Photos by: Sebas Romero, and Marco Capelli
Test Ride by: Khaled Karam
When I got the invitation to test ride the all new 790 Duke from KTM I thought to myself… this bike… Well I can’t miss this!
Around 20 hours on the road, I might seem a bit naggy since some colleagues from Japan had longer and more tiring flights but…
Three different airlines,
Two transits in two different airports,
Long hours of flight,
But let me tell you something, the chance to test ride the KTM 790 Duke on the breathtaking roads of Gran Canaria definitely made it worth it!
The bike has been hyped up a lot, in the past 10 months. Since our last KTM Duke launching for the 390 Duke in Torino, we have heard a lot about the new 790 Duke. They said it will be a revelation, something new, an unprecedented technology and a brand new engine that has never been built before. Riding it for the first time especially after listening to the full launching conference the guys at KTM did was simply amazing.
Oh… what a beast! Note; I’m not a MotoGP champion and this is what makes it more interesting. The bike is a very advanced piece of machinery that is easy to ride, very pleasurable, very responsive, very light and at the same time it has all the power you need to go… and I mean really go!
You can’t but stare in awe at that sharp, naked design; and with that 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, DOHC parallel twin engine type, KTM truly was able to bring together the idea of a bike being for every day use and for street performance use all in one, with mega reduced vibrations. To stress the point I mentioned above, A BRAND NEW ENGINE, that is so small and compact. The great minds at KTM made sure that what they are building will be a flexible platform to build a light very responsive bike and this certainly is where you start.
One significant area of this bike is simply the disengageable QUICKSHIFTER+, that allows up and down shifting without the need to operate the clutch, with the rider’s hand safely on the grip.
The bike has insane handling, and it’s highly responsive, making the rider feel comfortable controlling it. With levers that are adjustable, it’s easier more than ever to adjust those levers on the go, per your preference and the needs of the road ahead.
The bike carries a lot of traits from its older sister the 1290 Duke. The front simply defines the new trend that the new Dukes are following lately, but what is really new this time around, and you haven’t seen something similar before on any duke, is the position of the stock exhaust. Well it’s straight under the seat with a very slick design that keeps the aggressive look of the bike. If you are interested in installing an Akrapovic exhaust then you should buy its own customized version, the one that only works on the 790!
What’s really important is that for a normal rider that wants performance, flexibility, comfort and power, and has a budget ceiling… KTM has provided a bike that is an absolute joy to drive, even on the track and is seriously cool looking!
Let’s talk: Lebanese Market.
Anbmotorcycles will announce soon when the bike will be available in the market but what does it bring to the market?
Well, the bike has a 2-cylinder engine, making it less prone to vibration and this is very important for driving the bike on the Lebanese roads and especially in traffic. It has different setup modes that makes it excellent for different styles of riding, and in a country like Lebanon you drive in the mountains on high altitudes and then back in the city in the same day and within a couple of hours. Toggling between, sports, track, rain and street modes, in addition to all the other customizations available to work with, the bike is well equipped for our roads.
And for those Lebanese furious minds, well this bike is a dormant beast that has all technology to keep you safe and to improve your riding experience.
The 790 duke comes in to fill a segment that has not been doing great currently in the Lebanese market but it also comes at a time where there’s an utmost need for a bike that delivers a great balance between performance, agility and practicality.
With growing traffic jams and challenging roads, wouldn’t you fancy yourself a naked bike that has a the performance of a sports bike and the badass look of a super duke?!