2021 KTM Duke 890 – Bye Bye 790


Today I’m going to cover the new KTM Duke 890 that was announced yesterday. Now the Duke 890 R is already out, but this is a standard version that will be cheaper and has a fair few differences. Damn, the mid capacity bikes are coming in thick and fast lately. Well, I suppose an 890 isn’t really a mid-capacity bike, but it certainly isn’t a 1290!

KTM have given us a ton of info so we’ll have a look. A lot of it is fluff and marketing wank, so I’m just going to condense it down to the important details that matter to us, the average rider.

So the 790 Duke has only been out for a couple of years, but it looks like it is being replaced by the new 890. The 890 R was definitely more ‘upmarket’ compared to the 790, and is really a competitor for something like the Street Triple RS. I was happy with this, as the 790 is pretty affordable. It’s a really good bike, but it was definitely built to a price in places. The suspension is meh, the low speed fuelling is pretty shit because of how lean it is to meet emissions and the front brakes are adequate but not amazing. From what I can see, KTM has tried to address all of this with the new standard 890.

It doesn’t look much different, but there’s a fair few changes.

The most obvious change is the motor; it’s now the same 889cc parallel twin that’s used in the R and Adventure models. The tune is different though, this is putting out 115hp and 92nm of torque. That’s 10 more hp than the 790 but about 5 hp less than the R model. I’d be interested to see if a tune gets that missing horsepower back or if there are internal changes. The engine makes peak power 500rpm higher than the 790 and from what KTM are saying and showing, it has a stupidly flat torque curve.

Probably the next thing I find most interesting is the suspension. KTM have said they’ve tweaked it to improve performance and it looks like the front forks are very to those on the 890R. They are now WP Apex 43 Open Cartridge forks. Now I’m saying very close, because I can’t see any clickers or adjustments anywhere. Now I’m not going to confirm this because the press photos I’ve got don’t show a definitive photo that proves this, but companies are usually quick to state that they do have adjustable suspension. In any case, I think that they recognised the front forks were a problem and they’ve made changes is great.

The front forks are different and the rear shock and front brakes have been given an update.

They have said that the rear shock has been updated, but we are in the same boat here. I can’t really tell if it’s much different, I guess we’ll just have to see closer to launch.

The brakes have been fiddled with. They are still using KTM branded calipers, but they’ve been upgraded. Stopping the release video, I can see front disk brakes are Galfer and they’ve put in different brake pads. For 790 owners, this was a common change as the stock brake pads lacked initial bite and you really had to give them a firm pull.

Besides that, there are a fair few changes from both the 790 and the 890R. The stock tyres are no longer the shitty Maxxis ones that came on the 790 and are now Continental ContiRoad’s. I personally haven’t used these tyres, but Continental are usually solid and these are their sports touring tyres. For all you short asses, the seat height is now lower, 820mm and the bikes riding position has been tweaked to make it more comfortable and open. The foot pegs look pretty crappy, they are small rubber mounted pegs and I find rubber pegs can get bloody slippery in the wet. They might be pretty good when riding, we’ll have to see though.

Ok some other stuff we have is a 4.3 inch TFT dash with Bluetooth, 3 riding modes, changeable ABS, wheelie control and traction control. What is annoying is that to get the quick shifter and a customisable riding mode, you have to buy the optional ‘Tech Pack.’ The tech pack gives you everything that’s on the 890 R except cruise control. So while the stock 790 had a quick shifter, the stock 890 won’t, that’s a bit of a bummer to me.

And there is no price yet! So it’s a bit hard to judge value for money compared to the 790 and 890R. The 790 retailed at $10700 USD ($15000 AUD, 9000 Pounds) and has some pretty good ride away deals; the 890R is a thousand dollars more at $11700 (17200 AUD, 10400 pounds). Looking at the spec, you would think it’ll be the same price as the 790. Some of the gear is upgraded but it’s not higher spec, plus it’s missing the quick shifter.

So there we have it. What do you all think of the new KTM 890? I can’t wait to ride this and the Tuono 660. The 890 will no doubt have the engine advantage but the Aprilia has better standard features.

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