After being extremely impressed with the KTM 790 Duke last year, we can’t wait to get our hands on the meatier KTM 890 Duke R. Here’s a teaser.
Last year the orange Austrians gave us our first taste of a proper Mattighofen big bike in the form of the 790 Duke. The twin-cylinder naked middleweight definitely lived up to its Scalpel nickname, and swept me off my feet with its playful nature, precise handling and rorty motor; I even wrote that it would give 600-cc supersport a run for its money on a tight and twisty racetrack. But, as humans we’re never satisfied, and if the 790 is this good I couldn’t help but wonder how much better the sharper, faster and higher-specced KTM 890 Duke R must feel.
While we’re going to have to wait a while to find out, we do believe that the 890 Duke R will hit our market sometime in 2021, and what better way to whet our collective appetite than a closer look at KTM’s latest naked middleweight. Here’s five things to know about the KTM 890 Duke R.
1.) All-new engine
While the 890-cc liquid-cooled parallel twin might be derived from the original 799-cc LC8c motor from the 790 Duke, it packs a lot more punch. Both bore and stroke have been increased to achieve the additional 91 cc, while compression ratio has also been boosted from 12.7:1 to 13.5:1. The 890 motor also breathes better through a new head that incorporates larger valves and a more aggressive camshaft profile. And, while rotational mass has been trimmed by using light-weight forged pistons and connecting rods, KTM have incorporated a heavier crankshaft for more inertia, to improve low-rpm throttle response. All this fettling has given the motor a lot more grunt everywhere in the rev range, and taking peak power up by 16 hp to 121 hp, and peak torque up 12 Nm to 99 Nm.
2.) You can dial it in to suit you and your riding style
While the WP suspension set up on the KTM 790 Duke stood up well to a thrashing at the track, it incorporates no adjustability aside from a preload setting on the rear shock. Consequently, a heavier rider might find the suspension severely under-damped once the pace quickens and, conversely, one might find it a little too stiff for comfort on the street. The KTM 890 Duke R gets fully-adjustable WP Apex suspension components at both ends so that you can set the motorcycle up just as you like it, whether on the street or the track.
3.) Better brakes and stickier rubber
While the 790 Duke was endowed with competitive J.Juan braking components and Maxxis Supermaxx ST tyres, the Austrian manufacturer decided to give the KTM 890 Duke R a sharper performance edge. Superbike-spec Brembo Stylema monobloc calipers grip 20-mm larger discs up front, ensuring brutal stopping power with just a finger on the span- and bite-ratio-adjustable lever, while the track-biased Michelin Power Cup 2 tyres provide more grip than you would know what to do with.
4.)This is a solo motorcycle
While you can take your friend or significant other cruising around on the 790 Duke, the KTM 890 Duke R does away with a pillion seat and footpegs. This can give you an idea of the single-minded focus of this machine.
5.)While the KTM 890 Duke R shares chassis components and plastics with the 790 Duke, it is endowed with sportier ergonomics.
Although both bikes share a platform, the KTM 890 Duke R has a slightly higher seat, with the wide aluminium handlebar positioned lower and further forward. While this may slightly compromise comfort on the street, the forward-biased riding position puts the rider more in touch with the front end for better feel when aggressively trailing the brakes into a corner. The footpegs are also slightly higher to unlock a few more degrees of lean for all the corner junkies out there.