Best Value Motorcycle of 2020

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By Troy Siahaan

Best Value Motorcycle of 2020: KTM 890 Duke R

We generally associate value with cheap when, in reality, this isn’t (necessarily) the case. The KTM 890 Duke R is a perfect example. For under $12,000 you get a motorcycle packed with performance KTM could charge 15-large for, and you still wouldn’t feel ripped off.

When the 890 Duke R was unveiled, we were a little surprised. We knew a higher-spec R version of the 790 Duke would be inevitable, but for KTM to shove a new, bigger engine into the Duke was a complete surprise. Speaking of said engine, a modest 91cc bump in displacement may not sound like much, but in practical terms, the extra cc’s amount to a boost of power in the midrange – below 5,000 – where street riders and canyon carvers will spend a lot of their time. The extra rush is also felt in the top end, but riding the midrange rush is where it’s at.

Also impressive is the fuel mapping, with seemingly little to no hiccups or dips as far as I could feel. When the 890 is mid-corner, minute throttle adjustments don’t result in annoying lurches or surges. Just smooth, linear power correlating with the amount of twist you give with your wrist. A heavier crankshaft compared with the 790 helps keep the power from being jerky.

The reality, though, is that the Duke R’s not just about the engine. In fact, with a name like the Super Scalpel, there’s a very real case for the 890’s handling prowess to be even more noteworthy than the engine. Lower tapered bars put you in the attack position without being too aggressive, and they also give you the leverage to toss the bike wherever you want it to …read more

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