KTM 790 Duke Returns for 2022

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

The Scalpel is back

In a surprising move, KTM is bringing back the 790 Duke, returning “the Scalpel” to its lineup in select markets after a very brief absence.

The 790 Duke was introduced in 2017, but it was quickly supplanted by the 890 Duke R in 2019 as KTM’s top middleweight naked. The 790 was dropped completely for the 2021 model year, replaced by a new non-R 890 Duke.

There was never anything wrong with the 790 Duke. KTM says it managed to sell 29,000 units despite it’s very short run. The main impetus for change was the introduction of Euro 5 emissions standards. Like other manufacturers opted to do, KTM tackled the stricter standard by increasing the displacement of the Duke’s LC8c Parallel-Twin from 799cc to 889cc, hence the introduction of the 890 Duke.

We all assumed that was it for the 790, but lo, here comes an updated Euro 5-compliant version and all the latest electronic updates. The engine keeps the same 799cc displacement as the original, but for European markets, it sees a drop in horsepower to a claimed 95 hp. According to KTM, this less powerful version allows for an easier reconfiguration to suit A2 license tiers. In other markets, however, the 2022 model keeps the same claimed output of 105 hp as the previous iteration.

Of course, the question we have to ask is “why?” KTM already has the 890 Duke, so why bring back a model that was only recently discontinued? KTM says the revived 790 will help bridge the gap between the 390 Duke and 890 Duke. Technically, it does do that (at least, for the markets that will get it) but the entire approach feels odd.

The only explanation that might make sense is that a different model was originally planned to fill the same gap, but has been delayed or outright cancelled. In 2019, KTM indicated it was developing a range of 490 models using a new Twin-cylinder engine. The new 490 Duke was expected to arrive this year, offering a step up from the Single-cylinder 390 Duke. The return of the 790 Duke suggests the 490 platform may have hit a snag. Considering the challenges of the pandemic, a developmental delay isn’t entirely surprising.

Having to “settle” for a resurrected 790 Duke isn’t a bad thing, unless you happened to have purchased one in 2020. KTM is pricing the 2022 model at 8,999 euros, a not insignificant decrease from the 2020 asking price of 10,395 euros.

As of this writing, the 2022 KTM 790 Duke has been confirmed in a few select markets (the U.S. and Canada are not among them). It will be offered in two color options: KTM orange or gray and black with orange highlights.

Begin Press Release:


From its inception in 2017, the KTM 790 DUKE took the worldwide motorcycle markets by storm selling over 29,000 units. This was later followed by the introduction of the KTM 890 DUKE R, labeled THE SUPER SCALPEL, placing the KTM LC8c parallel-twin engine at the very top of the food chain in the midweight segment. In early 2021, the KTM 790 DUKE was upgraded to the KTM 890 DUKE, with more power and improved electronics.

The 2022 KTM 790 DUKE is the continuation of the story which introduced the world to the power and agility of the KTM LC8c parallel-twin platform, with further development offering a true global mid-range motorcycle with READY TO RACE character and performance.

Providing an unmatched riding experience, and neatly filling the gap between the KTM 390 DUKE and KTM 890 DUKE, the KTM 790 DUKE will be reintroduced into the market, with Europe receiving the 95 Hp version, allowing for A2 configuration. The rest of the world will receive the full 105 Hp version. Pricing will start at 8,999 € in Europe, with motorcycles arriving on dealer floors from June 2022.

The latter is powered by the most compact twin-cylinder in its class, generating 105 Hp and 87 Nm. This has been tuned specifically for torque output, providing easy, rideable power. However, an impressive top end ensures the KTM 790 DUKE maintains its excitement throughout the rev-range while meager fuel consumption of only 4,4 l / 100 km means riders can enjoy the twisties long before the low fuel light flashes.

A lot of attention was also paid to ensure the typical DUKE riding feeling of lightness, agility, and sportiness. Handling is not only agile but also very precise thanks to geometry developed specifically for sporty street riding. High-quality WP APEX suspension at each end ensures a perfect connection with the road, and rider confidence at all times.

Like a middleweight boxer in his prime, the 2022 KTM 790 DUKE is a champion of merging agility and hard-hitting punch. More so, it continues the trend of being a leader in the market when it comes to power to weight ratio and equipment levels.

In terms of electronic wizardry, the KTM 790 DUKE boasts the most advanced and complete package in the midrange segment, with standard features such as:

● Cornering sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control ( MTC)
Cornering ABS with SUPERMOTO mode
● 3 standard Ride modes to quickly change the feel of the engine and level of MTC
● Full-color 5-inch TFT display
● LED lights all around

A number of optional features are also available, adding higher spec levels to the KTM 790 DUKE, namely:

● Quickshifter+, allowing for clutchless up and downshifts
● Motor Slip Regulation (MSR)
● TRACK mode
● Cruise Control
● Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
● KTM MY RIDE providing hands-free connection to phone and music

The usual selection of ride modes, notably RAIN, STREET and SPORT settings provide riders with easy-to-access customization of traction and throttle control, ensuring confident riding in all road and weather conditions.

In terms of looks, the 2022 KTM 790 DUKE introduces two new colorways to the mix, with a traditional KTM orange scheme and an all-new gray and black motif entering the fray.

The KTM 790 DUKE needs little introduction, but with its re-entry into the market, and a renewed look to match its already legendary performance and character, the 2022 KTM 790 DUKE is poised to introduce a new generation of riders to the world of DUKE.

A full range of specially developed KTM PowerParts and KTM PowerWear is available for riders to personalize their motorcycles and get themselves geared up in READY TO RACE performance.

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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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2 of 24 comments
  • Allworld Allworld on Mar 18, 2022

    They could have moved that 799 motor to Husqvarna,

  • Mark L Mark L on Mar 18, 2022

    But will they use a valve cover seal that is oil tight this time? You wouldn't think that's too big of an ask in this day & age, but it leaked on the original 790, then the "upgraded" seal leaked as badly. Along comes the 890, and still reports of leaking! Same for other parts like warping front brake rotors, iffy cam chain tensioners etc. Check out the forum for many more gory details. That said, I actually enjoyed my 3 years on a KTM 790 Duke, but I wouldn't recommend buying one unless you're prepared for its unreliability. Oh, and for them to drop it again in 18 months time, killing the re-sale value! Personally, I'm glad to have moved on.