2024 KTM 990 Duke review | The spirit of a super naked, but far easier to manage

Highlights

  • Parallel-twin grows from 889cc to 947cc
  • 121bhp, 76lb-ft
  • Tougher new chassis

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £300
Power: 121 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.5 in / 825 mm)
Weight: Low (395 lbs / 179 kg)

Prices

New £12,999
Used N/A

Overall rating

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

KTM’s parallel twin-cylinder Duke naked bike has come of age. Launched in 2018 as the 790 Duke, with its then shiny new engine, it was sharper and more playful than its rivals. We loved it and it’s still available as the budget choice in KTM’s line-up, with production now moved to China.

In 2020 the Duke became the 890R, followed by the base 890 in ’21. For ’24 it’s grown again to a 990 and it’s more than just a Duke with a bigger engine. It has the no-nonsense attitude of super naked, which is hardly a surprise now being the same size (minus 52cc) as the mad, bad 2005 V-twin Super Duke 990.

The Duke 990 knocks on the door of super naked territory when it comes to delivering white-knuckle excitement at road speeds, especially with its rider aids turned off.

KTM 990 Duke left side and front static

Engine upgrades put an extra spring in its step without it ever being a handful, so it’s just as easy to ride flat out as it is to cruise to the shops. It handles and stops like a racetrack refugee, is roomy for tall riders and relatively comfy over distance.

But the KTM is ultra-exposed and more suited to backroads than motorways, which may make it too single-minded for some. It’s also expensive compared to its rivals, especially when you add in the price of electronic extras, but for the ultimate Sunday blast it’s one of the most exciting motorcycles around.

Ride quality & brakes

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

Now the Duke has a much tougher, more race bike-like direct feel to it and that’s down to its chassis. The new steel trellis frame has 8% more lateral and 5% more torsional strength and the frame rails now run outside the new swingarm for extra rigidity. It has an enclosed lattice construction, unlike the open lattice of the rest of the Duke range and is 1.5kg lighter and 35% less rigid for more feel and grip in corners. It’s banana-shaped to facilitate the new underslung pipe.

Steering geometry is tightened with the head angle reduced from 24.3 degrees to 24.2 degrees and the wheelbase shrinks from 1481mm to 1476mm. A new cast ali subframe incorporates a bigger airbox, Super Duke-esque wheels are shod with Bridgestone S22 tyres, and new front brake disc carriers save a kilo of unsprung weight.

Although the frame is stiffer, the ride is plush and controlled thanks to new adjustable WP Apex suspension. Even on standard settings there’s no flab on the bone and the KTM gives you the confidence to attack corners. It’s easy to flick the 990 hard on to its side, ground clearance is plentiful and the brakes, carried over from the 890 have huge power and feel. You’ll need a racetrack to get anywhere close to its handling limits.

KTM 990 Duke left side cornering

Even on standard settings the KTM gives you the confidence to attack corners and there’s no flab on the bone. It’s easy to flick the 990 hard on to its side, ground clearance is plentiful and the brakes, carried over from the 890 have huge power and feel. You’ll need a racetrack to get anywhere close to its handling limits.

The 990 has decent legroom and a natural reach to the new four-way adjustable bars, which is good news for taller riders. It’s no sports tourer, but the KTM is relatively comfy and its new seat is angled two degrees up at the front to stop you slipping forward into the tank. The pillion seat is 20mm higher for extra legroom, for anyone mad enough to jump on the back.

KTM has built the 990 Duke to behave like a demented supermoto. It’s perfect for an intense Sunday morning ride, but some might find it too single minded for the long haul, especially with so little wind protection.

KTM 990 Duke rear static

Engine

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

KTM say the 990 is 96% new, starting with its parallel twin cylinder LC4c engine. Capacity grows from 889cc to 947cc, thanks to a bigger bore (up from 90.7mm to 92.5mm) and it has a longer stroke (from 68.8mm to 70.4mm). There are new pistons, crank, conrods, exhaust, racier cam timing, a wider radiator and more flywheel effect for a less angry and more controllable power delivery.

Power is up from 114bhp to 121bhp and that’s just about the sweetest spot for a lightweight naked road bike. Any less and it won’t quite blow your hair back and any more starts getting tricky to manage. It allows the 990 Duke to be the best of all worlds on the road: docile and friendly around town, or explosive out of B-road turns.

The booming twin wheelies off the clutch in third and crackles on the overrun, down through the gears. It’s hard to think of a more entertaining engine for having pure, unadulterated fun at road speeds. It isn’t hugely fast, flat in top, but that’s a good thing. It isn’t the point of the 990 Duke. KTM even claim 60mpg, which gives a theoretical 195 miles from its new 14.8 litre steel fuel tank.

KTM 990 Duke engine

Reliability & build quality

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

Our MCN Owners’ reviews of the previous 790 and 890 Duke models give an average three out of five star rating for reliability. Problems include water and oil leaks, warped discs, electrical issues, corrosion and thin paint. KTM are constantly striving to improve and dealers are usually quick to address problems. Only time will tell if they’ve got it sorted with the 990 Duke.

KTM 990 Duke headlight

Value vs rivals

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

Costing £12,999, the new 990 Duke is far from cheap and you can buy its similar spec rivals for less, even the special versions. Yamaha’s MT-09 is £10,100 (£11,800 SP) and the Triumph Street Triple R costs £9695 (£11,295 RS). The £11,295 Ducati Monster is less, too although the £13,995 SP is saltier.

KTM 990 Duke turning left on the road

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

It comes with a new 5in colour TFT dash, three riding modes and lean sensitive traction control and ABS that never dilutes your enjoyment. Like the new 1390 Super Duke R, the 990 has a lens-less headlight with stacked LED projectors. It also has longer side panels and a 1.5-litre bigger steel tank. But there’s no cruise control, or heated grips, and electronics like the additional two rider modes and quick shifter are extra.

KTM 990 Duke dash

Specs

Engine size 947cc
Engine type Liquid cooled 8v parallel-twin
Frame type Steel trellis
Fuel capacity 14.8 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 179kg
Front suspension 43mm WP Apex USD forks, adjustable rebound and compression damping.
Rear suspension WP Apex shock, adjustable preload and rebound damping
Front brake 300mm discs with four piston radial calipers. Cornering ABS
Rear brake 240mm disc with twin-piston caliper. Cornering ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 60 mpg
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost £300
New price £12,999
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 121 bhp
Max torque 76 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 195 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2024: KTM 990 Duke launched. Replaces 890 Duke and 890 Duke R. Bigger engine more power, new chassis and styling.

Other versions

None

Owners' reviews for the KTM 990 DUKE (2024 - on)

1 owner has reviewed their KTM 990 DUKE (2024 - 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 990 DUKE (2024 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Value vs rivals: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Equipment: 2 out of 5 (2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £300
5 out of 5 mcr64
22 May 2024 by mcrmatt064@gmail.com

Version: 990 with Remus can - no tech pack

Year: 2024

Annual servicing cost: £300

It's almost a perfect street bike as it's just so much fun to ride. The bike wants to play every ride and gives a lot of front end feel. The gearshift (no QS) is firm and the most positive I've felt. The screen is good and much clearer than the previous models duke models. The big downside is the cost, way too expensive.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5

£900 or £1200 for the much needed tech packs as a SW update.

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