2021 KTM 890 Duke | First Look Review

The middleweight upright sportbike segment has hit fever pitch, with nearly every manufacturer ponying up a new and exciting competitor. This year, the Austrians are sending the street-focused 2021 KTM 890 Duke into the fray.

The base model 890 Duke completes KTM’s all-important middleweight sportbike lineup, including the up-spec and racetrack-ready 890 Duke R. Of course, with this announcement, we must also bid farewell to the short-lived yet extremely impressive 790 Duke — a moment of silence, please.

Powering the 890 Duke is none other than the same punchy, rip-roaring 889cc parallel-twin engine producing a claimed 115 horsepower and 67.9 lb-ft of torque, featured in all 890 Duke and Adventure motorcycles.

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It also benefits from all the advancements first seen on the “R” model, such as a new cylinder-head with 1mm-larger intake and exhaust valves, more aggressive camshaft profiles and forged pistons, and lightened connecting rods to decrease rotating mass. Meanwhile, a 20% heavier crank is used to improve low-rev manners. Lastly, the redline is 1,000 rpm higher, and a Pasch slipper clutch is thrown in for good measure. An optional up/down quickshifter is available.

Shared amongst the middleweight Duke family is a chromoly-steel frame, lightweight one-piece aluminum subframe and cast aluminum swingarm. By using the 889cc engine as a stressed member, the 890 Duke flaunts a mere 372-pound dry weight. For reference, our 2020 KTM 890 Duke R tipped the scale at a paltry 405 pounds wet and we anticipate the standard model to be in that realm.

To create a more street-friendly motorcycle, the 890 Duke offers a slightly lower 32.3-inch seat height, accompanied by what KTM calls a “less purposeful” riding position, than the R bike. It also comes with a passenger seat and pegs, making the standard Duke well-rounded. The handlebar is still four-position adjustable. All around LED lighting is standard.

Where the two Duke’s diverge is with respect to their peripheral components. Suspension is handled by a non-adjustable 43mm WP Apex fork, which now features fixed-rate springs instead of progressive-rate springs used on the 790 — a welcome change and should make the fork feel more predictable, especially during transitions. Also, a base-valve is said to improve damping characteristics. In the rear, a WP Apex shock accommodates spring preload adjustment. Lightweight 17-inch wheels are still standard fare but are now shod with Continental ContiRoad tires that will undoubtedly offer superior mileage than the trackday-slaying Michelin Power Cup 2 rubber.

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In lieu of pricier Brembo kit, KTM-branded J-Juan 4-piston calipers and smaller 300mm floating rotors take care of things up front, while a single 2-piston caliper and 240mm round out the stopping power.

Electronics have always been a strong suit for the middleweight Duke machines, and the standard 890, with its 5-inch full-color TFT instrument panel, is no different. Returning to the party is a full-suite of 6-axis IMU supported rider aides, including cornering ABS, lean-angle-sensitive traction control and wheelie control with preset intervention levels controlled by the standard Rain, Street and Sport riding modes. An optional Track model will allow you to adjust TC and WC as you see fit. Supermoto mode is standard, disabling ABS in the rear only, for anyone looking to partake in some hooligan riding.

Pricing for the 2021 KTM 890 Duke is set at $10,999. Until we add one of these to the stable for review, we’ll have to settle for the images below.

For more information, visit KTM.

2021 KTM 890 Duke Photo Gallery:

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