• Is There A New KTM 990 Coming?

Spy shots show larger-engined naked sports bike

Recent spy shots show what could be a new KTM Duke 990 to boost power in the face of new Euro5b emission controls. Could it also form the basis of a new range of middleweight bikes from the Austrian manufacturer?

Is There a New KTM 990 Coming?

Is There A New KTM 990 Coming?
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2005 - 2013 KTM 990 Duke
This had a v-twin. The new bike will have a parallel twin

Say ‘KTM 990’ to any motorcyclist and thoughts will immediately turn to the gargantuan adventure bikes from 2006 - 2012. There was also the 990 Duke of 2005 - 2013. Now, however, could the name be about to be re-introduced to the KTM catalogue, on a new naked sports bike?

In 2018, we first saw the 790 Duke. This year saw the introduction of the 890 Duke. When that happened, the basic package remained the same, with simply an increase in capacity and, yes, quite a lot of re-engineering of the internal components. But it was essentially the same engine.

Brand New Engine

However, the 990 sports a completely new engine, with every part having been re-designed, apart from one cover. But what is the point behind all this work?

Well, the increase in capacity can be attributable to one thing only; ever stricter Euro5b emission standards. These standards continually rob the engine of power so capacities need to go up to offset this. Also, with many of the regulations relating to noise emissions, more water-jacketing around the cylinders and larger exhaust mufflers are required to stifle noise.

Spy shots show a revised chassis and swing-arm, probably to cope with the extra power and to accommodate the larger exhaust system.

Is There A New KTM 990 Coming?
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Yamaha MT-09 Tracer
The new 990 Duke could be massaged into a competitive sports tourer to rival the current market leader

But why does KTM need the 990, other than to restore performance? With the 890 and the 1290 GT in the fold, what is the point of the 990? How about a middleweight sports touring bike along the lines of the very successful Yamaha MT-09 Tracer? People don’t always want something as powerful as the 1290 GT so a 990cc GT could fill a gap.

Don’t expect to get any answers from KTM yet; they’re being very tight-lipped about it and don’t expect to see it in the showrooms before 2022. It’s all very mysterious.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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