We’ve heard the rumors of a new parallel-Twin from KTM for a long time, and now we have pictures of the new motor in a new Duke chassis. And this platform will surely also be adapted into an Adventure model that will fill the hole between KTM’s 690 Enduro and the 1190 Adventure.
The new engine displays the compact architecture of a modern inline twin-cylinder powerplant that appears remarkably short front to rear, with the countershaft sprocket residing directly aft of the crankshaft location. It incorporates all the current technology, including liquid-cooling, double-overhead cams with four valves per cylinder, and, surely, ride-by-wire fuel injection. Inside info tells us it will use a 270-degree crank angle, a configuration that does a passable job at imitating a V-Twin exhaust note, as opposed to the more typical 180- or 360-degree cranks.
We know the engine is sized somewhere around the 800cc mark, but its precise displacement is yet unknown. KTM’s recent naming convention is to use 90 as the engine suffix (390, 1190, 1290) even though it doesn’t exactly match the actual displacement (373cc, 1195cc, 1301cc, respectively). So, based on what looks to be a fairly small radiator, could these new Dukes and Adventures be called 790s?
Or will they be 890s? There would be a 300cc gap between an 890 and the current 1190 (which will be updated soon), so an 890 might be more likely. And let’s not forget that KTM’s Chief Executive Officer Stefan Pierer once said the company is also planning to build a parallel-Twin motorcycle displacing somewhere around 500cc. Maybe a new 590 line? (After spending time with KTM at the Super Duke GT launch, it seems as if the the platform in the 500cc range is stillborn and won’t be making its way into production. –KD)
Making power estimates is difficult without knowing the displacement, but it’s reasonable to expect something a little stronger than BMW’s 798cc parallel-Twin, which cranked out 78 rear-wheel hp in the F800GT when tested in this shootout. Based on KTM’s high-performance heritage, we expect KTM’s new mill to pump out something closer to 100 horses at the rear wheel, especially if it displaces anything close to 890cc.
Other than the engine, the KTM in these spy photos looks fairly conventional. A steel trellis subframe is clearly on display, which is surely matched by a trellis frame hidden mostly by the test rider’s legs. Up front is a WP (a KTM subsidiary) fork and radial-mount Brembo brakes. Out back is an externally braced swingarm, as is modern KTM design, acting on a WP shock. A semi-active suspension may be offered as an optional upgrade.
Visually, our eagle-eyed editor Dennis Chung notes the bike in these pictures has a headlight, taillight and swingarm that are a match for the components on the latest 690 Duke. The exhaust system looks interesting, as it appears to eschew an under-engine chamber in favor of one behind the engine before exiting to the low-mount muffler on the right side. There appears to be a heat shield in place to insulate a rider’s feet. Tire sizes appear to be the typical 120/70 and 180/55 17-inchers.
The passenger footpeg area has a large plate with multiple holes in it, presumably to test different locations. If that’s the case, however, we’d expect to see pegs actually installed in one of the hole locations. Also, take a look at the gigantic size of the bracket where the peg hanger meets the subframe – that’s a serious piece of bridgework that might indicate something more than just a peg support, perhaps some special equipment used during development.
When KTM Chief Executive Officer Stefan Pierer mentioned new mid-sized bikes at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo, he noted that they will be produced in India for the Indian market to avoid the country’s stringent import duties. If this remains part of the strategy, we can expect bikes bound for external market also to be manufactured in India by KTM’s partner Bajaj, which builds KTM’s 390 Duke and RC390. (After poking around at the Super Duke GT launch, we’re now nearly positive the new 790/890 platform will be built in Austria. –KD)
If this new platform is manufactured in India (which we now believe is highly unlikely –KD), its price will be lower than it would if it was built in Austria, like most big KTMs including the 690 Duke, which retails at $8,999. Our sharp-shooting photographer Bernhard Hoehne says he spotted a Triumph Street Triple R ($10,399) and MV Agusta Brutale 800 ($13,498) in the group riding with this new Duke, so we might expect the KTM to be priced somewhere in between: let’s guess $11,750.
We expect to see this newest Duke at the EICMA show in Milan next November, but Hoehne believes we won’t see it until sometime in 2017. We hope we’re right, because we’re anxious to ride it, and it would mean an 890 Adventure won’t be too far behind!