KTM released the 790 Duke last year to criticial acclaim but they have upped the ante for 2020 with a new 890 Duke R.
The new model does not replace the 790 Duke, but will sell alongside it as a more premium option that delivers a bit more sting and will arrive in Australia next month, May 2020, for $17,195 +ORC.
And for the first time in the known history of the universe a KTM model displaces the cubic capacity it says on the box! The 890 Duke R displaces exactly 890 cc thanks to both a bore and stroke increase over the 790 Duke, which actually displaced 799cc.
Power jumps from the 105 hp 790, to 121 hp in the 890. Torque is up by around 15 per cent to 99 Nm at 7750 rpm.
Urgency under throttle is also sure to be more responsive due to a large increase in the compression ratio from 12.7:1 to 13.5:1. Shorter intake funnels and revised throttle bodies also play their part in the package.
An uprated EFI system utilises a new sensor per cylinder that measures the manifold pressure and modifies the mixture accordingly. The system has been especially developed for the KTM 890 DUKE R in conjunction with Italian specialists Dell’orto. The combustion knock control permits a higher state of tuning when it comes to the ignition advance.
The 790 is already very impressive in this regard so I am especially eager to sample the response of the 890.
The valve intake is now 37mm compared to 36mm and the exhaust valves carry 30mm as opposed to 29 mm. The camshafts benefit from a more aggressive profile and increased lift. A new crankshaft generates 20 per cent more rotational mass compared to the KTM 790 DUKE. This should also add a bit more character to the engine.
New connecting rod and forged box pistons construction (with three rings and a shorter pin as part of the design for 2020) are lighter despite being larger. The bronze bearing has been placed to assist resistance due to the superior performance and surface pressure. A new balancer shaft helps regulate the internals.
Stoppers are also up-specced to lighter Brembo Stylema Monoblock calipers clamping on larger 320 mm discs. The Multi Click system is an adjustable facility for the lever ratio and akin to altering the piston diameter. Riders can opt for a more gradual progressive feel or a shorter and sharper sensation. The accumulative total weight loss of the braking unit tops 1.2kg. All of the weight saving is on unsprung mass and positively affects the handling.
With the increased focus on outright performance the ergonomics of the 890 Duke R are also more aggressive than found on its sibling. Lower bars, higher pegs and a 9 mm taller seat height round out the rider triangle.
Fully adjustable WP APEX 43 mm split open-cartridge upside-down forks and a fully adjustable WP APEX rear shock absorber with linear spring and pre-load adjuster suspends the 3 kg lighter 890 Duke R.
The WP APEX front fork has split functions for damping, linear springs and easy altering of compression and rebound settings. The shock is equally as compliant and practical. High and low speed compression can be changed, as well as rebound and preload.
Ride height has been increased by 15mm over the 790 to improve handling and ground clearance. This rise ensures that the swingarm angle is at a steeper angle to ensure better anti-squat behavior and thus improve stability and drive out of corners. The new steering stem is another addition while the seat height is now at 840 mm as a result of the sportier ergonomics. Of course, the ‘R’ distinction is indicated via the orange frame: an instantly recognisable feature throughout the KTM Street range.
Duke 890 R also boasts 20 mm more ground clearance with an almost adventure bike-like 206 mm under its trim belly.
The KTM 890 DUKE R makes use of Cornering ABS and Cornering MTC (Motorcycle Traction Control) with a new 6D lean angle sensor that not only detects the side-to-side and forwards and backwards pitch of the bike but also its drift positioning.
KTM 890 Duke R Video
A new generation of Cornering MTC programming leads to more comprehensive traction control management; accomplished by the use of two independent sensors (a wheelslip controller and a pitch angle controller). The principal advantages can be found in greater linear acceleration and anti-wheelie for faster and controlled power away from a corner or situation.
For advanced riders this feature can be fully disabled. Among the ride modes (RAIN, STREET and SPORT) comes an optional TRACK setting: a nine-level ‘slippage’ gauge that gifts the rider full customization on traction, anti-wheelie and throttle control.
Motor Slip Regulation (MSR) is optional and plays the role of an electronic slipper clutch. A slipper clutch only works in high grip situations, MSR complements this when there is low grip. The tool restricts the possibility of the rear wheel locking up under downshifting or throttling-off and ensures full traction.
The new 890 Duke R will be available in Australia next month, May 2020, at $17,195 +ORC.
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