Johannesburg - The KTM 1290 Super Duke R has been voted South Africa’s 2014 Bike of the Year.

The Austrian-built machine narrowly beat BMW’s S1000R for the top placing in the Pirelli-sponsored competition, after voting by 14 motorcycle journalists from across the country.

The judges, which included this writer, voted on nine finalists from an initial list of 27 eligible bikes and then evaluated them in a two-day test between Johannesburg and Sabie earlier this month.

Selling for R186 999, including a two-year/unlimited distance warranty, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R is powered by a 1301cc fuel-injected V-twin and is rated with a 0-200km/h sprint time of just 7.2 seconds.

Traction control and ABS brakes help harness the power.

There are modes for street and sport which adjust the aggressiveness of the ride-by-wire throttle and the level of traction control intervention.

This is the second running of SA’s Bike of the Year competition, which is organised by Mat Durrans and Harry Fisher of television’s The Bike Show, and the winner was revealed at last weekend’s AMID motorcycle and lifestyle expo in Johannesburg.

With the BMW R1200GS narrowly winning the inaugural competition in 2013 from KTM’s 1190 Adventure, this year’s voting came down to another close BMW-vs-KTM contest, only with the spoils this time going to KTM.

Ducati’s Monster 1200S was third.

All of the top three are “naked” motorcycles which have little or no fairing or wind protection, which reveals a growing trend in motorcycle sales.

The other six finalists, in alphabetical order, were the BMW R1200GS Adventure, Ducati 899 Panigale, Kawasaki Z1000, Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom, Yamaha MT-07 and Yamaha MT-09. - Star Motoring

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