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KTM sharpens the scalpel with new 890 Duke

KTM is the latest manufacturer to throw its hat into the hotly contested middleweight streetfighter class with the arrival of the new 890 Duke.

Following on from the unveiling of the 890 Duke R at the end of last year, the standard version is a more mainstream model to replace the outgoing 790 Duke and goes up against three-cylinder competition from the likes of the Triumph Street Triple S and Yamaha MT-09.

Like so many new models for 2021, the 890 has been introduced to meet the latest Euro5 emissions laws – with the manufacturer taking the opportunity to carry out an extensive overhaul to a 790 Duke platform which was only introduced back in 2017.

As the name suggests, the 890 Duke has a 100cc capacity hike over its predecessor. The parallel twin motor has been punched out from 789cc to 889cc and has a corresponding power and torque boost. Power is now a claimed 115bhp (up by 10bhp) and torque is up from 87Nm to 92Nm, figures that put it right up against the MT-09. KTM says that internal changes to the engine means that the rotating mass has been increased by 20% which, combined with improved fuel mapping, means that the motor is now smoother and contributing to improved stability in turns. Despite the added weight to the engine, KTM are claiming a same, 169kg, dry weight as the outgoing 790.

KTM dubbed its middleweight Duke ‘The Scalpel’ upon its launch and although the standard version is less aggressive in its stance than the R, it remains a sharp and sporty model. The tubular steel frame remains the same but the suspension is revised and the ergonomics are more relaxed than the R, including a 14mm lower seat height (820mm against 834mm). The WP ‘Apex’ suspension (43mm upside down forks and gas assisted rear shock) is an upgrade on the 790’s units, while the bodywork has also been revised.

Electronics are also at a high level for a motorcycle expected to retail for a little more than £8,000. There are three rider modes: Rain, Street and Sport, with an optional ‘Track’ mode for riders who which to be able to adjust the settings to traction control, anti-wheelie and throttle response. The six-axis IMU constantly monitors lean angle, helping to operate the cornering ABS system, while the gear shift action has also been revised with lighter springs and a shorter throw, while a quickshifter is optional.

One other addition is the adoption of Continental ContiRoad tyres for 2021, which KTM say have been chosen for their good wet weather grip, quick warm up and stability characteristics.

No word yet on exact price or when the KTM 890 Duke will be in British showrooms, but we’re expecting a price tag of a little over £8,000.

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