“If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.”
KTM’s mind-bending 1290 Super Duke R ended up winning MO’s Motorcycle of the Year in 2014 for its raw power and versatility. If you are not familiar with this model, imagine being strapped to a bar stool and then being pulled behind a speeding commuter train. Where some manufacturers talk about putting a superbike on the street, KTM really does it, except with high bars and no wind protection, because… well, because I’m not sure why. A personal theory is that Austria is what happens when Germans drink too much. But thank God they did it because the world is always short of expensive, loud and beautiful things.
Two men who I’m pretty sure agree with me are Messrs. Conan Dooley and Denis Ivanov. It all started when AMA/AFM racer Erik “GoGo” Gulbranson campaigned a Super Duke 1290 R in 2015 and then had his friend Dooley convert it to street trim so he could sell it. Dooley’s other pal, Denis, offered to buy it – if Conan would build the Super Duke into the all-around supermoto superbike KTM should have built in the first place.
As Conan writes in his build thread, he’d been thinking about doing this for a long time. One of his favorite bikes is the KTM 990 SM-T, which is the old 990 SM with some touring amenities baked into it. “There’s something about massive suspension travel paired with big power that makes for an awesome urban warfare vehicle,” writes Conan.