Although the spotted KTM Duke 790 comes with an ‘R’ badging, a closer inspection will reveal the bike wearing updated mechanical components and a new engine bay too.
Its only been some time since KTM launched the Duke 790 in India and there were already speculations of a bigger Duke 890 replacing the current motorcycle as it gets updated for Euro5 compliance. KTM was also reportedly working on a sportier version of the Duke 790 itself – the Duke 790 R – with a lot of mechanical upgrades. Now, a fairly well kitted Duke 790 has been seen out on public roads and here’s what we think of it.
Looking at the images, you can tell that there’s no change from a design point of view. However, there’s an ‘R’ badging on the fuel tank that seems to be stuck on randomly. Also, the frame gets painted in white as opposed to the black frame on the standard model. But the more important bits emerge when you look closer.
For starters, there’s stickier rubber in the from of Michelin Power Cup rubbers instead of the standard Maxxis Supermaxx ST tyres. There’s also billet triple clamps, an adjustable WP Apex Pro suspension setup and rearset footpegs that can be adjusted to suit the rider. The brakes have been upgraded to top-spec Brembo Stylema calipers. Although the fuel tank already has an ‘R’ badging, its interesting to note that all these mechanical hardwares can be fitted as optional extras on the standard motorcycle. But wait, there’s more.
What tells us that this is a different motorcycle is its engine bay. The exhaust headers have two additional sensors apart from the conventional O2 sensors. The wire looms for these sensors are routed under the seat and lead towards the data logger which is stored in the black box mounted on the bike carrier. Although the engine looks identical to the one on the Duke 790, it will most likely be Euro5 compliant. KTM could also be testing out different engine maps in order to arrive at the right balance between power and lower tailpipe emissions.
That said, this could very well be the Duke 890 that KTM has been rumoured to be working upon. A KTM Duke 890 could broaden the scope of the brand and if they retain the Duke 790 with its current levels of performance, its no bad thing either. That said, there has been no official word from the company about this. We will have to wait until EICMA 2019 to really understand what the brand is up to.