Photos by: KTM, Evans Brasfield
KTM’s focus at EICMA 2016 is clearly aimed at its naked bikes, with the 1290 Super Duke R and 390 Duke getting big changes for the new year. But perhaps KTM’s most intriguing introduction in Milan was for this, the 790 Duke concept. KTM was sparse on details about the bike, including engine size, but we first brought you spy shots of the Duke back in February, and now we can clearly see the parallel-Twin that’s been rumored about since early 2014. Considering the name, our guess is a displacement around 800cc.
Styling cues are very clearly in line with the Duke family, its minimal appearance, sharp, aggressive angles, and split headlight resembling that of the 1290 Super Duke R patriarch. Underneath the bodywork we see the new engine, dubbed LC8c (little “c” standing for “compact”), wrapped in KTM’s signature steel trellis frame with beefy WP suspension and Brembo brakes. The subframe and tail cowl appear to be cast aluminum pieces that are then machined for a striking appearance. The two-into-one exhaust is neatly tucked under the seat, and though sportbike design has moved away from the underseat exhaust fad, there’s no denying it still looks cool. Especially on the 790 Duke.
KTM says its electronics division used the 790 Duke as a testbed for future technologies, incorporating numerous sensors to facilitate the next generation of ride-by-wire technology, rider aids, and “integrated interconnectivity.” KTM is showboating a bit with the 790 Duke concept, as its display placard at EICMA reads “Imagine a quickshifter that takes its name extremely seriously. Custom ride modes. Personalized traction control.” There’s even boasting of 3D printers used in the production of the exhaust system and triple clamp.
Considering this 790 Duke concept looks very nearly production ready, we’re expecting its mass-produced derivative to be unveiled in 365 days time, at EICMA 2017. And we’d be very surprised if we didn’t see an Adventure model with this powerplant within a year, too.