All-New 2023 KTM 990 Duke Spotted!
2023 KTM 990 Duke – Overview
It’s evolved from the 799cc original to the current 889cc form and generated a higher-spec “R” version, with power growing from 105 to 119 horsepower along the way; we’re on track for another significant update in 2023.
The original 790 Duke debuted at events in 2016 as a prototype, with production beginning the following year.
The new 890 was announced in 2019 and available in dealerships in 2020.
Next to this trend, the subsequently updated edition should debut at shows later this year and be available for purchase early the following year.
Spy photos acquired near the company’s Mattighofen facility appear to back this up, showing frantic activity surrounding a parallel-twin Duke that has been completely redesigned both technically and cosmetically.
The latest pictures, which can be seen here, appear to depict the bike’s base model, which is expected to be renamed “990 Duke” as it gains more horsepower and capacity.
The small LC8c parallel-twin engine that debuted in the 790 Duke continues to provide power, but it’s slated to receive another boost in bore and stroke to bring it closer to a liter in size.
In addition, early prototypes were seen with sand-cast engine casings and machined covers instead of gray, production-spec castings, indicating significant design revisions.
The cylinders look taller than the present 890 engine, with an extra bracing rib visible in the casting, implying a longer stroke.
The cylinder head has been modified, appearing slightly more compact to compensate for the added height, and the cam cover has been redesigned as well, with an additional bulge on the left side.
Its purpose is unknown, but given the growing number of competing manufacturers using variable valve timing systems, it can’t be ruled out.
Despite the updates, the engine is likely to retain the original LC8c’s odd 285-degree crankshaft angle, which results in a firing interval that resembles a 75-degree V-twin.
With the increase in capacity, power for the highest-spec versions of the engine is anticipated to surpass 130 horsepower.
The new Duke doesn’t just get a new engine; it also gets a new chassis and appearance that pushes the company’s signature folded paper look even farther.
Compared to the retro-influenced rivals that make up the bulk of the roadster market, the combination of sharp creases and flat surfaces in the tank, side panels, and tail create a different machine with scarcely a curve in sight.
The rear subframe looks to be an exposed, cast alloy construction, similar to the present model, with style integrated into the structure rather than achieved through the simply aesthetic cladding.
The bulging underside of the tail could indicate that the fuel tank has been moved to the rear.
The stacked headlamp nose has been seen on every prototype, although it does not appear to be the final production component.
The lights themselves resemble aftermarket projector lamps, and the plastic container in which they’re housed neither blends in with the rest of the aesthetic nor conceals the instruments’ backside.
In addition, KTM’s vertically split headlamp configuration is expected to evolve, giving the 990 Duke a radically different look than the one shown here.
This prototype has all of the characteristics of a base model. In addition, the Brembo calipers and 320mm discs from the 890 Duke R have been seen on previous experimental motorcycles.
Still, this one has the smaller 300mm rotors and KTM-branded calipers from the ordinary 890 Duke. The fork is identical to the WP Apex unit on the current bike.
The swingarm is externally braced, giving it a similar appearance to the current version while being a whole new casting with a different brace arrangement.
It’s bent upward on the right side to clear the low-mounted exhaust pipe, which replaces the original Duke’s high-set line.
Earlier images of the 990 Duke R prototype show a swingarm with a smooth outer shell rather than the apparent ribbing seen above, implying that it has been boxed for further rigidity.
There’s undoubtedly still a lot of development work, but if KTM sticks to its plan, the revised Duke should be unveiled by the end of the year and available to consumers in early 2023.