KTM have transplanted the motor and much of the firepower from the 890 Duke R into the 790 Duke, creating a new standard 890 Duke and pouring even more petrol onto the middleweight class inferno in the process.
The Austrian firm has helped to revitalize the middleweight naked battle in 2017 after years of domination by Yamaha’s MT range, bringing superbike levels of tech to more modestly priced machinery.
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But three years later there has been a slew of new bikes fighting it out in this segment, so it was time for KTM to revisit their offering.
The biggest change is the motor, which has grown in both bore and stroke to 799cc from 889cc. The result is a decent growth in power (just over 8bhp) as well as a modest bump in torque (up 3.7lb. ft to 68lb. ft).
Just like the growth from 790 to 890 on the Adventure, this increase in displacement has also been met with an increase in rotating mass in the engine. KTM says this helps smooth out the throttle response at low rpm as well as improving cornering stability through increased inertia.
Related: KTM 890 Adventure bike review
Away from the engine, the electronics have had an overhaul with a six-axis IMU which ought to improve the size of the electronic safety net. Just like before there are three riding modes (rain, street, and sport) plus an optional track mode where you can fiddle with all the settings and turn various safety features off if you so desire.
There are some small ergonomic tweaks too that might save you the odd tenth of a second, including a shorter gear lever, new springs in the clutch and an updated quickshifter/auto
blipper, which remains an accessory option. Helping you bring all this to a halt is an updated Brembo braking system that features new calipers and pads for improved stopping power.
Other changes include improved suspension in the form of 43mm WP Apex forks and Continental ContiRoad tyres, which KTM say provide excellent wet weather performance and warm up quickly. Last but not least it’s worth noting that KTM have brought the 890 Duke bang up to date emissions wise, meeting the latest Euro5 standards all while keeping the dry weight to the exact same figure as it was before. Impressive stuff.
At £9649 when it arrives in dealers next month, it will add another option for any middleweight buyer eyeing up a Triumph Street Triple, the Yamaha MT-09 or the new Aprilia Tuono 660. The only sad news is for A2 licence holding KTM lovers.
A2 licences are restricted to 47bhp and the bikes themselves can make no more than double (94bhp). KTM previously offered a lower powered 790L for A2 riders but they have confirmed there won’t be a 890L, while the 790L has also been discontinued, leaving just the 390 Duke for restricted riders.