Ktm Duke Returns

In a surprising move, KTM is bringing back the 790 Duke and is bringing “the scalpel” back into its range in some markets after a very short absence.

The 790 Duke was introduced in 2017, but was quickly replaced by the 890 Duke R as KTM’s best naked middleweight in 2019. The 790 was completely discontinued for the 2021 model year and replaced by a new Duke without the r 890.

There was never anything wrong with the 790 Duke. KTM says that despite its very short circulation, it has sold 29,000 units. The main driver of the change was the introduction of Euro-5 emission standards. As other manufacturers decided, KTM approached the stricter standard by increasing the displacement of the Duke’s lc8c parallel twin from 799 cc to 889 cc, hence the introduction of the 890 Duke.

We all assumed that this was all for the 790, but lo and behold, here is an updated Euro 5 compliant version and the latest electronic updates. The engine retains the same displacement of 799 cc as the original, but for the European markets its power drops to 95 hp. According to KTM, this less powerful version allows for easier reconfiguration for the A2 license tiers. However, in other markets, the 2022 model retains the same claimed power of 105 hp as the previous iteration.

Of course, the question we have to ask ourselves is: “Why?”KTM already owns the 890 Duke, so why bring back a model that was only recently discontinued? KTM claims that the revived 790 will help bridge the gap between the 390 Duke and the 890 Duke. Technically, this is the case (at least for the markets that will get it), but the approach as a whole seems strange.

The only explanation that could make sense is that a different model was originally planned to fill the same gap, but was delayed or canceled altogether. In 2019, KTM announced that it was developing a line of 490 models with a new two-cylinder engine. The new 490 Duke should arrive this year and offer an advance over the single-cylinder 390 Duke. The return of the Duke 790 suggests that the 490 platform may have encountered a problem. Given the challenges of the pandemic, a development delay is not entirely surprising.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *