KTM CEO Stefan Pierer has already publicly tipped that the Austrian brand is hard at work on a new middleweight engine, one that will exist alongside the current 790 platform.
From those comments, the notion is that KTM is working on a 500cc platform for a range of models, which is likely to debut in a few years’ time. We also expect to see a KTM 790 SMT supermoto-styled bike debut later this year at EICMA, which should round out the 790 platform.
But, could another engine platform be in the works? That’s what our Bothan spies are telling us.
The new engine is said to be an 890cc version of the current 790 parallel-twin platform, which is actually a 799cc lump.
By our expectations, this 90cc increase in displacement is likely to come from a larger bore and longer stroke inside the same crankcases as the current 790 lineup.
What this engine could power is up for debate. In the world where “bigger is better”, this could mean a mid-model refresh for the KTM 790 Duke and KTM 790 Adventure, though both of those bikes are far too new for us to be expecting refreshes to their offerings and specs.
Perhaps the motor is being built to go into the expected SMT model, which doesn’t grab us as terribly logical, though it would help the bike better compete against the Ducati Hypermotard 950, which will be a head-to-head competitor.
Perhaps the engine will power bikes in other segments, or just as easily, maybe KTM is really hoping to flood the space, and will have yet another stepping stone lineup of machines, this time between its 790 and 1090 platforms.
The details are quite fuzzy at this time, that is for sure, but we are intrigued by what the Austrians have brewing.
While the 790 lineup is very stout, and packs amazing features for the price, we certainly wouldn’t mind a little more juice out of the tailpipe on bikes like the KTM 790 Duke.
While the 103hp from the KTM 790 Duke is a modest amount, and keeps the bike fun, another 10hp, 15hp, or even 20hp could really put the bike on the map as the ultimate street bike, and hit that Goldilocks zone of power, handling, and electronics.
That being said, maybe this is the first trickle of news for what we expect to be a 2020 release of the “R” version of the new Duke. We have been expecting a KTM 790 Duke R all this time, but maybe it is really a KTM 890 Duke R? We’re just spitballing at this point.
It is certainly early days still on this rumor, and hopefully our other Bothans can supply us with some more info. Stay tuned.
Source: Bothan spies