MILAN SHOW: KTM's nutty Duke refined

Published: 17 November 2015

KTM have given their 690 Duke, and higher-specification 690 Duke R, their first major engineering makeover since the current models were launched back in 2012; the most significant changes centering around a heavily revived engine.

2016 KTM Duke & Duke R highlights

  • 73bhp | 54.5ftlb | 690cc
  • Cornering ABS
  • Extra cylinderhead balancer shaft

Technical innovations include the fitment of cornering ABS, which is a first on a bike with such a small capacity engine, while engineering changes are headlined by a redesigned frame for more stable handling. Both models have the same new Thin Film Transistor (TFT) dashboard, reprofiled seat and LED rear light.

The big news with the engine, which now produces 73bhp from its 690cc single-cylinder four-stroke, is the fitment of an extra balancer shaft in the cylinderhead. Alongside the extra 1000rpm now available from the new motor – and revs equal power – the additional balancer shaft smooths out the thumping power delivery to give the rider a less vibey time in the saddle, and more flexibility throughout the rev range.

The cornering ABS works with a full bank of sensors to detect imminent loss of traction and prevent the wheels from locking even when the bike is leant over, something conventional ABS can’t cope with. Both the standard and R models

The 690 Duke R is distinguishable by its Akrapovic exhaust, slightly more fruity 75bhp, and orange painted frame and wheels.

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