Is KTM about to Make Supermotos Great Again?

Keen-eyed spy photos have snapped shots of a new supermoto based around KTM’s 790 parallel twin engine. Were they tipped off, or at the right place at the right time, or is it a guerrilla marketing campaign? We’d guess it’s just right place, right time, looking at the photos, which ran on the UK’s MoreBikes website. MoreBikes is calling it the 790 SMC, but we don’t have an official name yet, or official confirmation.

Sooooo, what do we have in the photos then? Strictly speaking, this machine ain’t a supermoto in the traditional senseā€“it’s not a dirtbike with a 17-inch wheel set. It looks much closer to Ducati’s Hypermotard design, which follows general supermoto design, but is a full-sized street motorcycle, not an adaptation of an offroader. Same goes for the Aprilia Dorsoduro, which is run along similar lines.

Although, given the the 790 Adventure lineup and its capability off-road, you could argue that while it isn’t your usual su-mo, it’s much closer to a dirtbike-with-slicks than the other machines, as the 790 Adventure R is the most offroad-competent big bore adventure bike on the market today.

One very interesting design choice in the spy shots is the fuel tank. It’s not the low-mounted wraparound unit that’s found on the 790 Adventure, which means the fuel is all carried higher-up. Of course, most supermotos don’t need the range of an adventure bike, so it’s sensible, but this means that not only is center of gravity higher and range lessened, you’re also able to see a lot more of that parallel twin engine.

KTM’s already revived the 690 SMC supermoto, bringing it back to life at EICMA last year just when it seemed forgotten. With this new 790-based machine, maybe we’re about to see a supermoto revival, to counter Husqvarna’s push to a Blade Runneresque neo-retro future.

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