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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there!

I just purchased a 890 Duke R that was delivered to me a month ago but am very disappointed with how it runs around town.

It's jerky to the point that you can feel the engine jerking the bike irregularly on anything less 3000rpm/30mph. It is clearly noticeable for example even running without throttle in 1st at 7/9mph. I booked it to be seen by a ktm garage (the dealer is far away unfortunately), could anyone let me know if they have a similar experience? At higher speeds/rpm seems fine. I test rode an 890 Adventure a while ago and seemed very smooth in comparison.

Thanks in advance
 

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I don’t have any issues with my bike in traffic or around town. The 890r is pretty easy bike to manage. But then again I have 2 stoke dirtbike knowledge so I’d just slip the clutch without thinking if it was being jerky, but I can’t say I’ve ever thought about it. The 790s have a reputation for being jerky.
 

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I cannot say that my 890R feels jerky.
In fact, your description perfectly fits with the test ride I had with the 790 a couple of years ago. Did not buy it ...
The engine on the 890R behaves differently at low revs (and the bike is now in my garage ...).
You might want to pay a visit to the dealer and also test the demo bike there, if any !
 

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The Duke is not a bike that is suitable for parading with the Pope. At 30mph you would have to be in 3rd or 4th to maintain a steady throttle setting - anything under 3000rpm is just not enough.
As for zero throttle at 7-9mph, I have not tried that, but I am pretty sure that my bike will not like that either.
 

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Herky jerky...sounds like a country song.

Next to crap suspension, the jerky throttle was the number one complaint on the FZ09 forum early in it's production run.

I bought a new 2014 FZ09 so I can attest to the super sensitive throttle response that was fairly common with the ride by wire fueling systems back then.

The 790/890 Duke is nowhere near the level of jerky as the FZ09 so forgive me if I am not too sympathetic.

Modern bikes do just about everything for us. ABS, traction control, wheelie control, cruise control, quick shifter, heated seat and grips, electric windshield, and the list goes on and on.

My riding skills were developed on 1950's and 1960's vintage bikes. Those suckers were Primitive Pete, old school Fred Flintstone technology motorcycles. Those bikes did nothing for you automatically. You had to learn to adapt your riding technique to compensate for their sub par engines and chassis. Those old turds taught me many lessons that I still apply to my riding today.

The FZ09's jerky throttle was tamed by strict right hand discipline and running the next higher gear to make the ride much more smooth. Pretty sure these same techniques will apply to your 790/890 to produce a smoother ride.
 

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Check the chain tension and for any mega tight spots. If the chain is shot it’ll do that. Wasn’t sure if you bought it brand new but they put cheaper chains on these bikes, mine has a few tight spots already at 3100 miles and I clean and lube it religiously with high grade products. But also like everyone else has said the engine isn’t really happy at 3,000 RPMs or below. May just need to adapt your riding style to it.
 

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Not a problem I've experienced but I could see how it could happen based on the light weight of the bike paired with such a torquey motor. If it REALLY bothers you, I might suggest you toss a Rekluse autoclutch in it with medium/soft springs. I use it because I have 1-arm and can't operate the clutch but it definitely helps smooth things out at/near idle rpm.

Outside that, as suggested above, make sure your chain isn't too loose, the 790/890 require a fairly tight chain slack - so tight that I was hassled in tech at a track day until a mechanic friend chimed in that that's just how these bikes (and some other KTMs) operate.

Lastly, (and again, as other suggested) try different ride modes and gear selection. When I want to casually putt around town I will sometimes put it in rain mode so that I can be lazy with throttle control without worrying about the bike acting like an over eager puppy that know's it's about to go on a walk or to the park.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the answers!

Just to be clear, the problem isn't that the throttle is snatchy/abrupt, not related to riding modes at all.

If I leave the bike going in 1st with no throttle, the bike pull is irregular, if feels like you are hitting small bumps, as the bike will slow down and pull again in quick succession, don't know how to explain. Whether it's the engine doing it or anything between the engine and wheel, although the engine rpm doesn't sound irregular so I'm assuming it's not that. I just wanted to check with any 890R owners if in the same situation (no throttle 1st gear at 9mph), they get a constant pull from the bike with no irregularities.

Anyway I have an appointment in a week to get it checked at a dealership, hopefully they can figure out what it is..
 

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Hi there!
I just purchased a 890 Duke R that was delivered to me a month ago but am very disappointed with how it runs around town.

It's jerky to the point that you can feel the engine jerking the bike irregularly on anything less 3000rpm/30mph. It is clearly noticeable for example even running without throttle in 1st at 7/9mph. I booked it to be seen by a ktm garage (the dealer is far away unfortunately), could anyone let me know if they have a similar experience? At higher speeds/rpm seems fine. I test rode an 890 Adventure a while ago and seemed very smooth in comparison.

Thanks in advance
Here*s the thing.
1) The R8c engine is a twin with an asynchronous firing cycle and fairly low rotational mass. It pretty much needs an ECU to tick over at all. But it makes the 890R a rev-monster.
2) All digital management systems have a built in issue at low throttle. There is no smooth step between 0% and whatever comes next. On light bikes this binary action is more palpable.
3) The 890 Adventure has 20% rotational mass in the engine - Guess why.
4) Chain tension is important. Too loose is obvious. But too tight and you will knacker the gearbox output shat seal. Check as per manual - ALWAYS.

I have a 790D. Putting a smaller front sprocket on WILL improve low revs throttle control-ability.
 

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890r gets better with age. Huge improvement after break-in service and even better after first annual service. Have no idea why though. I just had my first annual service done(after fitting ScS1 slip on a month ago) and it now rides the way I imagine Moto GP bikes ride. Very confidence inspiring through on/off throttle. Actually, if I can try explain it, I feel a little nervous adjusting to how low I can take the revs down on a slow corner. The exhaust note on slow corners feels like it could stall but just pulls out the other side smoothly. It feels like the tune is being tweeked at each service and the motor adapts to its circumstances. Thoroughly enjoying it at the moment.
 

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890r gets better with age. Huge improvement after break-in service and even better after first annual service. Have no idea why though. I just had my first annual service done(after fitting ScS1 slip on a month ago) and it now rides the way I imagine Moto GP bikes ride. Very confidence inspiring through on/off throttle. Actually, if I can try explain it, I feel a little nervous adjusting to how low I can take the revs down on a slow corner. The exhaust note on slow corners feels like it could stall but just pulls out the other side smoothly. It feels like the tune is being tweeked at each service and the motor adapts to its circumstances. Thoroughly enjoying it at the moment.
Same with my 790. The more miles I put on it, the smoother it got. Street mode is smooth as butter at any revs - so is sport mode albeit not quite as smooth at low revs (below about 3k).
 

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Hi there!

I just purchased a 890 Duke R that was delivered to me a month ago but am very disappointed with how it runs around town.

It's jerky to the point that you can feel the engine jerking the bike irregularly on anything less 3000rpm/30mph. It is clearly noticeable for example even running without throttle in 1st at 7/9mph. I booked it to be seen by a ktm garage (the dealer is far away unfortunately), could anyone let me know if they have a similar experience? At higher speeds/rpm seems fine. I test rode an 890 Adventure a while ago and seemed very smooth in comparison.

Thanks in advance
I found this with my 790 Duke - I installed the Coober ECU mod, open air box and wings slip on - also the fact is that in
town I put the bike into RAIN mode it smooths it out perfectly and put in sport mode once I hit the roads I thrive and live for - works great and its an easy no cost fix
 

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Here*s the thing.
1) The R8c engine is a twin with an asynchronous firing cycle and fairly low rotational mass. It pretty much needs an ECU to tick over at all. But it makes the 890R a rev-monster.
2) All digital management systems have a built in issue at low throttle. There is no smooth step between 0% and whatever comes next. On light bikes this binary action is more palpable.
3) The 890 Adventure has 20% rotational mass in the engine - Guess why.
4) Chain tension is important. Too loose is obvious. But too tight and you will knacker the gearbox output shat seal. Check as per manual - ALWAYS.

I have a 790D. Putting a smaller front sprocket on WILL improve low revs throttle control-ability.
very much on point on the response/reply - thanks you said it all perfectly- I've found everything you've said to
be true. == my fix in town is to go to RAIN mode and then move onto Sport Mode when I am out of town works great that way -
 

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This may seem a bit counterintuitive but have you tried the same thing in 2nd gear? I have a few floors in our parking building and find 2nd smoother than 1st even at low speeds (with a bit of clutch)

Also I’m not sure on the answer for this but does the ride mode affect closing the throttle as well as opening I.e cutting the throttle in sports mode vs rain mode giving a more immediate and potentially jerkier response? Never really thought about it before
 

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I found this with my 790 Duke - I installed the Coober ECU mod, open air box and wings slip on
Stephano - Try putting the KTM filter box cover back on - I find it better (overall). The open top box lid does improve mid range - 100% agreed. But you do lose some top end "grunt".
I too run a COOBER and Wings.
 

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My 390 used to do it from new, any manoeuvring required the clutch half in to smooth it out. Fitted a Rapid Bike Easy and it's much better now. It richens the fuel mixture.
Don't know if there's an 890 version 🤔
 
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