What’s the KTM 790 Duke wish to dwell with? One month on assessment

Ross has been attending to know KTM’s Chinese language-built bare. Right here’s the lowdown on his first month.

This month:

Rider: Ross Mowbray, 6ft 1in
Price new: £7999
Spec: 95bhp/87Nm
Engine: 799cc, LC8c parallel twin
Kerb weight: 174kg
Tank: 14 litres
Seat: 825mm (32.4in)
Miles this month: 500
Miles on clock: 825
Common mpg: 42.4mpg (18.2km/l)
Present tyres: Maxxis Supermaxx ST

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I like a middleweight bare. Spend any time on one and it’s instantly clear why they’re so well-liked with the bike shopping for lots. Fast and succesful sufficient to make speedy progress, however with out the foolish licence-losing quantities of energy and compromised consolation you’d get from a ‘correct’ sport bike. I reckon they’re in all probability the right choice for street riders who like urgent on.

I’ve ridden a complete host of the present crop, together with Ducati’s Monster, Yamaha’s MT-09, Triumph’s Avenue Triple and KTM’s 890 Duke. They’re all good in their very own barely distinctive method, with sufficient selection in worth, efficiency and styling to swimsuit a complete vary of riders. There are additionally a few new bikes, in Suzuki’s GSX-8S and Honda’s Hornet – which have acquired beneficial opinions, although I’ve not had the prospect to place them to the take a look at simply but.

There’s an alternative choice although. KTM’s 790 Duke has simply made a comeback. Dropped from the vary a few years in the past, it’d appear to be a little bit of a wierd resolution on the Austrian manufacturing facility’s behalf to reintroduce it… It’s already bought the all-singing, all-dancing 890 Duke R, so why would KTM need to threat consuming into gross sales by reintroducing a motorcycle that’s in the identical form of ballpark?

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Properly, it’s truly a little bit of a artful transfer. The 790 was a giant success for KTM, promoting in extra of 29,000 items earlier than being upgraded to the 890 Duke (as a result of more and more stricter emissions rules forcing it to up capability with a purpose to keep energy). With the 890 Duke higher outfitted and consequently dearer, the resurgent 790 Duke is healthier positioned to problem among the inexpensive competitors and supply loads of bang to your buck for these engaged on a barely tighter funds.

KTM has managed to maintain prices down by working along with Chinese language agency CFMOTO, who can be constructing and badging the bike on KTM’s behalf. I do know that’ll flip numerous you off – for varied causes, there’s nonetheless numerous animosity in direction of bikes in-built China – however there’s no denying that CFMOTO goes from energy to energy.

It’s actually upped its sport within the final three or 4 years, with a variety of bikes which maintain their very own in opposition to the extra established European and Japanese competitors (with costs to match).

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However the huge query is how nicely it stands a yr of use and abuse? We’ve begged one from KTM to seek out out.

First impressions are good. The construct high quality of the brand new 790 Duke seems to be simply pretty much as good because the earlier era. The truth is, the bike seems to be just about an identical to the ‘outdated’ 790 throughout the board.  However that’s not fully the case. KTM and CFMOTO have made some delicate modifications, together with revising the engine (with 20% extra rotating mass to assist enhance dealing with and stability).

It’s a superb motor. Enjoyable, versatile and free-revving with sufficient chew and bark to place a smile on my face each time I journey it. It likes to be labored exhausting – and a part of the great thing about these middleweight nakeds is which you can truly push them proper to their restrict on the street, in a method I wouldn’t really feel comfy on a giant superbike.

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The chassis is nice, too. It’s unchanged for 2023, which suggests there’s non-adjustable 43mm WP Apex forks up entrance and a spring-preload-adjustable WP Apex shock on the rear – plus a pair of radial-mount four-piston calipers available to assist haul it up. It’s sharp, agile and surprisingly simple to journey, with the Maxxis Supermaxx ST tyres offering loads of grip on dry roads. The climate’s been so good that I can’t touch upon how nicely it holds up within the moist, however I’m sure I’ll get an opportunity over the approaching months.  

It’s fairly comfy, too. I’m over 6ft and anticipated to really feel a bit cramped on the Duke, however I’m completely at residence perched on high of it. The broader bars assist. The one difficulty I’ve had was throughout a protracted day of just about completely motorway miles. I needed to battle to maintain my head in place at something round 70mph – although with no display and a comparatively aggressive ahead leaning using place, it’s not an issue unique to the KTM. And all was forgotten as quickly as I bought again on a twisty part of street.

It’s been a cracking first month with the KTM 790 Duke. There’s an terrible lot to love about it – and with a £7999 price ticket I feel it represents glorious worth for cash (even when there are different, barely cheaper choices). I can’t wait to spend extra time getting below its pores and skin over the approaching months.


+ The engine is an excellent factor that thrives when being pushed exhausting – and has sufficient punch to carry its personal with a lot greater bikes within the palms of the rightrider

+ It handles so nicely. I’ve ridden Dukes earlier than and so I knew it’d be good – but it surely’s even higher than I remembered. 


The KTM’s not constructed for long-distance consolation. A few two-hour stints on the motorway felt like a little bit of a battle, with my head and neck aching like hell after combating in opposition to the wind for the entire journey.

Keep tuned to see what Ross thinks of the KTM 790 Duke with one other month below his belt!


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