2021 KTM 890 Duke First Look

More is…well, more.

The 2021 KTM Duke 890 gets more power, more rider aids, and a slightly higher price tag.KTM

Q: When is a middleweight no longer a middleweight? A: Who cares? Just two years ago, KTM presented us with the successor to its 690 Duke, the 790 Duke, aka “The Scalpel,” a beast of a middleweight with a 414-pound curb weight, 95 rear-wheel horsepower on tap, and enough electronics to keep you (mostly) out of trouble.

But wait. There was more. Perhaps sensing that we would all need a bit of cheering up in the near future, in March 2020 KTM dropped the news that the 790′s even sharper stablemate, the more powerful and up-spec 890 Duke R, would be making its way to US dealers that spring. And there was much rejoicing.

Now, less than a year later, KTM is once again delivering a reason to smile, announcing the new 2021 890 Duke as the replacement for the outgoing 790. Positioned as a slightly more street-oriented (and more comfortable) scalpel than its 890 R sibling, the 890 Duke sports the 890 R’s 889cc parallel twin that KTM says is good for 10 more horsepower and almost 4 more pound-foot of torque than the 789cc mill that powered the 790 Duke, and it now shares the 890 R’s 6D lean angle sensor to complement its Cornering ABS (with Supermoto ABS mode), two-axis MTC (traction control), Sport, Street, and Rain ride modes, and optional MSR (controlled engine-braking). Other optional equipment includes a Track ride mode with nine-level adjustable MTC, launch control, and disabled wheelie control, and Quickshifter+ for clutchless up- and downshifting.

A $10,999 MSRP is a $300 increase from the outgoing 790 Duke.KTM

The 300mm dual floating front discs benefit from what KTM describes as “improved” four-piston calipers, and though the 43mm WP Apex USD cartridge-style fork contains new, lighter springs and a new base valve for better high-speed damping, it is still not adjustable. The WP Apex rear shock remains adjustable for preload only.

With its $10,999 base MSRP coming in at just $300 more than the outgoing 2020 790 Duke, however, the 2021 890 Duke still is enough to induce a Pavlovian response. Because let’s face it: Sometimes more is more.