KTM 890 Duke and 890 Duke R

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I popped into my local KTM dealer, The KTM Centre in Hemel Hempstead, to buy a pair of motocross goggles, as you do, and ended up coming out with a test ride booked for a 890 Duke!

I had the bike on loan for the afternoon so went off for a ride. Up until this point I had never ridden a KTM and was immediately struck by how incredibly light it was. My Z900 is a light bike and to me, the 890 was even lighter!

The seating position is upright and I seemed to sit right at the front of the seat up against the tank but it was so comfortable to ride and completely different to my R6 which I had ridden to the KTM Centre on!

Some techy information for you here:

The 890 is an 889 cc parallel twin liquid cooled 8 valve powerplant engine fitted into a light and compact chassis boasting 115 bhp. The dry weight of this bike is 169 kg and has a ground clearance of 191 mm.

The front brakes are 2 x radially mounted 4 piston calipers and the rear are 2 piston floating caliper.

There is a TFT screen which is easy to read showing you your revs, speed, fuel, temperature, time, gear and which mode you are in which, when glancing down to look at when riding along, it is fairly easy to read.

The 890 has four modes: road, rain, street and track. A quick shifter, both up and down, is available as an optional extra.

The ABS includes cornering ABS and super moto mode – according to KTM’s website super moto mode ‘enables the experienced rider to lock up the rear wheel for committed super moto riding and deliberately executed slides’. I might leave that bit of testing for another day ……. I didn’t bring any spare trousers with me!

The seat height is 820 mm and the front and rear lights are led which I think look really cool.

Very soon I was out of the town and heading into the countryside. I found riding the 890 incredibly easy and in and out of the twisties was great fun as the bike is so light and nimble and handled the corners with such ease. I could feel myself grinning under my helmet.

When I opened the bike up to overtake, I dropped it a gear and went past easily and with comfort, I did not feel the bike was lacking in power when overtaking.

When I parked up to take some pics of the bike, I did find maneuvering the 890 really easy probably due to its weight and seat height. I know when you’re riding along things like this don’t really matter but to me it’s important as I like to know that I can move the bike about myself when parked up or in the garage.

All too soon I had to make my way back to The KTM Centre, I was nowhere near ready to give the bike back, I was having such fun.

When I got back, Kieran suggested that I take the 890 Duke R out for short ride so I could feel the difference in the two bikes. The Duke R has 119 bhp with a 2 cylinder, 4-stroke, parallel twin engine.

Again, the ABS includes the cornering ABS and super moto mode – still no spare trousers, so testing that is still on hold!

The brakes however are Brembo front and rear, 2 x Brembo Stylema Monobloc four piston, radially mounted calipers on the front and a Brembo single-piston floating calliper, brake disc on the rear.

The dry weight of this bike is slightly lighter than the 890 coming in at 166 kg but the seat height is slightly higher at 834 mm with a higher ground clearance of 206 mm

Up and down quick shifter comes as standard on the R.

I immediately noticed the difference in the brakes with the R being more responsive but the higher seat meant that I was near to being on tip toes and maneuvering was not as easy as the 890 (a road I went down was closed and I had to turn the bike around – I think this ended up being a twenty point turn much to the amusement of the other motorists!)

Riding the R was really comfy too with the same riding position as the 890 and it was a really nice bike to ride too.

Personally, I would go for the 890 because it suited me better due to the seat height but both are really great bikes – definitely worth a test ride 🙂

Both bikes of course are in need of a tail tidy!

Thank you to the KTM Centre for the loan of the bikes, I am looking forward to my next test ride ………….. 😉



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  1. Interesting that they make the R slightly higher probably forgetting that they are making it less easy for shorter riders

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