2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Chassis
Since its introduction six years ago, the Super Duke R’s hyperactive handling was one of its weakest links. With a springy chassis that felt more akin to a V-twin-powered supermoto, we’re pleased to report the 2020 Super Duke R is more road-focused, and in line with the top competitors in this red-hot class.
This was especially evident around the Portimão Circuit—a hilly 2.9-mile stop-and-go-style World Superbike circuit on the southern tip of Portugal. Here the Super Duke demonstrated its newfound poise with a chassis that has enhanced balance and sportbike-like pitch control.
Much of the credit goes to the now linkage-equipped rear suspension and swingarm. This boosts grip off corners, maximizing the enhanced adhesion coefficient of the OE-fitted Bridgestone Battlax S22 rubber. Yet, even with the extra firmness from the suspension and tire, the Super Duke continues to deliver favorable bump absorption characteristics on public roads. As an optional accessory, the quickshifter’s auto-blip function maintains stability when downshifting at lean, plus mitigates clutch use.
A handy hand-adjustable and measurement-engraved preload knob allows for easy ride height changes based on preference or payload. We preferred the +15 setting as it sharpened steering without compromising grip off turns. The shock also affords compression and rebound damping adjustment, however unlike the front suspension’s handy color-coded adjustment knobs, adjustment requires a flathead screwdriver.
Another benefit is the ability to modify spring preload inside the fork. Red sliders visualize fork travel and allow you to tweak the setup accordingly, helping to ensure that you’re operating in the front suspension’s sweet spot.
The lower and more forward position of the handlebar places more weight on the Battlax front tire and affords a more sportbike-like (but still forgiving) riding position. The bend also helps position the rider’s elbows up affording a more commanding stance. In typical KTM fashion, the handlebar can be shifted and the rider footrests can shift up or down via a neat and easy-to-adjust concentric sliding hub.
The rider’s seat is more plush than we remember with plenty of room to move about the cockpit for this 6-foot rider.
2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Engine Power And Electronics
KTM has been manufacturing its LC8 V-twin platform for years, and despite its age, engineers continue to breathe new life into this 1,301cc twin. Still a torque monster (to the tune of more than 60 pound-feet from as low as 2,500 revs, based on our last 2018 MY dyno test), the 75-degree twin has improved high-rpm performance—something it has historically lacked. Credit the ram-air intake which forces cool air into the airbox. It’s complemented by a set of showerhead fuel injectors. Together this gives Super Duke riders the best of both worlds.
Short-shift and run a gear high, or pin the throttle in the lower cogs until redline. The orange bike is well-suited to either riding style. Plus the optional electronic quickshifter keeps the engine spinning in the meat of its wider powerband. The last time we dyno tested the 2018 Super Duke R, it belted out 154.7 hp. We estimate the updated mill is good for another 3–4 ponies at the top. Engine vibration is readily apparent through the controls, but it’s counteracted by the engine’s playful sound and punchy power delivery.
Throttle response in any of the three power maps (Rain, Street, Sport) is spot-on (a testament to KTM’s ride-by-wire setup) and the bolder and brighter color TFT display make it easy to tweak electronic settings. However, there is a fair degree of engine vibration. In addition to the three power maps/modes, the Super Duke offers Track and Performance global modes. Here you can tweak countermeasures (traction and wheelie control) as well as Motor Slip Regulation (i.e., engine-brake control) and ABS.
KTM insists the rider’s hands should always be on the controls, so in lieu of a touchscreen, it employs large and easy-to-press switch gear on the handlebar. Tactile function is vastly improved and on a level commensurate with KTM’s Bavarian-based nemesis. Menu navigation is equally slick. Another plus is the ability to adjust traction control while riding via a large paddle-style button. Street riders will also appreciate standard cruise control.
Our only gripe in the electronics department is that the default riding mode restarts every time the engine kill switch is pressed. This means you have to swipe through the menu to ensure that the settings are intact when it’s time to lift the kickstand.
2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R, Yay Or Nay
Still as rowdy as ever, the 2020 Super Duke R is also more polished in every way. From its refined handling poise—highlighted by vastly more controlled suspension action—to its elevated fit and finish, the KTM is a more comfortable and entertaining motorcycle to burn rubber with. Factor in its punchier top-end engine character and well-developed electronics package and Orange riders have a truly versatile sport-oriented motorcycle.
Able to transform from mild to wild, the 2020 Super Duke R is proof of KTM’s commitment to the sport naked bike class. Riders seeking a hardcore naked bike that is as friendly to operate as it is exhilarating to ride should take a spin on the 2020 Super Duke.
2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Price And Specifications
The Track Editor feature has been updated with new modules and stadium items, allowing players to customize tracks more fully than ever before. Multiplayer mode has been updated as well, with designers creating low-latency and lag-free gameplay. Race Director Mode gives players the chance to create online tournaments and handle everything from other players’ starting positions, infraction penalties, and directorial duties during the races.
Four decades ago, Suzuki turned the motorcycle world on its head with the 1982 Katana streetbike. Featuring a smart and highly cutting-edge German-inspired design, this Japanese-built motorcycle developed a cultlike following. It also set the tempo for Suzuki sportbikes to this day. Now it’s looking to remake magic with the reintroduction of its 2020 Suzuki Katana ($13,499).
This time around Suzuki tasked Italian designer Rodolfo Frascoli to redefine the lines of Hans Muth’s original rendering. The 2020 Katana wears more curved and three-dimensional surfaces yet retains the Katana’s signature nose and neatly carved fuel tank (3.2-gallon capacity) area. Full LED lighting and a pleasing swingarm-mounted hugger-style license plate bracket make for a clean overall look.
Swing a leg over the new Katana and you’ll be greeted by a friendly upright cockpit design that is neither too sport nor too relaxed. The monochrome LCD instrument panel is a tad small, but replete with information, and features the original Katana’s signature J-hook-style swept tachometer. The position of the handlebar puts the rider in a commanding, but not overly so stance. The seat junction is slim so it will be easy for most riders to stand flat-footed at a standstill. We also appreciate the plushness of the rider and passenger seats.
Considering its dated underpinnings, the Katana takes a few more miles compared to more contemporary designs to break in. Once worn in, the powertrain offers typical Suzuki responsiveness. This is defined by responsive clutch action and excellent throttle response, despite not incorporating ride-by-wire throttle setup, like its 2017–2020 Suzuki GSX-R1000/R sportbike.
Hard on the throttle and this 999cc K5-spec GSX-R1000 engine (2005–2008) delivers a pleasing GSX-R-like induction growl with plenty of vehicle-passing torque. Engine vibration is minimal and it’s amazing how well this engine performs overall, despite being 15 years old—a testament to Suzuki’s original engineering effort.
Horsepower-wise the engine is good for nearly 140 ponies at the 190-series Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tire. There’s no quickshifter, so gear exchanges are made the old-fashioned way, however, the gearbox has a solid and precise feel, once broken in. The Katana comes outfitted with Suzuki’s older-style (non-IMU powered) three-way-adjustable traction control which helps prevent rear wheel instability over slick surfaces.
The KYB suspension components provide a nice balance between sporty road holding in the twisties and everyday comfort over bumpy surfaces. The Katana also feels more lithe in motion than its 474-pound curb weight implies. Triple hydraulic disc brakes keep speed in check and fixed always-on ABS ensures tire lockup during brake application a thing of the past. Our only gripe is that you can’t manually disable ABS, say if you want to lay skids or ride a nose wheelie.
Limited fuel capacity and its relatively dim LED headlamp compromise everyday usability on the road, however, there are few retro-style motorcycles that look as authentic as this Katana. While we appreciate its trendy-again look and polished overall character, its $13,499 MSRP is hefty considering its older underpinnings. But if you want a slice of motorcycle history, without any oil stains on the garage floor, the 2020 Katana fits the bill.
2020 Suzuki Katana Price And Technical Specifications
It will be powered by the Thunder Stroke 116 V-twin, have three selectable ride modes, and a sophisticated infotainment system with 7-inch, glove-friendly touchscreen, Bluetooth compatibility, and features like traffic and weather overlays. It also comes equipped with a tank-mounted fuel gauge, voltmeter, LED lights, heated leather seating for rider and passenger, heated grips, adjustable windscreen, as well as more than 37 gallons of storage space.
“The Fat Boy took the look, proportions, and silhouette of a 1949 Hydra-Glide motorcycle and completely modernized it for a new generation of riders,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson Vice President of Styling and Design, in a company press release. “Those riders appreciated our post-war design DNA, but also found themselves drawn to the clean simplicity of contemporary industrial design. Each of these elements was captured in the new 2018 version of the Fat Boy model. For this 30th Anniversary model we wanted to create something very special, so we leaned into the popularity of darker finishes and a limited run/serialized strategy to make the bike truly unique and exclusive.”
With the introduction of the 2020 Challenger, Indian has made no bones about its intended target: Harley-Davidson’s Road Glide. The Challenger enters the arena with an all-new 60-degree V-twin, a six-speed transmission, and a suite of electronic rider aids. On the Cycle World dynamometer, the liquid-cooled, solid-mounted PowerPlus 108 engine cranked out more horsepower and torque than a 114ci Road Glide Special. And on the street, the PowerPlus delivers right-now acceleration with less engine heat funneled to the rider. A snout-nosed fixed fairing is perhaps the Challenger’s defining aesthetic feature, with standard touring goodies—adjustable windshield, locking saddlebags, electronic cruise control, three ride modes—going a long way toward sealing the deal.
Three trim levels are available: Challenger, Challenger Dark Horse, and Challenger Limited. The base model ditches navigation but keeps antilock braking. Dark Horse and Limited bring Indian’s “Smart Lean Technology,” which uses a Bosch IMU to enable cornering ABS and traction control as well as Drag Torque Control. “The Challenger strikes an excellent balance between engine performance and chassis precision,” Andrew Cherney wrote after riding the Challenger Limited, “with the added benefit of well-calibrated electronics capped off with pleasing ergonomics.”
2020 Indian Challenger Reviews, Comparisons, And Competition
Manufacturer Claimed Specifications
Cycle World Tested Specifications
“Racing is and has always been a fundamental part of our company, even in such a particularly complicated era where technology is drastically changing our surroundings,” explains Claudio Domenicali, Ducati Motor Holding CEO. “In order to succeed in this situation, it is necessary to keep investing in research and development and racing is a crucial part of our commitment to this. If we sum the R&D done for the production line, for racing, and the assets needed to produce new models, the global Ducati R&D is worth more than 10 percent of the revenue.
“The electronic technology of the 2020 Africa Twin is amazingly capable, and Honda’s new Multi-Information Display simulator enables customers to more easily get the most out of their machines,” said Chris Cox, manager of Experiential Marketing & PR at American Honda. “We encourage customers—whether they already own an Africa Twin or are in the market for a new adventure bike—to give the tool a try.”
UV-resistant materials often claim to protect the cover from fading and some companies, such as Nelson-Rigg, even offer lifetime warranties (as seen with the Defender Extreme) that apply to severe color changes resulting from extensive exposure to the sun’s rays. The Defender Extreme is made of UltraMax polyester which, according to the brand, blocks “99 percent of harmful rays that could damage a vehicle’s finish, without discoloration after continuous sunlight exposure.” Further, to ensure the best resistance to fading, the yarn is colored prior to being woven rather than being piece-dyed (meaning fabric is dyed after yarn is woven together). If a cover does not offer UV protection, there is a chance the UV rays can wear down the material, weakening the fabric’s structure, and if caught on parts or sharp edges of the fairing has potential to tear. In addition to UV protection, look for high denier count and products with high tensile strength that can help improve tearing resistance. According to Nelson-Rigg’s president UltraMax polyester “is the leading material in our industry for UV protection, abrasion resistance, hydrostatic pressure (how waterproof it is), and tear resistance.”
“This is an important partnership for Triumph and I am delighted that it has now formally commenced. As well as taking our brand into crucial new territories, the products that will come out of the partnership will also help attract a younger, but still discerning, customer audience and is another step in our ambitions to expand globally, particularly in the fast-growing markets of Southeast Asia, but also driving growth in more mature territories like Europe.”