KTM’s new 30th birthday Duke models make their Mark

KTM is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Duke with three new models.

Mark Trench, our sales manager, had a chance to appraise the new naked Duke range motorbikes at the manufacturer’s Pole position dealer demo day on the roads around Silverstone, near KTM UK’s headquarters at Towcester in Northamptonshire.

The new motorbikes on test were the 1390 Super Duke R and R Evo, the latter with electronic suspension, the 990 Duke and the latest updated 390 Duke.

Mark got to ride them all.

He was blown away by the performance and refinement of the190hp 1390 Super Duke R and R Evo with all-new cam shift technology.

“The new 1390 is superbly smooth. It is so impressive for an engine of that size.

“And it is remarkably well behaved… until you really prod it!”

Mark liked the wheelie control setting which allows you to set the height.

“It seems a great idea but I didn’t test it. It can make mere mortals appear like wheelie gods!”

The 123hp 990 Duke has been dubbed the Sniper.

“The 990 was just superb with useable power for everyday road use.

“It was lovely. It steered perfectly and was a really easy bike to ride,” he explained.

The big surprise for Mark and many other dealer representatives was the latest 390 Duke – the Corner Rocket.

It might only have 45hp but it was huge fun to ride and a bit of a surprise package.

“The 390 Duke really impressed everyone. That’s because when dealer staff ride motorbikes, and they have a lot of bikes open to them, they tend to jump on the bigger-capacity bikes.

“With the lure of the big bikes you don’t always spend enough time on the smaller-capacity ones.”

But the small 390 Duke put a big smile on their faces.

As well as the new motorbikes, the event also focussed on the 30th anniversary of the Duke. 

The 30 years of the KTM Duke range can be summed up in one word – evolution.

From its humble beginnings in 1994, to its current status as a symbol of performance and innovation, the Duke name has stood the test of time.

In 1994, KTM burst into the street scene with the first motorcycle to carry the Duke name, a big-bore 609cc single, a radical cross between supermoto and street fighter.

Success spawned a more powerful Duke II version in 1999, with sharper styling replacing the rounded body contours of its predecessor.

It launched KTM’s naked segment in its street bike line-up with more engine sizes and cylinders being added to the Duke range.

The Super Duke was launched in 2005 with a powerful 990cc LC8 V-Twin powerplant followed by the 990 Super Duke R in 2008, along with the 690 Duke.

Smaller capacity Dukes followed with the 125 Duke in 2011, 200 Duke in 2012 and 390 Duke in 2013.

The Beast, the 1290 Super Duke R, shook up the naked market in 2014 and was followed two years later by the more travel-focused 1290 Super Duke GT.

A turning point in the Duke evolution was the 790 Duke, dubbed the Scalpel, in 2018.

Now these three new motorbikes, the first time in KTM history that three models have been launched at the same time, take the Duke’s past successes into the future.

Find out more about the new Duke models and see the full range at orwell.co.uk/ktm/new-ktm-motorcycle-range/naked