If I were to ask you what the most revolutionary model in KTM's roster in the last few years was, chances are a lot of you would answer the 790 Duke. Indeed, when this bike first hit the global market in 2018, it raised the bar in accessible performance in KTM's roster. It filled the gaping hole in between the thumper-powered 690 and the fire-breathing 1290 Super Duke R, and undeniably lured plenty of riders into Team Orange.
The 790 Duke paved the way for a whole roster of LC8C-powered machines including the 790 Adventure and Adventure R, as well as the RC 8C track-only sportbike. In 2021, it seemed as though we were destined to say goodbye to the 790 Duke, as the 890 Duke and 890 Duke R firmly took its place in the global market. Interestingly, however, the 790 Duke was brought back from the dead in 2022, and now serves as Team Orange's entry-level offering into its big bike segment.
In France, KTM is set to release the 790 Duke by January, 2023, opening doors for would-be KTM owners who don't have the budget for the more expensive 890 model. Furthermore, the 790 Duke will also be sold in an A2-compliant version for beginner riders. Capped off at 47.6 horsepower, the A2 version will allow younger riders to hone their skills on a more performance-oriented platform, before finally upgrading to the unrestricted version.
Performance-wise, the standard 790 Duke isn't any different from the model introduced back in '18. It's packing KTM's tried and tested 799cc parallel-twin engine codenamed LC8C. Packing 105 horsepower and 60 ft-lbs of torque, this engine is one of the most powerful in the middleweight class. Furthermore, the 790 Duke packs premium underpinnings that set it apart from its competition. Although non-adjustable, its 43-millimeter WP inverted forks offer superb handling, while the preload-adjustable WP rear monoshock keeps the rear wheel firmly planted. It also gets dual four-piston radial calieprs, a full LED lighting system, and TFT display.
Rounding off the tech features is a suite of advanced rider aids consisting of IMU-powered cornering ABS and traction control. Riding modes—Street, Sporty, Track, and Rain—keep the bike tame and manageable under all conditions, and ABS can be switched completely off, or set in supermoto mode which disables only the rear ABS. Although KTM has yet to announce the official pricing for the 790 Duke in France, it's expected to retail for around 9,000 Euros, or the equivalent of $8,789. Just like the rest of Europe, the 790 Duke will be available in either orange or gray colorways.