KTM’s Awesome Parallel Twin Duke 790 Prototype!
The KTM Duke 790 Is A Beast In Disguise
Updated August 15, 2018
If there’s one bike that’s really caused a sensation at last year’s EICMA festival in Milan, it’s this one. It’s not the Ducati Superleggera, it’s not BMW’s HP4 Race concept – it’s this: KTM’s all new parallel twin 790 Duke prototype. After discussing the biggest unveilings from the event, almost everyone we’ve talked to has two things on their mind. Number one: it’s all about the KTM Duke 790. Number two: how do we get one?
We were aware that a new parallel twin was on the way, but we didn’t expect the whole package to look quite so good. The all-new 800cc parallel twin platform is something rather special. While the single cylinder 690 has always impressed us, and the Super Duke R’s v-twin has always surprised us, there was something missing in between the two. And KTM seem to have borrowed a few key ideas from their Husqvarna subsidiary, weaving two ideals together (the Duke range and Husqvarna’s incredibly well respected Nuda 900R model) to make something that appeals to the more aggressive end of the mid-sized market.
The Super Duke R is a mean and ferocious looking motorcycle, and this Duke 790 prototype hits the same notes, and a fair few more. Our only hope is that when this baby goes into production (along with the rest of the new parallel twin range) that nothing changes. KTM and Husqvarna’s Vitpilen concepts didn’t stray too far from the original concept, so we have high hopes for this one, too.
Sitting in pride of place at the front of the 790, is KTM’s new signature LED headlight assembly, unmistakably marking it as a member of KTM’s new breed of Dukes. The trellis-style swing arm design is also another key component of the brand’s uniform identity, and it looks great on the 790 too. Other cool design features include the triangular “gap” styled seat, a forged carbon material on the fairings, and that absolutely exquisite under-tail exhaust. The exhaust is one of the most interesting features of the bike, and we hope it stays that way in the future. Hopefully with a decent heat shield too…
The KTM 790 also comes stocked with up-to-date gadgetry, including a ride by wire throttle, selectable and customizable rider modes, multiple levels of traction control, and KTM’s signature “MY RIDE” technology. There’s no word about a quickshifter yet, but since almost all of the top end bikes out there are making them standard – or at least as an optional extra – we’re not ruling it out.
KTM has this to say about their all new Duke addition: “[the 790 Duke will bring] unparalleled poise, telepathic levels of feedback and lightness that’s off the scale.” And we’re looking forward to seeing if a production model will be as good as the prototype. We’ve got no idea when to expect such a thing, but considering the amount of effort KTM are putting into their designs, we’ll put our money on a 2018 release date. If you’re like us and can’t wait that long, here are some pictures to quench your KTM 790 thirst in the meantime…