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2018 KTM 790 Duke 5

The 2018 KTM 790 Duke & 790 Adventure R Prototype!

Unveiled At EICMA: The 2018 KTM 790 Duke And 790 Adventure R Prototype!

Since it was first teased we’ve been waiting for the formal unveiling of the 2018 KTM 790 Duke, and it was worth the wait. The 790 Duke was unveiled alongside the 790 Adventure R and a special race-only 450 Rally machine, but it was the 790 Duke that stole the show. There was a lot of hype surrounding the KTM unveilings this year at Milan’s EICMA show. While many of us were hoping for a surprise unveiling of a new RC8 style sports machine, we were more than happy to settle for something no less exciting: the all-new 2018 KTM 790 Duke. Don’t worry though, a new top flight sports bike will come sometime soon…surely?

2018 KTM 790 Duke 1

Anyway, let’s take a look at the two of the three big unveilings from our favorite Austrian manufacturer. First up, we’ll look at the 2018 KTM 790 Duke, then we’ll take a glance at the equally impressive KTM 790 Adventure R prototype. We won’t worry about the 450 Rally just yet, because at the moment it’s reserved for KTM-endorsed riders only…but a customer Rally Replica will be coming in the future, but we’ll worry about that when the time comes!

The 2018 KTM Duke 790

2018 KTM 790 Duke 5

Let’s start with the first and foremost model in the KTM stable: the 2018 KTM 790 Duke. Surprisingly, the new parallel twin machine looks almost identical to the original prototype that we saw last year. Half of the things we expected to lose during the production stages are remarkably still on the bike. The split headlight remains, the awesome triangular “gap” styled seat is still there, and the cool recesses in the bodywork and subframe are still very much an important styling feature on the bike. The only slight differences include the addition of a useful pillion seat, and less forged carbon than we saw on the prototype. It’s all good though, because the essence of the 2018 KTM 790 Duke remains the same.

2018 KTM 790 Duke 3

The new 799cc, DOHC, parallel twin engine comes with some rather nice touches, with its 8-valves actuated by DLC coated finer followers, a comprehensive fuel-injection system, two balancer shafts, and finally a semi dry-sump lubrication system, complete with an oil cooler. All in the new engine can shoot out 103 horses at 9,000 rpm and a peak torque figure of 63 lb-ft at 8,000 revs. As expected from the prototype, the 2018 KTM 790’s engine is used as a stressed member for the frame.

2018 KTM 790 Duke 6

With such an impressive engine delivering power, KTM have decided to give the 790 some top end electronics to keep it all under control. Cornering ABS is present, complete with an all-important (disengage-able) Supermoto mode, lean-angle sensing traction control is a key feature, and KTM have also thrown in a quickshifter, launch control and KTM’s own signature “MY RIDE” technology that allows customizable track modes. This is all controlled by a cool TFT dashboard.

2018 KTM 790 Duke 2

Since we’re dealing with KTM, the suspension is obviously from WP Suspension. Up front, the 790 Duke comes equipped with 43mm split open-cartridge USD forks, complimented with a gas-assisted rear shock at the rear. The front brakes feature two radial four piston calipers and two 330mm brake discs, while the rear is controlled by a two-piston caliper with a 240mm rotor. The 2018 KTM 790 Duke also boasts LED lighting and comes equipped with Maxxis Supermaxx rubber as standard.

The KTM Adventure R Prototype

KTM 790 Adventure R Prototype 1

Next up, we have a rather stunning prototype. Don’t let the “prototype” moniker fool you, because KTM have confirmed that this is to be a huge part of KTM’s line up for either sometime next year or 2019. This is the KTM Adventure R prototype…and if KTM pulled the covers off of the prototype to help gauge public opinion, then the reaction it received should help KTM’s top brass to put this into production as soon as possible. It was an absolute hit from the first moment it was shown.

KTM 790 Adventure R Prototype 3

There’s not a lot of information about it, unfortunately. However, we can see that it’s a lightweight adventure motorcycle that comes powered by the very same 799cc parallel twin engine that we just talked about on the 2018 KTM 790 Duke. All we know is that it will probably have around 100 hp on tap and weigh as little as possible. Here’s what KTM had to say though:

KTM 790 Adventure R Prototype 2

“The ADVENTURE community has been eagerly awaiting a lightweight, compact midrange travel enduro with outstanding crosscountry ability. The wait is almost over, for at the EICMA 2017, KTM proudly presents the prototype of such a super lightweight adventure bike designed all around the brand new 2-cylinder LC8c engine. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R PROTOTYPE is exactly what the hardcore adventure crowd wants it to be: a true KTM to close the gap between the enduros and the larger bikes of the ADVENTURE series.”


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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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