KTM has totally gone against expectations, and has announced it will have the new 890 Duke R for sale in North America this spring.

Rumours of the KTM 890 Duke R began shortly after the 790 Duke was unveiled. Although the 790 was much-hyped, it didn’t take long before rumours started about an even more exciting version of the new bike, with more power and better components. Eventually, photos of that new bike started floating around online. It was officially revealed at last November’s EICMA show, and at that time, we expected to see it in North America as a 2021 model.

That’s because KTM’s hottest bikes often take a few extra months to make it across the Atlantic, and are sold in Europe first. A 2021 model might make it to North America sometime in the 2020 season, but certainly not for the beginning. Considering that KTM’s had to shut down its Austrian manufacturing facility due to the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed even more unlikely we’d get the bike here this season.

Surprise! KTM’s actually announced it has shipped a load of the 890s to North America, with bikes headed to both Canadian and American markets for sale as spring-season 2020 models. It’s a surprise, but maybe COVID-19 is actually responsible for this? With Euro sales in the toilet, maybe they shipped a few bikes to North America because Brit, German, Spanish, French and Italian buyers are all locked down for now.

MSRP for the new 890 should be $11,699 US, which is roughly $1,200 more than the base model (your dealership fees and DMV fees will also differ by jurisdiction).

The KTM 890 Duke R is supposed to make a bit under 120 horsepower, with 73 lb-ft of torque (about 15 hp more than the 790, and gaining 9 lb-ft of torque). While most of the engine is the same, capacity has obviously been increased, and there’s more compression. The suspension has been upgraded to fully-adjustable WP Apex forks and shock, and the chassis has been adjusted for sharper handling (modified steering angle and rake). The riding position is also a bit different, for more a more sporty riding stance.

The braking components have also been upgraded (Brembo Stylema four-pot brake calipers, 320 mm discs, Bosch 9.1 MP IMU managing the cornering ABS). And the electronics package has also been upgraded to handle the bike’s sporty metamorphosis.

Interested? Got some dollars burning a hole through your pocket? Keep an eye on the KTM website for more details.

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