Howdy from the Western Slope - 2018 KTM 790 Duke Forum
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  • 1 Post By steampunk#230
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Howdy from the Western Slope

Greetings, forum members.

I'm searching for what might be my last new bike. I usually buy second hand, but I want to have this bike awhile. Plus, the 790 Duke hasn't been around that long.

Just last year I sold my 2008 KTM 300 XCW. I really enjoyed riding dirt bikes again, especially in the Colorado Rockies. The KTM was an amazing bike in its class, and I had personalized it to suit an older fella (64 yo now). The KTMs seem so well engineered, with a lot of thought put into the bikes. One small point, an 8mm bolt can have three different bolt head (wrench) sizes: 12mm, 13mm, or 14mm. I've had machines with all three! All the 8mm bolts on the KTM were 13mm wrench size. Very handy on an enduro bike, no need to carry extra tools. Only two things about the bike as far as niggles. The rear wheel bearing on the sprocket side wore out ad nauseum. Of course, it's the loaded side. But could have used a larger bearing or had two bearings (like Honda). The other was the easy access airbox. Being on the side of the bike as opposed to the top, under the seat, it would swamp quite easily in deep water crossings. On an enduro bike this seems problematic, but KTM sticks to their guns on this design.

I hadn't really considered this KTM as a future bike until I read Geoff from NZ's blog on his swap from a Suzuki GSX to the KTM 790 Duke over on the Suzuki GSXS forum. His comments made me realize I had gotten off track in my search. Originally looking for a lightweight naked bike, my quest had morphed into a nod toward liter class inline fours of the big four Japanese manufacturers. I'm currently (well, not exactly, it's snowing outside) riding a '99 BMW K1200LT that I bought from a friend to see if I would still enjoy street riding. The riding last summer was great and I determined I must find myself a worthy steed. This motorcycle has taught me that I don't want a heavy bike (about 833#), I'm not in love with the fairings/bodywork, and I don't require Samsonite luggage.

I'm attracted to the lightweight of the Duke. I'm not the man I once was, so weight is a factor for me.

I'm 6'2" (used to be 6'3", oh well) tall and 195 pounds. So the ergos of this bike seem workable.

The power seems fine. All bikes have less than advertised at Rocky Mountain elevations. All my riding will be between 4500 and 12000 feet.

The bike is a bit of a hot rod, without the intimidation factor of the 1290 Super Duke.

And, I guess I'm a bit of a KTM fan.

So, I've joined this forum to learn all I can regarding The Scalpel. Thank you in advance for sharing your experiences/opinions.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 01:49 PM
J D

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Thanks a ton for joining us, and welcome to the Team..!

I rode a friends KTM 300 2 smoker, and maaan, that's a fun DB!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 02:32 PM
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Thanks Steampunk and good for you! Yep, it's sometimes easy to mislead ourselves about what we really want from a bike. I bought the GSX-S 1000 on a whim and never fell in love with it. Competent bike but it had no character. At the beginning of March, I'll have owned the 790 for 12 months and it still makes me smile every time I throw a leg over it. I also pat it every time I walk past it in the shed. I guess that says everything, doesn't it? Hope you will end up feeling the same.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 10:18 PM
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From the western slope

As I accumulated years, I down-sized from FJR1300 cross-country and two-up exemplary motorcycle, to an FJ-09 triple and then to the KTM 790 Duke. I also shrunk from 6'3" to 6'2" and average about 210 geared up for riding.
My wife no longer rides with me and I tire too readily for cross country rides, so the 790 has been a success. I did add the factory rack for an RKA bag for the occasional multi-day ride. My longest ride to date to Yosemite from Bay Area was pure pleasure and back roads around here make the Duke shine. I could use another inch of legroom but do not want the seat higher relative to the bars. Enjoy.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-30-2020, 01:57 AM
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Welcome Steampunk. I am a middle-weight convert. And this bike is the right balance of agility and all-day comfort. And really more power than you'll need on the street. You'll love it.
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2019 KTM Duke 790
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-30-2020, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks J D. The 300 was a blast! Mine was originally a 250, until I installed the KTM 300 kit from the Power Parts Catalog. Transformed the single track riding. People would ask me how much faster it was than the 250, and I'd tell them it wasn't. The 250 actually seemed faster on more open trails, more frenetic, faster revving. The 300 was unstoppable, me on the other hand... The low end grunt was perfect for the type of mountain riding I was doing. Sad to see it go, but it was time.
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