Spy shots indicate two hot new KTM bikes may be on the way. The KTM Duke 800 promises to pick up with the 690 leaves off, with more performance and fewer vibes. KTM’s new sub-brand, Husqvarna, is also testing production versions of those beautiful retro cafe racer concepts from last year.
These spy shots were found in the German magazine Motorrad, and then shared on one of our favorite online forums, ADVRider.com. (I can’t post these photos, but you can see them over there.) I’ve been hearing rumblings of some mid-displacement twins from the Austrians for the past several weeks and, if this is any indication of what’s to come, I’d say this should should be a fun launch season.
The rumor mill is full of all sorts of tasty tidbits, most of which are actually quite plausible given recent moves by the Austrian brand. The KTM Duke 800 should come in under 200 kg (440 lbs), have a WP fork, Brembo brakes, and a direct, frame mounted rear shock (non-linkage type). It will feature an all-new, 800cc parallel-twin (as those are lighter and typically cheaper to make than the V-twins in the 1190 and 1290) which will have a 270 degree firing order and make somewhere in the neighborhood of 110 hp. The bikes will be made in Mattighofen, Austria and should retail somewhere around 10,000 EUR ($11,500 U.S.).
Don’t get me wrong, the KTM Duke 690 is a fantastic motorcycle. It changes direction almost telepathically and sits atop the class of naked canyon carvers, but there is one major problem with it. It’s powered by a giant, 690cc single-cylinder engine that vibrates like a motherfucker. Sitting on the highway to get the twisties becomes an exercise in holding onto the bike as loosely as possible for fear it will tickle you off or put your hands, feet and ass to sleep.
On the flip side of things, KTM has been putting massive twins in bikes like the 1190 Adventure and 1290 SuperDuke — two bikes that, as far as I’m concerned, blow the competition out of the water. Their combination of power, performance, and smoothness make them the ultimate machines in their respective communities. Now, those of us who love those bikes, but don’t need that power, size, or price tag can join in on the fun. Without going numb.
As we mentioned, the Husqvarna 401 SVARTPILEN and VITPILEN concepts were unveiled at the EICMA show last November. Then, in January, news was released that the bikes would be released for 2017.
The spy shots of these test units show a bike that looks...surprisingly a lot like the concept bike. As we already know, these bikes are built using the KTM Duke 390 motor and frame, which is to say that they will be awesome little machines, now made pretty. Sounds like a winning combination to me.
I guess this means new bike season is finally upon us.