KTM 790 DUKE
When KTM teased ‘The Scalpel’ almost a year ago (YouTube it, you won’t be disappointed), it had fans of the middleweight naked class salivating uncontrollably. So much so that the orange brigade decided to put their money where their mouth is and make the concept a reality. Following suit with the brand’s bigger and badder 1290 Super Duke R, the more affably sized offering features a knockout power-to-weight performance thanks to its all-new 799cc KTM parallel twin engine, which makes an impressive 105bhp and 86Nm of torque. That’s an increase of over 30bhp compared to the 690 Duke it supersedes, making it the feistiest offering in its sector.
They haven’t just focused on building a stonking engine though, as KTM openly admit they went all out to ensure the 790 handled like a finely tuned 600cc sportsbike. In order to make the Duke the most lightweight, agile and precise machine conceivable, KTM created a brand new chassis for the naked bike consisting of welded precision chrome-molybdenum steel sections, which actually uses the lightweight and narrow engine as a stressed member, while the aluminium sub-frame integrates air ducts and the airbox into its design to help minimise weight and profile.
The 790 weighs in at just 169kg (dry) and sports aggressive geometry to guarantee it’s no prude in the handling department. To hammer this credential home, the KTM has also been equipped with top notch WP 43mm open cartridge forks, and aWP gas assisted adjustable shock which is directly mounted on the open-lattice swingarm.
In terms of braking, the 790 packs uprated 300mm twin discs and radially mounted calipers that are purported to be of track riding quality. Tech lovers will be pleased to hear that the bike comes as stock with a whole host of electrical goodies which are all highlighted on the model’s TFT display, including a Bluetooth music function. Rider aid wise, the KTM offers four riding modes (one of which is a track setting).
Better still, the Euro 4 compliant machines come as standard with disengageable cornering ABS and a four-tier traction control package that can also be completely switched off. A quickshifter and blipper make life even easier, as does the Motor Slip Regulation feature, which is a fancy way of saying slipper clutch. No pricing has been announced just yet, but the model’s looking likely to be terrorising a street near you in the first quarter of 2018.
‘Who put that banana there?’