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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of our members here, bmacz06, recently obtained one of those new fangled KTM 890s and being the good buddy he is allowed me to play on it for a little while today.
First off I must admit that I don't trust KTMs, any of them. We all have heard the stories about leaky this, broken that and "question marks" showing up on those amazing TFT displays. I have friends that keep subjecting themselves to the KTM habit that they seen unable or unwilling to shake. Now I know why, the damn thing is special, that's why. At least the 890 is.
Here's what it felt like.
The throttle has virtually no resistance which makes the super torquey motor seem even more immediate and powerful.
Clutch pull and action was precise and felt just right so off I went merrily down a bumpy little back road.
The punch just off idle is amazing, I mean liter bike amazing and it doesn't run out of breath any time soon. The damn thing is fast and my second thought was "this thing can't weigh very much". That was my biggest take away, how light it seemed to be.
I had seen in the reviews that some testers stated the 890 was stiff and over sprung. Not so all all. I weigh 170lbs and it was firm and well planted not stiff, at least for me.
Two things I didn't really check out were hard cornering and hard braking. The road we were on just wasn't the place. I will say that at my moderate pace the steering was incredibly light and neutral with no inclination to tip in or stand up. I can't say anything about the brakes since I paid no attention to them.
Now I see why some of my friends bleed orange. My little experience on Barry Mac's new toy gives me a new perspective on things. I'm seventy five years old and the last thing I need is for
Super Duke Ride 007.JPG
some young piece of ass with orange wheels to come along and complicate my life but then again, you only live once, right?
 

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That was a great write up, Les! 馃槃
 

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I've owned most KTMs, i've actually owned 15+ KTMs and the 'bleed orange' thing could have been said about me for the last 10 years. I've had 4 KTM 690s, 5 990 Superdukes, 4 950 Supermotos, 1 790 Duke.

There's 2 things that mean i don't have a 790 or an 890 now. 1 being the riding position on the knees, it's just a tiny bit too cramped on my right knee. The second thing is the 'niggles'. My 790 was in the shop under warranty for the rocker cover gasket and the sprocket output shaft seal, no biggy, but we're talking a motor that's 4 years old now, they're having the same issues they were having in day 1, but 4 years on... That for me is wrong ! Along with coolant leaking, overflowing and hose issues, not forgetting clutch bearing failures and several known complete engine failures on 890s, well, that's it, i'm out ! I rode an 890R and actually really enjoyed it once i got used to it, lovely thing... I was still happy to get on my XSR900, even happier when the engine imploded on the 890R just 90 miles later.
I've sat and thought at times about chopping in the XSR900 for a 790D, but the issues and mostly the fact i absolutely LOVE riding the XSR means i'm not... But i could easily do so..

Italian (Austrian) character.... awesome stuff.
 

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I've owned most KTMs, i've actually owned 15+ KTMs and the 'bleed orange' thing could have been said about me for the last 10 years. I've had 4 KTM 690s, 5 990 Superdukes, 4 950 Supermotos, 1 790 Duke.

There's 2 things that mean i don't have a 790 or an 890 now. 1 being the riding position on the knees, it's just a tiny bit too cramped on my right knee. The second thing is the 'niggles'. My 790 was in the shop under warranty for the rocker cover gasket and the sprocket output shaft seal, no biggy, but we're talking a motor that's 4 years old now, they're having the same issues they were having in day 1, but 4 years on... That for me is wrong ! Along with coolant leaking, overflowing and hose issues, not forgetting clutch bearing failures and several known complete engine failures on 890s, well, that's it, i'm out ! I rode an 890R and actually really enjoyed it once i got used to it, lovely thing... I was still happy to get on my XSR900, even happier when the engine imploded on the 890R just 90 miles later.
I've sat and thought at times about chopping in the XSR900 for a 790D, but the issues and mostly the fact i absolutely LOVE riding the XSR means i'm not... But i could easily do so..

Italian (Austrian) character.... awesome stuff.
Just before this past riding season wrapped up here in New York, I switched bikes with my bud, it was a 2016 1290 super duke, we were at an old local abandoned airstrip.
Now I was only blasting through the gears in a straight line to really feel the power, figuring , the 1290 would impress me because it sounds soooo good, through the Austin racing slip on. His remap was done by the dealer, and to be quite honest,I was not impressed at all . My still stock MT09 felt much snappier and more responsive to throttle input.
Obviously the brake and suspension components of bothe bikes can't be compared, but my initial reaction to the 1290's power did not impress me ,
I'm wondering what my bike will feel like with a new pipe/ ECU set up? I really like the SC Project CRT exhaust but like the way the Arrow headers hug/fit the motor.
Looks like our government just passed another stimulus package.......... and that next
$1400 check will stimulate my 09 and make me smile!!!
 

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Just before this past riding season wrapped up here in New York, I switched bikes with my bud, it was a 2016 1290 super duke, we were at an old local abandoned airstrip.
Now I was only blasting through the gears in a straight line to really feel the power, figuring , the 1290 would impress me because it sounds soooo good, through the Austin racing slip on. His remap was done by the dealer, and to be quite honest,I was not impressed at all . My still stock MT09 felt much snappier and more responsive to throttle input.
Obviously the brake and suspension components of bothe bikes can't be compared, but my initial reaction to the 1290's power did not impress me ,
I'm wondering what my bike will feel like with a new pipe/ ECU set up? I really like the SC Project CRT exhaust but like the way the Arrow headers hug/fit the motor.
Looks like our government just passed another stimulus package.......... and that next
$1400 check will stimulate my 09 and make me smile!!!
What you feel and actual performance numbers are 2 very different things. The fact that the 1290 feels more tame with all that extra power says KTM did a very good job designing the bike. There is no way the MT-09 would ever keep up with a 1290 whether that be a straight line or around a track. That being said Yamaha designed the MT-09 to be a hooligan and it does that very well but how many 09 owners have sent their ECUs in to get flashed not just for more power but to smooth out the throttle response.
As far as the 890 goes. It's one hell of a package as a stock motorcycle. I just can't help but wonder how comparable the 09 would be to the 890 if you took the additional MSRP and upgraded the 09s flaws (mostly suspension). With the 2021 models I feel like I'd have an easy time going for the KTM with how the new 2021 MT-09 looks.
 

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I will add a bit of color and details to Les's opening post above. I ride a lot of different bikes. Whenever I have a chance to ride a new bike and jump at the opportunity. Reading and watching videos is great but nothing can replace actually seat time. I am not overly brand loyal but in general prefer Yamaha's due to their unmatched reliability and quality. No bike in my possession is ever guaranteed a spot in the garage. If something better comes along out with the old and in with the new.

I came upon the 890 Duke more by chance than intent. I was seriously looking at another 1100 Tuono and quite possibly the new heavily revised 1290 Super Duke. The 2017 1290 I rode was not overly impressive. For a big twin it was too lumpy at low revs and its chassis was not up to my admittedly high standards. But, the new for 2020 1290 Duke R was, at least on paper and videos, an impressive machine. The chassis was 3 times (WOW) stiffer than the previous version and the engine has been significantly revised and will now run smoothly at low revs through town.

I stopped at the dealer to look at the Super Duke and the riding position was a bit tighter than I had hoped for my 35" inseam. It was also 20 grand and was not available for a test ride. I have a great deal of difficulty spending 20 grand for a bike I didn't ride. I have bought and sold too many bikes due to insufficient seat time before the purchase. While there I sat on the 890 Duke and found the riding position to be pretty good and actually a little better than the 1290. I left without deciding anything but when I got home did some research on the 890 Duke R. I came away impressed and started seriously looking for one.

I found a used with low miles a state away and decided to go ahead and buy it and if I didn't like I would just move on and go back to waiting for the 1100 Tuono release.

Fast forward to today. This bike is simply amazing. It is everything I hoped it would be in a second bike for playing around. It has a stout chassis, impressive engine with plenty of torque and power, impeccable handling along with very light weight. And... I FIT ON IT. This to me was the most shocking part. This little bike is actually comfortable for me to ride for several hours. It has firmly established itself as a keeper and it will take something quite special to steal its spot in the garage.
 

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Big surprise Barry. When you were with me the last time for a test ride, I took out their 790 Duke. Since then, I was leaning really hard on a 690 SMC R. That's what I test rode when I missed you the last time at the dealer. I've ended up buying a Suzuki DR650 used with 230 miles at almost 1/3 the price of the new SMC. It'll be interesting to see what you think when you're back up here for the summer. I only managed 70 miles before winter set in. I've done some significant tuning and weight reduction plus a Seat Concepts Commuter seat. For the little I've ridden it before the improvements, I really like the ride. The SMC was a great bike, so I understand the KTM appeal. Bring it home this spring and we'll do our usual swap. (If you still have it by then :whistle:)

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I thought about a few more points while following the 890 during a group ride yesterday.
The Duke that Barry bought came with a Yosh slip on but no reflash. I had noticed that the engine braking was perfect and the bike rolled nicely on trailing throttle. I had expected a lot of drag from a vertical twin and just now my old analog brain realized that it might be possible to adjust decel in the menu. No matter, it felt good.
The seat not so much. I could deal with the firmness but the cover was way too sticky. This was my only gig and easily fixed.
During one review on YouTube the guy mentioned that the gearbox was a bit hard to shift and finding neutral was a challenge.
Not so with the one that I rode. Nice snick, snick, snick from the short throw lever.
The only thing on the entire bike I found puzzling were the rubber foot pegs. I have never seen these on a sport bike so I assume there my be some vibration down there but I sure didn't feel it.
I'm pretty sure I won't ever own a KTM but that's dictated more by my station in life than the actual bikes.
Plus, KTM still needs to work hard to get past the stigma of the reliability issues the rest of us hear about.
Unlike Harley and BMW these KTMs are still sold and serviced by powersports dealers which probably add to the problem.
I see Triumph in the same situation. Excellent products needing to be sold in specialized dealerships but living in a limited market to make this impossible.

I am no expert tester but in my short ride I have no doubt that the 890 Super Duke is the best street bike I have ever been on without exception.
Fuzzy & The Duke 002.JPG
 

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The 890 is a nice platform, a friend of mine has one and it goes for sure!
 

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Les,

Knowing how much you like your thumper, it would be interesting to hear your review from a test ride on a 690 SMC R. I really enjoyed my test rides (2). I did one from a dealership in an urban setting and one rural. The 75 hp, 350 pounder hit 100 with ease on the open road and the handling is probably very close to Barry's 890. The spoked wheels are tubeless, which is a nice feature. I was a heartbeat away from buying, but the out the door price on the KTM vs the excellent price on my used DR made my decision easier. If it had been a new DR price, I would have taken the SMC. For me, the biggest plus of the SMC over the 890 Duke is the longer suspension to smooth out the terrible blacktop surface around here. No doubt, the KTM middle weights are impressive machines. If the 690 Enduro wasn't so tall, that would have been a strong contender as well. Same exact price as the SMC. Even without buying one, it sure is fun to ride them all. I feel fortunate to live in an area where all of our dealerships are more than happy to offer test rides.
 

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I am no expert tester but in my short ride I have no doubt that the 890 Super Duke is the best street bike I have ever been on without exception.
That is quite a statement and one I find myself agreeing with. This 890 Duke R is the best bike I have found when it comes to playing in the curves.

Here is a respected reviewer that came to the same conclusion and is the video that got me to take a serious look at picking one up. KTM Duke 890 R Review


P.S. The bike is the Duke 890 R. The title of Super Duke is reserved for the 1290.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
P.S. The bike is the Duke 890 R. The title of Super Duke is reserved for the 1290.
[/QUOTE]
My Bad!
 
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I am no expert tester but in my short ride I have no doubt that the 890 Super Duke is the best street bike I have ever been on without exception. View attachment 163315
wow, that's a bold statement. I can see it though yes... When i first test rode the 790 it was a game changer, but then when i owned it, i never quite loved it as much maybe as i should. I owned it about a year i think.
The 890R i only did 15-20 miles on it and it was quite a change in riding position from the XSR and it had 250 miles on the clocks at the time so i wasn't going nuts as it was a mates bike....

This thread has prompted me to look at the 790/890 again, but selling the XSR would be a tough ask in honesty.
 

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wow, that's a bold statement. I can see it though yes... When i first test rode the 790 it was a game changer, but then when i owned it, i never quite loved it as much maybe as i should. I owned it about a year i think.
The 890R i only did 15-20 miles on it and it was quite a change in riding position from the XSR and it had 250 miles on the clocks at the time so i wasn't going nuts as it was a mates bike....

This thread has prompted me to look at the 790/890 again, but selling the XSR would be a tough ask in honesty.
Just keep the xsr and add on lol.
 

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I've been interested in these too. And like mentioned, I was curious about the reliability of KTM's in the latest iterations.
Did the bike come with Michelin Power tires stock? Bike looks brand new, is why I ask. That's pretty cool.
 

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One of our members here, bmacz06, recently obtained one of those new fangled KTM 890s and being the good buddy he is allowed me to play on it for a little while today.
First off I must admit that I don't trust KTMs, any of them. We all have heard the stories about leaky this, broken that and "question marks" showing up on those amazing TFT displays. I have friends that keep subjecting themselves to the KTM habit that they seen unable or unwilling to shake. Now I know why, the damn thing is special, that's why. At least the 890 is.
Here's what it felt like.
The throttle has virtually no resistance which makes the super torquey motor seem even more immediate and powerful.
Clutch pull and action was precise and felt just right so off I went merrily down a bumpy little back road.
The punch just off idle is amazing, I mean liter bike amazing and it doesn't run out of breath any time soon. The damn thing is fast and my second thought was "this thing can't weigh very much". That was my biggest take away, how light it seemed to be.
I had seen in the reviews that some testers stated the 890 was stiff and over sprung. Not so all all. I weigh 170lbs and it was firm and well planted not stiff, at least for me.
Two things I didn't really check out were hard cornering and hard braking. The road we were on just wasn't the place. I will say that at my moderate pace the steering was incredibly light and neutral with no inclination to tip in or stand up. I can't say anything about the brakes since I paid no attention to them.
Now I see why some of my friends bleed orange. My little experience on Barry Mac's new toy gives me a new perspective on things. I'm seventy five years old and the last thing I need is for View attachment 163308 some young piece of ass with orange wheels to come along and complicate my life but then again, you only live once, right?
I would love the opportunity to be able to ride one and I鈥檓 like you weary of the reliability....
However my dream bike is the KTM Superduke 1290r .... but for 20k+ Canadian pesos it will remain a dream
 

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I followed the launch of this and actually know someone who bought a 790 right before they released. I've always been tempted to try a KTM, but the rumours of reliability have steered me away. If the MT wasn't what I needed and more out of a bike I'd probably look at one of those 890's. Although I have a real soft spot for the Indian FTR1200.
 

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Although I have a real soft spot for the Indian FTR1200.
Man, that bike makes no sense to me. :)
1200cc making only 111ish hp and almost 500lbs.

Looks cool and all, but what a slouch.
 
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