What makes the 890 Duke R the Super Scalpel?
The KTM 790 Duke is one of those bikes which defies what the spec sheet says, simply blowing you away with its performance. However, when it comes to bragging rights, its rivals outmatch it on most fronts. Hence, the 890 Duke R had to arrive.
KTM calls it the Super Scalpel, making it sharper than anything that the Austrian brand has ever made. So what’s different between the two Scalpels?
Both motorcycles make use of KTM’s LC8c parallel-twin engine architecture, making the engine a really compact unit. Internally though, both motorcycles have different bore and stroke dimensions. As a result, the 890 Duke R has 16PS and 12Nm more on tap than the 790.
Also read: KTM 790 Duke First Ride Review
The bikes share the same backbone tubular steel chassis with little variations in the steering head angle. Surprisingly, the 790 has a slightly sharper rake than the 890, 24-degrees to 24.3-degrees. Couple that with the 7mm increase in wheelbase and might start to doubt whether the 890 really is sharper of the two bikes.
The 890 also has a taller seat height as the rider is now perched at 834mm from the ground, 9mm higher. Thankfully, the 890 is 3kg lighter than the 790, which at 166kg (dry), is the same weight as the Triumph Street Triple RS.
For a sport naked, the 790 Duke’s suspension units on offer were not quite on par with its racier rivals. Even when going over small sharp undulations that are aplenty on Indian roads, the suspension does not iron them out, sending small judders to the rider.
The larger ones are handled with better care but in no way can one call the suspension on the 790 to be stiff. With the 890, KTM has given fully adjustable components which the rider can tweak to his/her liking. This means fine-tuning the ride characteristics for track, sport and city riding conditions can be done with simple tools.
Even though they work pretty well, the J Juan monobloc calipers on the 790 Duke are no match for the top-spec Brembo Stylemas that the 890 comes fitted with.
These braking units made their debut on the Ducati Panigale V4 and are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to braking hardware that one could find on any two-wheeler.
Even the tyres used on the 890 are of the stickier type. The Michelin Power Cup Evo rubber are generally regarded as one of the top sportbike compounds that one can lay their hands on. They are far superior than the 790’s touring-biased Maxxis Supermaxx ST tyres.