2020 KTM 890 Duke R First Ride Review

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edited May 22 in Cars Motorcycles
As the nomenclature insinuates, the 890 Duke R uses a big-bore, long-stroke version of its LC8c parallel-twin engine. It pumps out 10 more horsepower than the 790 version.
As the nomenclature insinuates, the 890 Duke R uses a big-bore, long-stroke version of its LC8c parallel-twin engine. It pumps out 10 more horsepower than the 790 version. (Jeff Allen /)Higher-spec suspension components and ultra-grippy Michelin Power Cup equal incredible sport handling. If you like riding fast around twisty pavement, this is your bike.
Higher-spec suspension components and ultra-grippy Michelin Power Cup equal incredible sport handling. If you like riding fast around twisty pavement, this is your bike. (Jeff Allen /)The 890 Duke R weighs in at 407 pounds with its 3.7-gallon tank filled to the brim. In motion, it feels even lighter than its curb weight implies.
The 890 Duke R weighs in at 407 pounds with its 3.7-gallon tank filled to the brim. In motion, it feels even lighter than its curb weight implies. (Jeff Allen /)The 890 Duke R rotors grow in diameter and are pinched by Superbike-style Stylema calipers from Brembo. Clever red sliders on the fork legs allow you to monitor suspension travel.
The 890 Duke R rotors grow in diameter and are pinched by Superbike-style Stylema calipers from Brembo. Clever red sliders on the fork legs allow you to monitor suspension travel. (Jeff Allen /)Braking performance is a tremendous improvement versus the 790 Duke. We’re especially fond of its MCS-type adjustable-ratio radial master cylinder that delivers a high level of customizable lever feel and stopping power.
Braking performance is a tremendous improvement versus the 790 Duke. We’re especially fond of its MCS-type adjustable-ratio radial master cylinder that delivers a high level of customizable lever feel and stopping power. (Jeff Allen /)We appreciate the 890 Duke R’s auto-dimming color TFT display. Riders who want to exploit maximum handling and engine performance need the optional $739.99 Tech Pack which unlocks nine-way-adjustable traction control.
We appreciate the 890 Duke R’s auto-dimming color TFT display. Riders who want to exploit maximum handling and engine performance need the optional $739.99 Tech Pack which unlocks nine-way-adjustable traction control. (Jeff Allen /)The 890 Duke R employs a long swingarm that affords a high degree of mechanical grip off turns. The PDS-style-equipped (non-linkage) rear suspension favors sport handling over around-town comfort.
The 890 Duke R employs a long swingarm that affords a high degree of mechanical grip off turns. The PDS-style-equipped (non-linkage) rear suspension favors sport handling over around-town comfort. (Jeff Allen /)No company offers more comfortable well-thought-out ergonomic setups than KTM. Its 890 Duke R continues this trait. It is comfortable in a straight line, yet up to the sport task when the road gets twisty.
No company offers more comfortable well-thought-out ergonomic setups than KTM. Its 890 Duke R continues this trait. It is comfortable in a straight line, yet up to the sport task when the road gets twisty. (Jeff Allen /)We’re big fans of the sharp and elegantly shaped exhaust muffler that not only looks cool but delivers a mean throaty tone.
We’re big fans of the sharp and elegantly shaped exhaust muffler that not only looks cool but delivers a mean throaty tone. (Jeff Allen /)The 890 Duke R is impressive from any angle. Our only gripe is the mechanical function of its slipper clutch.
The 890 Duke R is impressive from any angle. Our only gripe is the mechanical function of its slipper clutch. (Jeff Allen /)The 890 Duke R uses KTM’s now-signature praying mantis-style front end. The LED headlamp throws a bright swath of light during night rides.
The 890 Duke R uses KTM’s now-signature praying mantis-style front end. The LED headlamp throws a bright swath of light during night rides. (Jeff Allen /)If you’re looking for a relatively practical sport naked that rides even better than it looks, you need an 890 Duke R.
If you’re looking for a relatively practical sport naked that rides even better than it looks, you need an 890 Duke R. (Jeff Allen /)
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