We have mixed feelings about KTM nixing the 890 Duke R in favor of the all-new 990 Duke (and bringing back the 790 Duke). Sure, the bigger Duke is bound to be a ton of fun, but the 890 hit that sweet spot where power, handling, and fun collide. And the price has always been right, too. It was a winner in more ways than one, as evidenced by the many comparison tests we’ve put it in – and where it usually won. The 890 Duke R earned our admiration over the years, and as much as he didn’t want to admit it, our beloved Evans Brasfield secretly yearned for one… after he’d already modified his 790 Duke to compete.
At Motorcycle.com, we do everything we can to get our greasy mitts on the latest and greatest motorcycling has to offer throughout the year. That includes shootouts, gear testing, and single motorcycle reviews. Even in a year as fraught with challenges as 2020, our staff continued to work hard, actually doubling our normal content generation during the first half of the COVID-induced lockdowns. The self-isolating nature of motorcycling also made it easier for us to continue with business as usual when it came to testing and shooting in order to keep fresh content flowing to Motorcycle.com.
Are you sick of us talking about KTM Dukes yet? And by “us” I primarily mean Evans. Anyone who’s followed this space knows he bought a 790 Duke and has modified it to his version of what an R model should be. The list is relatively short and sweet, and covers the primary weaknesses of the 790. So let’s go down the list: