CAN YOU DANCE? KEY REASONS TO PUNCH WITH THE KTM 890 DUKE
Think of the new KTM 890 DUKE as legendary boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. Why? Like the devastating middleweight, the new version of THE SCALPEL can easily move and outhit bigger opponents. Sister naked bike, the KTM 790 DUKE, has already been humbled and semi-retired by the new champ’s arrival. Like Sugar Ray, the KTM 890 DUKE is also mould-breaking.
We’ve seen the strut and the character of the feisty cousin – the KTM 890 DUKE R – and even read about some of the KTM PowerParts to juice things up but the latest addition to the 890 range is a confident all-rounder. Here are a few reasons to jump in the ring…
Feel the power: A bigger engine means bigger fun. The 890 makes 10 more horsepower and 5 more newton meters of torque than the KTM 790 DUKE. The mine of excitable goodness that is the LC8c engine platform has been excavated by KTM technicians once more for a larger bore and boosted excitement. Even though the internals have grown the motor remains the lightest and smallest twin in the midweight class (thinner engine cases, new conrods). New balancer shafts calm any worries of vibration and an all new crankshaft helps towards a 20% increased rotating mass. The effect? There is a noticeable difference in cornering stability and the feel of the throttle at lower revs. The KTM 890 DUKE will carry a rider faster and better than any midclass KTM naked bike yet. Despite the eye-catching mix of orange, grey and black the bike is also ‘green’. The LC8c hits Euro5 emission standards and will make a heady 4,8l/100km thanks to the updated, smarter fuel injection system.
Feel the sway: There’s not much point in having extra power if it comes with ballast or an unappreciative chassis. The frame is made from chromium molybdenum tubular steel with a design brief to save and trim weight in every aspect. An example of KTM’s design-thinking is seen in the cast aluminum single part subframe. As well as the minimal function and aesthetic, the unit contains the airbox with air intakes located under the seat. The triangular construction weave of the material brings more strength. Using the LC8c as a stressed member of the chassis, the bike is compact and purposeful. The geometry is toned down from the extremism of the KTM 890 DUKE R but the 890 can easily cope with a winding mountain pass, a tight country lane or a set of curves on the track. New Continental ContiRoad tires emerged first from a comprehensive period of testing. The rubber has a very fast warm-up phase and was found to provide exceptional grip in the wet as well as stability and durability. WP Suspension bring their damper and reworked APEX technology to the package; of which several weight-saving modifications have been made (lighter springs) compared to the KTM 790 DUKE. The whole show thunders ahead with an improved gearbox through lighter spring action and shorter lever travel. Those who cannot live without Quickshifter+ (let’s face it, who doesn’t these days?) will benefit from an overhauled system.
Feel the lines: Aesthetically the KTM 890 DUKE is fresh and stylish. The idiosyncratic blend of attitude and minimalism is as much about character as it is functionality. Want an example? Check out the new lower seat, relocated airbox and the full integrated taillight and rear seat section. The subframe is a work of art when it comes to containment. Brackets, plastic and unnecessary components are an extinct enemy. The open lattice swingarm is not just for show; the design brings the desired level of stiffness and flex. Further along the bike the lines are made for comfortable ergonomics but with the right level of feeling and sensation to make the most of the nimble chassis.
Feel the options: The multicolor, light sensitive TFT display (with rev lights) will show riders the choices they can make on their journey. The KTM 890 DUKE may look raw and is primed to deliver that pure naked bike experience but there is electronic sophistication inside to reach a full level of control. Winding the ride-by-wire throttle (goodbye to judders, jolts and surprises) engages the new engine mapping logic for more efficient response. Then, there are two braking preferences: Cornering ABS and Supermoto ABS (for those who like to break rear wheel traction now and again). Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) works thanks to a new 6D lean angle sensor that informs the computer as to the position, pitch, drift, lean and overall status of the KTM 890 DUKE. Traction control (Motor Slip Regulation for low grip conditions) is administered through two different sensors to provide greater linear acceleration and anti-wheelie. Riders who might be bristling at this level of interference can adjust or disengage to find the ideal setting for either the trip or the conditions. The 2021 modes of RAIN, STREET, SPORT are self-explanatory and standard but TRACK is pretty exciting to unleash the full rasp of the KTM 890 DUKE. Say ‘auf wiedersehen’ to anti-wheelie and MSR but being able to modify throttle and traction control at will with a few easy button-presses of the handlebar selector.
The KTM 890 DUKE can make use of special electronic ‘bundles’. The Tech Pack applies all the available additions to the bike: Track pack + Quickshifter+ +MSR). The Track Pack ensures maximum thrill capacity: Track mode + anti-wheelie mode disengage capability + launch control + slip adjuster + throttle control.
More customization means brake and clutch levers, triple clamps and 760mm handlebars can all be turned or tilted.
Feel the love: Look around the street. Some motorcycles you see are clearly made for transportation. There is little thrill or identity about these bikes. This accusation can never be thrown at a KTM, especially one with the performance and the profile of the KTM 890 DUKE. Choosing this model is also reflective of a lifestyle choice: it’s a statement.
When the DUKE becomes part of day-to-day existence then there is a fondness or a desire to make it even more ‘yours’. This is where the KTM PowerParts and KTM PowerWear accessories really come to the fore. The catalogues are ‘Aladdin’s caves’ for the DUKE owner. Over 100 special parts for the KTM 890 DUKE will either help tweak performance, settings, colours, practicality or carrying potential while the possibility to personally ‘sync’ further with the bike comes through a raft of KTM functional and casual apparel and co-operative unions with renowned industry brands like Alpinestars, Gimoto, Shoei and Ogio. You can go ‘full DUKE’. Check out our last Blog post for some of the essentials.
So, overall, five strong points to back this particular ‘slugger’. Now we just need to find an opponent.
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