Why bikers in India may not want to buy the KTM Duke 790.

So the much-awaited KTM DUKE 790 is in now India. And as you already know, it has received mixed reactions from motorcycle enthusiasts of India.

We’ll talk about why Indian bikers may not want to buy the Duke 790 in India later.

First, let’s go back to the time when the Duke 390 was launched in India.

Let’s be honest, when KTM launched the Duke 390 in India, it redefined what performance means for the masses.

“The Duke 390 offered mad mad fun for a great price tag.”

At 2.5 lakhs, the Duke 390 is still the most sought after bike in its segment since it’s launch in 2013.

And not only the Duke but the RC 390 also offered great value for money too.

It was the first high performance, track-worthy sports bike that bikers in India could afford.

To sum up,

“Both the 390s offered VFM and made youngsters persuade their parents to get them one.”

So KTM impressed the Indian motorcycling community with their power-packed motorcycle and a shiny price tag. And raised their expectations from the bigger Duke 790.

Rumors were that the Duke 790 will be made and assembled in India at Bajaj’s Chakan plant, and cost around 5-6 lakhs.

But things are completely different now when the 790 is launched. 

The KTM Duke 790 comes to India via the CKD (Completely knocked down) route.

This means, every single part of the motorcycle is imported from its home country, Australia and assembled in India.

And the KTM Duke 790 costs a whopping 9.28 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi)


The first reason why Indian bikers may not buy the KTM Duke 790 is because of its hefty price.

youtube comment screenshot

Comment Pulled from Powerdrift’s Duke 790 review

And even if you keep the price aside, there are two other big reasons why Indians may skip the KTM Duke 790.

Let’s move to them.

1. KTM Duke 790 doesn’t look like a 790 cc superbike.

ktm duke 390 vs KTM duke 790

There are two types of bikers. One who admits that they love to flaunt their motorcycles and the others who lie. That being said, most bikers in India won’t buy the KTM Duke 790 because it looks a lot like it’s the younger sibling, Duke 390.

I’m sure a person investing 9-10 lakhs in buying the Duke 790 wouldn’t like to hear, – “Hey, your Duke 390 looks great”

“Being called a modified 390 is something all Duke 790 owners will secretly dread.”

youtube comment screenshot on ktm duke 790 review

Comment Pulled from Faizal Khan’s KTM Duke 790 review.

In Spite of being a middleweight 790 cc, the Duke 790 looks way to identical to the smaller Duke 390.

The Scalpel as KTM calls surely benefits from it’s lightweight and minimal design in terms of performance.

But in terms of looks, it keeps bikers asking for something more.

Something that would make the thin line of visual difference between the Duke 790 and 390 a bit thicker.

Apart from the upswept exhaust, everything on the Duke 790 resembles the Duke 390.


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2. KTM Duke 790 has a worthy rival, Kawasaki Z900.

kawsaki z900

Kawasaki Z900, which is one of the closest competitors to the KTM Duke 790 costs 7.7 lakhs (ex-showroom India).

Just by looking at the two bikes side by side, I can pick what I want to flaunt on the street. The Sugomi styled Kawasaki Z900 with its aggressive headlamp appeals more to me than the 790. 

The Z900 will definitely attract more eyeballs when ridden on the street. And compared to the KTM Duke 790, the Z will be more suitable for riding long distances. 

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Why does the Z900 make more sense? 

kawasaki z900 white

Kawasaki Z900 is 21 kgs heavier than the KTM Duke 790 which will give it more stability on long highways. 

It has more power: 123.3 bhp, bigger 948 cc engine, bigger 17-liter tank, and another thing, it looks like a superbike in every way possible. 

Here’s what I think: If someone is spending a ton of money on buying a superbike, they should choose something that is good for covering long distances.

And while riding long distances, you have to ride on long straight highways. Not in the canyons, not on the tracks. Just plain boring highways where the Z900’s refined engine and stability will shine. 

And if you’re looking for budget touring bikes, I’ve written an article on the best touring bikes under 5 lakhs.

Kawasaki Z900 misses on the fancy electronics. It just gets and ABS and nothing else.

On the other hand, KTM DUKE 790 comes loaded with electronics such as traction control, launch control, cornering ABS and riding modes.

In fact,

KTM Duke 790’s trump card is its electronics.

Kawasaki Z900 looks like a superbike, costs less than the KTM Duke 790, produces more power and it is a better mile muncher.

Duke 790, on the other hand, looks more of a focused motorcycle, meant to enjoy on the tracks and twisties.

Which motorcycle should you buy, KTM Duke 790 or Kawasaki Z900?

Youtube Screenshot

Comment Pulled from Autocar India’s Duke 790 review

The one that suits your lifestyle is the answer! I won’t tell you which one you should choose. 

Depending on your everyday useability, riding style, and budget, choose the one which will be right for you.

People who want to exploit the tracks, carve some corners with precision and get sporty should go for the nimbler, KTM Duke 790.

And people who want to ride long distances, make their motorcycle turn heads and want to desire a dynamic motorcycle should go for the Kawasaki Z900.

So if it’s Kawasaki Z900 vs KTM Duke 790,  think what will suit your lifestyle better. 

Rest, the choice is yours!

If you were to choose between KTM Duke 790 & Kawasaki Z900, what will you choose?