MILAN, ITALY, NOV. 12 - KTM drew the biggest crowd on the first of two media days at EICMA, the giant motorcycle exhibition in Milan, Italy, and appropriately so. While the Japanese manufacturers mostly played it safe - none had a world debut at EICMA and Yamaha didn't even have a press call - the Europeans showed determination in the face of the continuing turndown in motorcycle sales. No one embodied this more than KTM.
The Austrian company showed a number of new models across most of their range. There was the all-new 1190 Adventure and Adventure R heavyweight dualsport machines, the 390 Duke naked bike, the 690 Duke R, bred for the racetrack, a production version of the KTM 250 that won the inaugural Moto3 World Championship with Sandro Cortese - the German made an appearance - and a 1290 Duke R prototype that could go into production in 2013 as one of the ultimate naked/hooligan bikes.
KTM's off-road heritage was celebrated with appearances onstage by an impressive number of champions. KTM won all three MX World Championship classes and the Dakar Rally for the 12th year in a row. For the past seven years two riders have split victories in the motorcycle class, Frenchman Cyril Despres, this year's winner, and Spaniard Marc Coma, both of whom were on hand. Not present was AMA Motocross Champion Ryan Dungey, though his championship, and the stewardship of team manager Roger DeCoster were noted by KTM CEO Stefan Pierer.
KTM added to their dominant position in the heavyweight dualsport class by debuting the 1190 Adventure and Adventure R. The well-tested four-valve, LC8 twin powers both models - it makes 150 horsepower and 125 foot lbs. of torque - with new electronics that cover all riding conditions.
The R is bred for competition, with longer suspension and bigger wheels, a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear.
KTM added two naked bikes to their current line-up, the 390 Duke and race bred 690 Duke R. They expand the line that already includes the 125 and 690 Dukes in KTM's naked stable.
The 375cc KTM 390 Duke was shown as a transition bike between the smaller and larger displacements. Small, light, nimble and powerful, the 390 is a properly sporty bike, but also a motorcycle than works well in urban environments.
The 330-pound naked bike is powered by 44 hp engine and comes standard with ABS, which was also fitted, for the first time, to the newest Duke 125 and 200.
The 690R was the weapon of choice for the European Junior Cup. Now it's ready to take on racetracks worldwide, though it varies little from the standard 690. Slightly more powerful - 70 hp to 68 for the standard bike - it can tame that power through a Supermoto mapping option. Visibly the biggest difference is the Akropovic exhaust, while the footpegs and handlebars are race-adjusted.
The 1290 Super Duke R was previewed with an unapologetic stunt-riding video. Stoppies, wheelies, burn-outs, doughnuts, the full repertoire of hooligan behavior was professionally performed by a stunt rider on the 1290, which could become a production model as early as next year.
KTM CEO Pierer believes the naked bike segment is one of the fastest growing, which explains why they went all in. Not surprisingly, the 1290 has the look of a KTM, with angular pieces covered in orange. The wheels have a unique splotched orange-on-white paint job.
The RC8 R twin served as the basis for the engine, which was bored out. Since it's not a production motorcycle, the Austrians kept all the relevant statistics under wraps. The specification sheet was whimsical.
Engine: Liquid-cooled V-twin based on RC8R with Drive-by-Wire
Displacement: More than ever
Power and torque: Very, very much
Electronic assistants: ABS and traction control-stoppie and wheelie protection
disengageable (of course)
Top speed: Depends on the rider's courage and figure
The 1290 Duke R houses the upsized mill in a chrome moly trellis frame that's fitted with a single-sided aluminum swingarm, WP prototype upside-down forks with a gas pressure reservoir and WP rear shock.