Is the KTM Superduke the perfect bike, not much is said about the KTM Superduke. I see this because no-one has anything bad to say about KTMs these days. They are the perfect motorcycles. Well, there's a lot of enthusiasm for the marque at least.
My experiences of KTM to date are the KTM Adventure, which I thought was quite good. And then the KTM 950 Supermoto. That one was different. It totally blew me away. I mean really blew me away - like my first ride on an RC30 back in 1988 and my first taste of a Ducati 916 at its launch in 1993. It instantly became one of my all-time greats: bottled essence of motorcycle.
So now it's me and the KTM Super Duke. I didn't have time for expectations. I jumped on it and went. Snicking into second, I was considering showing of a wheelie, I felt - instantly - that much at home on it. I resisted the urge, of course, that would've been dangerous and I'm useless at wheelies. It took kilometers to realize how much it shared with the KTM Supermoto.
Technically it shares the basic engine, a 75-degree V-twin but 47cc more at 999cc. It's also fuel-injected versus the Supermoto's carburetors, which isn't always a plus these days, except for the environment maybe.
The KTM Super Duke fuels superbly, micro-perfect on and off the throttle with an even rush of power through the rev range. It metes out 118 horses, 30 more than the Supermoto, though the taller gearing brings them closer together in the sensations they deliver. The Keihin electronic fuel injection works perfect on the Superduke.
Maybe I can only have one epiphany with KTM and if so that was my first ride on the Supermoto. I mean, if an angel appeared to you for the second time, it wouldn't quite be the same as the first would it? Amazing, and mind-warping, sure, but not quite the shock it was first time.
What the KTM Super Duke really does for you is flatter your riding, to the point where you can't help feeling you're a fantastic rider. The engine works so well with the chassis that your thoughts become actual road maneuvers and none of the controls get in the way of the flow, as could be said with several of bikes on the market. Riding position is natural and bang-on, brakes are intuitively sensitive, and throttle response I've already praised. The overall balance and suspension quality of the bike makes it feel 20kilo lighter than it is, and it's not that light at 186kilo.
Is there anything wrong with the KTM Super Duke? Not in performance. It delivers 100 percent on its promise. The styling is really weird and the finish feels a little disappointing, a bit too like a plasticky motocross bike than an expensive pure road bike, but that's probably because its DNA is in off-road. If KTM would pop the question if I wanted to have the bike, I would likely drop on my knees and thank god.