good, but the new system takes a small step forward, in our opinion.
This bike has a cult following. Deservedly so. We can’t think of another motorcycle that combines touring comfort and sport bike speed and handling in the way that the 1290 Super Duke GT does.
The price is $19,799 US MSRP. You get an awful lot of motorcycle for the money, in our opinion. Take a look at KTM’s website for additional details and specifications.
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