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Besides the intermittent turn signal issue (dangerous), my 790 is leaking from the valve cover gasket on both left and right sides. With only 3600 miles on, I'm pretty sure it the VCG has never been removed since assembly at the factory in Austria.I feel for the owners of the Chineses built bikes. My Indian built 390 Duke is a hoot to ride, but the gas cap still doesn't align correctly and that's been replaced under warranty. The kickstand nearly fell off after a week of ownership, and the computer and clock are pure gobbledegook. Made in India. Almost expected. But not from Made in Austria.

Engineering is one thing; build quality and after the sale service entirely another. No doubt, their bikes are unique and very fun to ride, but the older I get, the less tolerant I am of poor quality - both in manufacturing and especially in after the sale customer service - and I'm not talking about the dealer here. Reputation is valuable currency. It can take a long time to accumulate, but can be squandered very quickly.
My experience is the exact opposite. I had a 200 Duke that I used as a commuter for five years. Not one issue. Same with my 790 Duke, not one issue in nearly three years (a couple of minor things fixed at first service). Prior to the 790, I owned a number of BMs, the last being a 1200GSA. Compared to the BMs, the 790 is miles more fun, way more reliable and, if anything, better built (the 1200gsa had recall after recall, the last one before I sold it was to stop the diff fracturing and falling off the bike).
 

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I suppose it’s all about perception , I don’t think a few leaks are a big problem especially on a new model. Let’s face it there’s been a lot of new models from all manufacturers that are definite lemons with unfixable problems.
 

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I suppose it’s all about perception , I don’t think a few leaks are a big problem especially on a new model. Let’s face it there’s been a lot of new models from all manufacturers that are definite lemons with unfixable problems.
Yep the 790 has had a few minor problems but gee I've had considerably worse problems with Japanese bikes especially Suzuki and Kawasaki models with Suzuki being so bad I would never buy another one.
 

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I'm considering these 3 bikes: 2020 leftover 790 Duke ($9,700 + $1,200 fees), 2021 890 Duke ($10,999 + $1,200 fees) and 2021 MT-09 SP ($10,999 + $1,200 fees). For canyon riding, zero commute, no track duty. Which one do you think would be the most reliable? I worry about the MT-09 due to a 'new' (as in significantly revised) engine, but what about the KTMs? A 2020 790 had at least 1 year of production (2019), but need to check the build date of the only one left tomorrow. The 890 is also in its 2nd year, right? Did KTM fix whatever issues the 790 was having? My issue with KTM is the MUCH reduced amount of dealers, vs Yamaha. But let's hear some comments on that.

Finally, do KTMs have a freaking immobilizer? I asked a dealer salesman today, and he said they just have a simple key. After reading the horror stories with the immobilizer on Triumph Street Triples, I don't want one... and turns out the KTM has that too? Disappointing. Hope the SP doesn't have that. It does have cruise control over the KTMs, and a remote preload, but everything else is about the same, including up/down QS, lean-angle ABS/TCS/etc.
 

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I'm considering these 3 bikes: 2020 leftover 790 Duke ($9,700 + $1,200 fees), 2021 890 Duke ($10,999 + $1,200 fees) and 2021 MT-09 SP ($10,999 + $1,200 fees). For canyon riding, zero commute, no track duty. Which one do you think would be the most reliable? I worry about the MT-09 due to a 'new' (as in significantly revised) engine, but what about the KTMs? A 2020 790 had at least 1 year of production (2019), but need to check the build date of the only one left tomorrow. The 890 is also in its 2nd year, right? Did KTM fix whatever issues the 790 was having? My issue with KTM is the MUCH reduced amount of dealers, vs Yamaha. But let's hear some comments on that.

Finally, do KTMs have a freaking immobilizer? I asked a dealer salesman today, and he said they just have a simple key. After reading the horror stories with the immobilizer on Triumph Street Triples, I don't want one... and turns out the KTM has that too? Disappointing. Hope the SP doesn't have that. It does have cruise control over the KTMs, and a remote preload, but everything else is about the same, including up/down QS, lean-angle ABS/TCS/etc.
The Yamaha will be most reliable no doubt
 

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If you're dependent on service agents - Then that is a major factor.

I have two KTM dealers within a 20 mile radius. I don't know where the nearest Yamaha dealer is - I simply have not looked as I generally prefer European (Italian generally) bikes. I have always ridden "exotic" bikes - I tend to have to learn to care for them personally anyway. Don't think I have even ridden a Japanese bike since 1990. My loss maybe.

The KTM does indeed have a key lock and it's a simple on off. BUT there is an RFID tag in the key and it does communicate with an RFID reader under the tank. So yes has an immobilizer. Some folk have had issues - but very few I think. You're going to find that most modern bikes have them, as otherwise the insurance companies boost premiums hugely. Here most companies would actually rather not insure KTM's - I was told they are high on the "go missing" list.

890 or 890R ? - it matters.

2020 790 vs earlier ones - is basically a colour change.

The whole 790/890 thing is a bit of a confusion (imo), but a good part of the capacity swap is due to the whole emmisions thing.

It was easy to get a slightly smaller but revvy engine past EU4 and easier to get a marginally less revvy slightly larger engine through EU5. For general use I'd go with a 790 because all the gizmos are included. On the 890's add the extras and see what the final price is.

All bikes can have issues - My 790 has had one or two - but it came to me pre-owned and KTM sorted everything FOC. The 790 I think was also KTM's way of getting the bike out there - having it fully "real world" tested with slightly less engine stress.
 

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On the 890's add the extras and see what the final price is.
The 890 also has everything from the factory... but dealer has to 'unlock' the quick-shifter and added modes (track mode). And of course they charge you dearly for that. A scam IMO, but it is what it is. By the way, I despise all dealers, so I don't touch one (car or bike) unless I absolutely have to. But if you have an electronic issue that you can't resolve, you need to take it in, and that's when you want a dealer close by. Or your trip could be completely ruined. On my MT-10, I got a CEL as soon as I opened up the engine the first time. It was a tight exhaust valve cable, but was able to find an adapter to connect to the service port, and pulled the code. Fixed it myself in half an hour, after obtaining the specs from the service manual (also available online). Now that you touched on the maintenance subject, is there such an adapter to be able to pull codes from KTMs with a code reader? Hope so. Thank you.
JC
 

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The 890 also has everything from the factory... but dealer has to 'unlock' the quick-shifter and added modes (track mode). And of course they charge you dearly for that. A scam IMO, but it is what it is.
You missed my point. KTM not the dealer charge you for that. And on the 790 they all came ready to rock at no extra cost. With the exception of CC which was not even an option (sadly).

You do have another option - Find a decent used 790 and see if you like the bikes - This is what I did. If you then decide you NEED the extra horses, go for it.

There are adapter cables for KTM's and code readers. Amazon is full of them.
 
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