The journey has been quick and short. All the envious attributes of the LC8c parallel twin that caused a stir and stirred the emotions of riders young and old with the KTM 790 DUKE have found a new boundary.
The reaction to the original SCALPEL motivated KTM to work more with the LC8c and line-up something to tease the desire of extreme petrolheads. The emergence of the KTM 890 DUKE R in the early part of 2020 was the answer: a track weapon, as much as a potent blast for country roads that harnessed all the boosted power of the LC8c and added a range of features that almost obliged riders to get their knees close to the tarmac. Now, staying firmly in the exhaust note of the KTM 890 DUKE R, the KTM 890 DUKE brings all the excellence of its acutely focused sister-version to be the new rapier for the road.
The styling of the KTM 890 DUKE will turn heads and the aesthetic makes this slim package of power and punch unignorable but the essence of the bike is the compact, light, throbbing source of all the fun located between the two wheels. The bigger displacement from 789cc to 889cc uses a more sophisticated mapping logic and is now pumping out 115Hp and 92Nm (10 more horsepower and 5 more newton meters of torque than the KTM 790 DUKE) and the increased rotating mass by 20% ensures better cornering stability and smoother engine action at lower revs and part throttle. Euro5 ready and offering 4,8l/100km through the 14l fuel tank; the speed is offset by keen practicality.
While all the horses are straining to be free, the KTM 890 DUKE can either be gunned or gently guided; creating a large grin for all ages and abilities. The KTM 890 DUKE is ‘midweight’ only through concept, the kilos and the nimbleness of the handling alone: the rest is rasping performance and state-of-the-art ride by wire electronics. This bike will stare down all rivals on the road.
Filtered through the light sensitive, customizable TFT display the rider aids span RAIN MODE (smooth throttle response, maximum traction control, reduced power and anti-wheelie), STREET MODE (standard throttle response, normal TC, full power, anti-wheelie) and SPORT MODE (sport response, reduced TC, full power, anti-wheelie). For those tempted by the full potential of the KTM 890 DUKE the optional TRACK MODE allows the setting to be tweaked for time attacks. Traction control can be increased or lowered on a nine-gauge scale, anti-wheelie can be disengaged, and throttle response has three levels. Launch control fixes the engine at the ideal RPM to assist with pacey standing starts. A 6D lean angle sensor means that the ECU is filtering a wealth of information and input from the bike’s behavior and positioning for optimum feedback.
Cornering ABS helps the 300mm twin floating discs with improved calipers and pads for stronger force haul the whole show to a safe halt. Getting going at a swift pace is easier thanks to the shorter shift lever, lighter springs and augmented Quickshifter+ (optional) settings.
The handling of the KTM 890 DUKE comes into play with the fitting of the tubular CroMo steel frame with a cast aluminum subframe, stiffly set for a sporty feel and a pinpoint sensation. The LC8c is central again thanks to its role as a stressed member of the chassis. Despite the technical ‘growth’ the KTM 890 DUKE keeps the same weight as its predecessor at a flighty 169 kg (dry). The subframe is innovative with the whole single unit containing the air intakes and airbox; designed to be simplistic, minimal and light. The KTM 890 DUKE glides thanks to updated and upgraded WP APEX Suspension (43mm open cartridge upside-down forks) and gas assisted rear shock. ‘Ergo’ is less purposeful than the all-action KTM 890 DUKE R and created to accommodate a wide demographic of rider, with a lower seat height of 820mm.
The KTM 890 DUKE is clearly part of the DUKE family. The lines are unmistakably KTM, where every centimeter of the bike has been combed and analyzed for purpose. There are no unnecessary edges, angles or parts nor plastics that do not contribute to performance of the unique KTM 890 DUKE feeling. As an example: the condensed taillight is integrated into the plate holder, reducing dimensions and freeing up customization for the rear end.