KTM just launched its new 890 Duke, the base model of the 890 naked bike series. It’s obviously derived from the 790, but there’s more than just a simple big-bore job here. The engine is probably the most noticeable improvement though, so let’s start there.
The 890 cc liquid-cooled DOHC parallel twin is the direct descendent of the 790. It’s Euro5-legal now, and it makes more power. Peak horsepower grows 10 hp, to 115 hp at 9,000 rpm. Max torque output is 67.8 lb-ft at 8,000 rpm, but that’s not the whole story. These days, all the manufacturers are working at delivering more torque across a wider rpm range, and the 890 achieves that. It makes at least 59 lb-ft of torque in the 5,500 rpm-10,000 rpm range, and at least 66 lb-ft of torque in the 6,300 rpm-8,800 rpm range. When you’re riding the 890, if you’re in the upper half of the rev range, you should always feel like you’ve got lots of torque on-tap.
The engine has three power output modes: Street (“standard throttle response, normal TC, full power, anti-wheelie“), Sport (“sport response, reduced TC, full power, anti-wheelie“), and Rain (“smooth throttle response, maximum traction control, reduced power and anti-wheelie”). If you wish to spring for it, you can also add optional Race mode, which allows customization of the bike’s electronic safety options. In Race mode, you can tweak traction control, turn off the anti-wheelie system, and choose from multiple throttle response levels.
Along with more power, the 890 engine also has a slicker-shifting gearbox, with less lever throw, and KTM also says the quickshifter is improved. The 790 quickshifter was a bit lumpy through some parts of the rev range, so the 890 improvements are probably welcome. Alas, the quickshifter is still optional on the 890; if it’s like the 790, it actually comes built into every bike, and you have to pay KTM to unlock it.
The crankshaft has 20 percent more rotating mass; KTM says that “ensures better cornering stability and smoother engine action at lower revs and part throttle.”
KTM doesn’t mention any big changes to the 890’s steel tube frame or aluminum sub-frame (which contains airbox and air intake built-in), ; seat height is 820 mm, less than the Duke R, and KTM says “The ergonomics are less purposeful” when compared to the R model. In other words, it’s a more upright seating position, for comfort.
The press release does say there’s a new set of front brake calipers and pads, courtesy of BYBRE (a Brembo subsidiary, aimed at the budget market). The 890 comes with 300 mm front discs as standard, and Bosch-enabled ABS. There’s a leaning ABS function, and riders can also opt for Supermoto ABS mode, like other KTM models. In Supermoto mode, the rear wheel ABS is disabled and electronic interference is dialed back, allowing riders to explore their inner hoon.
The suspension is also upgraded for 2020. The rear shock offers more progression and comfort, says KTM. There’s a set of 43 mm WP Apex forks up front, with open-cartridge internals. They’re split-function forks, with rebound and compression functions in separate fork legs, an increasingly common design in high-performance street bikes.
KTM gives the 890 Duke a TFT screen for controlling the electronic features.
KTM upgraded the 890 to Continental’s ContiRoad tires, which are supposed to warm up quicker, last longer, and offer superior handling to the previous 790 rubber.
The 890 Duke should be in North America by February of 2021; we haven’t seen any price tag, yet.