The KTM 790 DUKE has a reputation. Not only is it known to be devastatingly accurate, with the unmatched agility you’d expect from a single, merged with the meaty punch of a twin, but for being a no-nonsense street-brawler. Boasting an uncompromised 799 cc LC8c parallel twin motor nestled into one of the lightest and most compact chassis around, the KTM 790 DUKE is all about being fast where it counts – in the corners.
A multicolor combination of relevant information, presented in an uncluttered way. As you rev the engine, the display bars change color, either spurring you on or warning you that the engine’s still cold. The display also automatically adapts its illumination to the ambient light and gets racy when “Track mode” is selected.
100% DUKE. Purposefully NAKED and proud of it, the KTM 790 DUKE presents an aggressive stance, boasting aggressive lines and clearly obvious intentions. As the original scalpel, it’s sharp, to the point, and leaves nothing covered.
With an LED headlight adding to the KTM 790 DUKE’s menacing look and subtracting from the darkness, illumination is taken care of when charging into the night. Flanked by two LED strips that function as running lights, being seen during the daylight hours is taken care of too.
Developed for torque, this liquid-cooled 8-valve, DOHC unit delivers 87 Nm at 8000 rpm, almost immediately followed by a roaring 105 hp finale – 95 hp version for the L model that is available in certain markets. Meanwhile, an advanced ride-by-wire system guarantees great refinement as well as low fuel consumption and emission figures. It roars too.
Riders can choose from four ride modes, namely SPORT, STREET, RAIN, and TRACK. Naturally, STREET MODE is the default, making for comfortable urban riding, with RAIN MODE taking care of things when they get a little slippery. SPORT MODE is used when needing to dial things up a notch, with TRACK MODE giving KTM 790 DUKE pilots full power output, and the ability to dial down the traction control, smooth out the throttle, and switch off the anti-wheelie for rear wheel antics.
MOTORCYCLE TRACTION CONTROL
Motorcycle Traction Control is a mouthful, but it’s an important part of the KTM 790 DUKE. MTC is a lean-angle sensitive traction control system, which reduces engine output extremely smooth, barely perceptible. Depending on the selected ride mode, MTC also allows for several levels of traction slip at the rear wheel. But that’s not the end of it – Daredevils, we give you: the off-switch!
MOTOR SLIP REGULATION
The KTM 790 DUKE is equipped with standard MSR, or Motor Slip Regulation, which works in the opposite direction of the MTC. This means there is no chance of accidentially locking up the rear wheel under downshifting or abrupt throttling-off. MSR ensures you retain full traction and complements the slipper clutch and is especially effective in low grip situations.
The KTM 790 DUKE is an aggressive motorcycle with easy rider ergonomics. This is the key to its long-standing success. A narrow chassis and engine, comfortable seat height, upright seating position, and spacious legroom don’t sacrifice cornering clearance on the street, while the footpegs allow for extreme lean angles when cutting into the canyons.
At 825 mm, both shorter and taller riders can enjoy the bike at full tilt, without losing sight of the daily usability. The seat cover is grippy but still allows the rider to move around the bike easily. It has been developed to work with textile and leather, in keeping with the wide range of riders and riding styles. The pillion seat cover uses the same material and combines sharp looks with passenger comfort. 805 mm is possible with the lower KTM PowerParts seat.
Cast from aluminum, the foot pegs fitted to the KTM 790 DUKE cater to a comfortable riding position, while still creating maximum ground clearance allowing for impressive lean angles. Reverse shifting is possible without any additional parts. Adjustable foot pegs are also available as a KTM PowerParts option for those who would like to go all out.
The incredible handling characteristics of the KTM 790 DUKE are founded on the dynamic, loadbearing design of the tubular chassis. Engineers had one goal in mind, and that was to keep the chassis as rigid and compact as possible for sharper turn-in and greater lean angles, allowing it to slice through the turns with extreme responsiveness.
The die-cast, open-lattice swingarm is meticulously manufactured and has been optimized for stiffness and stability while still offering excellent flex characteristics. By using a direct link for the rear shock, complexity and parts are reduced.
A 43 mm open cartridge upside-down front fork from WP Suspension takes care of any front wheel articulation, using split function technology. This means that compression and rebound damping take place in separate fork legs, allowing for better tuning of the fork behavior. The fork springs are progressive, ensuring a smooth operation throughout the fork stroke, being softer for the initial stroke, and harder further down the stroke to prevent bottoming out.
Making sure the rear wheel behaves when the going gets fast, is a high-quality gas-assisted WP APEX rear shock, featuring progressive spring and preload adjustment. This means the KTM 790 DUKE maintains a sporty ride quality, while still being comfortable enough for longer trips.
WHEELS AND TIRES
The KTM 790 DUKE is fitted with extremely lightweight, light-alloy wheels manufactured using a low-pressure die-casting process. Not only do the lightweight wheels subtract from the overall weight, but they also minimize the unsprung rotating masses and are wrapped in a set of MAXXIS Supermaxx ST tires.
Maximum deceleration is ensured at the front wheel on the KTM 790 DUKE by the two radially mounted four-piston fixed calipers and two 300 mm discs. The spacing between front brake lever and handlebar is adjustable so that the lever is within easy reach for every rider. The front brake receives effective support from the disc brake on the rear wheel, which features a single disc and a single piston floating caliper.