KTM’s getting in on the red-hot middleweight naked bike segment with its all-new 790 Duke ($10,499). A natural stepping stone between the ultra-agile, single-cylinder-powered 690 Duke and the rip-your-arms-out-of-their-sockets 1290 Super Duke R V-twin, the orange team’s new machine splits the difference between the two on paper. But what’s it like to ride to work?
The 790 Duke is powered by a newly developed 799cc parallel twin that pumps out 95 hp on our dyno. Engineers specifically chose this configuration for its compact packaging. And it works around town, making for a slim machine that’s especially adept and slipping in and out of traffic. But because it has some some wide rubber smears to follow, its possesses more character than other I2 configurations we’ve ridden.
Engineers however cleverly designed engine bottom-end and ignition timing to be identical as its LC8 V-twin, so the engine’s sound, character, and torque feel are similar to the 790’s big brother. This equates to a streetbike that’s a hoot to ride on the road with more than 50 pound-feet of torque from as low as 5,300 rpm all the way through redline.
So it’s a good thing this Duke comes with all of the electronic bells and whistles to help keep you in control. Traction with integrated wheelie control, ABS, an electronic quickshifter, and adjustable engine power modes are all standard and easy to manipulate via handlebar-mounted switch gear and a logical menu system. Tag along for the fun in Episode 4 of Motorcyclist’s MC Commute series. After watching be sure to leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on this video.