By Evans Brasfield Editor Score: 89.75%
2016 KTM 690 Duke & 690 Duke R
Editor Score: 89.75%
KTM finds itself in the enviable position of having created a popular brand-within-a-brand with its Duke line of motorcycles. Don’t believe me? Take a look at KTM’s 2016 Duke line-up. Consisting of six different models (some of which, unfortunately, don’t make it to the American side of the Atlantic), the Duke line starts with the 125 Duke and tops out with the 1290 Super Duke R – yet still has room for a pair of Dukes in the displacement range that started the line in the form of the 609cc 620 Duke I. Before we go any further, we need to step back from the current KTM image to remember that, way back prior to 1994, KTM only manufactured dirt-focused motorcycles. The Duke was the company’s first street bike, and the meaty center of the 2016 Duke line is filled with that first Duke’s direct descendants, the 690 Duke and 690 Duke R.
The Duke line shares the same basic equation that launched KTM on its trajectory from dirt specialists to to including a range of street motorcycles, which has now become Europe’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. The Duke started with an off-road chassis and put it in street trim that was able to capitalize on the strengths of the light, upright, quick-steering motorcycle. Not much has changed with the latest Duke, and yet, everything has.
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