KTM’s flagship in India, the Duke 790 is a ready-to-attack weapon which they fondly call ‘The Scalpel’. Marinated generously with electronics, the bike is powered by a 799 cc, 8-valve, DOHC, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine, which is tuned to generate 105 hp of peak power at 9,000 rpm and 87 Nm of torque at 8,000 rpm. With a dry weight of 174 kilos, this surely is the lightest motorcycle in its segment.
But do not let those numbers on paper and the 390-like appearance trick you into thinking that this is just another orange machine. The review video above covers in detail all the aspects of the bike’s performance in everyday conditions – how it rides, handles, behaves and makes you feel. The KTM Duke 790 is fitted with a 6-speed transmission paired with a PASC slipper clutch and an up/down quickshifter which lets the rider shift like God. Power sent to the rear wheel is governed by a multi-level traction control system and the MTC uses a number of sensors, measuring the lean angle of the bike and fine-tunes the power delivery to the rear wheel.
The MTC system also offers a track mode, to offer skilled riders the maximum thrill. Among other electronic aids on offer is a Moto Slip Regulation system which prevents the rear wheel from misbehaving when the rider switches off the throttle. However, experienced riders can choose to disengage the MSR. Also, the bike comes fitted with dual-channel ABS which is governed by an IMU even through corners and there’s a choice for the system to only work for the front wheel should you find a go-kart track and decide to slide all day.
Priced at INR 8.5 lakh ex-showroom, the Duke 790 gets a set of 300 mm discs, with a radially-mounted 4-piston for the front wheel, while the rear wheel gets a 240 mm disc with a 2 piston calliper. Moreover, the powder-coated steel frame of the bike is suspended by a WP sourced, 43 mm upside-down shock absorber in the front and a WP monoshock does duty at the rear. Only the rear offers some scope for adjustability though and only for pre-load. This KTM might lack the drama its competition offers with those extra two cylinders and their howl, but it sticks true to its nickname with the way it makes you feel when you are in command.