KTM has launched the 790 Duke in India at Rs 8.64 lakh (ex-showroom, India). Along with explosive performance, the Scalpel comes with a host of electronic rider aids, many that most of its rivals lack. The only other motorcycles in its class to pack similar levels of electronics gadgetry are the Triumph Street Triple RS and the Ducati Monster 821. The former commands a hefty price premium over the 790 Duke while the Monster 821 is not as much of a hot property as the Scalpel. As electronics are a major talking point on the 790, here’s a quick rundown of the bike’s electronic aids.
The 790 Duke gets four rider modes: Rain, Street, Sport and Track. These modes vary the engine’s throttle response, ABS intervention, traction control and to a certain extent, the ability of the bike to be on one wheel. How different are these modes from one another?
As the name suggests, Rain mode should ideally be your go-to mode when the heavens open up. The power is dialled down with smooth throttle response. Even traction control is locked in on the highest setting (level 9) with wheelie control fully active. KTM has specially developed the Maxxis Supermaxx ST tyres for the 790 Duke to provide optimum grip even in the wet. These grippy tyres plus the Rain mode should do a great job of keeping the rider in firm control of the bike in all circumstances. However, this mode might feel a bit too numb for the advanced rider. For that you have Street mode.
Meant for everyday riding, Street mode gives you full power but with linear throttle response. The lean-sensing traction control intervention is set to level 8 (one rung higher than what you get in Rain mode). Anti-wheelie always remains active. This level would make the 790 Duke feel solidly capable to hoon around within city limits without turning into a hooligan.
Things begin to get serious here as the Sport mode provides a near-direct throttle response with the engine’s full capacity ready to rip when called upon. Traction control is dialled down further to level 6 for you to really start enjoying what the 790 Duke is all about. Although anti-wheelie remains active, we figure that this mode could see you popping some small wheelies, which should not cause any nervy moments.
Track mode is no joke here and we recommend you use this mode only for the, well, race track. Here you have full control on throttle sensitivity, traction control levels and anti-wheelie. You can choose between 3 throttle sensitivity modes: Track, Sport and Street. Also, you can now choose between 9 levels of traction control intervention and switch off anti-wheelie to channelize your inner Rok Bagoros. This mode also allows you to use the launch control to launch the 790 Duke in the quickest possible way with the least drama. It is used in race starts where a quick and clean getaway helps.
Apart from the ride modes, the 790 Duke gets cornering ABS. This setup also factors lean angles to give you more control even under hard braking in corners. Like the 390 Duke, you can switch off ABS or switch to Supermoto mode. This mode switches off ABS on the rear wheel so you can lock up the rear wheel and back it into corners.
The 790 Duke gets a bi-directional quickshifter that allows for both clutchless upshifts and downshifts. While shifting down the gearbox, the quickshifter rev matches the engine speed to that of the next lower gear. A kind of an auto-blipper really.