The KTM 790 Duke prototype is alive and well, as this video from Team Orange shows.
The CMG Faithful should remember our quick look at the 790 Duke when it debuted at EICMA this year, as a concept bike. For months now, there’s been gossip about a new parallel twin-powered mid-sized KTM platform. We had our first glance at the machine in November, and it seems KTM has big plans for this machine. Instead of shelving it, which is the fate of many concept bikes, they’re out tearing up the asphalt on the prototype.
In the future, don’t be shocked to see this replace the 690 thumper lineup, or at least take a lot of its market share. Big thumpers like the 690s can be made to pass emissions test, but it’s getting harder and harder all the time. A vertical twin is still a fairly economical motor to produce (they’ve been the engine of choice in budget bikes since the late ’70s), but is much easier to conform to pollution standards. And if the machine still rips wheelies with apparent ease, well, all the better.