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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
I don't know if any of you already know this, but I'm one of the staff editors at Motorcycle.com. We've had the 790 in our stable for seven months, largely in my garage. When we keep a bike for this long, we generally write a long-term review. For this review, though, I've gone beyond the typical write up into modifications and will continue with several more articles about the Duke. I've fallen so in love with the 790 that I've asked KTM for permission to buy it when we are through testing it. This is only the second time in 20+ years of writing about motorcycles that I've felt that I had to own a bike I've tested. (The last time was the 2003 Yamaha R6.) That's what a special machine the 790 is.

So, here's the link to the article:

https://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/ktm/live-with-this-2019-ktm-790-duke-long-term-review.html
 

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Thank you for sharing, Evans, an excellent read.
I really appreciate how you were clear about the huge benefits of this bike as well as the oil & coolant leak that have plagued quite a few fellow 790D'rs. Those two issues seem minor to me now. Interesting that your first bike had a upper knock. I've often wondered if they prep bikes special, for members of the Press?

Seems like you're having a real blast via the track day and daily spirited rides, those points alone really sell the bike to us all.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As far as special prep of bike for journalists is concerned, it goes the full gamut. I’ve seen bikes that idle like race bikes that I suspected were cheaters. (Though I could never prove it, and we’re long past the height of the sportbike wars.) Others have come with improper set up that I fixed in my own garage. With the problem of the first 790, KTM’s US press staff is quite small, and I think they were overloaded with getting a dozen bikes ready for the media launch. Since the bike had a noisy top end from the beginning, I just thought that it was a noisy design – until it got worse. Then we called and asked.

I’m having a blast with the Duke, and I’ve already told KTM that I want to buy my test unit. This is only the second time in over 20 years of testing bikes that I’ve done this. The last time was 16 years ago with my 2003 R6. That’s how special this bike is.
 

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did you have the akra map on your 790 before you dynoed it? i also like the akra exhaust because it looks OEM lol
 

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can you go into a bit more detail about how you found the counter-balance seal leak and how you fixed it? can you fix it without draining the oil?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
can you go into a bit more detail about how you found the counter-balance seal leak and how you fixed it? can you fix it without draining the oil?
I found the leak by taking the countershaft sprocket cover off and looking for the source of oil. I have not replaced it yet. Right now, I'm just cleaning the engine after rides and checking the oil level frequently. I'll be taking it to KTM's press fleet for repair early next month to get it prepped for a sport-touring shootout on Motorcycle.com.

Yes, you can fix it without draining the oil. Just lean the bike on something to keep the oil on the other side of the engine.There are a few videos on YT showing how easy it is to replace. Take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ktm+countershaft+seal+replacement
 

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Thanks for the link. Very good write-up and a lot of useful information.

I will definitely keep an eye on some of the issues you mentioned in the article. I am at the 1,000 miles mark and have still not encountered any issues. I am probably not riding it as hard, though. No track days yet and pretty docile riding, altogether. Two things that I might change before they hit the required service limits are the front pads and the tires. I love the Dunlop Q's for a few generations already. I would like a little more initial bite and less lever effort with the braking.

Please keep us posted on the next steps!
 

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Awesome review Evan. I too haven't had any major engine issues with mine (currently sitting on approx. 1,500 km) as yet although I have noticed I sometimes can't switch my indicator button to the left. Mentioned it to my KTM service centre when it went in on its first service but as usual the fault couldn't be replicated. I was told to keep an eye on it and of course a number of times since the service it has happened again. It concerns me as I might upset someone behind me or cause an accident if I need to turn left and can't indicate. The only way to get it to work is by pressing the button a few times then push it to the right (not good if I want to go left) and then I'm able to switch it across to the left. Not sure if anyone else has had this issue?


I've also notice a bit of rear brake oil splatter coming from the reservoir but I suspect that's my fault when I changed the cap to the orange KTM Powerparts cap. Will check it this weekend to make sure the rubber seal inside is seated correctly.



As for the bike itself, like you I absolutely LOVE the 790 Duke. As much as I would love a 1290 Super Duke R I think that bike is impractical for a daily commuter whereas the 790 has proven to be the perfect sweet spot for me. I also own a Duke 200 which is brand new (2016 model - couldn't get a 2017 or 18 here in Darwin) and occasionally ride it to keep it ticking over. That bike is a perfect learners bike which is going to my son who wants to get his motorcycle license soon. :)
 

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I found the leak by taking the countershaft sprocket cover off and looking for the source of oil. I have not replaced it yet. Right now, I'm just cleaning the engine after rides and checking the oil level frequently. I'll be taking it to KTM's press fleet for repair early next month to get it prepped for a sport-touring shootout on Motorcycle.com.

Yes, you can fix it without draining the oil. Just lean the bike on something to keep the oil on the other side of the engine.There are a few videos on YT showing how easy it is to replace. Take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ktm+countershaft+seal+replacement
thank you sir
 

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I don't know if any of you already know this, but I'm one of the staff editors at Motorcycle.com. {...}
I read that article last week and I found it very informative and well written! Thank you very much and keep up the good work. Enjoy the bike!
 

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EvansB2

I am with you =- I've owned more than 20 bikes over the past 30 years of riding - I've owned several Ducati's, BMW's and 5 KTM road bikes along with a GXXR 1000 and Honda RC 51 thrown into the mix. Not a bike in there that I don't like

BUT this bike is the best I've ever owned, bar none - not the fastest of the group but for a daily ride and all around great bike this is it. The engineers did an amazing job in getting this bike on the road.

The single change I did was to install the Coober ECU mod along with Wings pipe and open air box cover. Its called option 2 at Wings. It changed the bike dramatically, freeing the engine up and eliminating most any sign of surging and off balanced fuel air mixture. Plus the Wings looks and sounds awesome.

The suspension, power delivery, brakes transmission clutch etc are all spot on - I couldn't be happier. At 79 next month it might be my last bike unless of course KTMN comes out ( as rumored) with an 890 Duke.

Steven
 
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