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Review:


I came very close to buying a 990 STM years ago, and this has the same appeal... ( the 1290 just seems toooo over-the-top for me!)
 

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It's even better than the reviewers are making it out to be - first real Goldilocks bike IMO. 82kms and counting now... :)
More details as you get more seat time, please!

And doser, drink the kool-aid! It's that good.
 

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track hack
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More details as you get more seat time, please!

And doser, drink the kool-aid! It's that good.
I'm a Moderator on the 790 Duke forum - here's what I posted there yesterday after getting the bike.


It's a bit of a long-winded story about how I came to buy my 890R today so I'll skip over that part except to say I had no intention of upgrading right now for many reasons, but low and behold - my 790 was traded in today and I'm now the VERY proud new owner of an 890.

I'll try to summarize my thoughts and impressions to make it easy to read and not too rambling, so point form here we come:

Looks - meh, subjective, eye of the beholder, yada yada - IMO no issues with it especially since I pulled off the stock mirrors and installed the bar end mirrors from my 790.

Brakes - as advertised. Unbelievable. I haven't even checked to see what setting they are on or anything - just rode it away from the dealer and wow - perfect blend of power, feel, and initial bite.

Suspension - just like the brakes - I didn't turn a knob, never set sag, nada - just got on and rode. As is - damn near perfectly suited for my tastes which means compliant yet supportive which these WP units have in spades.

Engine - okay, no joke, it feels like KTM made a 990R and someone in the decal dept eff'ed up and printed 890 stickers and they just said "Sure, lets run with it" - it's that much stronger than the 790. Zero chance it's not the biggest undersell of the century by a bike manufacturer - KTM, take a frickin' bow.

Fueling - easily the biggest surprise for me was how different the fueling is on the 790 and 890. I rode it home 10 miles from the dealer in Street mode and it was great - maybe a small bit better than the 790 but not a massive change. Got home and made some tweaks to the bike (more on that below) and once in leathers and ready to properly ride - I changed to Track mode and somehow it seemed even smoother than street mode - polar opposite to my 790 where track was code for "you better be hustling and stay above 6500rpm or this bike will feel awful" - the 890R ECU somehow guesses what you want and helps with the input - go in hot and chop the throttle - perfect decel with no chassis pitching. Same for grabbing a handful anywhere - meters in the ideal input and sends you away with no drama.

Ergo's - bike is taller and slightly sportier with the lower bars which I LOVE. Wouldn't change a thing except maybe if it was a track bike I'd opt for knurled pegs as the rubber mounted ones while comfy are a tad slippy.

Transmission - gearbox is indeed tighter and more compact. Still has the usual clunk from 1st up through N and into 2nd but from then on out it's magical and although the 790 wasn't bad once I learned it's preferences, this one is a noticeable step up.

Ti(y)res - I've been a Dunlop fanboy for the last 8-9 years as they sponsored me as a club racer and took great care of me trackside and with Contingency money from wins/podiums BUT... man these Power Cup 2 tires are insanely good. Scrubbed to the edges on the rear tire in 5-6 miles of back road riding and not a hint of wiggle, instability, or chatter. Fingers crossed they hold up for 4000km's (2500 miles) - if so I'll be a convert!

Changes - so like all of you I made some minor changes already and a couple more to come:

  • kept seat and passenger pegs off - mirrors swapped for bar ends too.
  • had the dealer completely wipe down the chain and remove all shipping grease. they test rode it and cleaned it again - after my longer ride there was very minor splatter and no leaks or seepage under the front sprocket.
  • had the dealer put the bars in their most forward position and roll them ahead a small bit - feels perfect.
  • had to adjust clutch and brake levers down slightly as they were too high for my liking - sadly both are only able to move a small amount which was enough but I would have liked more range.
  • Dealer set tire pressures WAY high as usual, I got home from the 10 mile commute and 20 minutes later checked em - 44F and 46R - yowza. Dropped them to 34F and 36R for my ride then check again when I got home and they were hot - they went up to 36 and 38 so I dropped another 2lbs - I'll leave them there going forward unless I see abnormal wear. (32F, 34R cold I'm guessing)
  • I've got the 790 PP heated grips ready to get installed and I'll also take advantage of @Rick to swap the steering damper fluid from 5W up to 15W like he did on my 790 a few weeks back and that was a great help.
  • I ordered up one of those Faux Akra's from AliExpress today - 50% curiosity, 50% in the hopes it's workable and I can see the 3lb weight saving and the much improved aesthetics.
TL;DR Recap - killer bike, 100% can recommend.
 

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colour me envious YL! just sounds great. seems like KTM really did hit one outa the park here...
 

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track hack
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Hit 600km's on it today and so far my initial impression hasn't changed much. I'm still in the break in phase so gotta keep rpm below 6500 (redline is 10K) but it's still WAY fun just playing in the midrange.

If you are a fan of these type bikes (nakeds) and want something a little exclusive better call your local dealer as for this year so far there's only 20 in Canada - 11 in Western Canada, 9 back East. Next shipment is early release '21's in October.
 

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Jesus Christ! 116 hp stock? outa 890 ccs? at under 10,000 rpm? what are those guys snorting over there in Austria?
do you feel it, when the 'slope' steepens at 5000 rpm?
 

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track hack
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Jesus Christ! 116 hp stock? outa 890 ccs? at under 10,000 rpm? what are those guys snorting over there in Austria?
do you feel it, when the 'slope' steepens at 5000 rpm?
Okay, so I was really perplexed about the power on this bike - as I said in my long initial impressions post - it feels like a 990 not 890 but KTM REALLY under sold the power output on this and the new for '20 1290SD as well.

They claimed 16 more CRANK ponies (121 vs 105) - that usually equates to maybe 12-13 rear wheel hp - not 20!

790 claim was 105, at the rear wheel they usually put down 95-96.
890R claim was 121, at the rear wheel is 116+ and 70ft lbs!!!

All in a bike weighing fully fuelled right at 401lbs - it's a nutter for sure.

Wheelies can't be done in 1st as they're too violent and uncontrollable, in 2nd you better be ready with your toe on the shifter to grab 3rd. Power wheelie in 3rd gear - takes the right amount of technique but easily doable. I've only ever had modern literbikes be able to snap up the front end like that - this thing's a Hooligan for sure.
 
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