Over 20 years ago the original DUKE set the tone of KTM’s return to street bikes. We find out if age has been kind to the original single-cylinder bad boy.
With full choke (remember that?), a prod of the E-starter, the bike fires up and the raucous Austrian single’s sound is the same now as it was then. KTM LC4’s have always been able to boast being the most powerful mono-cylinders and this stock engine is harsh in its power delivery, but addictive. Despite a balancer shaft, it vibrates a lot. It lacks the benefit of two decades of LC4 refinements, such as a ride by wire controlled ignition, controlling a softer explosion made possible by twin spark plugs. This old engine seems to be happiest under big handfuls of throttle. Much like the rider. The clutch is heavy from this bike spending the last five years being something of a garage ornament. And the snappy clutch is my reason for pulling wheelies from every standing start, Mr. Policeman; the DUKE I just brings out your naughty side …
Continue reading on KTM UNBOUND.
This interactive, digital magazine (UNBOUND is also available in print at your local KTM dealer) gets under the skin of the current KTM motorcycle range, featuring full-throttle stories, exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names in action and motorsports, video features and everything you need to know about the orange world right at your fingertips. By KTM lovers, for KTM lovers. For free.
Photos: Gareth Harford | BAUER Media House