2019 KTM 790 Duke | First Look Review

2019 KTM 790 Duke
The first model built on KTM’s new middleweight platform is the 2019 790 Duke.

At this week’s Intermot show in Cologne, Germany, KTM unveiled its all-new 2019 790 Duke.

Read our 2018 KTM 390 Duke road test review

Powered by an all-new, liquid-cooled 799cc LC8c parallel twin that will serve as a middleweight platform for models such as the forthcoming 790 Adventure, enthusiasts of the Austrian “Ready to Race” brand have been eagerly awaiting the release of the 790 Duke naked sportbike. The DOHC engine has a balancer shaft to reduce vibration and electronic fuel injection and Bosch throttle-by-wire for precise throttle control. Power is sent to the rear wheel through a 6-speed transmission, a power-assisted slipper clutch and chain final drive.

2019 KTM 790 Duke
KTM calls the new 790 Duke “The Scalpel,” which suggests the light, compact naked sportbike will have sharp, agile handling.

As with other models in KTM’s street bike lineup, the 790 Duke has a tubular chrome-moly steel trellis frame that uses the engine as a stressed member, a cast aluminum subframe and a die-cast, open-lattice aluminum swingarm. Suspension is by WP, with an 43mm USD open-cartridge fork and a rear shock with a progressive spring and preload adjustment. A pair of radial-mount 4-piston front calipers grip 300mm floating discs and cornering ABS is standard. The light, compact 790 Duke has a 58-inch wheelbase, 24-degree rake, a 3.7-gallon fuel tank and a claimed dry weight of just 373 pounds.

Read our 2018 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S road test review

The Kiska-designed 790 Duke has the sharp angles and pointy bodywork that has become a hallmark of KTM’s Duke lineup. A tapered upright handlebar is adjustable in four positions on the triple clamp and can be rotated in three other positions, and a WP steering damper adds control to the front end. The 790 has an LED headlight and daytime running light and a full-color, multifunction TFT display.

We will get a chance to test the 2019 KTM 790 Duke in a few weeks, so stay tuned for our riding impressions. Pricing and availability are TBD.


  1. It’s disappointing that one of this bike’s highlights, namely its remarkable gearbox, gets only a cursory mention. Yes, it’s a six-speed ‘box, but there’s much more to it than that that would have made for interesting reading. It’s also odd that KTM itself doesn’t say much about this new ‘box, given that the company is obviously on a huge drive to expand its offerings significantly.

    And not a word about the bike’s launch control, which allows it to put much bigger bikes to shame.

    • Depends on who is riding it and where. On a drag strip it isn’t going to beat a Panigale V4 or S1000rr but at a place like the Dragon’s Tail in Robbinsville NC, with a talented rider, it will probably out run most. Dragon’s Tail is 318 turns in 11 miles. Smaller more agile bikes do better there.


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