Common Tread

Video: KTM shows the 790 Duke in tire-shredding action

Dec 15, 2016

Last year I predicted that we would see KTM release a mid-sized ADV bike to go toe-to-toe with BMW’s F 800 GS and Triumph’s Tiger 800 lineup. I narrowly missed a failing grade from Lance.

Then, at the EICMA show this year, KTM released a prototype of a new mid-sized Duke powered by a parallel twin. In spite of the fact that the Duke 790 (as KTM had dubbed its newest creation) looked sharp as a razor, I was skeptical.

KTM 790 Duke video in action
KTM first showed the 790 Duke prototype at the EICMA show. Now we get to see it in action. KTM photo.

So often the production bike the public actually gets is just a neutered, restyled version of the wild-eyed hellraiser of a bike we were hoping for. It’s like when the ice cream shop promises you a banana split and then serves you a single scoop of vanilla. Not that there is anything wrong with vanilla, but sometimes you just really want the rainbow sprinkles.

Today we get all the sprinkles as KTM just released this video:

While the bike shown is still officially a prototype, it looks a lot closer to a production version than I expected. However, after watching this video I am left with more questions than answers.

What kind of power are we looking at here? What’s the weight? Is that a fully adjustable WP suspension? Is this going to be as mean in real life as the video suggests? The price? Are we finally going to see a mid-sized ADV bike using this same engine? Does this shake the death rattle for the Duke 690? 

KTM 790 Duke Video
The bike shown at EICMA was a prototype, so we expect it to be sanitized for mass production, but still, there's a lot of promise here. KTM photo.

I suspect we’ll find out the answers to these questions soon enough, as it appears KTM intends to bring the Duke 790 to fruition much sooner than I previously thought.

With the success of the Yamaha FZ-07, Suzuki’s SV650, and Kawasaki’s new Z650, there is no denying the popularity of this middleweight segment. If the Duke 790 is as mean in person as it looks in this video, its peers should start keeping a close watch on their lunch money.