KTM 890 DUKE (2021 - on) Review
- More road-focussed than R model
- More affordable
- Built for two
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Few road-going motorcycles make you feel as invincible at full lean as the KTM 890 Duke R. Light, perky and fitted with sticky Michelin Power Cup 2 tyres and beautifully set-up WP suspension it handles and rides more like a factory superbike than a humble naked.
- Related: KTM 890 Duke R review
It’s undeniably impressive, but pricey, which is where this non-R base model comes in. It’s still light, fun and well equipped, but lacks the top shelf brakes and tyres that makes the R so appealing and with less power and more kilos, the 890 Duke feels decidedly ordinary.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The way the R model’s top spec suspension and tyres work are worth the ticket price alone, but the same can’t be said of the base model’s cheaper set-up. It still has WP Apex units, but they aren’t set to such wonderful perfection.
The 890 Duke is still nicely balanced, reassuring and although steering geometry is slightly slower to keep things more stable it’s still agile and accurate, but its non-adjustable forks and preload adjustable rear shock don’t offer the same sublime plushness and control.
It’s the same story with the tyres. The 890 Duke is fitted with the latest Continental ContiRoad sports touring rubber, which work well enough, but compared to the R’s sportier Michelins they don’t have the grip to chuck the KTM confidently on its side or charge into corners at speed.
Put simply all of the R’s on-road sparkle has been removed with the base model. KTM have used slightly lower spec Brembos compared to the R model’s Stylemas, but happily they’re not lacking in power or feel.
The 890 Duke is more comfortable, spacious and everyday-usable than the R. KTM have dropped the seat height from 834mm to a short rider-friendly 820mm and the pegs are lower for more legroom.
Ground clearance is less as a result, but you’ll need to be going some to scrape the pegs on the road. It still has a commanding, upright, over-the-front riding position and is very naked with little wind protection.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Its 889cc parallel twin cylinder engine is the same as the R’s, but power is down from 119bhp@9250rpm to 113bhp@9000rpm thanks to new mapping. An A2 licence version is also available.
Maximum torque is also down from 73lb-ft@7750rpm to 68lb-ft@8000rpm. That doesn’t sound much of a drop on paper and in real life the KTM 890 Duke is still quick when you wind it up, but acceleration is noticeable flatter, making it less playful than the R. On top of that it’s also 4kg heavier (now 169kg, dry), which further clips its wings.
The 890 Duke is the one to go for those who don’t want to corner like Jeremy McWilliams and passengers can now come along for the ride, too, thanks to a new pillion seat and pegs.
But if you crave a dash of supermoto-like craziness from your KTM it’s going to feel lacking and even the satin black paintjob of our test bike looks sombre compared to the retina-busting orange-wheels on the R.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
MCN’s online owners’ reviews show the previous-model 790 Duke has had its fair share of reliability problems. KTM say they are constantly improving build quality, so only time will tell if they’ve been addressed with the 890.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
It’s easy to justify the cost of the KTM 890 Duke R, just for the way it excites and devours corners, but it isn’t such good value in base trim, especially as it’s more expensive than the Yamaha MT-09 and Triumph Street Triple R.
So, if you really fancy the idea of an 890 Duke you need to bite the bullet and spend the extra for the all-singing R version and that extra grand will be the best you’ve ever spent.
See what Neevesy thinks of the R version of the KTM 890 Duke here...
Build quality and finish out of the box are impressive and it’s well equipped with a colour TFT, riding modes and aids, but you’ll have to pay nearly 700 quid extra for our test bike’s Tech Pack that includes an up/down quickshifter, engine braking control and launch control, adjustable throttle maps and the ability to adjust traction control in nine stages.
It also lets you turn off the wheelie control when you’re stopped, although it resets every time you kill the engine.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||14 litres|
|Front suspension||43mm WP forks, non-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Single WP shock, preload adjustable|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm discs with four piston Brembo calipers. Cornering ABS|
|Rear brake||240mm disc with single piston Brembo caliper. Cornering ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£101|
|Annual service cost||-|
|Used price||£8,000 - £9,700|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||113 bhp|
|Max torque||68 ft-lb|
|Top speed||140 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
2021: Base model 790 Duke replaced by the 113bhp, 889cc 890 Duke.
KTM 890 Duke R – Same engine with sportier mapping and 119bhp. Same basic chassis with higher spec, fully adjustable WP suspension, sticky Michelin Power Cup 2 tyres and 4kg less weight. Taller seat, pegs and higher spec Brembo Stylema calipers.
There is also a version for A2-licence holders that makes 94bhp and can be restricted to 47bhp.
Owners' reviews for the KTM 890 DUKE (2021 - on)
2 owners have reviewed their KTM 890 DUKE (2021 - 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
Version: base model
Annual servicing cost: £3
handles really well. i feel very confident riding this bike. one point that wasn't mentioned in the review is the base model gets a 24 month full warranty vs. 12 months for the R version.
brakes are excellent. ride quality is stiff, seat could be a bit more comfortable.
strong, has some vibration over 5000 rpm. not bothersome, but not as smooth as a 3 cyl. it's a little finicky at low rpm, i try to keep it over 2000
no problems, but i am aware of the shaky reputation.
initial 1000k service at the dealer was $250
avoid connectivity module. just use a phone and bluetooth helmet.
Buying experience: dealer, full price. $10,900 american dollars.
This bike continues to impress , and after test riding arguably its most fierce competitor, the MT09 21 model. The 890 felt riding position is where the bike is worth the extra cost. You are more integrated with the machine, which in turn builds confidence and ultimately a far superior experience in the saddle. The worst feature of this bike is attempting to stay within the speed limit. The Parallel between whilst a little glitchy in the first two gears , continues to amaze and pulls in every gears. Highway travels are also silky smooth making it the perfect bike for those who want a daily commute and a weekend weapon for the twisties
Turns on a dime , super light and great riding positions. Post it Lex the Brembo is on it’s angrier brother. The standard KTM’s brakes do you just find in pulling you up confidently
Whoever says a parallel twin is boring hasn’t ridden a KTM’s Duke. What’s the little glitch in the first few geese once opened up a silky smooth and pools in every gear. Constantly amazes. The boffins at KTM have done an amazing job.
3000km. Never missed a beat as yet. But still too early to tell. Build quality however is exceptional.
Fuel range could be better , but guessing it’s compromised when the bike always seems to be pushing you to go faster.
A bit shaky of KTM to charge you for all the additional’s Such as the track made quick shift , launch control ,my ride etc. But the TFT display and all the electronics that come with it still make it a great value motorcycle. And always gives you something looking forward to knowing that you can add extras as you go along.