2024 KTM RC990 Sportbike Spied

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

890 Duke-based supersport spotted in Spain

Last summer, KTM got us excited with a new RC 8C sportbike, but our interest waned when we realized it was a limited production track bike that was not street legal. Still, that didn’t stop interested customers from scooping up all 100 units less than five minutes after the pre-order window opened. Not that we were surprised about the strong demand, as it has been years since KTM produced a large-displacement sportbike.

We may not have to wait too much longer, though, as spy photographers have spotted a new 890 Duke-based KTM sportbike prototype out for a test in Spain. The test bike was clad in fairings resembling the bodywork on the RC 8C and KTM’s RC16 MotoGP racer, but the headlights and license plate make it clear this sportbike will be street legal.

Unlike the RC 8C, which had the LC8c engine in a Krämer chassis, the prototype appears to be all KTM, with a frame derived from the 890 Duke. The engine appears to be based on the 890 Duke R’s parallel-Twin architecture, but the engine cases are new, suggesting some substantial internal changes. Looking at KTM’s recent history, we expect another displacement bump from the current 889cc, which is why we’re tentatively calling this bike the RC990 (a naked version was also recently spotted testing, suggesting a new 990 Duke R is also in the works).

Spy photographer Bernhard Höhne tells us the test mule was accompanied by a Ducati Panigale V2 as a reference point, giving us an idea of the level of performance KTM is targeting.

The exhaust system looks rough and appears to be brand new, taking up a lot of room under the engine and requiring a new opening in the belly pan. The swingarm looks to be a new design, with a slight bend in the front for increased clearance around the exhaust.

The RC990 is equipped with Brembo Stylema brake calipers, with a brake cooling duct kit similar to the one on the 1290 Super Duke RR. The fork looks like the WP Apex equipped on the 890 Duke R, but the RC990 appears to have a larger rake angle.

The ergonomics appear extremely aggressive, with high rearset footpegs forcing the test rider into an uncomfortable-looking knee bend. The clip-ons, however, seem relatively high, but that may be subject to change. The test bike appears to be using long fork tubes, and the wear on the tubes below where the clip-ons are mounted suggest KTM may be testing different handlebar heights.

The rear subframe looks new, and will likely get some bodywork to cover up the rough edges. There are rear turn signals on the license plate mount, but the finished product will need a taillight. The twin headlights also look unfinished, and at the moment look like the previous generation RC390’s lights instead of the current model’s larger single light. We suspect that will undergo some more changes before the RC990 is ready for production.

Based on the state of the test bike, we suspect it’ll be at least a year or two before we see the finished product, with a 2024 launch a reasonable target.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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3 of 44 comments
  • Walter Walter on Jan 13, 2022

    Know what we need a revival of?

    3/4 fairing bikes that are reasonably comfortable (pegs not too high, bars not too low) but still pretty sporty. The 80's had some great open class bikes of that type: VF1000F, FJ1x00, GPZ1100, Ducati 1000S2, GS1100 E/ES.

    I think new bikes like this would resonate pretty well with a lot of folks.

    Guzzi gets it with the new V1000 Mandello (which to me is a 21st century 850 LeMans III update).

    Or is this just the pining of another old nostalgic boomer? LOL

    • Basher97531 Basher97531 on Jan 14, 2022

      The more comfortable what would be called sport touring bikes these days are about the only class that has been hit harder than full-on sportbikes by the fashionability of naked and adventure bikes.

      It's not just the great range of alternatives available and some other things I won't bang on about, no fairings is a genuine fashion statement now (one I don't get at all).

  • Old MOron Old MOron on Jan 13, 2022

    Spy photographer Bernhard Höhne tells us...

    (Sound of telephone ringing)

    Bernhard Höhne checks his phone and sees it's one of his contacts.

    Höhne: Hey Hubert, happy New Year!

    KTM: Hello, Bernie! Happy New Year!

    Höhne: It's mid January. I guess it's time for more spy shots?

    KTM: Exactly. This time we're going to send the press release to motorcycle.com.

    Höhne: Oh no, those MOrons? They always try to lowball me.

    KTM: Yeah, sorry we can't pay you more, but Stefan insists on spending our money on racing.

    Höhne: Can't I sell the spy shots to someone else?

    KTM: No, those MOrons get a lot of interviews with Ducati, and they're good buddies with MV Agusta. Stefan wants to make sure KTM is represented at MO.

    Höhne: Gee Hubert, their MOronic E-i-C is already in Stefan's pocket. Isn't that enough?

    KTM: No, no, Evans fell in love with his 790 all on his own. We had nothing to do with that. In fact Stefan is always pushing me to parlay some better coverage. I really need you to sell the press pics to MO.

    Höhne: Jawohl, mein Schatz!