KTM 620 DUKE (1994-2006) Review

Published: 24 November 1994

"The Duke and Duke II represent the very best of streetmoto; the slightly more refined cousin of that biking outlaw the supermoto"

KTM Duke I/II motorcycle review - Riding

"The Duke and Duke II represent the very best of streetmoto; the slightly more refined cousin of that biking outlaw the supermoto"

  • At a glance
  • 625cc  -  55 bhp
  • 45 mpg  -  110 miles range
  • High seat height (900mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Duke and Duke II represent the very best of streetmoto – the slightly more refined cousin of that biking outlaw the supermoto. The Duke is rugged, grunty, well-braked and packed with attitude. It’s also a simple bike to fettle yourself and tune. It could be the best commuter ever made – only thieves love ‘em and they’re dead easy to nick

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Supermotos are easy to fling about thanks to wide bars, lightweight, sticky tires and a surplus of braking potential. And the Duke is not exception. Point it at a damp trackday and you won’t find a faster bike through the corners. The front Brembo is sensitive and strong, the riding position perfect for both attack mode and pottering and the seat’s almost comfortable. Almost.

Engine 4 out of 5

The thumping carb-fed SOHC single is all about delivering maximum power at minimum revs, with peak torque at just 5000rpm. This means there’s instant shove and a healthy mid-range, which combined with a dry weight of 152kg means easy wheelies. There are some vibes, yes, but they’re not intrusive and really only add character. The five-speed gearbox is so good you’ll forget it’s there.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Duke is solidly reliable; well screwed together and well finished. There’s no single cylinder motor that’s as durable as a four, though, and anything with more than 25,000 miles on the clock may well be an expensive rebuild waiting to happen. Keep it well away from winter salt or it’ll corrode like hell.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

Dukes are expensive, but they do hold their value well and owners tend not to put huge miles on them, making them a decent used buy. Find a KTM 620 Duke for sale.

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Underseat cans, high quality componentry and sexy cast wheels add up to a decent enough package. But throw enough money at the aftermarket and you can have saucy race exhausts, spoked wheels and another

Owners' Reviews

7 owners have reviewed their KTM 620 DUKE (1994-2006) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.4 out of 5
Engine 3.7 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 3.9 out of 5
4 out of 5

Duke II

26 February 2013 by neilcowey

I had a Duke II for a couple of years,fancied a change from large sport bikes. Great fun to and from work,but any distance was agony due to vibration,fingers would go numb and the seat was a thing of torture. In the end it'd had enough with the... Read more discomfort and got rid.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

great but limited

04 December 2011 by pinkerton2964

I had 2 I had a 1999 and a 2003. The 99 had spoked wheels and had the later engine lc4 it was great the handling is awsome as are the brakes the gearbox is sweet the engine is very strong but you really need to look after the oil and filters as a... Read more rebuild is very expensive dont hold the revs either use the torque as redlining it is the best way to kill a big single. I put an iridium plug in as single's can be a pain to start keep the battery on charge to. They start well but if the bike is left for a few weeks with a standard plug they can back fire. The 2003 was the updated model with cast alloy wheels. I prefered the spokes but the 2003 was a lot more civilised and grown up. The great thing about the Duke is the engineering beauty I could just sit and look at it. Dont think about doing much more than a 100miles on it though fuel economy is crap the seat is very uncomfy and they kill chains and sprockets. One tip is though do not leave it unlocked as they are easy to pick up thats why I had 2. Wish I still had it.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

2000 Duke II

16 October 2008 by jrflanne

Well, I had one of these until some thief stole it. This is just about the perfect bike for riding in the city. Every turn is an adventure and the thing just wants you to be a bad actor. Stock seat sucks but there are alternatives. I was going to get... Read more rid of the CV carb but never did. Would have wrecked mileage. Engine is vibey, and the Duke is very skittish on the interstate. Just not its environment. I would defiantly get another one if the price was right. An absolute hoot but not an only bike for somebody like me.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

trying out a supermoto

30 October 2007 by Ravage

I brought my KTM Duke II this year (recently passed my restricted license) after a bad experience with the people selling me it. I had to wait a month for the restriction of the bike, which i could of done myself in less time. My previous bike was a... Read more cagiva mito, which i kind of regret selling for this bike. However it was an experimental buy as i have never owned a supermoto and never will again. Putting all my issues aside the bike is really nice to ride it has power low down which will push you around like a school bully, but doesn't go to the extent of hurting you. If it is a fun supermoto or a commutor your looking for then you are looking at a possible candidate. It's power delivery is very obvious when you punch the throttle open. The vibes you get from the bike makes you feel like your sat on something very agressive and rightly so with that grunt engine between your legs. In public places the bike is a real head turner, but none of that should influence you to buy it. It was reasonable efficient on petrol too. I could go 14 miles a day 5 days a week on 9 pound a fortnight, you could say its impractical but aren't most bikes? It grips surprisingly well in the wet on michelin pilot rubber. Sadly though its not a bike for myself...wait a while and get a GSXR prehaps...but there are times when i can look back and smile remembering the grin factor this bike had

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

This bike will make you smile like no other

18 October 2006 by bytheteeth1

I bought the Duke in 2001 with only 600 miles on the clock. The guy who had it before me said it just wasn't for him. That was 5 years ago and today it now has 31K on the clock, I commute on it every working day and it has never let me down, never... Read more not started, never stopped for no reason, never. It's well bolted together and even though it gets rained on bar the odd nut and bolt there's no rust. Even after all those miles and 5 years when I crack open the throttle in second it still scares the crap out of me. I've looked at other bikes but cant find one that comes close for performance and reliability. Buy one, learn how to drive it properly and you will never go back to the plastic clad road rockets. Strengths: Brakes, acceleration, reliability, cost to run, handling and the head turning factor. Weaknesses: Must be serviced by someone that knows what they are doing (oil Bubble), an hour and a half is enough, tank range, motorways are boring, Dont like salt on the roads it eats the aluminium.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

B-Road Blaster- wicked!

07 September 2006 by dazmax

Bought this bike after reading rave reveiws about them and it hasn't dissapointed. Brilliant handling and braking from top quality components, grunty engine with excellent mid range power, fantastic build quality. What can I say! I'm now one of the... Read more faithful. I can honestly say, I haven't heard any negative comments from anyone thats ridden/owned one. Strengths: Brakes, Suspension, Build quality, Handling and big grin factor. Weaknesses: Low down power which can be transformed with a few simple mods, not comfy for long distances, vibes (If your not used to a big single).

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Uncomfortable, noisey, vibey, expensive, impracticle. This is my second Duke II!

24 March 2006 by johnnie5

I love this bike, I'm now on my second, it looks amazing and just oozes quality. I only wish the petrol tank held less fuel, some people complain it only does 100 miles per tank, but to me that is 60 miles too many before breaks. After 40 miles my... Read more perineum is so sore I have to stop before my concentration is focused totally between my legs as the bike stops flowing along the ashfelt and strikes the nearest piece of foliage, road furniture or vehicle. Strengths: Build quality, componentry, fun factor, cheap to run, cheap insurance. Still looks amazing even 8 years on. Weaknesses: Only 1000 miles per back tyre. Razor like saddle.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 7 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1994
Year discontinued 2006
Original price £5,995
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 55 bhp
Max torque 41 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 14.4 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 110 miles
Specification
Engine size 625cc
Engine type 4v single, 6 gears
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 11 litres
Seat height 900mm
Bike weight 152kg
Front suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, compression
Front brake Single 320mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1994: Model introduced. Spoked wheels, 609cc, single can, 150-section rear tyre, kick start only.
1996: Gains uprated oil pump and electric starter.
1998: Superseded by KTM Duke II. 625cc. Stacked headlights in ellipsoidal nose cone.

Other versions

None.

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