• Sarah Merrell

Kicking It on a KTM Duke 790

There's not much in life I enjoy more than trying out different motorcycles, so when my friend Kimball offered to let me ride his 2019 KTM Duke 790, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. And what better place to try out bike than at The Dragon with 318 curves in the 11-mile stretch of road? Now, everyone reads bike reviews that tell you about the specifications and technical features of the bike. But you can Google it to find out "it's a liquid-cooled, 799 cc parallel twin with 105 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 64 foot-pounds of torque at 8,000 rpm...blah, blah, blah." What people really want to know is what it's like to ride. So here's my experience.

It's a Supermoto Masquerading as a Sportbike

As soon as I took off along the curves of The Dragon, the first thing I noticed is how light and nimble it is. It really does feel like I'm on my 400cc DRZ supermoto. It's easy to maneuver and effortless to ride.

It's Sneaky

As I was riding it, I nicknamed it "sneaky feet" because the speed will really sneak up on you. I glanced down at the speedometer and was surprised at how fast I was going. I was lucky there weren't any cops in sight! It's VERY easy to go fast on this machine without even noticing it.

Oh Can It Corner!

This KTM seriously corners like a supermoto but with much more power and torque. You can throw it into the corners and it sticks like glue, but you have so much power accelerating out the corner. It was fun...well, kind of almost too much fun. I got frisky with the throttle and went into the corner hotter than I meant to. So I had to really lean it over. And the bike did great! I leaned it, it responded nicely and I cruised right out of the corner. I was pleasantly surprised it didn't drag peg.

It's Comfortable

My R6 is a pretty aggressive bike, so it's always nice to ride a bike that just plain feels comfortable yet still has power and a sporty feel. And that pretty much sums up the KTM. I feel like I could sit on it all day without being sore, but it has the sportiness of a sportbike.


10/10 would still steal this bike and rip on it along The Dragon all day. Now I just have to figure out how to try one on the track!

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