Track Showdown: 2019 KTM 790 Duke “R” vs 2020 KTM 890 Duke R

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By Evans Brasfield

By now, my ongoing relationship with my 2019 KTM 790 Duke is possibly one of the most documented motorcycle love affairs of recent history. That’s okay. I can live with the ribbing from my coworkers. If that’s all they can think of to tease me about, I’m coming out way ahead in the game. Still, they have a point. I bought my 790 fully expecting that there would be a Duke R in the upcoming model year or two. I just didn’t expect it to have an 890 in front of it.

So, it naturally begs the question: Was all that time, effort, and money I spent building my own R-model with KTM PowerParts and the aftermarket wasted? Since we had the 890 Duke R and the Triumph Street Triple RS scheduled for a track day, I figured that the boys could spare a session each to throw a leg over my 790 and give me their impressions of how it stacks up to the 890.

KTM 790 Duke Project: Building A 790 R

2020 KTM 890 Duke R – First Ride Review

Blindsided

From the moment the 890 was announced, I knew that my little 790 would never be able to compare when it came to the engine. That’s not really a problem for most of the riding I do, but I figured that on the track, it would be a game-changer. Still, I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that my first ride of the 890 on our favorite mountain test road didn’t have me shaking my head in disbelief at the exit of every corner as I rolled the throttle open and the acceleration pushed me rearward. The power is that good, but I wondered if the boys would think …read more

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