EXCLUSIVE: KTM Duke 690R spy shots

Visordown gets the first shots of KTM's latest roadbike - straight from Austria

KTM 690R Duke - spied testing in Austria

The bike has the signature 'R' orange frame

Expect the R to weigh less than 148kg

THIS IS the new “R” version of KTM's Duke 690 which is set to be launched later this year as part of the company's 2010 range.
Spied testing undisguised outside the firm's Mattighofen factory, the new version of the Duke promises to be the most focused road-going machine in the firm's 654cc LC4-powered single-cylinder range, with upgrades to improve both performance and handling.

While it's missing its final “R” graphics, instead sporting standard Duke 690 decals, the prototype shown here is otherwise in final production form, with the orange frame that's become a signature of KTM's “R” models, from the Supermoto 690R right the way to the RC8R superbike, along with visible changes to the brakes and suspension.
Both the front and rear Brembos are now black rather than silver, again fitting in with other R-badged bikes in KTM's range, while the rear shock's new orange spring hints at upgrades to the suspension, expected to include a better WP shock and changes to the fork internals for better handling.

While the new pictures clearly reveal the Duke 690R's existence, they can't show the internal changes to the DOHC single that powers it. While with 65bhp (48kw) the stock Duke is already the most powerful bike in its class, KTM has developed even more powerful versions of the same engine and rumours suggest the Duke 690R could be fitted with just such a motor. During the development of the RC4 sportsbike – a miniature RC8 powered by the firm's 690 engine – KTM created a 72bhp version of the motor while still meeting all emissions and reliability requirements. With the RC4 project now indefinitely on-hold thanks to doubts that enough demand exists for a single-cylinder sports bike, the 72bhp motor could instead be used in the Duke 690R.

Visually, the Duke 690R is given away not only by its distinctive orange frame but by the combination of matt black paint and an orange bellypan, while the use of carbon fibre rather than plastic for the front mudguard should allow the firm to claim at least a small weight improvement over the already flyweight 148.5kg Duke.