Saturday, June 15, 2024

30 Years Of KTM Duke – Going Duke Since 1994!

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The last 30 years of the KTM DUKE model range can be summed up in one word: Evolution. From its humble beginnings in 1994 to its current status as a symbol of performance and innovation, the KTM DUKE nameplate has stood the test of time.

In 1994, KTM burst into the street scene with the first motorcycle to carry the DUKE nameplate. It featured a big-bore 609 cc single-cylinder engine, with ergonomics and styling that straddled the line between Supermoto and street fighter. It brought true hooligan personality to the street, unapologetically Naked and stripped back to the bare essence of what a motorcycle should be.

At the time, the 1994 KTM DUKE was a radical departure from traditional motorcycle designs. Featuring an exposed trellis frame, minimalist bodywork, and a single-cylinder engine, it was an anomaly in the market. However, it instantly captured the attention of riders seeking a raw and unbridled riding experience.

Such was its success that KTM introduced a more powerful DUKE II version in 1999, with sharper styling replacing the rounded body contours of its predecessor. Unknowingly, this would launch the Naked segment within the KTM street motorcycle line-up, with more engine capacities and cylinders being added to the DUKE range.

In 2005, the SUPER DUKE nameplate was introduced, boasting a powerful 990 cc LC8 V-Twin powerplant. The KTM 990 SUPER DUKE quickly reached cult status, leading the way for the KTM 990 SUPER DUKE R variant to tear into the market in 2008.

2008 also brought the KTM 690 DUKE to market, once again shaking up the design norms of the times. The 2008 KTM 690 DUKE was a hunkered down, powerful single-cylinder machine, with an underslung exhaust and aggressive, elbows-out riding position. This would later become the blueprint for the DUKE attitude.

2011 saw the rise of smaller capacity DUKE models, with the KTM 125 DUKE entering the market. This compact and energetic machine delivered ample power and easy maneuverability, without sacrificing any of the DUKE personality. This made it the ideal launchpad for future DUKE pilots, and future middle-weight models.

In 2012, KTM introduced the game-changing KTM 200 DUKE, with THE CORNER ROCKET KTM 390 DUKE joining the line-up in 2013. The KTM 390 DUKE became a favorite among urban riders, thanks to its nimble handling and punchy power delivery.

30 Years Of KTM Duke - Going Duke Since 1994!

KTM then shook the Naked motorcycle segment in 2014, with the introduction of THE BEAST – the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. With a 1,301cc V-twin engine at its core, the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R gained the reputation of having the most powerful LC8 engine, which paved the way for a new segment and the more travel-focused KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE GT arriving in 2016.

The following year, 2017, THE BEAST received its first real update. Dubbed THE BEAST 2.0, the 2017 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R boasted power, suspension, and styling updates. But its new electronics package took center stage, with more refined rider aids and a new TRACK Mode setting the tone.

A turning point in the DUKE evolution came about in 2018, when KTM unleashed the KTM 790 DUKE, dubbed THE SCALPEL. This was the introduction of a new era of performance and style for the DUKE name, featuring a powerful parallel-twin engine, cutting-edge electronics, and a bold design. Moreso, it showcased the determination to dominate the middleweight Naked bike segment.

Now, 30 years later, three-anniversary models enter the fray. At the entry-level, the KTM 390 DUKE boasts its boldest evolutionary step, with distinct styling, a class-leading electronics package, and unrivaled performance.

The KTM 990 DUKE – not to be confused with the KTM 990 SUPER DUKE of old – is powered by an all-new LC8c parallel-twin, bringing the fight directly to the 1,000 cc Naked segment. It boasts bigger dimensions, more tech, and more street presence.

Lastly, the KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R and its stablemate, the KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R EVO, have evolved to be the ultimate pair of hyper-naked motorcycles with immense power, unmatched electronics, and an all-new direction in design.

To celebrate this milestone, the three aforementioned models have dedicated 30 YEARS OF DUKE livery, inspired by the DUKE models that came before them. KTM also endeavored to reward DUKE fans by giving away a KTM 390 DUKE, a KTM 990 DUKE, and a KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R via its digital platforms, with over 700,000 entries received.

KTM will officially kick off its 30 YEARS OF DUKE campaign at the International Media Launch held in Almeria, Spain. This will allow the press and associated partners to experience the 2024 KTM 390 DUKE, KTM 990 DUKE, KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R and KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R EVO models in their ideal habitats.

This will also be the first time in KTM history that three new models are being launched at the same time, with the three DUKE winners joining the event. Together with KTM Ambassador Rok Bagaros and KTM royalty, Jeremy McWilliams on hand to show them what the new DUKE models are capable of, the press will have two days to get to grips with the new DUKEs themselves. Day one will see the media cover 115 km on Spain’s finest coastline and twisty passes onboard the KTM 390 DUKE, as well as testing themselves and each other on a gymkhana course.

Day two, sees the group experience the KTM 990 DUKE out on a dedicated road ride led by KTM staff, with the other half staying on track with Jeremy McWilliams to test the KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R and KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R EVO. There will also be three specially built KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R’s on hand, fitted with all the KTM PowerParts, WP PRO COMPONENTS Suspension and slick tires.

To end off this epic launch, the press and DUKE winners alike will be treated to an afterparty fit for a DUKE, with dinner in the pits, with the KTM DUKE range sharing the floor.

Mohit Soni
Mohit Soni
NOT A Commander, Director, Editor-In-This/ That, CEO, MD, President, Entrepreneur, etc etc. Just a first employee at Thrust Zone with a team of enthusiasts who love car and motorcycles more than anything else in the world, just like I do. Hashtag blessed

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