KTM declared February, 2022, the “month of Middleweight Nakeds” when it teased the revised 2022 890 Duke R and all-new 890 Duke GP. While Mattighofen described the latter as “a Grand Prix-inspired entry into Dukedom”, it also positioned the updated R variant as “an even sharper iteration of The Super Scalpel.”

Given KTM’s performance-oriented background, we assumed that meant an even nimbler Duke, but the brand had a different definition of “sharp” in mind. In 2022, the 890 Duke R retains much of its class-leading equipment. Brembo Sylema calipers still clamp down on 320mm discs at the front while a Brembo MCS master cylinder provides all the feel and feedback one could desire. The aggressive geometry, WP APEX suspension, and Michelin Power Cup 2 tires also live up to the Super Scalpel nickname, making the Duke R a weapon on both the street and track.

Gallery: 2022 KTM 890 Duke R

The liquid-cooled, 890cc parallel-twin pumps out 121 horsepower and 73 lb-ft of torque, retaining all the excitement that made the 890 Duke platform such a hit when it joined the KTM lineup in 2020. However, a six-axis IMU, wheel slip control sensor, and a pitch angle control sensor help tame the beast with cornering ABS and lean-sensitive traction control.

The standard Road, Street, and Rain ride modes adapt the Duke’s personality to the current conditions, and frequent track day riders can also add on the optional Track ride mode. With nine levels of traction control slip, switchable anti-wheelie, and the extra throttle control settings, the 890 is equal parts exhilarating and accommodating.

While the Super Scalpel remains sharp in 2022, the new Atlantic Blue livery highlights the model’s performance pedigree. Drawing from KTM’s RC 16 MotoGP race bike, the matte blue colorway has already graced the KTM 1290 Super Duke R. Now, the Grand Prix-inspired paint job helps the 890 Duke R stand apart from the middleweight naked crowd, especially when combined with KTM’s R-spec orange-painted trellis frame.

The 2022 890 Duke R will roll into KTM dealerships in February, 2022, but the firm has yet to reveal the new model’s MSRP. Given the modest paint upgrade, hopefully, the price tag isn’t too far above the 2021 model’s $11,999 sticker price.

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