The 2019 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE GT will arguably be the most sophisticated, high performance long-distance sports tourer on the market when it arrives in showrooms later this year. Taking the best from ‘The Beast’; the GT combines the phenomenal engine performance, street handling and race track capabilities of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R and brings them into a machine that is as happy munching massive miles in comfort as it is carving up challenging corners with a passenger and luggage.
In order to fully test out these credentials before its upcoming release, KTM invited multiple Isle of Man TT, Macau Grand Prix and British Superbike race winner, Michael Rutter, to take the new KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE GT to the legendary Isle of Man. With a racing career spanning 30 years and also as a bike journalist, the Englishman has ridden a hugely diverse range of machines and knows what he wants from a bike on track and on the road.
Steeped in motorcycling history largely thanks to the challenging 37.73 mile TT Mountain Circuit, the island is also an incredible place to go touring on a motorcycle due to its stunning and undulating landscapes, winding roads and historic landmarks. The Mountain Section remains free from speed restrictions but riders must treat it with the respect it deserves; control and precision from a machine mixed with experience from the pilot make the difference here.
Setting off from the Ben-my-Chree Steam Packet Ferry at the port in Douglas, Rutter’s route saw him tour the town before cruising the overlooking coastal road and then heading to Fairy Bridge to wave to the fairies. Back through Douglas, Michael and the GT then take to the TT circuit until Ballaugh Bridge, turning off the course to head to the Jurby Motordrome in order to remove the panniers and add some pace. The race circuit on the north coast of the island providing the possibility for full-throttle thrashing and – thanks to its fast and bumpy nature – is often a testing ground for racers perfecting their set-up during the TT fortnight.
With the ‘boxes’ back on, Michael and the GT headed to the town of Ramsey, where the road begins its climb of the Snaefell Mountain. Powering out of the Gooseneck, Rutter unleashes 175hp of LC8 power of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE GT all the way across the mountain before stopping at the Creg-ny-Baa public house.
Michael Rutter said: “The GT is a world away from what I usually ride, but I was amazed by the performance – particularly the engine; the torque and drive is phenomenal. Very impressive. Comfort is a big factor; the seat and bar position were spot-on at speed on track and on the road. For a bike designed to tackle a variety of riding types – having a blast and all-day touring – it works fantastically in all situations, even ridden hard on the fast and bumpy Jurby circuit. Best of all, it has heated grips – a big thing for all year riders and even for summer in the UK!”
As well as the latest 1,301cc LC8 V-twin engine with even smoother power delivery, the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE GT is a technical powerhouse as it utilizes the full suite of KTM’s best electronic performance and assistance systems. With lean angle sensitivity for braking power, traction control and different ride modes including an optional ‘Track’ mode it allows further adjustability of the electronic settings. These advanced systems enable riders to explore the full potential of the GT’s capabilities.
Big changes for the 2019 GT also focused on increasing comfort; from new settings for the electronically adjustable WP suspension, improved aerodynamics from a redesigned screen with new adjustment mechanism, wind-deflecting hand guards and a full color, 6,5 inch TFT display.
Other detail improvements include moving the Cruise Control switch to the left bar, storage compartments in the fairing sides with a USB charging point and the ultra-powerful, full LED headlight. Two color options, white or black, are available and the GT is also navigation ready thanks to KTM MY RIDE, using smartphone connectivity to offer turn-by-turn directions with audio, along with phone call management and the ability to toggle through a music playlist.
Watch the full video here and discover more about the 2019 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE GT at your local KTM dealer.