Long Termers: KTM 790 Duke

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Editor Ross has whacked some big miles on the Duke. Here’s what he’s had to say!

The middleweight naked market is massive. The KTM 790 Duke has long been a favourite, winning the hearts and minds of sporty road riders left, right and centre, and snapping up sales with great aplomb. The 890 Duke shares a good portion of the spoils, too, alongside Yamaha’s MT-07, Triumph’s Trident 660, Ducati’s Monster and Aprilia’s Tuono 660 (plus plenty more). But there are actually two ‘new’ kids on the block in the form of Suzuki’s GSX-8S and Honda’s CB750 Hornet which are vying for the top spot. Should KTM be worried?

KTM Duke 790

I’ve actually managed to swing my leg over the pair and see what they’re made of. The Suzuki was the standout. Priced at £7999 (the same as the KTM), it feels much more refined and much more planted than the Duke – but it also feels significantly less spritely, and subsequently, significantly less fun. The Honda’s a good chunk of cash cheaper, coming in at £6999. There’s no doubt it represents pretty incredible value for money, and in typical Honda fashion is exceptionally well put together, but it’s also missing some of the fire that the KTM’s rev-loving LC8c parallel twin brings to the table.

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While all three bikes have their own unique merits (and acknowledging that I’ve got quite a soft spot for the Duke after our few months together), I’d say that the KTM comes out on top; though it must be said that the 790 does feel a little less sophisticated than the other two. If you want to know more about how the three bikes stack up, sit tight for a full road test in a future issue.

Ross Mowbray / Five months / 3500 miles


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