The KTM 790 DUKE is as surgical as its nickname suggests. With the agility, you’d expect from a single, combined with the hard-hitting punch of a twin, the KTM 790 DUKE slices up the road with pinpoint precision. With a 799 cc LC8c parallel twin motor – the most compact in its class – nestled into one of the lightest frames around, the KTM 790 DUKE is all about being fast everywhere, with the corners being its playground.
Built for torque, the liquid cooled 8 valve unit has been tuned to punch out a healthy 70 kW (95 hp) and 87 Nm, with the ability to reduce power to 35 kW (48 hp) and 76 Nm to comply with A2 motorcycle license regulations.
The 8 valve DOHC cylinder head contains twin chain-driven camshafts and one sparkplug per cylinder. Additionally, the camshafts in the KTM 790 DUKE are assembled, which makes them even lighter than forged camshafts. DLC coated finger followers, steel valves and a hydraulic chain tensioner complete the cylinder head assembly.
No one enjoys unpleasant vibes. That is why the KTM 790 DUKE employs the use of two balancer shafts, the first placed in front of the crankshaft and the second in the cylinder head to ensure the smoothest power delivery and minimal vibration.
Nikasil coated aluminum cylinders are an integral part of the sleeveless engine casing design of this 799 cc parallel twin. This open deck cylinder construction allows for optimal cooling, improved production tolerances and reliability.
Forged pistons with three piston rings, combined with a DLC (Diamond Like Coating) coated piston pin allow for lighter piston construction. This minimizes reciprocating weight, which reduces rotating masses, improving overall handling, and maximizing the rev-ceiling of the engine.
The KTM 790 DUKE features horizontally split crankcases, which are aluminum high pressure cast, allowing for reduced wall thickness and less weight.
The slipper clutch allows riders to enter corners confidently without locking up the rear wheel under hard deceleration or when downshifting, and remaining feather-light on the clutch finger.
The engine employs a compact, semi-dry sump system with oil being actively pumped out of the crank case, clutch housing, and gearbox. This ensures any unnecessary oil flow through the motor, reducing power loss through friction. To cool down the oil, the engine is equipped with an oil cooler like that fitted to the larger LC8 engines.
Instead of the electronic injection system’s throttle valves being controlled by cables, ride-by-wire processes throttle twist grip movements with the help of electronic sensors and activates the throttle valves accordingly using servo motors. However, our ride-by-wire on the KTM 790 DUKE goes the extra mile: It electronically translates the throttle commands of the rider into the best throttle valve positions for the current riding situation. Choking, jolting and involuntary wheelies are a thing of the past. Voluntary ones, however, could easily be a thing of your future.
A stainless-steel thing of beauty. The middle damper centralizes the mass and allows for a relatively small muffler that plays a dramatic soundtrack. Hundreds of test bench runs and complex simulations ensured that this exhaust system contributes decisively to the tractable torque curve and excellent emission standards.
The airbox sits snugly inside the subframe, with the air intake on either side of the subframe, allowing the bike to keep things cool while you gun it.
The incredible handling characteristics of the KTM 790 DUKE are founded on the dynamic, loadbearing design of the tubular chassis. Engineers had one goal in mind, and that was to keep the chassis as rigid and compact as possible, which allows for sharper turn-in and greater lean angles, allowing it to slice through the turns with extreme responsiveness.
The subframe is cast aluminum and houses the airbox. No plastic covers, no additional brackets – everything is cast into two connected pieces to reduce complexity and weight. The triangular shapes in the subframe were inspired by KTM’s trellis subframes, as this allows for a strong and simple construction.
The die-cast, open-lattice swingarm is meticulously manufactured and has been optimized for stiffness and stability while still offering excellent flex characteristics. By using a direct link for the rear shock, complexity and parts are reduced.
The KTM 790 DUKE is fitted with extremely lightweight alloy wheels, manufactured in a low-pressure die casting process. Not only do the lightweight wheels make the bike lighter overall, but they also minimize the unsprung masses and moment of inertia, with a positive impact on the handling and riding dynamics.
The MAXXIS Supermaxx ST tires have been specifically developed for the KTM 790 DUKE. Thanks to a special compound, the tires are grippy in both wet and dry conditions, striking the perfect balance between sportiness and everyday rideability, offering the rider a stable ride and excellent tire wear.
Specifically developed WP APEX suspension takes care of both front and rear wheels. This is paramount in the handling characteristics of the KTM 790 DUKE, with the equally impressive suspension component quality and performance usually only seen on motorcycles in higher classes.
A 43 mm open cartridge upside-down front fork from WP Suspension takes care of any front wheel articulation, using split function technology. This means that compression and rebound damping take place in separate fork legs, allowing for better tuning of the fork behavior. The fork springs are progressive, ensuring a smooth operation throughout the fork stroke, being softer for the initial stroke, and harder further down the stroke to prevent bottoming out.
Making sure the rear wheel behaves when the going gets fast, is a high-quality gas-assisted WP APEX rear shock, featuring progressive spring and preload adjustment. This means the KTM 790 DUKE maintains a sporty ride quality, while still being comfortable enough for longer trips.
This reliable and sensitive WP steering damper has been setup to give the rider ultimate feedback through the bars, while keeping the front wheel uncompromised over uneven tarmac. You won’t even know it’s there, until that one nasty bit of road comes up mid corner.
The cast aluminum triple clamp stiffness has been tuned to match the flex of the fork, contributing to the sporty handling and excellent feedback. Clever engineering of the triple clamps and the handlebar clamps mean four different handlebar positions are possible for that perfect riding position.
Maximum deceleration is ensured at the front wheel on the KTM 790 DUKE by the two radially mounted four-piston fixed calipers and two 300 mm discs. The spacing between hand brake lever and handlebar is adjustable so that the lever is within easy reach for every rider. The front brake receives effective support from the disc brake on the rear wheel, which features a single piston floating caliper, clamping down on a single disc. All this stopping power is supported by KTM’s Cornering ABS.
Holding 14.3 litres of fuel, the KTM 790 DUKE is ready to attack mountain passes miles away. And combined with a fuel consumption of 4,4 l / 100 km, you’ll be hunting apexes for hours.
A tapered aluminum, 810 mm wide handlebar puts you in full control. Adjustable in 4 positions on the triple clamp, which can also be rotated by a further three positions, allowing for that perfect riding position.
Grabbing a handful of front brake or reaching for the clutch is made extra easy with span adjustable levers.
Cast from aluminum, the foot pegs fitted to the KTM 790 DUKE cater for a comfortable riding position, while still creating maximum ground clearance allowing for impressive lean angles. Reverse (race) shifting is possible without any additional parts. Adjustable foot pegs are also available as a KTM PowerParts option for those who would like to go all out.
At 825 mm, both shorter and taller riders can enjoy the bike at full tilt, without losing sight of the daily usability. The seat cover is grippy but still allows the rider to move easily around the bike. It has been developed to work with textile and leather, and catering for a wide range of riders and riding styles. The pillion seat cover uses the same material and combines sharp looks with passenger comfort. An optional KTM PowerParts seat can reduce the seat height to 805 mm.
A multicolor combination of relevant information, presented in an uncluttered way. As you rev the engine, the display bars change color, either spurring you on or warning you that the engine’s still cold. The display also automatically adapts its illumination to the ambient light and gets racy when the optional TRACK MODE is selected.
Instantly recognisable and 100% DUKE, the KTM 790 DUKE rips into the darkness with a unique LED headlight and LED taillight following the design direction started by the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. The high-performance LED headlight, flanked by two LED strips that function as daytime running lights, ensures maximum illumination and instant street-cred.
Riders can choose from four ride modes, namely: SPORT MODE for more aggressive riding, STREET MODE for comfortable urban riding, RAIN MODE for when things get a little slippery, and the ultimate attack mode – TRACK. This gives KTM 790 DUKE pilots full power output, the ability to dial down the traction control, smooth out the throttle, switch off the anti-wheelie for rear wheel antics.
The KTM 790 DUKE has taken electronic riders aids to another level for a bike in this class, with an electronics package that is comparable to the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. The secret is minimal interference with the rider experience, meaning all electronic wizardry feels natural, improves performance, power delivery and, most importantly, adds safety.
When the urge takes you to the track, we give you, TRACK MODE. Available as an optional addition to the KTM 790 DUKE, TRACK MODE unlocks several track-ready adjustments, such as Traction Control slip adjuster, Anti-wheelie mode, Launch Control, and 3-levels of Throttle Response variation.
MOTORCYCLE TRACTION CONTROL (MTC)
Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) is a mouthful, but it’s an important part of the KTM 790 DUKE. MTC is a lean-angle sensitive traction control system, which reduces engine output extremely smooth, barely perceptible. MTC intervention will intervene depending on the selected ride mode, MTC also allows for several levels of traction slip at the rear wheel. But that’s not the end of it – Daredevils, we give you: the off-switch!
The KTM 790 DUKE can be equipped with the race-derived Quickshifter+. This makes shifting gears as fun as it is fast, with upshifts and downshifts being made without using the clutch. The benefits are equally impressive, with shorter shift times, more precision, and improved rear-wheel traction.
MOTOR SLIP REGULATOR
The KTM 790 DUKE can be equipped with MSR (Motor Slip Regulation) as an optional extra. MSR works in the opposite direction of the MTC, this means there is no chance of accidentally locking up the rear wheel under downshifting or abrupt throttling-off. MSR ensures you retain full traction and complements the slipper clutch and is especially effective in low grip situations.
SUPERMOTO MODE allows enthusiastic and experienced riders to lock up the rear wheel – a prerequisite for committed Supermoto riding and deliberately executed slides. This means ABS is deactivated on the rear wheel, while maintaining ABS function on the front.
MOTORCYCLE STABILITY CONTROL (MSC) WITH CORNERING ABS
A key component of the comprehensive BOSCH MSC assistance package is the lean-sensitive cornering ABS. In a nutshell, this means riders have increased confidence during hard braking, even at extreme lean angles.