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From looking at key rivals like the Kawa Z650, Yamaha FZ-07 and Suzuki SV650, it seems that this bike has a much better power to weight ratio. All of those bikes claim 70-75hp and weigh in around 400-450lbs. The Duke however makes roughly 29% more hp than any of these bikes.
 

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There is a reason why KTM is one of the fastest growing motorcycle manufacturers, and its because they continue to beat out well established rivals. While the additional power output is great, it's also very refined.
 

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to be fair you need to look at price points as well as options and performance when comparing bikes,
the 790 is a great bike, but when compared on price you would have to add bikes like the base model street triple which is lighter and has more power.
 

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I had a MV 800 triple for about 6 weeks, i fixed the diabolical rear shock, then the front felt crap. The engine was great if you like angry revy triples, i did a track day on it, and couldn't put in on the same piece of tarmac on each corner, it was so twitchy. My son did a 6 day tour on it with me on the GT, he loved it, but said passing tandem logging trucks and the quick shifter being hit and miss he had a few scary moments. But he loved the engine, as he came from owning a Triumph 675. My first test ride on the 790=torque=in low revs=love this engine. First roundabout, love the handling. I traded the MV on the 790. Did a track day a week later, and Oh boy, what a fantastic track day bike, i did 6-20 minute sessions (KTM only trackday) i could put the 790 anywhere on the tarmac i wanted consistently. the 790 is awesome fun. A mate is texting me at the mo for a 400km back road ride, just working out a fuel stop, 200kms of fast back roads and the 790 is needing a top up.
 

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2018 KTM,790 Duke, 2008 KTM RC8, 2008 Kawasaki KLE500
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I rode a Dragster 800 a few years back, before the Duke was around. It had a big grin factor but was bloody expensive and much less user friendly. I nearly bough a used one just before I bought the 790. The MT 09 was a good ride and I loved the engine but I didn't spend long enough on it to make an very informed opinion of it overall. I have never ridden a Street Triple and although they are supposed to be a great bike, I can't bring myself to sit on something so ugly. Looks like they have been thrown together from the parts bin.
 

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Did some highway pulls yesterday against my friends GSX-S750 and the 790 will walk it no problems.
We started at a fairly low speed and pulled on 2nd gear every time up to about 130mph or so.

The 790 engine is just marvellous, got massive low end grunt but it just keeps pulling to red line banging in gear after gear.

I understand its not why this bike was built but we figured hey, lets see which machine is quicker in a straight line.
 

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I would say the closest rival would be the Triumph Street Triple RS, similar electronics but with better suspension/brakes and tyres. The difference between the two is Australia is $3600. So you can always buy the 790 and spend 3k for the adjustable suspension/brake upgrades.
 

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i wonder how is few hundred miles with a pillion if is too much of a chore, the only fairly comfortable mid size naked for an occasional pillion seems the f800r
 
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