Bikes > Motor

KTM upgrades 790 Duke into faster 890 Duke

Interestingly called a road-going ‘scalpel’ by its maker

If you think the 790 Duke is a little slow, KTM's got you covered. PHOTO FROM KTM

Motorcycle enthusiasts already know that the KTM 790 Duke is an excellent, bang-for-the-buck naked sport bike. At just a tick under P600,000, the lightweight canyon carver has an exceptional power-to-weight ratio courtesy of its 789cc parallel-twin LC8c engine and trellis frame.

However, the Austrian manufacturer felt that it needed a bit more oomph, and has given the engine a significant bump in displacement (889cc). Now aptly called the 890 Duke, the new bike features tech used in the limited-production 890 Duke R released in 2020—a stripped-out version of the 790 Duke geared for track use.

The more powerful engine is paired with a lightweight frame. PHOTOS FROM KTM

Now Euro 5-compliant, the new 890 Duke punches out 115hp and 92Nm—10hp and 5Nm more than the 790. The increased rotating mass of the updated engine also ensures better cornering stability and better throttle response at low rpm. With a dry weight of just 169kg, the 890 lives up to its reputation as a “scalpel” for the road.

The tubular chromoly steel frame uses a cast-aluminum subframe, with the LC8c engine functioning as a stressed member of the chassis. The subframe is a single unit containing the air intakes and the airbox, while the swingarm is a die-cast open-lattice unit with a direct link for the rear shock absorber. Its WP Apex suspension uses an open-cartridge upside-down fork and a gas-assisted rear shock. While the 890 Duke doesn’t have adjustable suspension like the 890 R, KTM claims that the new factory settings feature better damping and feel. A lower seat height of 820mm versus the R’s track-focused 840mm helps make the 890 a more usable street bike. The handlebars can be adjusted four ways.

An ill-timed stab of the throttle will easily get you in a sticky situation. PHOTO FROM KTM

A full suite of electronic riders is accessible through the TFT dashboard. In addition to the usual Rain, Street and Sport modes, Track mode allows the rider to adjust the level of traction control intervention in nine detents. Wheelie control can also be disabled, and there are three levels of throttle response. Launch control, lean-angle sensors, and cornering ABS are standard. A shorter shift lever and lighter springs compared to the 790, as well as the optional Quickshifter+, complete the package. Sticky street-focused Continental ContiRoad tires on 17-inch tubeless rims further differentiate the 890 Duke from the R’s Michelin Powercup rubber.

The 890 Duke’s distinctive shape features full LED lighting. KTM’s myRide app integrates your smartphone for navigation and entertainment. A wide array of KTM PowerParts cover everything from Akrapovič slip-on exhausts to sprocket covers.

If you can make the 890 Duke do your will, it's very rewarding. PHOTO FROM KTM

As juicy as the new model looks, there’s no official word yet on when the 890 Duke will make it to the Philippines as production of the locally assembled 790 Duke only recently started. Of course, the locally available bike already packs quite a punch, so if you can’t hold your breath for the 890, you might want to go over to a KTM showroom for a demo ride and see if the 790 is more than enough for your abilities.

Andy Leuterio

Andy is both an avid cyclist and a car enthusiast who has finally made the shift to motorcycles. You've probably seen him on his bicycle or motorbike overtaking your crawling car. He is our Motorcycle Editor and the author of the ‘Quickshift’ column.