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Shortened, KTM Duke

KTM Duke 620 E.

Not everyone is into morning exercise. Especially not when it comes to kicking a large single cylinder. That is why KTM is now offering the Duke fun bike with an electric starter.

There is certainly hardly a motorcycle that comes closer to the term fun bike than a KTM Duke. But a small blemish has so far made some people despair of this jester. Because the Austrians had set work before the fun. The 50 hp stew had to be encouraged to take up its service more or less often with the kick starter, depending on the driver’s strength, feeling and technique.

That is now finally over. A quick press of the starter button on the handlebars, and the single stamps in the familiar four-stroke. However, the groaning sound of the starter motor is more reminiscent of an old construction machine than a brand new sporty two-wheeler. So if this type of starting procedure seems too humiliating for you, you still have the opportunity to continue to prove your fitness on the Kickstarter.

Short test

KTM Duke 620 E.

Duke is as strong as ever with measured 50 hp.

On the other hand, the yellow-black KTM lacks the right pep when driving. The KTM engine does not have the necessary thump from the basement that makes large single-cylinders really appealing. The maneuverability also leaves something to be desired. The red area at 8500 rpm on the tachometer therefore remains rather a theoretical because it is rarely achieved. Whereby the desire for high revs is not great at the KTM anyway. Despite the balance shaft, the four-valve engine is not one of the smoothest in the single-cylinder range. The hard vibrations suggest a high mechanical load. And who would like to constantly expose their 15,580 mark expensive toy to such torments??

There are also small changes on the chassis side. Because the Austrians have noticed that not all people are as tall as the Kinigardner brothers, they lowered the seat height of their cafe racers by a full 20 millimeters. The Duke is still not an insider tip for little people, but it is now built lower than most enduros in its displacement class.

Like any motorcycle, the Duke has certain likes and dislikes. The latter are long straight sections such as motorways or fast, well-developed country roads. Although the KTM is not one of the slowest road users at 170 km / h, such speed ranges as with most enduros should be avoided for reasons of fitness. And because of its long suspension travel, it is not necessarily one of the most stable in fast cornering passages, which it likes to show with slight pendulum movements.

On the other hand, the Duke can develop her whole temperament on small, winding streets. As if stung by a tarantula, it shoots through the tightest meander and is literally happy about every pothole that the long-stroke spring elements greedily suck up. Hairpin turns are particularly popular with the Duke. The wide handlebars pushed towards the inside of the curve, the weight brought forward as far as possible and then around the corner with a lot of pull. The mounted Michelin TX 15/25 High Sport tires are ideally suited to such demands.

The fun bike doesn’t behave quite as confidently when braking. The single disc in the forehead wheel is sufficient to achieve decent deceleration in cooperation with the four-piston caliper, but the Duke reacts unruly when trying to turn into a curve with the brake on. Suddenly the fantastically easy handling is blown away, and the load takes a significantly larger curve radius than desired. Maybe you should trust a slightly narrower front tire. After all, 120 tires have been developed for heavier and, above all, stiffer super athletes and not for such light and agile fun bikes as the KTM Duke. But wait – you mustn’t forget your looks, of course, and Her Highness the Duke really doesn’t have to be said badly.

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