The standard Super Duke 990 made one helluva splash when it appeared about a year ago - some calling it Germany's version of the Ducati Monster, taken up another notch.

Or even three.

With the introduction of the race-ready R version, KTM kicks it up several notches more.

The additional $1,200 you'll spend ($15,598 vs. the standard 990's base price of $14,398) buys you an extra eight horsepower (128 vs. 120) from a tweaked version of the 75 degree water-cooled V-twin engine, as well as key chassis, suspension and brake upgrades - including new geometry for the frame for a lower (93.9 mm) trail, more aggressive 67.3 degree steering head angle, CNC-milled triple clamps, factory steering damper and high-capacity radial mounted Brembo brakes with aircraft-type braided metal hoses.

The changes to the frame geometry were done specifically to tighten up the bike's high-speed stability and handling. There's more travel built into the suspension, too - and a new-design shock/front struts have been set up to allow for virtually unlimited adjustability.

The R's a true gunfighter, so there's no extra set of pegs (or seating) for a passenger. Just a solo saddle that drops the rider closer down to the bike's center of mass. Getting rid of the passenger seat and pegs also helps cut down the bike's weight - which comes in at just over 405 pounds.

For greater range, R models also get a slightly larger fuel tank than the standard 990 - as well as a revised instrument cluster and windscreen and clear lense tail lamps. But the bike's most obvious difference is its contrast-color orange powder-coated trellis-style frame (it's black on the standard Duke) and the extensive use of lighweight carbon fiber bits and pieces. Some of these could be added to the regular 990 "over the counter" - but it'd be much harder to duplicate the R-specific orange frame - or the R's "lightning bolt" insignia on the cowl and side panels.

Or - most important of all - the R's superior performance and handling.

Like the Suzuki B-King, the Duke 990 R has standard-style handlbars (not clip-ons) so even though its riding position is still fairly aggressive, the bike's ergos are very everyday livable - even for taller/bigger riders.

Though not as overpoweringly brutal as the B King, the Duke 990 R is considerably lighter, more agile - and thus, better suited to track days.

In addition to having a head turning quotient that's second to none.