2012 KTM Duke: most potent single-cylinder road bike ever

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More power, less weight, improved refinement and ABS as standard  – the new KTM 690 Duke promises to be more fun, easier to ride and safer. Now making a claimed 70bhp, it’s also the most powerful single-cylinder bike ever.

The 690 Duke’s 654cc engine has been comprehensively reworked, and now has a twin-spark head and an electronic ride-by-wire throttle system. Power is up from the current model’s 64bhp.

The motor features a balance shaft to nullify vibrations caused by the mug-sized piston. In fact, KTM claims that the single-cylinder’s smoothness will rival multi-cylinder engines. The new motor should be easier on your wallet too – service intervals are up from 4700 miles to 6200 miles for oil changes and from 9100 miles to 12,000 miles for valve clearance checks.

Like the KTM 990 SMT ‘supermoto tourer’, the 690 Duke gets the same state-of-the-art, lightweight Bosch ABS system. As before, the 690 Duke has a single front disc and four-piston radially-mounted caliper at the front and a single-piston caliper/disc setup at the rear.

MCN rode a prototype version of the 2012 690 Duke this summer and we were impressed with its punchy power and smoothness. It will quickly top 100mph.

No prices yet, but we estimate about £6000 with the 690 Duke expected in dealers early 2012.