KTM 890 Duke: A sharper scalpel

Photos: KTM

KTM just took the wraps off its new 890 Duke. Just like its predecessor, the 790, it looks like the 890 Duke will move the standard forward for the middleweight naked bike segment.

The standard 890 Duke is a little less kitted-up than the 890 Duke R (which arrived in Canada last spring), but it’s not far behind. For starters, it’s got the same 890 cc liquid-cooled DOHC parallel twin, a big bump over the previous 790 lump. The new 890 makes 115 hp at 9,000 rpm, and 67.8 lb-ft of torque at 8,000 rpm. KTM says there’s 59 lb-ft of torque available between 5,500 rpm and 10,000 rpm, so it’s got a wide powerband for sure.

There are other changes to the engine, including 20 percent more rotational mass on the crank. KTM says the parallel twin shifts better now, thanks to shorter shift lever action, and the quickshifter also works better. That’s good news, as the 790’s quickshifter was a bit clunky.

The press release said the bike weighs 169 kg, dry.

KTM also overhauled the bike’s running gear, with new front brake calipers and pads, for more stopping power. Continental’s Conti Road tires come fitted as standard, offering faster warm-up improved handling and cornering, and increased durability. The rear shock has been tweaked to offer more comfort and more progression. Up front, there’s KTM’s in-house WP Apex 43mm shocks, with open-cartridge USD design. These are separate-function forks, with compression and rebound functions split between the legs.

Thanks to new onboard sensors, KTM also improved the cornering ABS function. The 890 comes with supermoto mode as well, which allows you to drag that rear wheel around corners just like one of the guys off the Luc1 team. Overall, all the electronic safety systems should be better, as KTM says it’s used technology off the latest-gen 1290 Super Duke R to improve the 890’s features.

We don’t have an MSRP for the 890 yet. It seems sensible to expect it at a price lower than $12,599, because that’s what the up-specced R model sold for. KTM says it should be here by February.


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  1. Nice bike, but that exhaust placement has always seemed problematic. The exhaust runs up under the seat next to the rear shock. The muffler is parked up under the rider’s butt and inner thigh. Any encounter with slow regular traffic would bake the rear shock and rider’s right thigh. Not to mention any use of side luggage. Performance over practicality. Stuck between a track set-up and not a standard.

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