XtraPix: 2007 KTM Super Duke - First Look

Knee pucks needed!

2007 KTM Super Duke - First Look

It's still sinking in, the idea that KTM, a company I've always associated with building pure off-road, dual-purpose and supermoto-inspired machines, now makes one of my very favorite dedicated streetbikes.

Who knew? Well, I suppose anyone who's paid attention to the evolution of the orange machines rolling out of Alps these past few years might have had a clue. We did—and I'm still pleasantly surprised by the 990 Super Duke's level of performance and refinement. To have gotten both of these areas correct, right out of the gate, is quite an accomplishment.

So, I showed up at a KTM press day conducted at the Streets of Willow Springs, a tight, technical race circuit, wearing a set of Shift Supermoto leathers. I figured a prime opportunity had finally come my way to put the one-piece suit to use. Only problem was, I not only found myself as one of very few journalists not wearing knee sliders, but the Super Duke performed much more like a supersport than I had anticipated it might. So I rode neat and tidy in the saddle, looking more Mike the Bike than King Kenny. Turns out the suit I was wearing had been discontinued some time ago. Who knew?

Well, keep up the good work KTM and I'll be bringing fresh pucks along to your next road bike launch. For more on the Super Duke, see the full road test in the upcoming May issue.

Extreme Home Makeover...The Streets of Willow garage has never looked better. Usually we enter the barren cinderblock building to find little more than tumbleweeds and cigarette butts the wind has blown into a corner.

Carbon clone? At first glance one might mistake this view of an accessorized Duke for that of an Aprilia or Ducati. Not a bad thing, being it?s the new kid on the street.

Riding like squirrels...Often times at racetrack press intros, the pace picks up dramatically following lunch. I suspect it has something to do with a last meal and testament fueled by the smack talkin? that goes on at the lunch table.

Exhausted! Sneaking a peek under Duke?s skirt reveals baked-on chain lube that proved stubborn to remove. So, why is it called stainless-steel?

Dashing good looks...The Super Duke instrument cluster is full-featured and well laid out. Orange backlighting at night seems all too fitting.

Super slab...There?s no mistaking the Super Duke?s distinctive styling for anything other than a contemporary KTM.

Truck stop backdrop...A tanker truck parked on the shoulder offers a perfect prop to illustrate the Super Duke hauling its own load.

Dukin' it at the docks...Working a working-man?s machine theme, staff photographer Brian Blades shot the Duke and I on the job at the Port of Los Angeles.

Traffic lights...Compare this photo to the lead shot of the article. Same setup, but an open camera shutter captures the running lights of a passing truck to good visual effect. Blades? photography is seldom dull.