Devabhai New Reader
12/6/19 2:10 p.m.

Hello everyone,,Yesterday I got to take the new KTM Duke 790 for a spin, so I thought about writing some impressions, since this bike has garnered some interest. Let me preface this by saying that my main is currently a Ducati Multistrada Enduro, and I've ridden many different kinds of bikes over the years.

To start, let's just get the looks out of the way. Yes, the bike isn't as awesome as when it was first announced - not exactly a new thing, but since this looked extremely good, it's normal that people just moan about it a bit more. That said, I personally think the bike looks pretty good in person, except for that hideous rear fender. A tail tidy won't fix it, either, as the brake lights are located on... whatever that is. If there's a way to mount a new rear brake light on the back of the bike proper, then it would look much better. The pillion pegs also look a bit crude, but there aren't many non-adv style bikes that can pull them off, anyway. The exhaust actually looks OK, for a modern bike, even though it kinda looks like cheap metal. The digital dash, the full LED headlight and indicators look very nice, the same can be said about the tank design and overall ergos of the bike (at least as a 5'11 rider).

After getting on the bike, you start to get a glimpse of what awais ahead - it just feels like a toy, in the good way. It's extremely light and nimble. I've had other bikes that weren't as fat as my Multistrada Enduro, including the NSR 125R, the MT-07 and a Duke 200. This feels pretty close to the Duke 200, which is pretty insane considering the bike's specs. Everything feels rather premium, from the dash to the levers. The hydraulic clutch is, as on most KTMs and Huskies, so pleasant to deal with - which is almost a shame, considering it has a brilliant quickshifter, anyway. 9apps

Things get even weirder, as you start the bike up - it awakens and the exhaust roars, purs and burbles in a way that I haven't seen before on a stock bike. What is this witchcraft? The sound is intense, even when idling. Then, you notice that something's off - or I almost thought so, there are no, and I mean, absolutely no vibrations coming from the bars, whatsoever. It's almost unnerving. This was the one flaw, aside from the insane heat, on the Duke 690 (my favorite "fun" bike).

After the initial shock wore off, I pulled away. At low revs this bike has so much torque, it's not even funny - I was actually surprised about the speeds I was getting to, with moderate throttle. I felt like I was riding on top of a rocket. As I accelerated, the bike felt even nimbler, if a bit unstable at first - coming from a huge bike, at least. After around 10 minutes, it just felt normal, I just wasn't used to being on such a light bike, where every input does count. The gearbox is surprisingly good, too - what happened to all the false neutrals, KTM? Is it, FINALLY, a thing from the past? The quickshifter works brilliantly, although I wish there was an auto blipper, so that it would erase thoughts of my old Tuono from my mind.

This bike can be extremely precise and confidence inspiring - expected, considering how hard the suspension is set up. It's not adjustable, unfortunately, and I could definitely feel every bump on the road. It's good for having fun, but exhausting if you have to endure E36 M3ty roads, like I do. One extremely fun ride, with some caveats, I suppose. The rear brake is decent, but not anything to write home about, while the front brake more than makes up for it, despite being KTM-branded.

I went in, just wanting to try this bike, but I'm seriously consedering getting one, now. My Multi is definitely a pain for urban commuting, so I'd rather just use it for longer trips, whereas this bike makes going to the store, or getting to the city center not just a breeze, but proper fun. Its low down torque is amazingly pleasant, as long as you avoid sport mode (way too twitchy, IMO, as potholes will make you accelerate if you are too tight on the throttle). It fixed my main gripe with the Duke 690, while retaining and, enhancing some of its traits. Compared to the 690, its suspension is harder and, I feel, worse overall, though. The riding position is sportier, but not too much, as the 690 seemed to have a bit of supermoto DNA.

I'd say the 790 is one of the better bikes in the class (no surprise, I guess) and perhaps the most fun. It has the old Street Triple R beat, the MT-07 doesn't even come close, and I'd pass on the 690/701 on versatility alone. Ah, it's also pretty frugal, getting a decent 4.2L/100 mileage while having fun.

I also recorder part of the ride, but berkeleyed up the sound AND the video, as my camera case hadn't dried properly and I forgot to check before the ride. Duh. I'll leave a link, in case anyone cares, anyway..

wheelsmithy SuperDork
12/6/19 7:35 p.m.

So this is what you're talking about.

I like it.


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