2024 New KTM 990 Duke Review: Ultimate Mid-Capacity Naked Bike

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New KTM 990 Duke Review

Brand new 2024 KTM 990 Duke, and it’s absolutely one of the best mid to large capacity nakeds on the market So what makes it so good.

Now, The previous generation of this bike was the 890 Duke R, and it was one of my favorite bikes on the motorcycle market in terms of sporty performance and just general all-around brilliant road performance.

New KTM 990 Engine & Performance

You might have guessed with this new 990 Duke that it has taken a little bit of a bump in capacity.

Thing is, though, there isn’t really a huge jump in the performance output figures. You’ve got a couple more horsepower, so it’s now 123 peak.

There’s a few more Newton meters of peak torque, but it’s not exactly night and day.

That said, the 890 was already an absolutely rapid bike, and so arguably, it didn’t really need masses more power and torque.

And what I’m glad to report is that this engine absolutely delivers on the same character, which is just masses of mid-range.

It basically doesn’t really matter what gear you’re in. It’ll just pull and pull, and it’s super linear. New KTM 990

The throttle map is really direct, you’ve got very immediate connection, especially in the more performance-orientated riding modes.

And look, it’ll power wheelie no problem and just have you grinning from ear to ear, absolutely everywhere you go.

Honestly, for a road bike, this is pretty much the perfect engine for me, and it’s more of the same from the 890, just with little bit extra on top.

New KTM 990 Duke Sound

Number two has to be the way this bike sounds, and it’s got that 435 degree firing interval in this parallel twin that mimics the 75 degree V-twin in their bigger bikes, like the 1290-1390s. New KTM 990

it sounds absolutely fantastic at a standstill, especially for a stock pipe.

But also out on the road, you’ve got loads of little burbles and pops, and it’s spluttering away on deceleration and downshift, and it just all adds to the sensation that this bike is a little bit unhinged and wild.


Now, on top of that, adding to the sportiness and riding in entertainment, you’ve got a really good quick shifter on this bike.

And whereas in the past, some KTM and Husqvarna quick shifters have felt a little bit too light to me, and they feel a bit ambiguous, and you’re not quite sure if they’ve snicked into gear, this one has a little bit of a click, which makes it feel more reassuring, and I found it pretty much flawless out on the road.

Now, I should point out that it comes as part of the tech pack, which is the best part of £900, but it does also open up some of the other features on this bike that I’d find very valuable, like the cruise control, the adaptive brake light, MSR, and the track pack, which maybe is less of interest to me, but I think nice to have the option if you do want to take it to the track, and I’m sure it’d be fantastic.

Now, you do get all of these features to evaluate as part of the demo mode, which unlocks them for the first 1,500 kilometers or 932 miles.

But then after that, it will automatically switch them all off and I do understand that some of you find that, well, some people don’t mind too much, but others do find that a little bit annoying to know that all that stuff is on the bike and it’s just disabled.

The thing is, though, at the moment, the UK KTM Provide tech pack actually comes for free on this bike. New KTM 990

So if you’re thinking of speccing it up, you can say, like I say, almost £900.

New KTM 990 TFT Display

And look, that’s on top of an already fairly comprehensive tech package with a whole bunch of riding modes like street, sport, and rain, and also a six-axis inertial measurement unit that opens up lean sensitive rider aids like the traction control ABS.

You’ve also got the Supermotor ABS fitted as standard, which means you can disable ABS on the rear wheel, and that means you can slide it around and get a bit silly.

it’s all managed through the new Switch Gear and this really rather excellent TFT display.

I Really, really like the way that they lay out their menus and the information within the dash with really intuitive graphics that just make it a bit more fun to use.

I say intuitive because Sometimes there are features like the amount of slip, and you can adjust it between one and nine.

And on some bikes, it’s not always obvious whether one is more slip because there’s less intervention or nine is more slip because the number actually represents the amount of slip. New KTM 990

With this bike, though, because it’s got the little graphic on the screen, it just shows you exactly how the bike is going to behave when you change that particular setting.

And very easy to use, very easy to understand, and also just makes it feel more fun than a whole bunch of lists and menus and text.

New Switch Gear

Now, to go along with the Dash, we’ve got new Switch Gear, now, that bike costs less than half of what this bike costs.

So you might see that as maybe a downgrade in terms of inheriting some of the componentry. But I’d say it’s more of a reflection of how good the Husqvarna is rather than this bike being built to a price.

These are great switch gear. It’s backlit, which really does help at night. You’ve got these big directional buttons that makes it really easy to get around the menus.

And I also like the cruise control implementation with this paddle at the bottom to nudge the speed up and down. New KTM 990

Then you’ve also got custom button so you can assign one of your favorite rider aids or settings to it to get to it quickly.

And I think this is all around a good change and it makes it nice and easy to use.

New KTM 990 Handles

As for how this bike handles out on the road, well, it really is as sharp and accurate as their new sniper nickname would suggest.

It weighs in fully filled up at around 190 kilograms, so really competitive with other bikes in this part of the market, like the Yamaha MT-09.

You feel it out on the road. This bike just goes where you point it, and it feels really intuitive to me as well. New KTM 990

No doubt the suspension also helps, we’ve got WPAPEX front and rear. This is their upside down fork that’s fully adjustable.

The shock’s got adjustability as well, but I’d say out of the box, it feels great and they’ve also made a whole bunch of little tweaks to the chassis in terms of stiffness and rigidity with new steel trellis frame.

And at the same time, they’ve reduced stiffness on the swing arm by about a third, and they say that helps to improve traction.

Look, lots of little changes all over the chassis, but the net result is a light bike that handles like a dream. New KTM 990

Stability and Comfort

Thing is, though, one thing that surprised me about this bike is the fact that that pinpoint handling isn’t at the expense of stability.

That’s something I did find with the MT-09, they’ve updated it with a steeper head angle to quicken up the steering at the front.

There’s more weight over the front as well and while it is comparable to this bike in terms of liveliness, and changes of direction, it does feel a little bit twitchy, especially at higher speeds, whereas this bike feels a lot more stable and reassuring and easy to get along with, which might be a little bit surprising for a bike as aggressive as a KTM.

Now, as for the cause of this versus the Yamaha, well, there are going to be some differences in weight distribution and geometry, but also you get a steering damper on this bike, which is absent from the MT-09, and I’ve no doubt that’s got something to do with it. New KTM 990

Braking Performance

Now, look, this bike is quite a bit more pricey than the 890 Duke R that it replaces, and in some areas, you could possibly argue there have been some slight downgrades in spec.

The brakes are top-notch Brembo-style on that bike, whereas this one gets own-branded big KTM four pot, radially mounted calipers.

Now, admittedly, they do look a bit less bling, but I will say out on the road, I haven’t noticed a massive deterioration in performance versus that bike.

And for me, with the radial master cylinder as well, there’s just plenty of power and feel.

And so I think for the majority of road riders, this is going to be more than enough break in performance. New KTM 990

New KTM 990 Ergonomics

Now, ergonomically, there are some little changes to this bike for 2024, so they flattened out the saddle a bit to stop you sliding forward so much, and also raised it by 5 millimeters.

But ultimately, 825 millimeters is still pretty low, and so it should be accessible for most riders.

And it really does actually feel quite roomy and relaxed. It’s a little bit like the handling, to be honest.

It can be sporty and aggressive when you want it to be, but then also it’s easy and comfy enough and stable enough to be usable day in, day out.

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