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The best way to cover that distance with the Duke is 50 miles in the van and 50 more after you unload at the track. That superbike also donated its valve springs, which bump the rev limit to 10,500 rpm.Lighter pistons and connecting rods spin a meticulously reworked crankshaft, and the R exhales through boa constrictor-sized Akrapovic headers coiled under the engine. Beyond that, the XR1200 and Super Duke 990 R are farther apart than the 4531 miles between Harley-Davidson's hallowed Milwaukee, Wisconsin works and KTM Sportmotorcycle AG headquarters in Mattighofen, Austria. Both aim at an erudite sporting audience, and both wear the orange and black racing livery of their respective factories.That's why the only direct carryovers to Harley's new XR1200 are the sacrosanct 45-degree arrangement of its air-cooled cylinders, assorted styling cues and a coat of Jet-Fire Orange paint.KTM has been building motorcycles exactly half as long, and can't touch Harley in the history department.Wide bars make herding Milwaukee metal through Los Angles traffic a bit easier, but with 486 lbs.
The rear view isn't much clearer than on the KTM beyond 75 mph, but you can put 145 miles of interstate between gas stops.
Still, from its humble beginnings as a repair shop in 1934, Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen has been too busy looking ahead to spend much time basking in the bygone. The KTM feels half as long and twice as tall as Harley's sportiest Sportster.
Okay, so the Super Duke's wheelbase is only 2.5 inches shorter, but its cruel excuse for a seat is 5 inches taller, which makes more legroom for tall types. At 448 pounds complete with life-giving fluids, the Austrian bike is fully 138 lbs. But wait, there's more: Park both tach needles at 7000 rpm and the Harley's 1202cc OHV twin is tapped out at 80 horsepower.
Any pillion junior-high graduate foolish enough to climb aboard will mutiny by the end of the block.
Both bikes are most comfortable within a 100-mile radius of home. The R is lighter, stronger, faster, considerably less subtle and 00 more expensive than an '08 Super Duke. Heavier-breathing heads put 41mm titanium intake valves downstream of big 52mm throttle bodies lifted from the RC8.