Under the skin of the 2020 KTM 890 Duke R: lighter, faster and much more expensive

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KTM have reignited our excitement for the 2020 890 Duke R with a new short film on YouTube debuted on Tuesday, March 31; detailing its place and purpose in the middleweight segment, as well as how it differs from the pre-existing, cheaper 790 Duke.

With the 790 naked launched back in 2018, the 890 is a more powerful, revvier derivative, complete with more premium suspension and less weight – which KTM say will be more at home on the racetrack, without sacrificing real world usability. Consider our interest piqued.

Sitting alongside the 790 in KTM's line-up, the engine capacity has increased from 799cc to 889cc, with the parallel-twin now producing 119bhp and 73ftlb of torque, compared to the 790’s 103bhp and 64ftlb.

Producing more power and torque per cc than the 2018 machine, the 890's higher state of tune comes from an increased compression ratio, larger valves and aggressive cams with more lift. It also revs a further 250rpm and there are gains to both bottom-end and midrange power.

Alongside better performance, KTM have also rid the bike of cost-cutting components like non-adjustable forks and mediocre Maxxis Supermaxx ST tyres, replacing them with compression- and rebound-adjustable 43mm WP APEX upside downers and Michelin Power Cup II road-going trackday rubber.

The front suspension travel has not been reduced, either, to keep things comfortable on the road. At the rear, the 790 shock has also been replaced with a fully-adjustable WP APEX unit, complete with handy linear spring and preload adjuster.

KTM 890 Duke R side view

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For added track prowess, the seat height has been raised to 834mm - up from 825mm on the 790. Geometry has also been altered and there’s now a steeper swingarm angle for better stability, plus higher footrests and increased ground clearance.

For additional stopping power, the 890 gets dual chunky 320mm front discs (up from 300mm), equipped with dual four-piston Brembo Stylema monobloc calipers. There’s also a Brembo front master cylinder, plus an advanced electronics package shared, including traction control and cornering ABS. An optional quickshifter and track mode is also available.

Impressively, despite the extra bling, the 890 is actually 3kg lighter than the 790, with almost half of that saved as un-sprung mass.

On top of performance and handling improvements, the 890 also enjoys a revised paint scheme, striking orange frame and single seat unit as standard.

If you want to get your hands on one, then bikes will be available at the end of February at a price of £10,399. That’s a lot more than the 2019 Duke’s £8799, but those chassis parts ain’t cheap!

As always, keep an eye out for the full MCN KTM 890 Duke R review very soon.

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Martin Fitz-Gibbons

By Martin Fitz-Gibbons

Numbers nerd, persistent cynic, F800GS & SV650S owner