Playfull and talented hooligan


KTM is most knows for their off road motorcycles, but this is the 990 Super Duke that is built for blacktop and naughty fun. So let's see if it can bring out the naughty boy in me.


Text: Frode Johansen

Photo: Ruth Helen Kjśrran /


They are easy to recognize with their orange colored motorcycles that tear thru the country side like a hurricane, but now they have entered the paved road segment with a bike that stands out from the crowd. 




Again I have gotten myself a sporty v-twin bike. This one delivers 120 horsepower, pluss about ten more with open silencers and air-filter. The power goes thry a six speed gear box, and back to the wheel with some sprockets and a chain. The open silencers saved about fifteen Ibs, and gives the bike the right sound at the right volum.



Sharp lines

The look of the bike is well noticed, the sparkling orange paint job, and the sharp lines in the design fit very well togheter. Just standing there the bike looks naughty, I am standing inside finishing the paperwork, thinking about if the bike really lives up to it's looks out on the twisty roads. Only one way to find out, get the lid on and hit the road.



Blasting down the back roads

As I throw my leg over it I notice that it is quite high for this kind of bike, and I can not get my heals down. But as I have said before, the maker did not equip me with loong legs for my five feet elleven body. To be accurate it is 33,6 inches from the sadle to the ground. But with this exstra hight they have lowered the pegs a little so the knee angle is quite good. The shape of the fuel tank is very narrow, but gives the rider very good contact with the bikes doing both corners and hard breakings.


After a short how to lesson, I start it up and point the front wheel in the direction of some nice twisty roads. The engine is a little raw and viby, and it is not fond of dropping the rpm's lower than 3.000, just like the Ducati Moster S4-Rs. From about 5.000 rpm to the redline at 9.500 the engine just pulls hard, then just drop in another gear every time the red line is close. Both the gearbox and the clutch is very easy to opperate. Sitting a little forward on the bike prevent it from lifting the front wheel, but if you sit back a little the front will rise to the occasion.


I blast through some long curves at good speed and the bike feels very stabel, when I hit some bumbs mid corner the suspension just absorbs them and the bike never looses it's stability. Breaking late is no problem, because the breaks are some of the best out there. As the speed is reduced I lean into the first right hander of a right left combination. About mid corner I see that it tightens a litle more than I thought on the exit. I counter steer it down furture to stay on my line, and as I give it full power towards the left hander I realise that this bike does corners like nothing else. Moments like this one makes me survive the loong cold winters of Norway. Later I read that the English motorcycle magazine, Performace Bike, lapped the Super Duke faster than the 2006 Yamaha R1 on their test track.


After some miles my hands are numned from the vibration in the handle bars, but after some calm driving my hands are good again. Time to find some more twisty roads around here. The vibrations are the only thing that annoy me a little on this very entertaining bike.



Summed up

This is a bike that just craves twisty roads and tracks where it can really hold it's own against anything, and with a capable driver probably outrun them too. The engine vibrates a bit more than I would like it too, but the overall of the bike is really making me smile from ear to ear. And did it lure out the hooligan in me, yeah, hell yeah.





The facts:


Engine: 60,5 cubic inches / 999 ccm


Engine type: Water cooled 75 degree v-tween


Horsepower: 120 hp at 9.000 rpm


Torque: 100 nm at 7.000 rpm


Fuel tank: 3,96 gallons / 15 liter


Front tyre: 120/70 ZR17


Rear tyre: 180/55 ZR17


Dry weight: 405,7 Ibs


MSRP: $13,998




Thank you to Spinnin Wheel in Mysen, Norway

Jon, or "Lead-Jon" which is his racetrack name, delivered top service :-))






With my short legs I can only dream of putting my heals down....