MCN is running a photo today that a Austrian KTM enthusiast supposedly snapped at at gas station just down the street from the Austrian company’s Mattighofen headquarters. Coming across what looks to be an early-prototype of the 2012 KTM 690 Duke, we have at least a rough idea of what KTM will likely unveil at EICMA later this year.
Expected to be a few horsepower up on its predecessor, the ~70hp 2012 KTM 690 Duke has always been an urban wheelie machine that KTM would be hard-pressed to improve upon. The most notable changes so far appear to be a new headlight, a more pronounced pillion, and standard exhaust placement, along with a revised chassis and motor.
We’ll have to reserve judgment before actually seeing the machine in person, but one of our favorite parts of the current KTM 690 Duke was the underslung exhaust pipe. Likely having to tackle stricter European pollution controls, the two-part muffler design shown here helps address that issue, although not in the most pleasing of manners. Hopefully the mismatched wheels and all black paint job is a sign that the design-side of the bike is still in flux, and this side-mounted pipe isn’t a permanent element. It probably is though.
The headlight for many will be an improvement over the original design. Though we’d have to tend to agree here, one of the things that have always set KTMs apart has been the standard “face only a mother could love” mantra that seems to permeate through the brand. Like a motorcycling solar eclipse, if you stare at them long enough, you start to go blind to the blunt edges and appreciate the design. The new headlight looks like something straight off a dual-sport though, which may have been just what was laying around the office and not a final design element.
The more we ponder this idea, the more likely that seems to be the case, as we doubt KTM would want to tip that much of the final design this far away from EICMA. As always though, time will tell. Stay tuned KTM fans, as this might a sign that the Austrian company is getting hip to the “spy shot” before release idea that’s been going around the motorcycle industry lately…not that we’re complaining about seeing new bikes.