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Old 08-13-2015, 11:10 AM   #1
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2015 "Best Naked Bike" MOTY Winner: KTM 1290 Super Duke R | 2015 Motorcycle of the Ye
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Why does the 2014 Motorcycle Of The Year (see 2014 MOTY here) win its category in 2015? That question might answer itself, but the deeper explanation is that nothing else has come along in the past year that gets within arm’s length of the crown. BMW’s S1000R is the Super Duke’s main competition, and while the Beemer is a sublime machine, it doesn’t speak to us with the same seductive voice as the KTM.

KTM's Justin Dawes, right, accepts the 2015 MOTY for Best Naked at Indy. Photo: Mark Wernham

High-end componentry is everywhere you look on the KTM, from the massive Brembo brakes to fully adjustable WP suspension, but that’s only part of the story. People sometimes scoff when we use the phrase, “greater than the sum of its parts,” but this KTM is the perfect example. Foremost, nothing can compare to the Super Duke’s 1,301cc, which is one of the strongest engines ever bolted to two wheels (92 pound-feet of torque and 150 hp, anyone?). Beyond that, the 1290 just works so completely well. The powerplant combines civil manners with utterly cosmic thrust, in a way that always seems perfectly suited to any situation. Comfy ergos and excellent suspension complete the nearly perfect package. Other bikes have power, comfort, amenities, and versatility, but few machines have this much of everything and also leave us with such an indefinable smile after a ride.

Oh, that Yamaha engine! The FZ’s 847cc inline triple is as stellar now as it was when it debuted last year. Think of Yamaha’s FZ-09 as an adolescent version of KTM’s Super Duke. It’s not as polished or refined, but the Fuzz-9 still captures almost everything we adore in the 1290—including sprightly handling, torque-rich power, and a frisky attitude—only in a smaller, and much more affordable, package.


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