Review: The Beast 3.0, KTM 1290 Super Duke R

The KTM 1290 Super Duke R or better known as “The beast 3.0”. Will make you feel overwhelmed and overloaded with adrenaline. The immense power will excite even an experienced rider. This KTM will be the wildest out on the track. You’ll be clearing out your garage to make room for your next purchase of the “Beast 3.0”.


The Super Duke R has a lot more power on tap. 177 hp at 9,500 rpm and peak torque at 103lb-ft at 8,000 rpm. This is something that should excite you. There will be something new to look at on this model. From becoming more composed on the road and the track. The 1,301cc engine is one of the finest internal combustion engines.

KTM has managed to achieve its goal by shedding weight. KTM has stated that the engine is 90% new. Yes, you read that correctly. This is impressive as they have added features to the engine. The exhaust system has a second catalyser. But still manages to shave off some of 2.2 lb of its weight. The LC8 engine and the torque has been refined. The torque is powerful, but it is less aggressive. Resulting in a confident riding experience.

Between the headlights on the bike, there is an airbox. The airbox has increased in size that adds a ram-air effect. This filter keeps the bike clean. It offers better fuel atomization at high RPM. The exhaust headers have different sizes in diameters. This helps to balance exhaust gas flow.

The 2020 model there is a Pankl Racing System gearbox. The Super Duke R shifts with precision and is a lot slicker. It is adjustable in short or long-throw positions. It is more refined with putting gears into place.


The chassis has a new frame that was reduced by 4.4 lb, 3x the stiffness. Creating a connection between the rider and the bike. The engine has been raised in the new frame making it more flickable. Due to it having a more central level of gravity.

The swingarm has decreased its weight by gaining 15% more stiffness. It has changed its location to the bottom of the unit. To improve the anti-squat of the rear suspension. The pivot was raised closer to the engine. This helps to prevent it from running wild.

The WP suspension is new for this model. The WP Apex 48 open cartridges offer various adjustments. The WP Apex Monoshock components have adjustments. Of compression and rebound. This Monoshock has a new linkage. This prevents any overheating due to the larger oil volume. The new suspension linkage delivers a less choppy and bumpy ride. It is hard to find a fault. The wheels in this new model can’t go forgotten. They are stronger but light with cast aluminum.

With the high-quality Bridgestone S22 tires. The rear S22 tire has a softer body. Allowing it to have a more mechanical grip and maintaining a line.

The subframe of the Super Duke R has a cast aluminum. This type of subframe is seen on the 790 Duke. The carbon composite section allowed a weight reduction of 3.3 lb. They made the bodywork thinner in the middle and thicker around the edges. It is much wider, but it does not sacrifice any stiffness.

The position of the pegs has changed. There is a feature that allows you to adjust to suit your preferences. The grips of the handlebar have moved further forward. Giving you an aggressive upper body angle. To better deal with the wind blast.


The dashboard features high-quality graphics. There are Modes of Rain, Street, and Sport. There is no track mode on the standard 1290. It is available for purchase for the price of $300. It is debated why you have to pay for extras on a premium bike. The Quick shifter+, track pack allows you to personalise your ride.




Engine Type

V-twin 75 °


1,301 cc


108x71 mm


177 hp @ 9,500 rpm


103 ft-lbs @ 8,000 rpm

Compression Ratio



Electric Starter/12V 12Ah


6 Gears

Fuel System

Keihin EFI (Throttle body 2x56 mm)




Pressure Lubrication with 3 Eaton Pumps

Engine Oil

Motorex, SAE 10W-50

Primary Drive


Final Drive



Liquid Cooling


PASC ™ hydraulically operated

Ignition/ Engine Management

Keihin EMS with RBW and cruise control, double ignition

Traction Control

MTC (lean-angle sensitive, 3-Mode, Dis-engageable, Track Mode, optional


CrMo-steel Trellis frame, powder-coated


Cast Aluminium/Composite


Aluminum, tapered, Ø 28/22 mm

Front Suspension

WP APEX, Ø 48 mm

Rear Suspension

WP shock absorber, fully adjustable

Suspension Travel front/rear

4.9/5.5 in.

Front Brake

Brembo Stylema four-piston, radially mounted calliper, disc Ø 320 mm

Rear Brake

Brembo two-piston, fixed calliper, brake disc Ø 240 mm


Bosch 9.1 MP 2.0 (with cornering ABS and SUPERMOTO ABS)

Wheels front/rear

Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17”; 6.00x17”

Tires front/rear

120/70 ZR 17; 200/55 ZR 17


X-rings 525


Stainless steel primary and secondary silencer with two catalytic converters

Steering Head angle

64.8 °


4.17 in.


58.9 in.

Ground Clearance

6.3 in

Seat Height

32.8 in.

Fuel tank capacity

4.23 gal.

Dry Weight

416 lbs.