NEW 800 DUKE SPIED
KTM to unleash middleweight weapon in bid to win sales war
This is the new KTM 800 Duke in the closest-to-production specification yet seen. The bike will be launched as the first of a new range of parallel-twin models over the coming years.
This latest spy shots show a series of significant changes over previous images and give a clearer view of how the finished bike will look.
KTM are frantically busy with the development of new models, with company boss Stefan Pierer confirming to MCN that the 800 Duke is imminent, soon to be followed by an Adventure version. Pierer made this official confirmation to MCN at the recent opening of the new KTM UK headquarters.
This latest prototype KTM 800 Duke has new styling and different brakes compared to previous incarnations. The engine has evolved from earlier versions, too. Meanwhile, the subframe and rear section have been updated and there is now a high-level exhaust which has not been seen before.
The bike was spotted on public roads near KTM’S Austrian headquarters in Mattighofen, and looks a lot more finished than any of the 800cc test bikes we have seen before. All of the bikes we have seen in the past have been relatively early-stage test mules.
The new 800cc parallel-twin will be a key pillar of KTM’S future development (and that of sister company Husqvarna), as it will be an important stepping-stone between the current range of 125 to 690cc machines in the KTM range and the much larger 1090, 1190 and 1301cc models. It will enable the firm to keep all their 125 and 390 buyers on-brand as they step up to a bigger bike.
This strategy makes perfect sense for the part Indian-owned KTM, and there is a possibility that this model will only be sold in emerging markets, but this seems unlikely as KTM have been following a global sales plan, rather than picking and choosing bikes for each territory.
KTM are already the largest European motorcycle manufacturer in terms of sales, but have ambitious plans to keep this success on an upward curve.
Recent expansion has been intense, with the company more than doubling its Research and Design staff numbers, and investing heavily in expanding the Mattighofen factory, building a new Racing Department and allowing WP suspension and WP Radiators more room to bring even more work in-house. And of course there’s the Motogp project, too. All of this has been in addition to the successful link-up with Indian firm Bajaj, which has seen the Austrian designed small-capacity range of Duke models, which goes from 125 to 390cc, being built in India for a lower cost and higher profit option. ■ Turn to page 70 for KTM’S impressive performance during Motogp testing at the Red Bull Ring