Celebrating “30 years of Duke,” the 2024 KTM 990 Duke arrives with 123 horsepower ready to snipe.
In the world of motorcycles, KTM has always adhered to the mantra that “bigger is better,” and the latest testament to this philosophy is the eagerly anticipated 2024 KTM 990 Duke. Making a grand entrance with larger proportions, this beast on two wheels promises to redefine the middleweight naked class, boasting a blend of power, precision, and a touch of KTM’s unmistakable style.
Built on the proven foundations of the 790 Duke and the 890 Duke siblings, the 990 Duke is not merely an upgrade; it’s a combination of innovations. KTM engineers have left no bolt unturned, introducing a new chassis, swingarm, and a slew of electronic technologies to craft what they proudly dub the “lightest, sharpest, most performance-focused middleweight naked ever produced at KTM’s main plant.”
The heart of this marvel lies in the revamped 947cc parallel-twin engine – a powerplant that KTM claims to be the most compact in its class. While specific details remain somewhat cryptic, a glance at the spec sheet hints at a new bore and stroke. The result? A staggering 123 horsepower at 9,500 rpm and 76 lb.-ft. of torque at 6,750 rpm. A more aggressive camshaft, longer valve openings, and enhanced rideability due to increased rotating mass propel the 990 Duke into a league of its own.
Electronics are at the forefront of the 990 Duke’s prowess, offering three standard ride modes: Sport, Street, and Rain. For those craving more control, optional Performance and Track modes are available, albeit as part of a “demo program” for the first 1,500 kilometers, transitioning to a purchase option thereafter. The 5-inch TFT display, complete with a USB-C connection, ensures a tech-savvy rider experience, with a redesigned menu structure for swift access to various features.
Handling has always been a KTM strong suit, and the 990 Duke takes it up a notch. The steel tube frame, now stiffer with an 8 percent increase in longitudinal stiffness and 5 percent in torsional stiffness, promises enhanced feedback. The swingarm, ingeniously mounted inside the swingarm pivot area, adds torsional stiffness and stability, while actually reducing swingarm stiffness by 35 percent for improved bump absorption.
A forged pivot bolt and a 3.3-pound lighter swingarm, thanks to a new gravity die-cast production method, contribute to the bike’s agility. The 43mm WP Apex fork with separate compression and rebound damping, coupled with a gas-assisted WP Apex shock, ensures a responsive and comfortable ride. The wheels, borrowed from the 1290 Super Duke R, wear 120/70-17 and 180/55-17 rubber and are finely tuned to the double-sided swingarm.
KTM’s design philosophy of “the sharper the lines, the better” echoes throughout the 990 Duke’s aesthetic. A minutely larger 3.8-gallon fuel tank complements the sharp lines, encapsulating KTM’s commitment to a design that stands out. The LED headlight, though polarizing, adds a futuristic touch to the bike’s overall look.
The riding position remains upright, with a reshaped seat to prevent sliding forward and a raised passenger seat for an unimpeded view. Adjustability is offered through handlebar position changes, with a one-piece bar allowing movement to four different positions.
As KTM celebrates “30 years of Duke,” the 990 Duke arrives draped in two celebratory colors: Electronic Orange and Black Metallic. While exact pricing remains undisclosed, industry whispers suggest an MSRP around $12,500, with eager riders expected to get their hands on this marvel in December.
The 2024 KTM 990 Duke is not just a motorcycle; it’s a celebration of three decades of KTM’s Duke legacy, promising riders an exhilarating journey into the future of middleweight naked performance. Buckle up, because the roads are about to witness the roaring arrival of a true KTM masterpiece.