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2021 KTM 890 Duke

This latest Duke is still among the lightest and most compact naked sportbikes anywhere

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KTM juiced up its 790 Duke platform with a more powerful engine, beefed up electronics, and improved suspension for its 2021 release in the U.S. market. New graphics are available on this new platform that comes with a robust electronics suite to help you keep the thing dirty-side down. It rocks a pricetag that’s a full grand less than the more-racetastic “R” variant for an ever so slightly more-relaxed type of rider.

2021 KTM 890 Duke Design

  • Adjustable handlebar position
  • Adjustable brake and cluth levers
  • LED lighting with DRLs
  • Multicolor, light-variable 5-inch TFT display
2021 KTM 890 Duke
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2021 KTM 890 Duke
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The bifurcated front headlight housing is unlike any other in the world, and is part of the Duke's signature look.

KTM tends to seek its own path to performance excellence, so it stands to reason that the finished 890 Duke cuts a figure that sets the Duke family well apart from the rest of the field. A cut-down, molded front fender leads off with the usual foil-shape uprights that serve to shunt the wind pressure outboard of the front forks for low drag protection for the swept area of the inverted inner fork tubes.

The bifurcated front headlight housing is unlike any other in the world, and is part of the Duke’s signature look. It rocks LED projectors that are separated by a partition, and comes complete with LED strips at the outboard edge that serve as DRLs to ensure effective, two-way visibility, day and night.

In an unusual move, the factory set the turn signals above the headlight housing where they are well out of harm’s way. I mean seriously, if you manage to knock off one of these blinkers, you’ve probably got a lot bigger problems than a missing light, ya’ feel me? Back behind the headlight can you’ll find the color TFT screen that sports variable backlighting for improved visibility, day or night.

A tapered-aluminum handlebar picks up the blackout treatment to match the rest of the front end. It measures just a hair under 30-inches wide at 29.92 inches end-to-end, with a short rise that lets you push off for a more-upright riding position. If that ain’t good enough, the tripleclamps are set up to provide a four-position range of motion to help you find that sweet spot.

At the bottom of the rider’s triangle, the footpegs ride just a skosh lower than usual for this genre to spread the comfort downward, plus there’s accessory kits for different footpeg positions if the stock position doesn’t work for you. The top of the triangle, however, is another story. Specifically, the hand controls. Both the clutch and front brake hand levers come stock with adjusters that let you dial in for your very own hand size for hassle-free setups.

At 32.2-inches tall, the sculpted pilot’s saddle provides a wide butt-support area with a tapered front end that meets with the slim tank over the narrow waist to boost comfort. The textured seat cover is extra grippy, and pairs with the seat shape to accommodate those bona fide pegdraggers out there who will actually throw some proper body English around out there. A pillion pad and subframe-mount, fold-up passenger footpegs come stock to accommodate your Plus-One. If you weren’t close friends before, you will be by the end of the ride ’cause there’s no J.C. handles for the passenger to hang onto, so they will have no choice but to hang onto you.

The rest of the gear in the rear is carried by the short mudguard, so we’re talking taillight, tag, taglight, and license-plate holder, all on the molded fender, ostensibly so they can be easily removed as a unit for actual race use.

2021 KTM 890 Duke Chassis

  • WP suspension package
  • Sporty handling
  • Improved high-speed damping
  • Bosch cornering-ABS and SuperMoto mode
2021 KTM 890 Duke
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2021 KTM 890 Duke
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The 890 Duke rocks the corner-sensitive, Bosch 9.1 MP system with a fancy SuperMoto Mode that let's you lock up the rear wheel for your fancy SuperMoto moves.

KTM relied on the strength and rigidity of tubular, chromium-molybdenum steel members for the forward frame element on the 890 Duke. It establishes a 24-degree rake angle to put it deep in the nimble end of the spectrum. To eliminate much of the frame and its associated heft, the 890 Duke relies on the engine as a stressed member to tie the front and rear frame elements together. The cast-aluminum subframe also pulls double duty as a housing for the engine’s airbox to further reduce weight and make use of every inch of available space within the deliberately narrow and compact machine.

Die-cast aluminum is the material of choice for the yoke-style swingarm that carries molded-in reinforcement webbing for rigidity where it’s needed with just the right amount of flexion engineered therein. WP provides all of the suspension products on the 890 Duke, plus the steering damper that soaks up the brunt of the energy from the nastiest of kickbacks.

The 43 mm, usd, WP front forks were on the receiving end of a tuneup with new spring rates and new base valves on a dedicated factory setup profile. Out back, the new WP Apex monoshock acts directly on the swingarm with a new linear spring, thus eliminating components in yet another weight-saving measure. Die-cast wheels round out the rolling chassis and come lined with ContiRoad hoops that Continental claims are both sticky and have increased durability alongside wet-weather performance.

Dual, four-bore calipers bite 300 mm front discs to take care of the heavy lifting while a single-piston anchor binds a 240 mm rear disc out back. ABS protection comes stock, and it isn’t the vanilla variety either. The 890 Duke rocks the corner-sensitive, Bosch 9.1 MP system with a fancy SuperMoto Mode that let’s you lock up the rear wheel to unlock your fancy SuperMoto moves. This is but one component of the overarching Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) package intended to help you keep it rubber-side down and between the stripes.

Frame: Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel frame using the engine as stressed element, powder coated
Subframe: Cast aluminum, composite
Handlebar: Aluminum tapered, Ø 28 / 22 mm
Front suspension/ Travel: WP APEX 43, non-adjustable / 5.5 inches (140 mm)
Rear suspension/ Travel: WP APEX – Monoshock, preload/ 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Steering head angle: 66°
Front brake: Dual 300 mm disc, radially-mounted 4-piston caliper
Rear brake: 240 mm disc, 2-piston caliper
Front Wheel: Cast aluminum 3.50 x 17"
Rear Wheel: Cast aluminum 5.50 x 17"
Front Tire: Continental ContiRoad 120 / 70-17"
Rear Tire: Continental ContiRoad 180 / 55-17"

2021 KTM 890 Duke Drivetrain

  • Liquid-cooled 889 cc parallel-twin engine
  • 115 hp & 68 lb-ft of torque
  • Lean-angle sensitive traction control
  • Optional Quickshifter-Plus
  • Three ride modes w/ optional Track mode
2021 KTM 890 Duke
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You can count on 115 horsepower backed up by 67.9 pound-feet of torque in a very nimble and responsive package sure to please.

The 890 Duke’s Rider Aids extend well into the engine management. They are bundled under the Ride Modes feature that comes stock with a Sport Mode, Street Mode, and Rain Mode, with the apex-predator, tuneable Track Mode as optional equipment. Even the traction control (MTC) is of the lean-sensitive variety, so you can count on that extra security when rolling on in a curve, and it comes with an “Off” setting if you really want to unleash the beast and rely on skill instead.

Motor Slip Regulation modulates the throttle to prevent excessive backtorque from developing, thus further protecting the integrity of the rear contact patch. Wheelie Control also comes stock, but it’s unfortunate that the factory held the Quickshifter-Plus item in reserve as part of the optional equipment list. If you do spring for it, you can count on working both up and down the range with nary a touch of the clutch lever.

The 890 Duke does, however, come with a slipper-type PASC clutch that couples engine power to the six-speed transmixxer and acts as an additional layer of protection against excessive backtorque, plus it delivers a very light pull weight to give your left hand a break.

Massively oversquare, the twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled mill runs a 90.7 mm bore with a 68.8 mm stroke for a total displacement of 889 cc. The factory made use of balancer shafts to take some of the sting out of the vibration along with pistons which were lightened to reduce the reciprocating weight to accomplish same. The cylinders are sleeveless in another weight-saving measure, and are instead aluminum bores that are treated for hardness and heat transfer.

What does all this get you? According to the factory, you can count on 115 horsepower backed up by 67.9 pound-feet of torque in a very nimble and responsive package sure to please.

Engine: Liquid-cooled 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, parallel twin/ 8V / DOHC
Displacement: 889 cc
Bore x Stroke: 90.7 mm x 68.8 mm
Power: 115 hp (85 kW) @ 9,000 rpm
Torque: 67.9 lb-ft (92 Nm) @ 8,000 rpm
Lubrication: Forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps
Starter: Electric starter
Clutch: PASC™ antihopping clutch, mechanically operated
Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: 39:75/ X-Ring chain

2021 KTM 890 Duke Price

2021 KTM 890 Duke
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2021 KTM 890 Duke
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MSRP is kept at a reasonable $11k in spite of carrying equipment from its premium paddock mate.

In spite of carrying equipment from its premium paddock mate, the 890 Duke R, the MSRP is kept at a reasonable $10,999. You can pick between two paint packages that – you guessed it – run with various combinations of orange, black and white.

2021 KTM 890 Duke Competitors

2021 KTM 890 Duke
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2017 - 2019 Aprilia Dorsoduro 900
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The lack of competition in this displacement bracket among the Big Four sent me to Europe’s boot for the Dorsoduro 900 from Aprilia.

Aprilia Dorsoduro 900

2017 - 2019 Aprilia Dorsoduro 900
- image 729424
To be fair, {{the Duke is a tough act to follow}}, especially in this genre, so a certain amount of engine- and handling-performance offset is to be expected.

Powered by a V-twin, the Italian stallion hits the target displacement almost right on the nose at 896 cc, but fails to convert that advantage to performance as the power output is rated at 93 ponies and 66 pounds o’ grunt against 115/67.8 from the Duke. The Dorsoduro rolls with Aprilia’s Performance Ride Control feature that bundles the cornering ABS and traction-control settings with a Launch Control feature for easy and quick personality changes along with safe holeshots, though the Eye-Tie still falls behind with its limited electronics.

To be fair, the Duke is a tough act to follow, especially in this genre, so a certain amount of engine- and handling-performance offset is to be expected. Aprilia adopted a more off-road-centric look than did the Duke, mostly in the front end bodywork and high-mount mudguard, but of all the pertinent metrics I’d say looks is at the bottom of the list as these are bona fide form-follows-function bikes.

Pricing is close enough to suggest a conspiracy with a $10,999 starting MSRP that’s a constant across the board.

Read our full review of the Aprilia Dorsoduro 900.

He Said

“Folks, this is a worthy successor to the popular 790 Duke with oodles of electronic yummygoodness and a capable engine. Whether using it for basic transportation, racing it, or using it as a stunt-riding platform, the 890 Duke has something to offer, and nothing else in the world looks quite like this particular model family. This latest model is still among the lightest and most compact naked sportbikes around the world.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Out goes the impressive 790 Duke and in comes the 890 Duke, which should prove to be even moreso. With the same engine as the 890 Adventure models, it carries the same enhancements first seen in the 890 Duke R so you know it’s punchy and gutsy. Put that in a Duke chassis, and it just screams fun. With a significant weight loss over the 2020 model, to the tune of 33 pounds lighter, and a nice electronics package in a robust mid-range bike, KTM gives us a worthy successor to the 790 Duke.”

2021 KTM 890 Duke Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid-cooled, 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, parallel twin/ 8V / DOHC
Displacement: 889 cc
Bore x Stroke: 90.7 mm x 68.8 mm
Power: 115 hp (85 kW) @ 9,000 rpm
Torque: 67.9 lb-ft (92 Nm) @ 8,000 rpm
Lubrication: Forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps
Starter: Electric starter
Clutch: PASC™ antihopping clutch, mechanically operated
Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: 39:75/ X-Ring chain
Chassis:
Frame: Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel frame using the engine as stressed element, powder coated
Subframe: Cast aluminum, composite
Handlebar: Aluminum tapered, Ø 28 / 22 mm
Front suspension/ Travel: WP APEX 43, non-adjustable / 5.5 inches (140 mm)
Rear suspension/ Travel: WP APEX – Monoshock, preload/ 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Steering head angle: 66°
Front brake: Dual 300 mm disc, radially-mounted 4-piston caliper
Rear brake: 240 mm disc, 2-piston caliper
Front Wheel: Cast aluminum 3.50 x 17"
Rear Wheel: Cast aluminum 5.50 x 17"
Front Tire: Continental ContiRoad 120 / 70-17"
Rear Tire: Continental ContiRoad 180 / 55-17"
Electronics:
EMS: Bosch EMS with RBW
Traction Control: MTC (lean angle sensitive, 3-mode, Track Mode optional)
ABS: Bosch 9.1 MP (incl. Cornering-ABS and super moto mode)
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 58.1 inches ±0.6 inches (1,476 mm ±15 mm)
Seat Height: 32.3 inches (820 mm)
Ground Clearance: 7.5 inches (191 mm)
Dry Weight: 372.6 lbs (approx 169 kg)
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gals w/ 0.9-gal reserve (approx 14 liters w/ 3.5-liter reserve)
Fuel economy: 49 mpg (4.8 liters/100 km)
Details:
Color: Orange, Black
Price: $10,999

Further Reading

KTM

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Source: The new KTM 890 Duke - a cut above the rest | KTM

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ktm.com, aprilia.com, Photo Credit: R Schedl

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