The Princes of Orange finally (finally!) unleashed their new parallel-twin 800cc class Duke. The firm’s been crying out for a halfway-house between their nice-but-limited single cylinder motors and their full-beans 1200cc+ V-twin nonsense. What they needed was a nice super-middleweight lump: something light, compact and capable of an easy 100bhp or so.
And here it is: a new engine, bolted into a 790 Duke (dubbed ‘the Scalpel’) for 2018. Numbers are good: 105bhp, and 169kg dry, and it’s also dripping in kit: ride-by-wire throttle, power modes, IMU traction, cornering ABS, quickshifter, customisable track mode, and a colour dash that links to your phone so you can call A&E before you’ve even finished flipping that wheelie.
The chassis is good if unsurprising: WP suspension all round, radial 4-piston calipers up front (not branded Brembos tho), and a steel tube trellis frame using the engine as a stressed member. You even get LED lights all round.
What would put us off on the dealership floor? Not much really, especially if the price is right. We would be haggling for some new rubber though: it comes with Maxxis Supermaxx ST hoops, which we’re not so sure about…
- 2-cylinder, 4-stroke DOHC in-line engine, eight valves actuated via DLC-coated finger followers, electronic fuel injection, two balancer shafts, semi dry-sump lubrication with oil cooler
- 6-speed transmission and PASCTM slipper clutch
- Max. output: 77 kW (105 hp) @ 9,000 rpm, max. torque: 86 Nm @ 8,000 rpm
- Ultra lightweight chrome-molybdenum steel frame with aluminum rear subframe, die-cast aluminum open lattice swingarm
- 43 mm split open-cartridge upside-down fork by WP Suspension with progressive springs
- High quality WP Suspension gas-assisted rear shock with progressive spring and preload adjuster
- 12-stage adjustable tapered aluminum handlebar
- Two 300 mm front brake discs with radial 4-piston calipers and radial front brake master cylinder
- Cornering ABS including Supermoto mode
- Lean-angle sensitive motorcycle traction control (MTC) and motor slip regulation (MSR)
- Launch control
- Multifunctional dashboard with color TFT display and illuminated menu switch
- LED lighting all around
- OEM Maxxis Supermaxx ST tires as standard