Nude Duke spied test­ing as am­bi­tious KTM plans new range of 800cc par­al­lel twins

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Andy Downes SE­NIOR REPORTER

‘There is some­thing miss­ing be­tween our 690 Duke and 1050 Ad­ven­ture’

KTM’S up­com­ing par­al­lel-twin has been spied test­ing – and of­fi­cial word from Aus­tria has now con­firmed a fam­ily of mid­dleweight bikes will stem from this all-new 800cc en­gine lay­out.

The first of this new batch of mo­tor­cy­cles will be the naked 800cc Duke which will be launched in fin­ished pro­duc­tion trim later this year at ei­ther the Cologne or Mi­lan mo­tor­cy­cle shows. This Duke, along with an up­dated 1190 Ad­ven­ture model (see sep­a­rate story, right), were spot­ted be­ing eval­u­ated on the road near KTM’S Span­ish test cen­tre.

As with all KTMS the fam­ily is likely to com­prise a naked 800 Duke (ex­pected to be called the 790 or 890 Duke to keep it in line with the rest of the range), an ad­ven­ture bike and maybe a GT too. This doesn’t even count the range of new mod­els from sis­ter firm Husq­varna, which will spawn from this en­gine and chas­sis plat­form.

Right now we know for sure there are go­ing to be two bikes based around the 800cc plat­form and that’s be­cause KTM’S Di­rec­tor of In­ter­na­tional Sales and Mar­ket­ing Hu­bert Trunk­en­polz con­firmed that in­for­ma­tion in a re­cent in­ter­view with MCN.

He told us: “For sure there is some­thing miss­ing be­tween our 690 Duke sin­gle and our 1050 Ad­ven­ture V-twin. It’s no se­cret we’re work­ing on an ad­ven­ture bike with 800cc dis­place­ment and also an 800cc naked bike. You will know more in time, but it will not be a sin­gle cylin­der.”

While ex­act de­tails of the new en­gine are still not known, we do know for sure the mo­tor is a com­pletely new par­al­lel-twin de­sign which has been cre­ated specif­i­cally for this range of bikes and shares barely a com­po­nent with any­thing else in the range.

MCN un­der­stands the en­gine will be close to 800cc to bridge the gap be­tween the cur­rent 690cc sin­gle in the 690 Duke and the 1050cc V-twin in the 1050 Ad­ven­ture. KTM know there is too large a gap be­tween the 690cc and the larger-ca­pac­ity bikes and, in or­der to con­tinue the mas­sive ex­pan­sion of the com­pany seen in the past few years, a mid­dleweight ca­pac­ity en­gine and chas­sis plat­form is es­sen­tial.

Par­al­lel-twin en­gines have be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in re­cent years for a se­ries of rea­sons. They are cheap to pro­duce and de­sign, compact, fu­el­ef­fi­cient and also of­fer huge ad­van­tages in terms of pack­ag­ing.

MCN es­ti­mate this en­gine will likely pro­duce around 75bhp to 80bhp and of­fer fru­gal econ­omy too.

It’s not just KTM who like the ben­e­fits of par­al­lel-twin. Honda re­cently launched the new CRF1000L Africa Twin with a new 1000cc lump and true off-road abil­ity.

KTM’S de­ci­sion to use a par­al­lel-twin means it will be even eas­ier to build up other types of bikes around the same pow­er­plant – par­tic­u­larly an ad­ven­ture bike. Slot­ting some­thing like an 800cc par­al­lel-twin into a mid-range ad­ven­ture bike would make for a chas­sis and en­gine lay­out that would leave plenty of space for an air­box and a large fuel tank to be housed well out of the way from po­ten­tial stone dam­age. Us­ing a 270-de­gree fir­ing or­der also boosts low-down torque and makes for more ex­cit­ing per­for­mance. Yamaha have also joined the likes of BMW and Kawasaki in us­ing mod­ern, light­weight par­al­lel-twins in re­cent years.

KTM’S shared fu­ture

As with many re­cent KTMS there is a huge amount of com­po­nent shar­ing in ev­i­dence. Not only does shar­ing com­po­nents speed up the de­vel­op­ment of the bikes but it mas­sively re­duces costs to build and de­velop new bikes. KTM are fast be­com­ing the masters of en­sur­ing each com­po­nent i s de­signed with the po­ten­tial for it to be shared be t we e n mul ti p l e ma­chines.

KTM’S re­cent his­tory has seen some fran­tic work and the firm have in­creased the num­ber of per­ma­nent staff in their re­search and de­vel­op­ment arm to 370 as bosses at­tempt to in­crease the num­ber of bikes KTM sell to more than half a mil­lion per year.

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