KTM 890 DUKE R (2020 - on) Review


  • Faster and more refined than the 790 Duke
  • Ideal trackday middleweight
  • More focussed than main rivals

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £350
Power: 119 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.8 in / 834 mm)
Weight: Low (366 lbs / 166 kg)


New £10,399
Used £7,200 - £9,200

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

It might look similar to the 790 Duke, but the 2020 KTM 890 Duke R is sharper, faster, grippier and more refined. If you’ve ever wondered what a top-level race bike feels like in the corners the KTM is an orange-tinted window into that world.

Its new engine is refined, punchy, characterful and proof that you don’t need huge power to get your rocks off on the road. The gearbox, blippers and shifters are all bang on the money, too. It’s hugely capable but as single-minded as a supermoto. If you’re not worried about that, this is the scratcher for you.

KTM 890 Duke R gets blue hue for 2022!

2022 KTM 890 Duke R finished in blue

The KTM 890 Duke R comes in a natty new blue for 2022. The 119bhp parallel twin has won many admirers with its sharp handling and characterful motor and it’s flash new clothes should attract even more attention. The Atlantic blue paintscheme is borrowed from its bigger brother, the 1290 Super Duke R. The new-look 890 Duke R costs £11,049 (2022 pricing).

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
5 out of 5 (5/5)

On the face of it the 890 Duke R is a slighter bigger, more expensive 790 Duke with a few more bells and whistles. That is indeed the case, but it’s also one of the finest handling road bikes money can buy.

Former Grand Prix winner Jeremy McWilliams had a strong hand in its development, so it was never going to be a blancmange, but having a devilishly fast rider in your test team isn’t always a guarantee of success. Being given the keys to KTM’s toy cupboard and able choose the best tyre, brakes and suspension is. The net result is a machine that will lean and grip in ways few road bikes could dream of.

Compared to the lower-spec 790 Duke, it sits taller for improved ground clearance and agility (its 834mm seat is 9mm higher), but what sets the lightweight (just 166kg dry) 890 Duke R apart from any number of road bikes with fancy suspension, like its close rivals: the Triumph Street Triple RS and Yamaha MT-09 SP, is the way its new fully adjustable WP Apex forks and shock are set up.

A static view of the KTM 890 Duke R

They have the kind of sophisticated damping control and perfect spring rates you’ll only ever find on a properly sorted race bike: firm and controlling, but still plush enough to suck up the bumps. Nothing mass produced usually feels this good and there isn’t a damping click or preload turn you’d want to change.

The 890’s only limit diving into corners is the rider’s bravery and with so much mechanical grip at the rear, friendly power delivery and traction control, you can pretty much accelerate as hard as you want from the apex. It gets a slight weave-on under hard acceleration at high speed, but that’s just what wide-barred nakeds too when you push-on.

KTM 890 Duke R WP forks

New Michelin Power Cup 2 rubber also plays a big part in the 890’s incredible sure-footedness. They have the grip and stability of slicks, which isn’t a surprise as there isn’t much tread going on, but unlike racing tyres it doesn’t take much to get lots of heat in them. During development Jezza and the boys were getting 58 degrees of lean on track and struggling to get the tyres to break loose, which isn’t hard to believe.

Stylema Brembos, normally seen dangling from the front of the latest superbikes are things of wonder, especially on a bike so light and grippy. The span and ratio-adjustable lever only needs the lightest of brushes to get your triceps bulging and the back brake is nicely weighted.

Spacious for six-footers, with perfectly positioned bars and pegs, the 890 Duke R is a one-trick, balls-out-on-a-Sunday morning pony. It’s an unashamed toy and its rivals will do distance, motorway runs and carrying pillions (the 890 doesn’t have a rear seat or pegs) better.


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Starting life as the 790 Duke, the parallel twin is bored and stroked, bringing capacity from 799cc to 890cc and the compression ratio increased. Power is up 16bhp to 119bhp.

The end result is an engine that’s shouty, but smooth and full of grunt, giving the KTM the playfulness of a big supermoto on the throttle. It has all the power you need for a neck-straining naked on the road, but on track you’re going to get monstered by 1000s on the straights before they hold you up in the corners.

KTM 890 Duke R engine

The 890 Duke R can be an angry so-and-so when no one is looking, but it’s sweetness and light when you’re cruising. The throttle action is light, the ride-by-wire perfect and the gearbox and up/down shifter as crisp as a fresh tube of Pringles.

For a parallel twin it actually has the character of a V-twin with its vibes in all the right places and an exhaust roar that’s somehow slipped past Euro 5 ears.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Fresh out of the crate the KTM is nicely finished and the bright orange wheels are fabulous, but our online owners’ reviews of the 790 Duke’s build quality and reliability are mixed, so we hope they’ve been addressed with the 890.

It’s also a bit plasticky around the edges, especially its switchgear, but that will be the last thing on your mind when you’re halfway around a corner, horizon at full tilt with a massive grin on your face.

The KTM 890 Duke R is capable of big lean

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Dealer servicing isn’t the cheapest and it’s expensive for such a single-minded bike, but day-to-day running costs won’t be high and being so light it’ll be good on fuel and won’t eat tyres and brakes.

KTM 890 Duke R vs nearest rivals

KTM 890 Duke R vs Triumph Street Triple RS vs Yamaha MT-09 SP

We took the KTM around the MCN 250 test route with two of its closest rivals, the Yamaha MT-09 SP and the Triumph Street Triple RS.

Triumph’s Street Triple RS is the go-to middleweight naked sportster, and it’s easy to see why: you get the performance to embarrass bigger bikes, a glistening spec and more handling than us normal folk can ever use. It’s very focused, though – if you loved the cheeky 675cc original this feels like a flat-barred R6.

Yamaha’s MT-09 SP doesn’t have the same outright handling or rush, but counters this with greater usability than the Triumph. It’s perhaps the best pure road bike here for ‘normal’ riding, and cheapest too.

But it’s KTM’s new 890 Duke R that wins. Punchy, light, easy to ride and oh-so-agile, the beefed-up twin is the trackday-ready tool you’ll genuinely want to ride every day.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

As well as top-shelf brakes, suspension and tyres, you get the full brace of power modes, lean sensitive riders aids, an up/down quickshifter LEDs and a colour TFT dash. 


Engine size 890cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 15.4 litres
Seat height 834mm
Bike weight 166kg
Front suspension 43mm WP forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension Single WP shock, fully adjustable
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs with four piston Brembo Stylema calipers. ABS
Rear brake 240mm disc with single piston Brembo caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost £350
New price £10,399
Used price £7,200 - £9,200
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 119 bhp
Max torque 73 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

2020: Model introduced. Based on the 790 Duke, the 890 Duke R has a bigger capacity engine, more power, higher-spec suspension brakes and tyres.

Other versions


Owners' reviews for the KTM 890 DUKE R (2020 - on)

7 owners have reviewed their KTM 890 DUKE R (2020 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KTM 890 DUKE R (2020 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £350
5 out of 5 KTM DUKE R is amazing!
12 September 2023 by Steve Montreal

Year: 2021

The engine is full of character with strong drive throughout the rev range, but the most amazing part of the bike is its handling. The accurate steering and superb suspension control is what swings it for me. Probably the first bike that has not been sent off to a suspension specialist for tweaking. The KTM soft/comfort settings are perfect for me. Awesome brakes! I had a 790 Duke prior to this bike and I loved that too, but this is on a whole new level. Surprisingly fuel efficient. I do have other bikes, but this is the one that I enjoy the most. Cant think of a worst feature!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Amazing. The WP suspension is the best that I have ever had (out of 50+ bikes)... & no need to seek out expert attention to get it set up. just use KTM soft / Comfort settings. I tend to need a break after a couple of hours, but thats probably an age thing! I have the high comfort seat fitted which I find beneficial

Engine 5 out of 5

Strong, thrilling and full of character. Makes a lovely noise with standard or quiet aftermarket can. Very fuel efficient. I tend to get 70+mpg

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Totally reliable over the 9000miles that I have ridden, no issues at all. The plastic bodywork does have to be treated with care as its prone to scratching.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Bike seems to be kind to its chain, with minimal adjustment required if kept well lubed. KTM spares are usually well priced Local KTM dealer (Orwell Motorcycles, Ipswich) is competitively priced and efficient.

Equipment 4 out of 5

There is all that you would expect on a naked bike, although some things are expensive options. I have the factory heated grips & the Tech Pack.

Buying experience: Bought from Orwell Motorcycles in Ipswich, a shop that I used for 25+ years. Always a friendly bunch in there. I got a good deal with a few extras thrown in.

5 out of 5 The perfect bike for all corners
04 September 2023 by Duke Dan

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £200

I've owned the 890r for a year and am still in love with it. I bought 890 duke r after owning a gsxr 1000 I wanted a more agile bike for tight A and B roads.The Duke is astonishing at how fast you can carry speed through corners and takes riders of bigger bikes by surprise. Sure in fourth fifth and six gear 1000cc sports bikes will pull away but in the low gears the duke is in a class of its own amazingly light makes its very flickable and changes direction with ease.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I've carried a pillion comfortably and the pillion seat is a decent size. I've ridden the bike for hours and never feel fatigue my bike does have the uprated seat and is great on long journeys. The bike is very capable for long journeys with luggage and pillion or just as happy on short flat out blasts. Thanks to the Brembos it's stops pretty sharpish too. Being a 2 cylinder bike you get more vibration through the bars than a 4 cylinder bike but I've gotten used to it now and it adds to its hooligan charm.

Engine 4 out of 5

The power delivery is sharp and you can really ring its neck which I enjoy, its not a powerhouse but its as good as you'll get from 2 cylinders, the 890 will do North of 150mph and gets to 130 at a decent rate, if you want big power buy a 1290. The 890 is all about the handling with enough engine power for most road riders.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

The switches and dash are not of high quality compared to say bmw or triumph but they do the job adequately. Having owned the bike over a year and done over 5 thousand miles it has never missed a beat. The rocker cover does the oil weeping they are famous for but oil loss is very minimal and just needs a little wipe, only requiring a top up once in between yearly service.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

It's ticks all the boxes for me in the equipment category Quick shifter Adjustable traction control Anti wheelie And the ones I've not used yet Supermoto mode and launch control however all these don't come standard. I would at some point like to add heated grips cruise control and the phone connection on dashboard.

Buying experience: Bought used

5 out of 5
29 July 2022 by Wes1

Version: 2021 890R

Year: 2021

Best features are weight, handling, suspension, braking and tech. Power from corner to corner is unbeatable. Yes this bike is just unbelievable. Your riding will need a lot of adjusting and upgrading in skill.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

This is where the 890r stands above most especially in the middle weight naked category. Can ride for hours no issues at all super comfy. You can tour commute track or just do what ever with this bike.

Engine 5 out of 5

The punch and power out of any corner along with all the tech and quick shifter just makes every hp usable. The grunt is something else. There is no bike on earth under 120mph that is more exciting.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Had this bike for over a year and looks the same as when I collected it brand new.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

The oe tyres are incredible in the hot and track. Riding all year round no they are not idea road tyres. You will need to change them every 1500 miles. The quick shifter is awesome. With the brembo kit you can stop in any distance at any angle.

Buying experience: Bought mine from ktm saltash a famil run dealer. Was an excellent experience and service.

5 out of 5 Outstanding KTM for the Street!
23 June 2022 by Billy O

Year: 2021

The best handling street bike I have ever ridden. Just think where you want to be and it follows--or pretty close to that. Great power and suspension to go along with the outstanding handling. I could see where you might not like this as much if you have no experience on a motocross bike--as this feels like a civilized MX bike for the street. You might not like the quasi dirt bike feel and look of the bike, but for me it is almost perfect!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Outstanding brakes and suspension, KTM nailed this. Bike is just 100% fun to ride! Seating is MX-like, good for a long moto plus two laps!

Engine 5 out of 5

More power than you will ever really need, but maybe not since the 990 is on the way... Super torquey and high revving motor, really nice. Trans shifts very well and the QS seems to work fine. I still clutch most of my shifts on the street--save the QS-ing for the track.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Too soon to tell, but so far no issues.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

I only ride it on the weekends, so my costs will be way down compared to an everyday user. Tires are super grippy and won't last long, but the cost is worth it.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Top quality components are a big plus. The negative--muffler is ugly, too big and too quiet--and gets in the way of your right boot heel. Footpegs are rubber covered, don't like them. Replaced them with proper knurled pegs--much better.

5 out of 5 The 890R super scalpel. The best B-road scratcher....Not the best buying experience.
27 November 2020 by Grahame Cooper

Version: 890R with track and quickshifter/blipper.

Year: 2020

Followed a friend on his new 890R whist on my S1000RR and was so surprised by the 890's punch out of the B road twisties that 3 days later I'd bought one. The torque combined with its lightness is amazing, the tyres and brakes are phenomenal and it handles better than anything I've ever ridden. ( I have ridden for 46 years and until recently owned a collection of 32 mostly sportsbikes). Gripes?.....The bike had a slight oil weep from the seal behind the drive sprocket (common on early bikes) and this was replaced with the 'revised seal' and the dealer had a few problems setting up the quickshifter. KTM technical support assisted in sorting this and it has since been faultless. Plastics and decal quality could perhaps be better but would increase price.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Suspension and brakes are absolutely sublime. Best handling 'straight from the crate' bike you can buy........however it was purchased as a 'fun' Sunday B-road scratcher and whilst it will also handled town commutes and the odd motorway blast happily I was aware that it would not please a pillion or be the best tourer.

Engine 5 out of 5

Punchy and Characterful with perfect throttle response.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Nil corrosion yet and other than the above mentioned and the chain requiring adjustment twice in 1000 miles no faults whatsoever. According to a KTM mechanic the previous 790 model (same frame) could suffer corrosion under the headstock area and so I have used XCP rustblocker in this area and will monitor.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

The first service was completed for just £70 (perhaps reduced to this due to the leaking seal and quickshifter tuning problems encountered by the supplying dealer). It is too early to estimate annual running costs especially as I cannot imagine tyres as grippy as these super cups iether lasting long or being cheap.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Had never been overly in love with the design of the KTM's and hated the 'trout shaped' exhaust and the (usual on all bikes nowadays) half metre long rearlight/reg plate holder and so had the supplying dealer fit an akrapovic slip-on and tail tidy and have since decatted the system. The oe michelin super cups seem even more confidence inspiring than my previous favourite Metzeler racetechs.

Buying experience: I love the 890R but it was actually a pretty poor buying experience. I bought new from a dealer and the advertised OTR price is nothing like what an owner will need to part with as all the fun or comfort aids are extra. Quickshifter, track pack (which is a must have), heated grips etc etc are all on top. Most of this 'furniture' is already on the bike and merely needs Downloading/switching on by the dealer. My particular dealer (no names mentioned) then highlighted that there was a further £150 payable for road tax/reg plates etc.....yea right !!!

5 out of 5 An engineering masterpiece.
07 October 2020 by Grahame Cooper (alias 'The grim reaper').

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £350

I have ridden bikes for 46 years and currently own 20+ bikes from 50cc to 1000 cc gp replica superbikes. I followed a friend on his recently bought 890R for a 200 mile Sunday blast on mostly B roads a while back and found myself working extra hard to make my S1000RR turn in order to stay behind him on some of the tight, narrow bends. I got home and googled this funny looking bike with orange wheels. I contacted various dealers on he Monday morning and had cut a deal by the Wednesday. My 890R handles and stops better than anything I own now and better than anything I have ever owned or ridden. The only two negatives are firstly KTM's method of marketing this model. The bikes are advertised at £10,399 on the road but if you want the tech pack (extra modes) and q/shifter etc its several hundreds more. If you want heated grips it is two or three hundred more, if you want cruise control it's more again. By the time you have a complete bike you could have almost bought a new BMW S1000RR (complete with all of the above) and that tends to stick in your craw a little. Especially as most of the extras are on the KTM already and a software update (plug in) at the dealers is all is needed..... and not forgetting that the 790 that this bike super seeds had all of these things included in the otr price. The second negative for me was the standard exhaust which I thought looked like a trout. The akrapovic I had fitted added a further £875 to my bill. Taking all this into account would I recommend this bike to a friend? ...... Hell yes !! Riding one of these has been described as being like 'snorting cocaine from a hookers arse'. I don't know much about that but it's a bit like riding my first RD350 ypvs 38 years ago...........but better and safer.......... but it is still a bit naughty.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

The above rating is in my opinion simply without doubt.......but only if used as a Sunday blast B road toy. A pillion seat and rear pegs come in a box but in my case will never be used. Luggage capacity is very limited and the covering of longer distances will not be the most comfortable and this is not what this bike was designed for. The bike is a brilliant example of how to create a lightweight, minimal scratching tool which (in the right hands) is capable of trouncing bigger/faster bikes on B roads and shorter race circuits. It also makes for a fun commuter.

Engine 5 out of 5

120 hp and 67 ft lbs is mega from this parallel twin and to be so useable in all modes and at all revs/speeds is an engineering masterpiece.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

I have seen no corrosion yet, it hasn't broken down and the finish appears to be excellent thus far. The plastics and vinyl graphics although obviously designed to be lightweight, could perhaps be a little tougher but I am perhaps being picky here. (Carbon fiber would have drastically increased prices). Otherwise would be 5/5

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Parts are a tad expensive. The 350 servicing cost is estimated and could change.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The tyres, suspension and brakes are phenomenal. It is a 'naughty bike' and most equipment is designed around performance and safety. A radiator guard was a useful add-on due to the short front mudguard and the price of KTM parts.

Buying experience: As stated above, the advertised £10,399 otr price just seemed to keep rising and rising as I conversed with the dealer. Just thinking about it still makes me wince.

5 out of 5 The real deal
12 September 2020 by Colin

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £500

It feels like an extension of your body,no need to ride it just think it. I've been on everything from 50cc to fire blades, nothing comes close to the chemistry you are investing in.This is from a man with 40yrs on two wheels. Its awsome enough said.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

Perfect power everywhere

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Build to perfection. Best quality components throughout well done KTM

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Forget the 790 scalple, the super scalple is the real deal

Equipment 5 out of 5

Buying experience: £400 OFF LIST BARGAIN

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