Austrian bike maker KTM arrived in India in 2012 in partnership with Bajaj Auto, and the manufacturer has largely restricted its product line-up till the 400 cc segments. However, the bike maker is all set to enter the premium motorcycle space very soon with the launch of the 790 Duke. The long-awaited KTM 790 Duke will finally arrive in India next month and will go on sale from September 2019, carandbike can confirm. Select KTM dealerships have already begun accepting bookings for the motorcycle across the country with deliveries set to begin later next month. The bike will come to India as a Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kit, which is expected to keep the pricing competitive around ₹ 8.5 lakh (ex-showroom). The India-spec version also witnesses the addition of a side guard that is mandatory.
Fondly called as the 'Scalpel' overseas, the KTM 790 Duke will take on a number of offerings in the middleweight streetfighter segment including the Yamaha MT-09, Triumph Street Triple RS, Ducati Monster 821, Kawasaki Z900, Suzuki GSX-R750 and the likes. The bikes will be locally assembled at Bajaj-KTM facility in Chakan, Maharashtra and the first batch of bikes have already started arriving at showrooms.
The KTM 790 Duke is the manufacturer's first big bike for India and promises to offer the same hooligan-styled performance with almost three times the power output. The new KTM flagship is quite a compact motorcycle in size as all the orange motorcycles from the brand tend to be. It is, of course, larger than the 390 Duke but mimics the same design language complete with the inverted pitchfork LED headlamp, sharply styled and muscular fuel tank design, split seats, while the LED taillight is new compared to the 390.
Power on the KTM 790 Duke comes from a 799 cc, parallel-twin liquid-cooled motor that develops 103 bhp at 9000 rpm and 86 Nm of peak torque available at 8000 rpm. Now, that might not seem a lot of power compared to its rivals, but then the 790 is one of the lightest motorcycles in its class with a kerb weight of 189 kg, which makes for a power-to-weight ratio of 612 bhp per tonne. And that will keep the performance promising and on the edge. The engine promises a lot of low-end grunt thanks to its 75-degree crank offset and 435-degree firing order, while the forged pistons and two counterbalancers are intended to keep vibrations to a minimum. The motor is paired with a 6-speed gearbox and gets a slipper clutch assist.
The KTM 790 Duke is underpinned by a chromoly Trellis frame with a one-piece aluminium rear subframe to keep the weight low. The streetfighter uses WP-sourced 43 mm USD forks upfront and a monoshock unit at the rear that is preload adjustable. Braking performance comes from 300 mm dual discs at the front with radially mounted J.Juan calipers, while a 240 mm single disc serves purpose at the rear. Internationally, the 790 Duke uses Maxxis Supermaxx ST tyres wrapped on 17-inch alloy wheels.
There are a host of electronics too on the KTM 790 Duke including four riding modes - Sport, Street, Rain, and Track via the Bosch EMS with RBW. It also gets a six-axis IMU-based 9-level traction control with lean-angle sensitivity, cornering ABS with Supermoto mode, engine brake control, launch and wheelie control, bi-directional quick-shifter, all of which can be accessed via the TFT screen, similar to the 390 Duke.
The KTM 790 will mark a new chapter for the brand in India and customers will finally be able to sample the company's premium motorcycle range. This also opens roads for more of the manufacturer's higher capacity motorcycles to come to India in the future including the KTM 790 Adventure.
Complementing the new 790 Duke will be the revamped KTM dealerships across the country that are set to get facelift of sorts as they start retailing the new company flagship and will also retail the Husqvarna motorcycles when they arrive later this year or in the first half of 2020.