KTM has launched the corner carving 790 Duke in India
KTM has launched the much awaited 79 Duke in India for an introductory price of Rs 8.63 lakh. The 790 will be sold in India as a CKD, and is limited to 100 units for the time being. This is due to the fact that it is Euro 5 compliant, and will not comply with BS 6 norms coming in to orce from April 2020. KTM is currently working on an update to meet the new norms, and will then sell the motorcycle as a homologated product. It is available in nine cities for now including Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad with more cities to be added by April 2020.
It has a liquid-cooled 8 valve, DOHC unit delivering 87Nm at 8000rpm and makes 101bhp. The new parallel-twin LC8 motor is a new development and its first application was the 790 Duke. The bike has a stainless steel exhaust with a relatively small muffler, thanks to a middle damper that centralizes mass, giving the bike a throaty and raucous note. The bike also has a slipper clutch coupled with an electronic aid to balance engine torque during aggressive shifting, and gets a quickshifter as well.
The 790 Duke comes with four different riding modes - Rain, Street, Sport and Track. The mode you select tweaks the throttle response, overall power and even has an anti-wheelie mode. In ‘Track’ mode the bike has a launch control function for a no drama start, variable slip adjustment, increased throttle response and the ability to pull wheelies by disengaging anti-wheelie. It also has traction control and cornering ABS both of which are lean angle sensitive with multiple levels of traction slip at the rear and a proper off switch if you’re ballsy enough.
One of the most important things is the ability for the 790 Duke to have surgical precision through corners. The chassis is made to be light with tubular steel to ensure rigidity as well. The subframe is made of aluminium and also houses the airbox. The chassis is not meant to be pretty - although it looks so right - it’s just meant to be as light as possible while providing extreme confidence through corners. The die-cast, open-lattice swingarm has been optimised for stiffness and stability while still offering excellent flex characteristics. It uses a direct link for the rear shock to reduce complexity and number of parts.
The 790 Duke comes with 17-inch super light alloy wheels with Maxxis Supermaxx ST tyres that are specifically designed for the 790 Duke to improve dry and wet grip. The bike comes with an exclusive suspension package from WP. It has a 43 mm open cartridge upside-down fork in the front with split function technology which handles compression and rebound damping in separate fork legs. At the rear it has a gas assisted WP shock with progressive spring and preload adjustment. To bring you to a halt it has two radially mounted four-piston fixed calipers and two 300 mm discs at the front, The front brake receives support from the disc brake on the rear wheel, which features a single disc and a single piston floating caliper.
The 790 Duke comes with full LED lights all round like it’s smaller 390 sibling and a TFT dashboard that has display bars which change colour as you rev the engine even warning you if the engine is still cold. The display also automatically adapts its illumination to the ambient light and gets a race optimised display when ‘Track’ mode is selected. There are a huge range of accessories that can be optioned with the 790 Duke thanks to KTM’s ’Powerparts’.
The 790 Duke will compete with the likes of Triumph's Street Triple, the Kawasaki Z900 and Ducati Monster 797.
Words by Karan Singh