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KTM 790 Duke Debuts in Milan (with video)

KTM took the wraps off its new 790 Duke in Milan earlier today. This light weight (claimed 372 pounds dry) 799cc parallel-twin powered naked looks incredible on paper (and in the video below!).

KTM is known for light bikes, and with 105 horsepower and 64 foot/pounds of torque, the 790 Duke should be both quick and agile. The engine is a stressed member in the steel frame, and the bike features adjustable WP suspension and powerful brakes (with dual, radial mounted four-piston calipers in front).

Sophisticated Bosch ABS and lean-angle sensitive traction control combine with selectable riding modes. The bike also includes a quick-shifter and a color TFT instrument panel.

The 790 Duke debuted alongside a prototype of an adventure model with the same engine that will reach production at a later time. KTM in the U.S. says the 790 Duke will appear here in early Fall of 2018 as an 2019 model. There is no information on pricing at this time.


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54 Comments

  1. edpix says:

    I REALLY wanted this KTM to be better than it is because I want a very lightweight upper mid displacement sport (NOT RR) bike that has a very strong engine too. The engine output is where I feel KTM has come up short here… Triumph has coaxed 123hp out of its 765 Triple so to see the long awaited Duke 790 arrive with 103 is a bit of a let down as I was expecting around 120hp. KTM certainly knows how to make high output 4 strokes as demonstrated by their class leading MX bikes and their highly successful foray into Moto GP so I admit I was hoping and expecting a little more. Don’t get me wrong I love that they made an entry into this class and the general concept is really good but I feel it could have been better by either getting the weight lower, power higher or preferably both. I am also not liking (ok… HATING) the tank wings as I prefer a nice clean look. I am very much looking forward to seeing it in person but for right now the street triple 765RS (with a bag over its Fugly headlights..) seems nicer. Hopefully KTM might take a page from the Ducati book and offer the Duke 790 in different (higher) spec levels including output then it would be THE bike in this class.

  2. slipjoint says:

    Of all the small manufacturer futuristic bikes on the market I find the KTMs the most interesting. Not interested enough to purchase, the big 4 have earned my money after decades of performace, reliability, parts availability, and overall safe and economic access to motorcycling.

  3. Randy in Ridgecrest says:

    It’s “very angular and beautiful”. I think even more than usual for a KTM. Nonetheless, one of these may be my future bike.

    What’s with Austrians anyway? Why all angles and weird colors? I owned a Emco Super 11 lathe for a while, hurt my eyes every time I went into the shop. That and metric controls made me sell that otherwise pretty nice machine.

  4. GreenMan says:

    105 (claimed) HP from an 800cc twin that happens to be in a parallel configuration is mighty impressive!

    On the downside, the engine is highly stressed so don’t buy it for commuting!

    You may find it strange but…

    I think Ducati has nailed the mid-weight roadster with its Monster 821.

    These bikes look exotic, sound exotic, handle fantastic (for a naked roadster), possess a great brand appeal (Ducati is, after all, The Ferrari of motorcycling world!) and what else?

    Valve adjustment every 30,000KMs while the oil and basic inspections are at everu 15,000KMs / Year.

    I know a guy who has The Monster 821 and he claims that it’s as reliable as a Honda.

    A HONDA!!!

    Oh well,

    G’Day!

    • todd says:

      You’ll hardly be overstressing a 800cc motor capable of 105 hp by merely commuting.

    • slipjoint says:

      There are many Hondas where I live and very few Ducatis. I have never come across a broke down Honda, but I have twice trailered home a road failure Ducati to help out a fellow motorcyclist, both were monsters by the way. Given that I can’t agree with your friend.

    • Matt Bourque says:

      The term stressed refers the engine being an integral part of the frame rigidity.
      This allows them to make a lighter frame but it would be very flexible without the motor in placed and how it is bolted into the frame. The motor itself is not stressed from use.

  5. Lenz says:

    I’m a little underwhelmed by this latest offering from KTM. The engine would benefit from an Akrapovic exhaust, large oiled foam airfilter and a performance MAP upgrade judging from the choked engine sound under hard acceleration in the video. The additional weight over my current 2013 KTM 690 SMCR (30+kg) and the loss of the exposed truss based frame on my 690 makes me query my reasoning to consider trading up to the 790 parallel twin based models – we’ll see if / when the Motard / Enduro / Adventure models show up.

    The underseat fuel tank on my 690 further contributes to effortless, precision handling – does this 790 twin platform provide this design leap ?

    • paquo says:

      on the earlier 690/990 you could use tuneboy or tuneecu to remap ,tweak the ignition and other little tricks to really improve the bike. My 690 went from a jerky choked up mess to a very smooth more powerful bike that actually felt like a twin once you got rolling. Today we are left with powercommander and it’s pretty limited. I recently used it on a 1090 and the results were not nearly as impressive. Perhaps the bikes are closer to the optimum now, i dont know. The 1090 has awesome fueling.

  6. paquo says:

    lol i am well on my way to rationalizing and convincing myself i need a new motorcycle. So far on the list are: Indian FT, ,KTM 790 Duke or adv, Yamaha T7 or tracer gt and big mile muncher triumph tiger 1200. Somehow i can’t really afford it has morphed into i really need a new bike to go along with the 4 already there.

  7. sherm says:

    The KTM’s are impressive and this one might be something I’d want to buy. But I live in upstate NY and KTM street bike dealers are nonexistent in the area, just the dirt bike ones. Just curious about others’ thoughts on the KTM street bike dealer situation.

    • Jabe says:

      I have lived in Michigans central lower peninsula and now the upper portion of the lower all my life. Never have seen a KTM street bike dealer which has always prevented me from giving any real consideration to ownership. I remember a few years back really Jonesing for a 950 Supermoto, but the only one I have ever seen was on display at the GP races at Indy.

  8. allworld says:

    The is an ever expanding category of bikes, and I couldn’t be happier. You can not get sub liter naked/roadsters/streetfighters in singles, v-twins parallel twins, inline 3’s and 4’s. More good news is the offshoots such as Yamaha’s new 2019 Tracer 900 GT. Competition is a good thing.

  9. EZ Mark says:

    The parallel twin sure has made a comeback.
    Just about everybody makes one now.

  10. Fastship says:

    They’re starting to catch up with the Husqvarna Nuda 900 from five years back:

    https://youtu.be/4uSlAFiQfCM

  11. joe b says:

    Wow, I usually like KTM’s but this one stinks. Very ugly swingarm, and whats up with the pipe, burn your butt exhaust in your passengers face? Does it really need those tank wings? They must stick out a mile, what’s that for? Hideous. This looks like something that’s been on the table for a few years already, and just got released, what were they thinking? Very poor taste.

  12. Larry Kahn says:

    It has Maxxis tires. Interesting.

  13. skybullet says:

    This is probably going to be a great bike. KTM does not cut corners to save a buck here and there. The suspension, brakes, transmission/clutch, engine tech and farkles are top drawer. Price? Justified by not having to replace (or just live with) marginal components that don’t return close to their cost at resale time. I switched from 20+ years of owning BMW/Aprilia/Ducati that were good bikes, just not great bikes.
    Super Duke GT/SMT/BMW R80ST

  14. Swellrider says:

    My Ducati 821 Hyper SP will be for sale next summer, as this new KTM looks like it could be even more fun!

  15. bmbktmracer says:

    Drool! Bib please! I’m really excited to see manufacturers creating new bikes with smaller engines, less weight, and a performance envelope useful in the real world. Great job, KTM!

  16. JPJ says:

    New KTM with a new developed motor. 100+HP, >400 pound dry weight. This will be a very fun bike to ride the twisties in.

  17. marloweluke says:

    I would love to see a 790 Duke GT sport tour version of this. Not really in to a naked bike.

  18. KenLee says:

    Concept bike was awesome. Final version looks much worse. From the distance it’s the same shape, but only from the distance. It’s just the matter of proportions, but it makes difference. Details, like bigger muffler, headlight, or plate holder does not help either.

    • Dave says:

      There’s no getting around those things on a production bike. The new Honda is the same.

      • KenLee says:

        I think, new CB is closer to concept bike and homologation stuff is composed better and more “discreetly”. KTM made smaller, or bigger changes literally everywhere and turn awesome concept into another Duke in the stable. It’s really OK-bike, but wow effect is gone by me.

  19. xLaYN says:

    There is a new Duke 250 based on the 390.
    With this 790 and the 250 there is a middle ground opening for a single/parallel 575.
    Beautiful bike.
    Nice video, lots of engine sound, although kinda dron-ish.

  20. Norm G. says:

    okay, i like it but aren’t the front forks to short…?

  21. JD says:

    Will anyone with experience with LED headlights (on a bike or car) comment on how functional they are? Are they really as good as the common H4 halogens of yester-year? This bike looks awesome, but I occasionally like riding at night–with good illumination.

  22. Buckwheat says:

    Wow. Vamonos, baby.

  23. steveinsandiego says:

    yes, eyeball is excellent. love the rear-fender eliminator if y’wanna call it that.

  24. Tom R says:

    “the 790 Duke will appear here in early Fall of 2018 as an 2019 model.”

    Showing a new model that won’t available for a year? Its almost vaporware.

    • Dave says:

      Or a blocker, assuming there are customers on the fence about all of the naked sports coming out this season. What’s one more summer on your existing bike, if you know this is coming and it’s what you want?

  25. Bill says:

    Good thing I’m retired and can’t afford a new bike. This is the nicest looking KTM yet.

  26. VLJ says:

    KTM’s next phase in Operation World Domination has to be to hire a stylist that can come up with a good-looking bike, in addition to being a stellar performer.

    KTM makes great bikes. Great, goofy-looking, SNL “Sprockets” skit nerd-centric bikes.

  27. ApriliaRST says:

    >> claimed 372 pounds dry

    Thank you!! Now was that so damn difficult!?

    • Mark says:

      Always take KTM’s weight specs with a grain of salt. My guess is that actual wet weight ready to ride will be in the 450-lb area, perhaps a little lighter than the competition, but not hugely so.

      • P Harris says:

        Probably 420 -430. If you 50% more hp and only about 20-30 lbs more weight, you could get a gsx s1000. Also save a few grand. Paint it orange and tell everyone to eff off.

        • Mick says:

          KTM says 418 curb weight. I wonder how much blubber is easily removed or replaced with lighter blubber.

          I bought a 916 Ducati in late 1993. It made about the same amount of power and torque as this parallel twin. I know that it is harder to make a lot of power with a parallel twin. But given all that has happened since 1993. One would have figured that the parallel twin would have all ready been here done this a while back.

          This bike is about 40 pounds lighter than the 916. But V-twins are heavier and the 916 has a lot more garbage hanging off of the parts that make the bike work.

          I’m not very impressed with the level of progress.

          The 790 Adventure looks like a dirt bike with a beer gut. I wonder what a supermoto version sans beer gut would weigh.

  28. austin zzr 1200 says:

    The best-looking insectoid naked yet. Probably goes like stink and costs 10K

  29. Blitz11 says:

    Uh-oh. I told my daughter that if she finished her engineering degree in 4 years, i’d buy her one of these. She graduates in 2019 (she’s on track – no pun intended), so looks like my wallet will be a big lighter. The up-side is that this should be cheaper than another year of college.

    • Half Baked says:

      You are in quite a pickle there aren’t you.

      • Blitz11 says:

        Yes, but in a good way. My younger daughter is my favorite riding partner. At age 16, she did a 3,500 mile ride with my brother and buddies from MN through WI, IA, IL, MO, and AK and back on my $200 GS650e Suzuki craigslist find. She did 4,000 miles this summer on my 690 duke, including riding over the pass at Rocky Mountain National Park in the rain/snow mix where visibility was 50 feet (it was bad).

        The sooner she’s out of school, the sooner we’ll be able to ride more, and the 790 has to be better for longer rides than the 690 (which she loves, by the way.) i pile the gear on my super tenere, load the duke 690 with a wolfman beta 2.0 bag with her stuff, and we’re ready to ride. Great fun.

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