Motorcycles

KTM goes big with three new street and adventure machines for 2020

KTM goes big with three new st...
KTM has unveiled three new bikes at EICMA: the 890 Duke R, a new 390 Adventure, and a totally overhauled 1290 Super Duke R (pictured)
KTM has unveiled three new bikes at EICMA: the 890 Duke R, a new 390 Adventure, and a totally overhauled 1290 Super Duke R (pictured)
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The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure is a highly approachable on/off road tourer
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The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure is a highly approachable on/off road tourer
The new entry point to KTM's adventure touring range
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The new entry point to KTM's adventure touring range
19/17-inch wheels will make the 390 Adventure plenty capable on tarmac
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19/17-inch wheels will make the 390 Adventure plenty capable on tarmac
A 158-kg dry weight is heavy for a dirtbike, but light for a roadie
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A 158-kg dry weight is heavy for a dirtbike, but light for a roadie
The 890 Duke R "super scalpel"
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The 890 Duke R "super scalpel"
The 890 Duke R is somehow a few kilograms lighter than the 790
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The 890 Duke R is somehow a few kilograms lighter than the 790
A "middleweight" alternative to the 1290 super duper duke
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A "middleweight" alternative to the 1290 super duper duke
KTM has unveiled three new bikes at EICMA: the 890 Duke R, a new 390 Adventure, and a totally overhauled 1290 Super Duke R (pictured)
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KTM has unveiled three new bikes at EICMA: the 890 Duke R, a new 390 Adventure, and a totally overhauled 1290 Super Duke R (pictured)
The 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R is a bigger overhaul than it looks like at first glance
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The 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R is a bigger overhaul than it looks like at first glance
No extra peak power, but the revised motor adds torque through the low and and midrange
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No extra peak power, but the revised motor adds torque through the low and and midrange
Cards on the table: the new, lighter, stiffer chassis is not as sexy as the old trellis frame
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Cards on the table: the new, lighter, stiffer chassis is not as sexy as the old trellis frame
The engine, chassis and electronics improvements should make the 2020 1290 Super Duke R a significantly better bike
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The engine, chassis and electronics improvements should make the 2020 1290 Super Duke R a significantly better bike

KTM brought a bumper crop of new goodies out for EICMA 2019, including a capable-looking new 390 Adventure bike, a faster, firmer Duke 890 R to go alongside the "scalpel" Duke 790, and a fresh chassis overhaul for its 1290 Super Duke R flagship.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Cards on the table: the new, lighter, stiffer chassis is not as sexy as the old trellis frame
Cards on the table: the new, lighter, stiffer chassis is not as sexy as the old trellis frame

Let's start with "the Beast" – one of the most well-rounded motorcycles we'd ever experienced when we rode the first edition back in 2014. The power and sheer grunt out of that 177-horsepower, 140-Nm (103-lb-ft) 1301cc V-twin motor are absolutely epic, and yet so beautifully controllable that it delivers an astonishing Jekyll-and-Hyde riding experience unmatched in the motorcycle world.

Thankfully, the engine's overall character hasn't changed much in the 2020 update. It's become a bit lighter, and more of a structural member in the revised chassis. It's got a faster-shifting gearbox, twin-spark plug ignition in each cylinder for improved efficiency, titanium inlet valves, a new ram air system, a new pressure-lubricated slipper clutch that's lighter at the lever, and redesigned cylinder heads engineered to bump up low-to-mid RPM torque, as if that were remotely necessary.

The frame, on the other hand, is completely different, and its use of the engine as a structural component makes the trellis parts of the bike much smaller while making the overall chassis a lot stiffer. If I'm honest, I find it less attractive than the previous model to look at, but then I do remember finding the earlier models a touch squidgy in the corners and wondering if a stiffer frame might make them even better. And the looks are evened out by the addition of a much funkier set of exhaust pipes.

The 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R is a bigger overhaul than it looks like at first glance
The 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R is a bigger overhaul than it looks like at first glance

The redesigned frame has allowed a longer swingarm to be fitted – all the better for the rear suspension's contribution to grip and feel. Speaking of the suspension, both ends get treated to WP's latest fully adjustable Apex gear, and the brakes are upgraded to Brembo's funky Stylemas. The subframe is a new, composite jobbie aimed at reducing weight, and the result is a reasonably significant drop from a dry weight of 195 kg (430 lb) on the previous model to 189 kg (417 lb) on the new one.

Bars and pegs are now adjustable, which is nice – and the new 5-inch TFT dash is as well, so you can angle it to suit yourself. The electronics suite is also very comprehensive, including traction and wheelie control, multi-mode ABS, cruise control, multiple riding modes, tire pressure monitors and a bidirectional quickshifter.

In short, a truly outstanding motorcycle has become significantly better, again. May god help us (to afford one). Look, a video!

The 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R | KTM

2020 KTM 890 Duke R

A "middleweight" alternative to the 1290 super duper duke
A "middleweight" alternative to the 1290 super duper duke

Here's a new one we didn't see coming. The 790 Duke was nicknamed "the scalpel" due to its light weight, precise handling and wildly thrashable, 105-hp parallel twin motor. But KTM has decided there's room in its burgeoning road bike lineup for a "super scalpel" with a little bit more everything.

The 890 Duke R's parallel twin is both bored and stroked out, and offers 119 hp and 99 Nm (73 lb-ft), enough of a jump to make things spicy, especially considering it's also managed to shave off a few pounds for a super-flickable dry weight of 166 kg (366 lb).

The 890 gets the fancy, fresh WP Apex suspension at either end, and Brembo's Stylema brakes, and it's set up for racier handling. The brake calipers alone, despite running larger, 320-mm discs than the 790, save an impressive 1.2 kg (2.6 lb) of unsprung weight on the 890.

All in all, you can treat the 890 Duke R as a full-fat R upgrade to the 790. This thing should be massive fun, and will spend a considerable amount more time at the fun end of the throttle stop than the 1290. Here's a video:

THE 2020 KTM DUKE 890 R | KTM

2020 KTM 390 Adventure

A 158-kg dry weight is heavy for a dirtbike, but light for a roadie
A 158-kg dry weight is heavy for a dirtbike, but light for a roadie

KTM's final new machine for EICMA has been a long time coming. The brand's 373cc single has been a huge success in both naked and sportsbike formats as a super-approachable and accessible engine for new riders, and as a flexible and fun powerplant for more experienced riders that simply love lightweight bikes. It was only a matter of time before it made its way to an adventure bike format, where it now represents an entry point to the brand's huge range of off-road capable touring machines – and as many riders will agree, a lightweight 400 like this might be a much easier machine to wrangle than any of the bigger ones if you're really planning to get dirty during your travels.

At 158 kg (348 lb), the 390 Adventure is heavy for a dirt bike, and light for a roadie, so about right for the category. Its performance figures of 43 hp and 37 Nm (27 lb-ft) will do the job nicely and punch well in the segment. There are no surprises with the wheel sizes: 19 inches at the front and 17 at the rear. That's a nice combination for this kind of machine, offering a good blend of on-and off-road capability. They're not spoked, though, so try not to bash and bend them too much.

The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure is a highly approachable on/off road tourer
The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure is a highly approachable on/off road tourer

A 14.5 liter (3.8-gallon) tank might not sound like much, but the huge efficiency of this small engine pushes the bike's range out past 400 km (250 mi). Money has been spent on the suspension, with fully adjustable WP Apex gear on board offering 170 mm (6.7 in) of travel at the front and 177 mm (7 in) of travel at the rear. Money has been saved on the ByBre brakes, which should still be fine. The seat height, at 855 mm (33.7 in) is actually slightly higher than the 790 Adventure's – but still far friendlier than a full-on dirt bike.

The 390 Adventure can be optioned up with hard plastic or soft fabric panniers, and while there doesn't seem to be a top case option as yet, those won't be hard to find once the bike hits the market. In all, this bike puts a great little engine in a simple, capable chassis ready to introduce riders to a plethora of trails in between the main roads.

Source: KTM

2 comments
guzmanchinky
These are some seriously forward thinking machines. I almost bought a KTM dual sport a couple of years ago, until the sales rep told me I needed to bring it in for a serious service every 30 to 50 hours or something like that. When I asked him why he said "it's a racing motor". My current Yamaha WR250R requires a service every 22,000 miles (except oil and filter changes) so that's what I'm sticking with for now.
ljaques
Let's hope they have the engine and QC problems worked out now. Search YT for "ktm adventure 390" for more info. I can't believe the price, but I think these are Indian. Since Zero doesn't make a 200 mile FX, I'm likely going to settle for either a 390 or a Yamaha XT250. Gotta be dual sport. Guz, 22k sounds GOOD! The li'l Yammers are brick chithouses, so I'll likely bypass the finicky KTM.