One reason why the 1290 Super Duke R frame looks different from the other 1290s in KTM's lineup is that it's brand new for 2020. KTM claims that the new frame is three times stiffer than the previous model, despite weighing two kilograms (4.4 pounds) less by using thicker diameter tubing with thinner walls. It also uses the engine as a structural component to increase rigidity.

Similarly, the composite subframe is also lighter than before. Additional components like the passenger seat, license plate bracket, and tail lights bolt directly to the subframe, with no additional hardware to save even more weight.