The Duke that we see today has a much longer heritage than you think. The Duke is, in fact, the first street bike and first supermoto that KTM ever built as early as 1994, moving away from the staple off-road and racing bikes that they had built up until that point. The 690 Duke is the latest in a line of KTM's line of midrange single-cylinder engine supermoto or naked motorcycles that began in 1994 with 609 cc of displacement, which at the time was called the Duke 620. The carb-fed Single Overhead Cam (SOHC) was all about quick throttle responses and peak torque at just 5,000rpm. Matched to an overall weight of 152 kgs the Duke was one of the quickest 600cc naked bikes around at its time.
At that time, KTM still fresh out of rallying had unknowingly built a bike that really even laid the way for modern bikini-faired adventure tourers, The motorcycle’s forward sloping tank and long flowing seat made it look like more like an adventure tourer than a naked streetfighter. One thing though that hasn’t changed over all these years, however, is KTM’s signature orange and black theme, which is evident from the image above. Over the years, the KTM Duke became synonymous with a low-cost-per-horsepower naked street fighter with great dynamics, spawning the Duke 200, the Duke 390, Duke 690 and even the monstrous Super Duke 1290, improving their power figures and dynamics multi-fold over the years.
It’s no surprise then, that the Duke was a runaway success in India. KTM’s India story began with the 200cc Duke, which has been the most powerful 200cc motorcycle on sale in the country since it was launched in 2012. A year later the Duke 390 making an almost unbelievable 43 hp cemented its place in the Indian motorcycle market. From rallying to road racing and even stunting the KTM Duke has done it all and done it pretty damn well.