2024 KTM Duke Lineup

2024 KTM Duke Lineup

KTM is very good at staying on-brand. From the motorcycles coming out of the company’s factories to the lively events focused on the pure joy of riding, and even the culture oozing from every person donning that sweet racing jacket full of sponsor logos, there’s something electric in the air when a big group of highly enthusiastic motorcyclists convene.

The Austrian manufacturer is offering three new versions of its Duke line in North America—the 390 Duke, the 990 Duke, and the 1390 Super Duke R Evo, alongside the unchanged 250 and 790 Dukes. I tested the new bikes on pavement that complimented each Duke’s strengths, from the narrow roads of the Sierra de Los Filabres mountains for the 390 to tight twists and turns for the 990, and finally the Almería Circuit for the 1390.

The 390 Duke

Right side dominant. The business parts of the 2024 KTM 390 Duke are visible from the right: shock, exhaust, and brakes. A lower seat height than the outgoing model, yet the engineers fit a larger airbox under the seat. A steel tank with a 3.9-gallon volume that’s good for about 250 miles. A five-inch TFT display and new electronics. A full LED headlight with a rather unusual look.

This year, KTM celebrated 30 years of the Duke. You can get yours in whatever displacement category you want.

The little Duke got a big improvement with the addition of a 43mm WP Apex open cartridge fork with compression and rebound adjustability, and that off-center WP Apex shock on the rear with rebound adjustability and spanner tool-adjustable preload. A quickshifter is optional on all the new-generation Dukes, but all of the test bikes had it. A slew of electronics. All said and done, 90% of the 390 Duke consists of new parts compared to the previous model. The 399cc next-generation engine is lighter and smaller, and has had its stroke increased to 64mm. It’s a compact powerplant, which KTM communicates with its designation: LC4c.

For us in North America, we might not get why KTM offers such an up-spec small displacement motorcycle, but in some parts of the world, this is the biggest suitable option. What I can’t believe is the price. For $5,899, you can have a super fun bike for short rips on the weekend, but you can also hit the highway for a multi-day tour. The little Duke is no slouch. There’s something very satisfying in riding a motorcycle to the max. Wring it out. Give it all the beans. This one is very agile, and the tighter the corner, the better. You don’t have to work hard to get it going where you want it to. Point and shoot.

Already a nimble motorcycle, the little Duke received lighter wheels and a new stiffer frame.

My 6-foot-2-inch frame fit surprisingly well on the motorcycle without cramping my legs or having issues with handlebar reach. I only ran out of real estate when I needed to fully tuck myself at high speed against a ridiculously strong headwind.

The 990 Duke

KTM gives nicknames to some of its bikes. The 2024 990 Duke is dubbed The Sniper. The 990 is a new platform with the equally new LC8c engine, which puts out 123 hp at 9,500 rpm and 76 lb-ft at 6,750 rpm.

The bike shares several updates with the other two, like the all-new stiffer chassis, lighter wheels, and a curved cast-aluminum swingarm with an off-center rear shock that’s as visually appealing as it is effective. By moving the shock, the engineers were able to make space for a new muffler. Most of the exhaust parts are hidden on the bottom. If the 390 was made out of 90% new parts, the 990 beats it with 96%.

The high-speed test in the mountains offered plenty of curves and switchbacks. The pavement was generally in great condition and the Bridgestone S22 tires held the line well. Riding at high speeds, it becomes crucial to have excellent feedback. According to KTM, the frame has 8% more side stiffness and 5% more torsional stiffness, but the swingarm stiffness was reduced by 35%. This adjustment was necessary to improve traction at the rear wheel. Handling and feel are excellent on the 990. All of my inputs translated exactly as I intended. A few times the rear stepped out when throttling out of a corner, but instead of unsettling the bike (or me), the motorcycle remained calm and on course.

The swingarm’s pivot point has changed from previous Duke models. With the frame now outside the swingarm bolt, the redesign offers higher side and torsional stiffness.

The new Dukes feature a five-inch, full-color TFT dash. Four buttons (up, down, select, and back) on the left grip control the easy-to-use menu. Instead of only words, KTM visualizes a lot of the menu, which makes it not only better looking but also easier to use—especially when in motion. Adjusting and switching between the three standard and two optional ride modes is quick. In an interesting business move, your KTM dealer can activate the Demo mode. In this mode, the rider has access to all of the optional software for free for the first 930 miles. I reckon that the majority who try the additional features will end up paying for them. Why buy a top-of-the-line motorcycle without giving it all that it’s capable of? Speaking of buying things, the 990 Duke’s MSRP is a humane $12,500.

The 1390 Super Duke R Evo

The Super Duke is still called The Beast—and for good reason. It puts out an insane amount of power, producing 190 hp at 10,000 rpm and 107 lb-ft of torque at 8,000 rpm. I’m glad the testing of this bike happened on the track and not a public road so I could really see what it’s capable of.

A key component that makes the 1390 the next best thing is the all-new cam shift valvetrain. You can even hear it around 6,000 rpm as a rattle, although that’s not the sexiest term to describe what is happening inside the motor to squeeze out 3.7 lb-ft more torque than the 1290. The cam shift technology allows for two separate valve lifts, depending on the rpm range, to keep engine weight down. It must’ve been hard to improve on the already roaring Beast since it features just 60% new parts. That might not sound like much in comparison, but it’s the type of changed parts that make the difference.

No matter which Duke you ride, hooliganisms are part of the fun. The new headlight illuminates the road much better.

The Almería Circuit is a fun track, but it has several blind corners. There’s nothing more comforting than leaning a missile on two wheels into the unknown. After a few laps of getting to know each corner, it became easier, but my heart skipped a beat in those curves nevertheless. It helps that The Beast is well planted in the turns. It’s a willing companion for speed demon shenanigans.

The track’s straight is a long one and I reached 160 mph without much fuss. At that speed with zero wind protection, I was just holding on and tightening every muscle in my body to try and keep my head between my shoulders. What a rush. And although it got to my top speed in a hurry, it’s really the midrange that makes the 1390 so appealing. Loads of torque are available in the midrange, meaning you don’t have to be a surgeon when it comes to shifting gears. Second, third, or fourth gear—for the average rider, it doesn’t really matter. The bike will pull you through the corner faster than you can say Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen.

With so much technology on this motorcycle, I would need half the magazine to detail everything. The third-generation WP Apex semi-active suspension is the company’s most advanced offering. The 1290 Super Duke GT I owned a few years ago was more at home in sweepers than bumpy three-digit county roads as the suspension wasn’t quite up to snuff in the Appalachian backcountry. The newest Super Duke felt perfect at all times.

The 1390 Super Duke R has a whopping 190 ponies available at 10,000 rpm and 107 lb-ft of torque at 8,000 rpm.

The 1390 Super Duke R Evo costs $21,499. It’s the ultimate naked bike for the rider with equal amounts of self-control and riding skill.

Final Thoughts

A cold snap and rain kept me from fully experiencing the 1390 on the track. With such a deep set of electronics, a full day would have been necessary to properly test the various combinations.

While they have several things in common, the three Dukes also have some interesting differences. The 390’s kill switch and starter button looked like the engineers and designers really worked together. For some reason, the 990 has a very plain toggle switch, much like we’ve seen for decades. The 1390 has about twice as many buttons and they look completely different than the ones on the smaller Dukes. They look like they belong in a fighter jet. The button feel was good and the look fits the personality of the Super Duke well, though.

KTM’s street demo tour allows you to take the three Dukes, as well as other models, for a test ride, and if you end up buying one, you’ll get a $500 voucher for parts or apparel.