KTM 1390 Super Duke R (2024) - Review

Technical Review: Ben Purvis
Riding Review: Adam ‘Chad’ Child


Price: £17,999 (Evo: £19,599) | Power: 188bhp | Weight: 212kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 5/5


With the new 1390 Super Duke R and 1390 Super Duke R Evo KTM takes another step closer to the 200hp-plus peaks of the very top echelon of super-naked performance – adding tech including a cam-shift system to alter valve lift at different parts of the rev range and hitting a maximum of 188bhp. KTM says the significantly updated 1390 is 60% new, with new cam-shift technology for the first time, plus the obvious increase in capacity. But it’s not all about the grunt - KTM has tweaked the suspension and rider aids, which will hopefully control the increase in power and torque. We headed to the Almeria circuit in Spain to spin some laps on the KTM's biggest bruiser. Note, this was a track-only launch.


Pros & Cons

  • Even more power than the already-crazy 1290 Super Duke R.
  • Cam-shift system promises wider performance spread.
  • Uprated suspension and equipment.
  • Easier to ride than before.
  • Shorter gearing gives the feeling of even more rapid acceleration.
  • MotoGP style launch control with rear squat.
  • £1000 price hike over 1290 Super Duke R.
  • Weight rises fractionally compared to its predecessor.
  • Marmite headlight and looks.
  • The rear tyre won't last long.
  • Not in the 200bhp club. Lol.
KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R (2024) - First Ride on Track!

With the new KTM 1390 Super Duke R and 1390 Super Duke R Evo KTM takes another step closer to the 200hp-plus peaks of the very top echelon of super-naked performance – adding tech including a cam-shift system to alter valve lift at different parts of the rev range and hitting a maximum of 188bhp.

2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Review Details Price Spec_249

The 2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R trio line-up


Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
For and against
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy


2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Price

With a starting price of £17,999 KTM’s new 1390 Super Duke R – due in dealers from January 2024 – is not a cheap bike and the Evo version with semi-active suspension is even more of a hit to the wallet at £19,599.

The starting price still puts the R model well below rivals like Ducati’s Streetfighter V4 (£21,595 for the base version), while the Evo is directly in competition with the BMW M1000R, which comes in at £19,480. Both those four-cylinder rivals offer around 20hp more than the KTMs, but for many customers the punch of a V-twin’s low-down torque is something that a high-revving four can’t compete with.

If anything, the most compelling rival to the 1390 Super Duke R is its predecessor, which still lists at £1000 less than the new bike and offers nearly as much power (177bhp) and a little less weight.

PCP prices for the R start at £229 after a £3800 deposit and £249 after a £3941 deposit. The KTM has a demo mode that initially allows you full access to all the optional rider aids and modes. However, after 1500km, you decide on which ones you want to keep and pay extra for those. For example, the Track and Performance mode Tech Pack costs £850.81 on the 1390 Super Duke R and £1086.36 on the 1390 Super Duke R Evo.



2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Engine & Performance

Getting another 11hp from the KTM LC8 V-twin engine for the 1390 Super Duke R wasn’t straightforward. KTM quotes 190hp but with slightly wimpier European horses, equivalent to 188 of the brawny imperial versions we tend to use here. Either way, the bike makes 140kW in metric measurements and getting there required more than just another few cubic-centimetres, so the company has also added a cam-shifting system that swaps between two profiles – changing the amount of valve lift at different revs.

Although the move from ‘1290’ to ‘1390’ suggests you’re getting another 100cc, that’s not quite true. The old engine actually measured in at 1301cc and the new one is 1350cc, giving an increase of only 49cc. It’s achieved by bumping up the bore from 108mm to 110mm while retaining the existing crankshaft’s 71mm stroke – a much less extreme set of changes than those needed to transform the old 890 Duke to 2024’s 990 Duke, which essentially meant a complete engine redesign.

KTM hasn’t provided a lot of detail about its ‘all-new cam shift’ system, simply saying it’s ‘integrated into the cylinder heads and allows for two separate valve lifts depending on the rpm range.’ That essentially sounds like a VTEC-style arrangement, switching from a mild cam lobe to a hairier one as revs rise.

The peak power arrives at 10,000rpm, 500rpm higher than the old 1290 engine’s 177hp maximum, at max torque is 145Nm (107lb-ft) at 8,000rpm, compared to 140Nm (103.3lb-ft) at the same engine speed for the previous engine.

The engine changes, and notably the cam shift system, mean the new engine is heavier than the old one, and since KTM has gone to some lengths to save kilos elsewhere on the bike it’s probably the main reason behind the 2kg kerb weight increase over the 1290 Super Duke R.

KTM now quotes a ‘ready to race’ weight of just 201kg, which is without fuel for the R version and 200kg for the Evo. That puts it a few kg heavier than the old bike but on par with the competition from Ducati and BMW. However, for road use 2kg is neither here nor there, and will be more than offset by the extra power and torque.

Impressively, the new bike’s engine, as well as meeting the latest Euro5+ emissions targets, has longer service intervals than its predecessor and doesn’t need a valve clearance check until 60,000km (37,000 miles).

Other changes to the motor include a new airbox, shorter intake stacks and shorter, wider throttle bodies with a 60mm diameter instead of 58mm. The top-feed injectors are also repositioned for improved atomisation and throttle response, and KTM has improved the design of the ram-air system.

The engine drives through essentially the same transmission as before – a conventional six-speed box – but with revisions to the top two ratios to suit the new engine’s increased performance.

Slightly unusually for a track-only launch of power-mad hyper-naked, KTM opted to run standard Michelin Power GP rubber (without tyre warmers) and not slick tyres, which would be the norm, though does give us an understanding of the OE tyres. This meant I took the first few laps a little gingerly, which gave the 1390 R the chance to demonstrate that, despite the immense hype around its performance, it can be ridden sensibly. The throttle connection and power delivery have been much improved. In the standard Street mode you could almost describe the KTM as mild. I also rode as gently as possible in a bid to feel or hear the new shift-cam system working, but it’s not obvious like an old Honda. It’s a wonderfully smooth system for KTM first time out.

Of course, the big Duke has always been the king of the torque figures, churning out more grunt than the larger capacity V4 Ducati Streetfighter and even Kawasaki’s Supercharged Z H2. Now KTM has given their flagship hyper-naked even more of the stuff and, as the tyres came up to temperature, I began to use the bike's ace card: its mind-twisting, tyre torturing stomp.

Almeria is a track I know well but I don’t think I’ve ever ridden it at a quick-ish pace with so few gear changes. For a fast lap, the 1390 only needs third and fourth gear (plus fifth for the long back straight). In fact, it could easily do a decent lap time using fourth gear only. Second gear corners became third gear corners, and still the bike drove like crazy from the exit, still punishing its long-suffering Michelins.

It will be interesting when we ride the new Super Duke R against its well-muscled competition. My provisional prediction is that the 2024 model will be easier to ride, require fewer gear changes and drive out of corners with an intensity BMW’s S 1000 R can only dream about. And despite not quite joining the 200bhp club, the KTM will be on the heels of the more powerful bikes on the fast sections thanks to its new gear ratios.

The older 1290 Super Duke R is geared long. Between fourth and fifth and, more so, fifth and sixth there's a noticeable drop in revs and acceleration. On the 2024 machine the higher gears feel closer, shift faster, and the Super Duke's drive is even harder for even longer. Suddenly, the straight at Almeria felt very short indeed; every lap became more a test of my arm strength than the Austrian motorcycle beneath me.

Some engine. Some bike. The only downside is that all that gorgeous V-twin torque gives the rear hoop a relentlessly hard time. Towards the end of a 20-minute riding session, the rear Michelin Power GP was on the brink of giving up. Excellent rider aids caught the slides, no problem (more on this later), but it’s all too easy to cook a road tyre when you give the KTM a bit of room.  

Thankfully, KTM also had one test 1390 on slicks – a heavily accessorised, track spec 1390 complete with a full-race system that pushed peak power to the magic 200bhp mark while pumping out even more torque. With seemingly unlimited grip and the rider aids placed temporarily on ice, this Super Duke swapped spinning and sliding for wheelies off the throttle in all gears bar top. Barking!



2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Handling & Suspension (inc. Weight & Brakes)

Although the frame is carried over from the 1290 Super Duke R – it was a new design as recently as 2020, so isn’t exactly outdated – the suspension has been revised and improved for the 1390 model.

On the base ‘R’ version, you get WP Apex 48mm upside-down, open cartridge forks, with adjustable compression, rebound and preload, while the rear uses an improved WP Apex shock with separate high and low-speed compression damping adjustment as well as all the other adjustability.

The Evo model, as with the 1290 Super Duke R Evo, adds WP’s semi-active suspension in the form of ‘3rd-generation’ Apex SAT (Semi-Active Technology) kit. Using magnetic valves, it provides variable damping and real-time adaptation to the road surface, and can be set to one of five modes – auto, comfort, rain, street and sport – from the dash. If that’s not enough, you can have the ‘Suspension Pro’ option at extra cost, adding auto-adjusting preload (low, standard or high) and the ability to automatically adapt for different weight loads on the bike. It also adds an anti-dive function, stiffening the front end under hard braking, and for 2024 KTM has added a system inspired by MotoGP ride height control devices. Dubbed ‘Factory Start’ it automatically drops the rear preload and ride height when you come to a halt, putting more weight on the rear wheel and lowering the centre of gravity to ensure the fastest possible getaway from the lights.

Even without the fancy options, the 1390 Super Duke R’s bodywork changes include functional winglets at the front, adding an undisclosed amount of downforce that’s claimed to help prevent wheelies and improve front-end grip.

Both versions of the bike get new Michelin Power GP tyres, saving a claimed 1.2kg in rotating, un-sprung mass to boost performance and handling.

Brembo supplies all the brakes as well as the clutch hydraulics, with two 320mm front discs and Stylema monobloc calipers, a 240mm rear disc, and an MCS master cylinder.

This was a limited test as we had three Super Dukes to ride  – the standard R, the EVO and the special accessories Power Parts version mentioned – in a short space of time, and with small adjustments to the setup (via the rider aids or suspension) making significant changes to the character and feel of the bikes, I came away knowing we need to visit 1390 R and EVO again to get a real understanding of their potential.  

But what did become apparent in sessions one and two was the ease of use of the Duke, which sounds crazy on a bike with such a raucous output. Key to its relative civility is, I think, that abundance of torque. On the 1390, you’re not chasing the revs – you are simply riding the wave – so even on track can afford to relax a little.

While it might look like it wants a fight, the 1390 is now more wine club than bar brawl, and far more sophisticated than it looks. On stock suspension settings, the R is on the soft side for the track but easy enough to adjust, while the Evo model, with its 3rd generation Apex SAT (Semi-Active Technology), is easier still.

Luckily, we had motorcycling royalty on hand in the shape of HRH Jeremy McWilliams to help with set up and guide us down the right path. And once dialled in with the correct settings and rider aids, both versions of the 1390 were hugely impressive. Steering, entry, corner speed and even stability are all superb, especially for an unfaired machine with class-leading torque. How the chassis and rider aids can turn so much explosive energy into useable performance is incredible.

At times I had to remind myself that I was on a road bike on road tyres, as at times it was cutting up Almeria with ridiculous ease. I’ve never exited the last corner so hard, with so much drive, and had to force my weight over the front to stop the bike wheelieing down the hill into turn one.

It’s strange testing a bike in isolation because you’re unsure how quick it really is and, usually, V-twins don’t feel fast when they actually are. But at times the torque of the 1390 was propelling me towards apexes at an alarming rate, though it didn’t feel scary as I knew I could rely on the chassis and rider aids, let off the brakes and carry the corner speed before getting back on the power – early!

As mentioned, the bike's road-going rubber had a tough day at the office and by the fifth track session of the day had given up. But even though the tyres had quit work, I could still feel the rear slide and squat under punishment, feel the front roll and move around into corners – the chassis translating forensic feedback to the rider in a way the older 1290 can't match.

KTM’s Brembo Stylema front stoppers (unchanged from the 1290 apart from a new, multi-adjustable lever) are incredibly strong. Braking just after the 200-metre board, jumping down from sixth to third, for lap after lap end of Almeria's long back straight brought zero fade and no noticeable intervention from the ABS (in Track mode). Stability and control were equally impressive given the enormous questions being asked of the chassis.

Meanwhile, that slick-shod 1390 loaded with optional Power Parts really showed what the new bike is capable of. The Super Duke isn’t a naked interpretation of track-focused superbike like the Ducati Streetfighter or BMW S 1000 R – it's a pure road bike. Yet despite its lack of racing DNA, a 1390 set up for the track has more grip, more corner speed, more entry speed, and a wilder and earlier drive off the turn than any naked street bike I can currently think of. Jeremy McWilliams told us that some development of the 1390 was conducted on track with the KTM Moto2 teams and it was not outclassed or embarrassed – and I can believe that.



2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Comfort & Economy

Although the bones of the bike are carried over from the 1290 Super Duke R, the 1390 version gets revised bodywork including a new fuel tank that’s larger than its predecessor but redesigned to boost rider comfort and control.

The tank carries an extra 1500cc of fuel, taking it to 17.5 litres in total, and is shaped to improve support during braking and when hanging off in corners. The new design also allows the bars to be mounted lower than before without compromising steering.

Despite the fire-breathing engine, the claimed average fuel economy is impressive at 47.9mpg, giving a tank range of around 185 miles.

This was a track-only test, so we didn’t get the opportunity to test comfort or fuel economy. However, it’s worth noting that because the Super Duke didn't start life as a bike to win in World Superbikes before being stripped back to a naked, the ergonomics are easy going and the feel is roomy. An updated 5-inch TFT dash is clear and simple to navigate, and you even have cruise control. With a larger fuel tank, now up to 17.5 litre, range shouldn’t be bad either. Given that you don’t need to rev the torque-drenched LC8 to have fun, I’d guess – and this is just a guess – that its trackday mpg will be better than the competition.



2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Equipment

The Super Duke R and Evo both get a 5-inch TFT dash with a bonded glass screen – pretty much the norm these days – as well as a USB-C charging port. The graphics are new for the latest model, and more importantly there’s a redesigned menu system that’s said to reduce the number of clicks needed to reach each of the bike’s functions. Given the wide array of riding modes – Rain, Street and Sport are standard, with Performance and Track settings as an optional extra – and the settings available on the Evo’s semi-active suspension, that’s more than welcome.

Those riding modes are pretty self-explanatory, influencing throttle maps, power and the settings for the traction control system and wheelie control system. Rain mode cuts power to 130hp and keeps the front end on the ground. Street lets the front wheel lift a bit and sets the throttle, power and traction control to their defaults. Sport sharpens the throttle and loosens the leash of the traction control, as well as letting you pull bigger wheelies.

The optional Performance and Track settings allow customisation and introduce launch control, with Track taking it to even more focussed level by allowing lap times or telemetry to be displayed on the TFT dash.

For less frenzied moments, there’s cruise control, and the new dash also includes a tyre pressure monitoring system that gives real time readouts of the front and rear tyre pressures and alerts when there’s any loss of pressure. The latest version also lets you set custom pressures for use on the track and allows you to program it to link to a second set of wheels in case you have spares.

Other new kit includes the redesigned LED headlight, sharing the same family face that’s debuted on other 2024 KTMs and saving 700g compared to the previous design.

Optionally, you can also add a revised anti-wheelie that offers five settings ranging from ‘very low’ to ‘very high’ – each sets an angle that it will allow the front of the bike to rise to before kicking in to rein in the power. There’s an ‘off’ setting too, of course, if you want to go vertical…

There is an endless list of possibilities, settings and adjustments – more so with the Evo, whose suspension can be changed on the fly or back in the pits. The switchgear is intuitive but takes a little while to learn. Just by pushing a few buttons you can go from mild-mannered, 130hp Rain mode with lots of rider aid intervention to bat-head munching, full power, no wheelie or TC control madness. So it's worth learning.  

I’m sure most potential customers are going to opt for the EVO with its electronic adaptive suspension as it makes life easier. As mentioned, we need more time on the bike to properly compare the Evo to the standard WP suspended R, and there are still multiple rider aids configurations we haven't played with. But on first impressions, KTM has made the rider aids more accessible and given them a more finesse. Certainly, they are closer to the competition, all of which have superlative electronic packages, especially the Aprilia Tuono.

The annoying bit is that after 1500km you have to decide which rider aids you want, as your free demo mode is over. The Tech Pack on the R is an additional £850.81 and, on the Evo, £1086.36. The Evo is more expensive as it includes the extra Suspension Pro. I can see most owners opting to keep the Demo Mode, which means an extra payout after 1500km. If you want just individual items like the quick-shifter the prices are:

  • Adaptive Brake Light: £89.70
  • Quickshifter+: £316.25
  • Track Pack: £452.15
  • Suspension Pro (Evo Only): £316.25
  • Engine Brake Control: £180.34
  • MSR: £89.70



2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Rivals

There aren’t many similarly-powerful twins on the market but the range of high-performance naked bikes available has never been wider. Most manufacturers have something in their stable, but you might consider:


Ducati Streetfighter V4 | Price: £21,595

Power/Torque: 208bhp/90.4lb-ft | Weight: 201.5kg (kerb)


BMW M1000R | Price: £19,480

Power/Torque: 210bhp/83.3lb-ft | Weight: 199kg


Kawasaki Z H2 | Price: £17,299

Power/Torque: 197bhp/101lb-ft | Weight: 239kg


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2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Verdict

I don’t think anyone who rode the now-old KTM 1290 R and thought, ‘I wish it had more torque’ but that is what KTM has given us. They were already market leaders in the grunt department but now they are so far in front in terms of real-world stomp, drive and mind-blowing acceleration that they are laughing at the competition.

But KTM hasn’t just given us tree-pulling torque; the new 1390 feels more rideable and more versatile, with refined electronics and suspension. You can short-shift around a racetrack and still throw in a relatively impressive lap time, even in the standard riding modes, with those rider aids keeping you safe. Or you can opt for the full-fat mode – throw the TV out of the hotel window and go mad. The 1390 feels quicker than the 1290 everywhere, even on the straight thanks to the revised gear ratios, and with all that torque I can’t see any hyper naked, even those in the 200bhp club, getting away.

We only got a taste of what to expect and we don’t know what it will be like on the road, but with so much performance there will be little to boss it at the lights or anywhere else. The older 1290 is a stunning road bike, but the 1390 is the next level; if you can live with the unique looks, as impressive as big nakeds come. The king of torque.



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2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R - Technical Specification

New price

From £17,999



Bore x Stroke

110 x 71mm

Engine layout


Engine details

4-valve per cylinder, DOHC, cam shift, liquid-cooled


188bhp (140KW) @ 10,000rpm


107lb-ft (145Nm) @ 8,000rpm


6 speed, chain final drive

Average fuel consumption

47.9mpg claimed

Tank size

17.5 litres

Max range to empty

185 miles

Rider aids

Cornering traction control, cornering ABS, multiple riding modes and power settings, semi-active suspension (on Evo model)


Steel trellis

Front suspension

WP Apex 48mm open cartridge forks. WP semi-active damping on Evo model.

Front suspension adjustment

Fully adjustable compression, rebound, preload

Rear suspension

WP Apex piggyback monoshock. WP semi-active damping on Evo model.

Rear suspension adjustment

Fully adjustable, separate high and low speed compression

Front brake

320mm discs (x2), Brembo Stylema four-piston radial monobloc calipers

Rear brake

240mm disc, Brembo two piston caliper

Front wheel / tyre

3.5 x 17 wheel, 120/70 ZR17 Michelin Power GP

Rear wheel / tyre

6 x 17 wheel, 200/55 ZR17 Michelin Power GP

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2120mm x 843mm x 1133mm



Seat height



212kg (kerb)





MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet rated




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What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.