With sharpened senses: the KTM 790 Duke in the test

With sharpened senses: the KTM 790 Duke in the test

The unlined Duke models by KTM promise pure driving pleasure – we were on the road with the new 790 Duke.

So far, there has been a gap in the naked bike program of KTM: Between the 690 Duke and the 1290 Duke, market-strategically, there was room for a mid-range motorcycle. The now fills the 790 Duke – with newly developed in-line two-cylinder, 799 cubic centimeters of displacement, 187 kilograms and 105 hp power. A sharp part, as the manufacturer self-confidently announces. In view of these key facts and these full-bodied promises, we were on our way with sharpened senses.

The equipment of the KTM 790 Duke


The driver sits enthroned on the KTM, the wide handlebar gives the assurance that everything is well under control. On the left end of the handlebar is the combination switch for all settings , cockpit displays and the on-board computer – who has ever moved a two-wheeler of the Austrians, knows immediately, otherwise you find yourself thanks to logical menu navigation also so quickly cope. Or study at your leisure the 50 pages of the manual for the instrument cluster.

That makes perfect sense, because there are plenty to adjust, the 790 Duke is full of electronics. There are, for example, the modes Sport, Street, Rain and Track , with which traction control, engine response, performance and the anti-wheelie function are influenced. If you want to customize your bike individually, you can freely configure it in track mode and follow its play instincts unbridled.

On board are among other curves-ABS, Launch Control for the best possible acceleration, a turn off Quickshifter, Bluetooth (also off), a tire pressure control, an adjustable shift lightning (which sensibly indicates the reaching of the gear change warning speed with orange light) as well as switchable daytime running light , By the way, all free of charge. In the TFT display of the cockpit, the speed, the gear engaged, the fuel level and the speed are displayed along with the distance traveled, the outside temperature, the time and the remaining range.

The KTM 790 Duke while driving

With sharpened senses: the KTM 790 Duke in the test


Once the little programming course has been completed and the five freely configurable menus are set, you can dedicate yourself to the actual purpose of this two-wheeler: driving. The unit under the seat barks powerfully right after the pressure on the start button. The first two-cylinder in-line engine from KTM will probably show that it fits well with the company philosophy: always ready for a brisk tour , always on the go. “Ready to Race” – this motto is always remembered when starting in the cockpit. But how should you forget this?

Thanks to a good knee-jerk, the rider and the motorcycle are united, the front-wheel-oriented seating position makes it clear that the sporty pace is better maintained here. From the manual, we remember that the ABS can be activated in a Supermoto mode (regulation only on the front wheel). Nevertheless, we can tackle it rather discreetly, because the power and the weight give a sense that the start better a very subtle grip on the gas is appropriate. And rightly so, because as soon as you give the 790 Duke the spurs, the mail really goes off.

In city traffic, when the speed indicator just exceeds the 3,000 mark, it’s a rather restless ride. Sometimes you have to force the shift assistant to change gear – better, you do without it and pull the clutch lever quite conventionally. One may criticize this as constant driving jerks, but one can also call it an engine with character . We prefer the latter definition. Because the twin may turn up and no limit inhibits the forward thrust, unfolds the engine from 5,000 rpm his temperament and provides neat power available, which is increased even up to the limit at 9,500 rpm. A really sharp cuts!

The low weight and the good handiness make the city trip more than tolerable and maximize the driving pleasure outside. Playfully easy, the KTM can put in the curves, moves to the centimeter on the given line and forgives any necessary corrections. Only with bad surface and brisk ride she gets a little bolder. But that’s just the character you expect from a KTM. It requires physical effort , after all, you do not sit on a rocking horse. If you want to savor this even more, you can do so in Track mode. The engine sounds even more pithy, even snottier and reacts even more directly at the throttle response. You can call it pure driving pleasure or just let the pig out.

Despite lack of fairing, the 790 Duke also stays quiet on the highway, even when the speed approaches the specified maximum of 235 km / h. For the KTM is not intended, but in between times a couple of brisk kilometers to tear down makes a lot of fun (and empties the tank faster, as a dear). For the almost vibration-free rearview mirror, even at higher speedsThere’s an extra praise. And the brakes are also a pleasure. They bite well but are always easy to dose. A bit must also be bitched: The brightness sensor in the cockpit is too sensitive, sometimes even when driving through an underpass or in the forest, the night mode activated. No real problem, but irritating In addition, drivers and motorcycles do not look particularly good after a rain ride, because everything is eingesaut for lack of reasonable splash protection.

The cost of the KTM 790 Duke


At the KTM dealer you have to lie down 9,790 euros to get into the possession of the Duke. This is not a special offer , but looking at the above-mentioned extras, which are by no means standard in this category, this sum is an attractive offer . Because the 790er drives on top of that fantastic. As consumption, we calculated 4.8 liters per 100 kilometers – since we have given the Austrians the spurs properly, you should come with a brisk temperament easy on about four liters standard consumption. Is then but also in the standard fun on the way.

Conclusion to the KTM 790 Duke


From the key data (displacement, power, price) belongs the 790 Duke really belongs only to the middle class. But this supposed shortcoming makes her forget quickly and shows that she is a sharp part , which – sharpened senses guaranteed – a very hot ride guaranteed.

Technical specifications

engineliquid cooledSeries two-cylinder enginewith 799 cc displacement
power105 hp (77 kW) at 9,000 rpm
torque87 Nm (at 8,000 rpm)
top speed235 km / h
wheelbase1,475 mm
seat height825 mm
Weight (full tank)187 kilograms
tank capacity14 liters
test consumption4.8 liters
price9,790 euros