The latest edition of THE SCALPEL is poised to make another deep cut through the popular naked bike midweight motorcycle segment. Weight, power, torque, agility, style, undoubted attitude and guaranteed glee: the KTM 890 DUKE redefines the reference point for riders and all rivals.
The journey has been quick and short. The attributes of the LC8c parallel twin that caused a stir with emotions of riders young and old with the KTM 790 DUKE have found a new boundary. The reaction to the original SCALPEL motivated KTM to work more with the LC8c and line-up something to tease the desire of extreme petrolheads. In early 2020, the emergence of the KTM 890 DUKE R was the answer: a track weapon, as much as a potent blast for country roads that harnessed all the boosted power of the LC8c and added a range of features that almost obliged riders to get their knees close to the tarmac.
Now, staying firmly in the exhaust note of the KTM 890 DUKE R, the 2021 KTM 890 DUKE brings all the excellence of its acutely focused sister-version to be the new sword for the road.
The styling of the KTM 890 DUKE will turn heads, and the aesthetic makes this slim package of power and punch unignorable, but the essence of the bike is the compact, light, throbbing source of all the fun located between the two wheels.
The bigger displacement from 789cc to 889cc uses a more sophisticated mapping logic. It is now pumping out 115 Hp, and 92 Nm (10 more horsepower and five more newton meters of torque than the KTM 790 DUKE) and the increased rotating mass by 20% ensures better cornering stability and smoother engine action at lower revs and part throttle. Euro5-compliant it offers around 58mph through the 14l fuel tank.
The KTM 890 DUKE can either be gunned or gently guided; creating a large grin for all ages and abilities. The KTM 890 DUKE is ‘midweight’ only through concept, the kilos and the nimbleness of the handling alone: the rest is rasping performance and state-of-the-art ride by wire electronics. This bike will stare down all rivals on the road.
Filtered through the light-sensitive customisable TFT display, the rider aids span Rain, Street and Sport Modes. For those tempted by the full potential of the KTM 890 DUKE, the optional Track Mode allows the setting to be tweaked for time attacks. Traction control can be increased or lowered on a nine-gauge scale, anti-wheelie can be disengaged, and throttle response has three levels. Launch control fixes the engine at the ideal RPM to assist with pacey standing starts. A 6D lean angle sensor means that the ECU filters a wealth of information and input from the bike’s behaviour and positioning for optimum feedback.
Cornering ABS helps the 300mm twin floating discs with improved callipers and pads for more potent force haul the whole show to a safe halt. Getting going at a swift pace is easier thanks to the shorter shift lever, lighter springs and augmented Quickshifter+ (optional) settings.
The handling of the KTM 890 DUKE comes into play with the fitting of the tubular CroMo steel frame with a cast-aluminium subframe, stiffly set for a sporty feel and a pinpoint sensation. The LC8c is central again thanks to its role as a stressed member of the chassis. Despite the technical ‘growth’, the KTM 890 DUKE keeps the same weight as its predecessor at a flighty 169 kg (dry).
The subframe is innovative with the whole single unit containing the air intakes and airbox; designed to be simplistic, minimal and light. The KTM 890 DUKE glides thanks to updated and upgraded WP APEX Suspension (43mm open cartridge upside-down forks) and gas-assisted rear shock. ‘Ergo’ is less purposeful than the all-action KTM 890 DUKE R and created to accommodate a wide demographic of rider, with a lower seat height of 820mm.
Clearly, the KTM 890 DUKE is part of the DUKE family. The lines are unmistakably KTM, where every centimetre of the bike combed and analysed for purpose. There are no unnecessary edges, angles or parts nor plastics that do not contribute to the performance of the unique KTM 890 DUKE feeling. As an example: the condensed taillight is integrated into the plate holder, reducing dimensions and freeing up customisation for the rear end.
Other details include a full LED lights set, tubeless wheels, superb and well-tested new Continental ContiRoad tyres (providing excellent grip in the wet, strong stability and a very short ‘warm-up’ phase) as well as KTM myRide App compatibility.
A broad complement of KTM PowerParts (from Akrapovic slip-on exhausts to sprocket covers) and KTM PowerWear options are other elements that help the KTM 890 DUKE become the sharpest tool in the naked bike ‘box’.
KTM 890 DUKE — MODEL HIGHLIGHTS
- Larger displacement from 789cc to 889cc and Euro5 ready
- Increased engine performance to 115 Hp and 92 Nm
- Extreme power to weight ratio, peerless agility
- Updated APEX WP Suspension technology
- Updated electronics package with a 6D lean angle sensor & optional TRACK MODE
- Improved braking potential thanks to system upgrade
- Distinctive, functional and stylistic aesthetics: DUKE spirit
- New high-performing Continental ContiRoad tyres
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