KTM 1290 Super Duke R EVO goes harder with semi-active suspension

The KTM 1290 Super Duke R EVO evolves into a sharper track day weapon and a smooth day-to-day companion with new semi-active suspension

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KTM has evolved its flagship ‘hyper naked’ for 2022 with the refreshed and re-tuned KTM 1290 Super Duke R EVO, which introduces trick WP APEX semi-active suspension to sharpen up its rival to the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S.

Coming two years after the latest generation of KTM’s ‘BEAST’ wheelied into view, the EVO slots in at the top of the range ahead of the standard ‘R’ and the special edition ‘RR’ with the Austrian firm this time focusing its attentions on the electronic gadgetry and suspension to ensure a more involving race-bred weapon both on and off-track.

At the heart of the changes is a brand-new iteration of its WP APEX suspension, now with Semi-Active Technology (SAT), which KTM says retains the same levels of ‘ferocity’ but gains more usability, proving comfortable on more uncompromising roads before sharpening up its act on track.

Day-to-day the EVO is available with three damping models - Comfort, Street and Sport - while the rear suspension can be altered via the TFT dashboard and offers 20mm of range depending on the rider’s preference.

Select the optional ‘Suspension Pro’ package though and the KTM 1290 Super Duke R EVO comes alive with three specific riding modes - Track, Advanced and Auto.

Designed for those who enjoy spending their weekends - or weekdays - hitting the track to chase those lap times, KTM breaks the three modes down as:

- TRACK provides the stiffest available setting developed internally by KTM test riders to provide the ideal setting for track days and specifically for faster race tracks where you need additional support under hard braking.

- ADVANCED allows the rider to select the level of damping for the fork and shock on a scale from 1 to 8. This suits more technical riders who are looking for the smallest marginal gains and want to fine-tune and tailor their suspension settings for their riding styles.

- AUTO is the most intelligent of the trio and is capable of detecting different riding styles and automatically adapting the suspension damping, being softer and more comfortable when cruising through the city, and harder and more focused when riding aggressively on a fast mountain pass. This auto adjustment between modes happens almost instantly without any interference in the ride.

Via these settings the suspension offers ‘low, standard and high’ individual settings for the suspension that are auto-loaded but can be adjusted too, plus the more standard ‘Rain, Street and Sport’ modes. In short, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R EVO has myriad settings to suit any, well, setting depending on how you want it to react.

Elsewhere, Track and Performance modes soften the intrusiveness of the traction control and anti-wheelie for more confident riders.

While the EVO takes the limelight, the standard KTM 1290 Super Duke R gets a minor update for 2022, with a fresh colourway of silver and orange added to the standard blue and orange.

Both the KTM 1290 Super Duke R and KTM 1290 Super Duke R EVO will hit dealerships in January 2022.