First the good news: KTM confirmed what we already knew, thanks to spy photos: The 2018 KTM 790 Duke was going to be a production model. The bad news: It will arrive in the United States as the 2019 KTM 790 Duke – meaning we’ve got to wait a bit longer, though hopefully not until the calendar clicks over to 2019. What we’re jonesing for is one of the most anticipated middleweight motorcycles to enter the naked/streetfighter class in years.

2018 KTM 790 Duke Spy Shots

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The Duke’s heart comes in the form of the LC8c parallel twin displacing 799cc. DOHC operate eight valves via DLC-coated finger followers. Two balancer shafts will keep the vibes at bay, and given our experience of KTM Duke Singles, we expect them to do a good job at this task. The internals are kept slippery and cool via semi dry-sump and oil cooler that runs through a heat-exchanger within the liquid-cooling system. The 6-speed transmission delivers power to the rear wheel through a PASCTM slipper clutch. KTM claims an output of 77 kW (105 hp) at 9,000 rpm and 86 Nm (63 lb-ft) at 8,000 rpm.

2019 KTM 790 Duke slide

Engage supermoto-mode!

The LC8c is controlled by a raft of electronics which include lean-angle sensing traction control, quickshifter+ for up and down shifting, and launch control. The Ride-by-Wire throttle means that multiple ride modes are available plus a customizable track mode for fine-tuning the 790 to each rider’s preferences. Naturally, a bike with this much technology has cornering ABS. Receiving those ABS inputs are a pair of four-piston, radial-mounted calipers on 300mm discs in the front. Out back a 240mm disc squeezed by a two-piston caliper takes care of the job. For those who like their corner entries sideways, the cornering ABS has a supermoto mode!

Using the engine as a stressed member, the chrome-molybdenum steel frame mates with an aluminum rear subframe. The swingarm is a die-cast aluminum piece. All of this adds up to a claimed dry weight of 372 lb. which is kept in contact with the ground through the liberal application of WP Suspension components. The fork is a 43 mm split open-cartridge upside-down unit fitted with progressive springs while the gas-assisted rear shock also utilizes a progressive spring. Cast aluminum wheels sport 120/70 ZR 17 front and 180/55 ZR 17 rear rubber in the form of Maxxis Supermaxx ST tires.

2019 KTM 790 Duke right

Beautiful and mean at the same time.

As with most all KTM models, a color TFT screen serves as instrumentation in all its multifunctional glory. KTM My Ride technology is an option which will allow riders to link their smartphone to the 790 Duke via Bluetooth. Lighting is taken care of by LEDs all around.

We’ve been (not so) patiently waiting since last year’s EICMA reveal of the prototype. So, saying we are beyond bummed that we have to wait even longer for the KTM 790 Duke to come over as a 2019 model still doesn’t capture the nature of our desire. Please, KTM, make this a really, really early release 2019 model. OK?

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  • Born to Ride

    So, it’s gonna be under 100hp at the wheel and over 400lbs ready to ride. Who was it that I was arguing this point with!? Time to eat crow Broseph! I think it was Sayyed.

    • spiff

      I figured the target was 100 at tbe wheel. Guess we will need to see where it makes it’s power.

      • Born to Ride

        I figured they were going to shoot for that magic 100hp number on the spec sheet. It’s an 800cc twin after all. I guess they could have gone the Ducati route and made it like the 848 with no balls down low for 115rwhp up top. Someone here tried to tell me it was gonna have 120hp and weigh 350lbs. To which I called bullshit. Looks like I was right.

        • Bryan Spears

          ~415lbs, ready to ride? That’s light, but about 20lbs more than what I expected, based on how much KTM crowed about weight. 105hp and 63lb/ft? Sounds good. A step down in overall power and power/weight from what I’m riding now, which is exactly what I want (more brap before LEOs get involved). The sole ride review made handling sound great; combined with the full bag of electronic tricks, this bike is currently at the top of my potential replacements list. One problem.. the only suspension adjustment is rear preload. Does that spec seem out of place to anyone else here, when the rest of the sheet lists cornering ABS, lean angle sensitive TC, quickshifter and launch control?

          • Born to Ride

            My intention was never to take anything away from the bike, I’m sure it will be a blast to ride. I was just pointing out that there were certain delusional individuals that though it was going to be lighter than a Duke 690 with more horsepower than a street triple RS. I think this bike is kinda meh, I’d rather have the STRS or the Brutale in this class. But I can absolutely see the appeal.

          • Bryan Spears

            I love the ST sound, power, weight, and the handling sounds amazing, but… everything I’ve read says that the ST traction control is very aggressive. My local dealer didn’t allow test rides on it this season, but if true, that’s a pretty major strike. You can turn it off, but if Yamaha can get it right on the 09 for thousands less, it makes me want to keep looking. Here’s hoping that the 790 setup is like an 09 with IMU and associated lean sensitive capability.

          • Born to Ride

            I’ve ridden the Triumph triples. If there was ever a bike that didn’t need traction control, that was it. The power came on as linear as possible. Torque curve like a table top. I guess riding ten tenths at the track it would be valuable, but otherwise I would leave it off. Twins on the other hand….

          • StripleStrom

            Truth. A great motor for Canyon riding. You can’t easily find yourself out of the torque band.

          • hipsabad

            it would indeed be deluded to think it would be lighter than the 690 single–which is already a svelte bike–without being made of exotica and costing the moon

          • spiff

            I have a feeling we will see an “r” version.

          • hipsabad

            to me. it’s been a beef i’ve had with KTM for a while

  • Gabriel Owens

    Nah, not for me. Id ride it of course, but I wouldn’t buy.

    • Born to Ride

      Doesn’t push my buttons either. I’d get a used Superduke with the old single headlight before I got one of these.

  • Old MOron

    Good thing I already bought a new bike. Otherwise all these revelations would leave me paralyzed by indecision.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      What did you buy?

      • Old MOron

        S1000R

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          Sorry. No ‘up-vote’ for you. Watched “The Great Escape” on the weekend. Re-affirmed my British distaste for all things germanic.

          • Old MOron

            Even Von Luger’s butter?!

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            It’s Danish butter …

          • Old MOron

            Yeah, but it’s all I could think of. If we expand the options to include the TV spin-off, then I ask you to consider any of Col. Klink’s secretaries.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            A ten years younger pal made a comment to me about the movie, when I told him to stop texting me as it was on TV (also, his mother is german).

            He told me to purchase the film

            I explained that I already had it on VHS, and DVD.

            😉

          • Old MOron

            I have it on DVD, too.
            And on further reflection, Von Luger’s butter is a good choice. What Englishman, with the Great Escape reverberating in his recent memory, wouldn’t relish fancy butter from a dispossessed German officer?

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            I don’t know. I’m not English.

            And James Garner’s character was American.

          • Old MOron

            You confused me with your “British distaste for all things germanic”. No worries.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            WTF is wrong with you Americans? Every time I mention “British”, I get this.

            Get an education, and look outside your borders. I am truly insulted.

          • Born to Ride

            “My British distaste” is fair grounds for assuming someone is British in my book. Granted I am aware you are Canadian from your previous postings. Buuut I’m also uneducated American swine, as my German ex-girlfriend loves to remind me.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            I am British. Living in Canada. Look up “British”. Dolt.

          • Born to Ride

            “British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom”

            Wikipedia. Dolt.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            You are an idiot. Until I told you to Google it, you thought “British” equalled “English.” And, only English. You are an uneducated idiot.

            But, thank you for the apology, clown.

          • Born to Ride

            Actually didn’t google that, truthfully I am still unaware of the exact distinction between British and English, and really don’t give a shit. All I know is that you people get pissy when people who’s lives don’t revolve around your delicate sensibilities get it wrong. If you were Irish and he called you British, I would understand from the historical context why you are being such a douche bag all of a sudden, but instead I’m going to get on with my uneducated existence. You’re welcome. Asshole.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            How American of you.

            Idiot.

          • Born to Ride

            Is it uniquely American to give someone the finger when they act like presumptuous prick?

          • StripleStrom

            Man, from the reaction I would have thought he was French Canadian. It’s the norm for them to be pretentious assholes.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Americans. Doing all that they must, to be victims of violence.

          • Alaskan18724

            Noble allies. Do you need a puppy?

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            I don’t understand this post.

          • Alaskan18724

            Brits. Unwashed colonials. Friends, for the most part, for over a hundred years. My poor attempt at preserving diplomatic relations. Rackumfrackum IPhone won’t let’s me post a puppy pic. Puppies are great peacekeepers.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            LOL! You New Yorkers are all the same.

          • Alaskan18724

            Them’s fightin’ words. Don’t make a southern boy come back there and wail amongst you. The fact that my syntax rivals that of the King Across the Water should in no way suggest New York. Quite the contrary. Then again, it is manifestly not my style to engage in contests of insults upon a field of electrons.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Umm, hello? You, you goof, said you were American.

            So, you are from New York State, and are a New Yorker.

          • Alaskan18724

            And, therefore, a witch?

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Well, all New Yorkers are Americans, and all Americans are New Yorkers.

          • Alaskan18724

            Well, when you put it that way, si. I mean, oui.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            So, you see what this “British” folk is on about?

            🙂

          • Born to Ride

            Whoa whoa whoa. You mean to tell me that this foreigner incorrectly guessed your regional identity over the internet and you aren’t “truly insulted”? Are you not even going to call him an “uneducated idiot”!? WOW, how American of you…

          • Alaskan18724

            Well, as it turns out, I mostly agree with the Brit. And the truth is, here in the States, not only do democrats and republicans fight with each other, republicans fight other republicans, likewise democrats. I suspect that particular Brit would have my back in a trench, if it came down to it….

            If he called me a New Yorker in a bar, I’d call him an Englishman. Then we’d each buy a round. And he’d be pissed because the beer was cold.

          • Born to Ride

            I’m confused where politics came into the fray, but fair enough. You have proved your cool headedness.

          • Alaskan18724

            Politics is just a metaphor for the extent to which we Americans tend to fight among ourselves, instead of going on a ride together. Peace.

          • Born to Ride

            Peace indeed

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            “Them’s fightin’ words.”

            Turns out I was correct about you.

          • Born to Ride

            He was clearly joking dude. As was I with that whole post. Sigh, why so serious?

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            “That phrase is mostly used as a lighthearted callback to western films.”

            Is that right?

          • Born to Ride

            In my parts it is. I suppose in Texas guys night shout that out before a bro down, but in my travels in this country I’ve not heard it used any other way. “Them’s fightin words” is almost always followed by a chuckle, and if it escalates, “F**k you, (insert insulting vernacular)” is in order.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            You New Yorkers are know-it-alls. And, I don’t give a f*ck about you, your country, or your travels therein.

          • Born to Ride

            Well clearly you’re just an asshole. Congratulations, you’re the first person on this message board I’ve ever felt compelled to block. And that’s saying something. Have a nice life, and like Chis likes to say, look where you want to go.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            And, you’re an idiot. You were wrong, and an asshole, but were not man enough to admit it, nor apologize. You rode that horse called ‘Ugly American’ right to it’s obnoxious and ignorant final furlong.

            A complete f*cking tosser, and a child amongst men. You New Yorkers are all alike.

          • Born to Ride

            I could use one. Rough day. Lol

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/motorcycleblog/first_look_2019_ktm_790_duke/#comment-3609005764

            “Them’s fightin’ words. Don’t make a southern boy come back there and wail amongst you. The fact that my syntax rivals that of the King Across the Water should in no way suggest New York.”

          • Old MOron

            LOL, you’re right. I did use English and British synonymously. My bad. It’s just that “Englishman” is so much more economical than “loyal British subject”.

          • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

            any one of them!

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Wow! You are really serious about this. Trying to kill yourself?

          • Old MOron

            What? No, why do you think I got the bike ride modes, traction control, ABS, etc,?
            The simple truth is that I took a test ride and found myself unable to resist the bike.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            That happens. Track days or commuting?

          • Old MOron

            Commuting and canyons for me. Haven’t been to a track day in several years. I go to Rich Oliver’s Mystery School when I want to feel like a hero.

        • Alaskan18724

          Godwin’s Law in action….

          • Old MOron

            Didn’t take long!

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            I don’t understand this.

        • Kevin

          Have they fixed the buzzy bars?

          • Old MOron

            IIRC, the R was updated for 2017. My bike is a 2016 model, and I don’t have “before and after” experience, so I can’t answer your question directly. But I can say this:

            I took demo rides on both the S1000R and the S1000XR. The XR did vibrate a lot, but not the R. The XR put me off, but the R didn’t (and doesn’t) bother me in the slightest.

          • Kevin

            Thanks for that. Very helpful. I’m looking at the S1000R, Yamaha FZ-10 & Aprilia Tuono as an upgrade to my current ride. Can’t wait to ride them!

    • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

      whew! dodged a bullet then!

  • Matt F

    Who wants to guess price?
    690 Duke – $9k
    701 Supermoto – $11.3k
    Triumph Street Triple RS – $12.5k

    I’m putting it at $13k. Just below the 690 -> 1290 halfway mark.

    • StripleStrom

      11999.

    • Born to Ride

      Too much…

    • spiff

      $10,999.

    • hipsabad

      Duke, ftw! Though after riding them both the Husky’s suspension takes it to more places more of the time, imho

  • StripleStrom

    awesome. if I won the lotto today, I’d blow it all on this year’s new models.

    • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

      just all the bikes on this page would suffice just fine

      • Gloria

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  • john phyyt

    Power 86 kW (115 hp)
    Torque 88 N·m (65 ft·lb) Weight
    188 kg (414 lb)] (wet)

    Probably $4 to 5 k less expensive
    And no waiting .
    We really have some great bikes out there.

    • Born to Ride

      This post confuses me. What bike are you talking about?

      • hipsabad

        new striple

        • john phyyt

          No those figures are for the FZ now MT 09. My sweet sweet girl. Which most love to hate.
          I see there is now going to be an SP version. Mine has ohlins F/R. and steering damper. Also akra, reflash, QS blah blah. I am now wanting the SP . So will probably strip all the stuff off and try and sell it standard and see how much fits new bike before selling the rest on ebay.
          This style of bike is my favorite. And KTM looks and probably is wonderful. But 50,000 fz /mt 09 buyers worldwide are a force for “the dark side”

  • lennon2017

    I’m sure it’ll be expensive, probably making Ducati’s latest pricing schemes seem less wild, but more so I find myself in the strange position of already feeling fatigue with their design philosophy. Does everything have to look like a papercut waiting to happen? Such things are so susceptible to aging poorly. Round headlights are perennial faves for a reason. Not that they should go that route, just…it’s like looking at Audis these days, only in more extreme form. Even Harleys aren’t so set lately.

    • Jeff S. Wiebe

      I respect your opinion, because mine (which loves the look) is equally subjective.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Aging poorly? No one has ever designed anything like the new KTMs so how do you know how they age? Round headlights are boring. KTMs are designed for performance and aggressiveness and they look that way. These are not retro bikes which everyone is trying to come up with nowadays, just like everyone was trying to come up with scramblers before and it finally fizzled out.

    • Alaskan18724

      “Paper cut waiting to happen.” Nicely done.

  • JMDGT

    Less is more. Still falls short of the Street Triple RS. I really like this bike. That is all.

    • Matt F

      This model would compare closer to the Street Triple S or R spec-wise. Considering the Dukes get an R model in other markets with more power, lighter bits, Brembos, etc.

      • JMDGT

        I get that. Triumph doesn’t seem to have a problem offering their better equipped versions here in the U.S. market like some of the other manufacturers do. I’m sure it makes sense to them but to the enthusiasts here it makes no sense. Not everyone can afford a top tier version either. I like this bike.

  • BDan75

    So do we think KTM will succeed in building a more interesting parallel twin? I generally don’t agree with stereotypes about the “character” (or lack thereof) of different engine configurations…but the three I-2s I’ve ridden have all been pretty milquetoast.

    • spiff

      I think this thing will be mostly bore with just a touch of stroke.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        KTMs will never be boring. Especially a Duke. You’ve seen the burnouts, drifting and wheelies. Supermoto mode. 105 hp, 63 ft-lbs and 372 lbs dry. What else do you want?

        • hipsabad

          i think he was being punny

          • spiff

            I mean a 11k redline. Maybe more. 🙂

          • spiff

            Just watched the video. It says 9k. So, I’m wrong.

        • spiff

          The roads to ride it on. I contemplated waiting for this bike, but I don’t live by the right kinds of roads.

    • Bryan Spears

      I’m curious.. which three I-2s have you ridden?

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        I’m curious, too.

        Sure, we have all had thoughts about four-strokes, but never mentioned it. Some have even experimented. Such as my wild, decadent time with an Sv1000s (but, when was I ever going to be back in Toronto, and none of my friends suspected). But, most of us are just ‘normal’, you know? We like two-stroke parallel twins. As God™ intended.

        After all, it’s Eddie and Erv, not Eddie and Otto.

        But, every now and then, the feelings … no, the urges build up. And one may not help oneself. It’s nothing of which to be ashamed. I’ve spent most of my life riding two-stroke parallel twins, as God™ and nature have intended, but there have been times when even I have slipped over the line.

        Do not be ashamed. Good luck with your journey.

        • Old MOron

          Goddamn, I had to read that twice before it made sense to me. The Eddie, Erv, Otto, God™ references are golden.

      • BDan75

        Bonnevilles, Honda’s CB500 series, BMW’s 800 series.

  • Alaskan18724

    Interesting. Ain’t gonna be in my garage, though.