‘Faith in nakeds restored’
TONY HATHAWAY 2018 KTM DUKE 790
THIS 790 DUKE REPLACED a three-week-old MT-09SP which, even with sticky tyres and the suspension set up, was one of the worst-handling nakeds I’ve ridden on track. It weaved badly and had a complete lack of front-end feel.
So the 790 came to me at two weeks and 400 miles old in a deal from a friend that was too good to turn down. I’d contemplated this bike before but the lack of adjustable suspension was putting me off.
With a couple of trackdays booked, I fitted some race tyres to it. It has a Track mode for the electronics and the handlebars have two positions, including a forward one for track use.
Three corners into my first trackday at Donington it was clear I’d made the right decision. There was proper front-end feel and on the exit of the Old Hairpin and the run up the hill to McLeans (which tied the MT-09SP in knots) the KTM was stable. After a whole day I couldn’t fault the handling.
It was even more in its element at Cadwell. The traction control allowed for small slides and didn’t interfere with wheelies over the Mountain. The only slight improvement I would make is to the gearing, and I’ve a new sprocket sitting here ready (anodised orange, of course).
I love naked bikes, and I’m happy I don’t have to give up on them and buy a sportsbike to get my kicks on track.
Electronics don’t spoil the fun at Cadwell