It’s hard to believe, but it’s been an entire 10 years since the KTM 990 Super Duke was a part of the Austrian OEM’s lineup. For some time, we’ve seen numerous hints at KTM developing a new 990 Duke in the 2020s. Some incredibly strong evidence emerged in January 2023, when LC8c engine drawings from China appeared taller than the familiar, existing LC8c mill—almost as though the cylinder was elongated. 

Now, engine drawings may just be drawings, particularly in another market—but a 990 Duke as an evolution of the 890 Duke seems completely plausible, and not at all out of KTM’s character. Besides, we wouldn’t be dragging up those drawings in July 2023 without good reason. That good reason is, of course, a set of new spy photos that appear to show the upcoming KTM 990 Duke prototype out testing, and largely undisguised. So undisguised, in fact, that the rider is actually wearing a rather nice-looking set of leathers and helmet that matches the bike. 

The test mule depicted in these photos is largely black-and-white in color scheme, with small splashes of KTM’s signature orange on the front fork, as well as the piping around the pair of soft panniers located at either side of the tail. The rider’s helmet, boots, and race suit seem to have more orange than the bike—so maybe the machine is in disguise after all. 

Gallery: 2024 KTM 990 Duke Prototype Spy Photos

We don’t get to see the right side of the bike in these shots. Only the front, left side, and rear of the bike are visible as the photographer shot this bike winding down a mountain road. The test bike rides on a pair of black alloy wheels with a different spoke pattern than what’s found on the 2023 890 Duke R. The black mirrors appear to be just about the same between this test bike and the 890. 

The biggest difference that’s visible in these shots is the front headlight and cowling. Where the 2023 890 Duke R’s headlight and cowl appear to be one solid unit with a large headlight in the center, the 990 Duke test bike features an understated, angular lattice surrounding a much smaller headlight. Despite its diminutive size, the LED light gives a lingering impression of brightness, even on the sunny day that these photos were shot. The swingarm also appears revised from the one found on the existing 890 Duke R. 

The styling remains sharp and angular, as is a usual feature of Kiska’s design language for KTM—but still offers a significantly different take on naked styling than we’ve previously seen. Current expectation is that the completed KTM 990 Duke may make its first official appearance toward the end of 2023, as a 2024 model. It’s not clear if this might happen at EICMA 2023 in November, or on a different timeline. Either way, we’ll keep an eye out.

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