2018 KTM 790 Duke “The Scalpel” Officially Launched

  • The KTM 790 Duke “The Scalpel” has been officially launched in Malaysia.

  • KTM Malaysia is excited as they now have a bike to fill the gap between the 690 Duke and 1290 Super Duke R.

  • The first batch of bikes have been sold out.


After much waiting and anticipation, KTM Malaysia has launched the KTM 790 Duke, nicknamed “The Scalpel” today (4th July 2018) to the motoring media at their Lifestyle Showroom in Kota Damansara.

We have since published the sneak preview prior to this launch. Please click on the link below for more information.

2018 KTM 790 Duke: “The Scalpel” First Look

The KTM 790 Duke is slated to plug the gap between the 690 Duke and the “supernaked” 1290 Super Duke R in the Duke naked bike lineup, which starts from the 125 Duke (not available in Malaysia).

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

As we reported previously, the 790 Duke is the result of extensive research, as KTM wanted to build a motorcycle that is as close to perfect as possible. In fact, the 790 Duke’s R&D included 250 people, 111,111 manhours, 604,800 km of dyno endurance testing, 900,000 km of road endurance testing, 18 prototypes and test mules, and a total of 3 years.

The heart of the 790 Duke is the all-new LC8c 799cc, DOHC, 8-valve, liquid-cooled parallel-Twin. The use of the parallel-Twin engine is unprecedented for KTM. KTM had wanted a compact, lightweight motorcycle yet powerful, hence settling on the LC8c, rather than overboring the present 690 Duke or sleeving down the 75o V-Twin from the 1050 Adventure.

As a result, the new engine is only taller by the cylinder head cover compared to the KTM 390 Duke. To illustrate this fact, KTM Malaysia showed us slide of the engine silhouetted against the engines of other motorcycles of the same class. In fact, no one could believe their eyes when we saw just how compact the new engine is in the motorcycle!

LC8c engine

The LC8c produced 105 bhp @ 9000 RPM and 87 Nm of torque at 8000 RPM. 70 Nm of that torque is already available from as low as 3250 RPM.

The engine also features a host of new philosophy for KTM’s engines, especially the split cylinder, crankcase and transmission, in the name of simplicity besides ease of maintenance and repair.


The media briefing also highlighted the new brakes, made by Spanish brake specialist J.Juan. KTM AG had wanted brakes that suited the 790 Duke’s characteristics perfectly but they could only obtain off-the-shelve products from Brembo, hence the joint development with J.Juan. J.Juan is a smaller company and are able to customize the brakes to KTM’s specific requirements.


Also to rehash, the bike features an entire collection of KTM’s rider aid and electronics package, including the new TFT screen, Quickshifter+, Motor Slip Regulation (MSR), Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC), Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) with Cornering ABS. Ride modes are RAIN, STREET, SPORT, TRACK.

KTM Malaysia allowed the assembled media the opportunity for a short test ride around the compound.

The KTM 790 Duke is sleek, narrow and the lack of weight was immediately noticeable. In fact, it felt a lot like riding the 390 Duke, with more power and awesomely powerful brakes. The quickshifter worked quickly, auto-blipping the throttle on the downshift even at low RPM to eliminate real wheel chatter or lock up. Speed picked up quickly and the suspension was in the right zone without the need for extra adjustments.

We hope to test ride the bike for a full review soon, so stay tuned! In the meantime, please click on the link below to witness Chris Fillimore riding the KTM 790 Duke “The Scalpel” to win and setting a new record at the punishing and dangerous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb event on its first trip out.