We thought the world of KTM’s 890 Duke R when it appeared last year. It was like a 790 Duke, but better. It was the middleweight naked that rocked our world more than a middleweight naked had any right to. But KTM were keen to tell us that it wasn’t a replacement for the 790, “the 890 Duke R is a track weapon” they told us. Well now, because we loved the 890 Duke R so much, they have (as expected) replaced the 790 Duke with the 890 Duke (minus the R). The new 890 Duke will sit aside the 890 Duke R, as the more road focused weapon, proudly inheriting the moniker ‘The Scalpel’. Here’s everything you need to know…
The new 890cc engine makes 115hp and 92Nm of torque which is a bit more than the 790, but not quite as much as the 890 Duke R. Like the R, the new 890’s crank has 20% more rotating mass than the 790. Apparently this makes for a better behaved engine at tick over, and better stability when cornering, thanks to its increased gyroscopic effect.
Ultralight Chromium Molybdenum has been used to craft the tubular steel frame, and the subframe’s made from cast ally to keep the weight down. Incredibly, despite the extra capacity, the 890 tips the scales at the same 169kg (dry) as the 790. You get WP APEX forks and a gas monoshock which, according to KTM, has all been updated.
Lean-angle sensitive traction control will help you keep those 115 ponies in check and the rider modes include ‘sport’, ‘street’ and ‘rain’. There is also the optional Track mode, which includes 9 levels of traction control, launch control, and the option to disable anti-wheelie. The cornering ABS is switchable with KTM’s deliciously fun Supermoto ABS mode, for when you want to make some proper shapes. And wear some flat spots in the new Continental ContiRoad tyres. By the sounds of it, the 890 Duke isn’t going to be quite as manic as the 890 Duke R that we have come to know and love. But that’s no terrible thing. We’ve no word on the price yet, but it’s bound to be slightly more affordable. And it might even be a little bit easier to get along with (not that the Duke R was too much of a handful). I expect this will be a decent step up from the 790 Duke, which was already a most excellent motorcycle. Let’s hope this one’s even more excellent.