If the newly launched KTM 790 Duke is not to your taste, here’s a variety of alternatives you can buy for around the same price bracket
The KTM 790 Duke (nicknamed The Scalpel) just sliced into the premium motorcycle segment in India with a price tag of Rs 8.64 lakh (ex-showroom India). It’s powerful, compact and gets a truckload of electronic aids to go along with its new LC8 799cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin motor that’s been lauded by enthusiasts overseas. However, the bike is sold in India as a CBU (Completely Built Unit) rather than a CKD (Completely Knocked Down) kit and hence garners a price tag that’s more than previously anticipated.
So, if the 790 Duke doesn't quite cut it for you, here are a couple of other options around the same price tag that make a compelling case for themselves.
Suzuki GSX S750 or Suzuki V-Strom 650XT - Rs 752,103/ Rs 752,038 (respectively, ex-Mumbai)
If you’re not satisfied with the Austrians, how about shifting your focus to the Land of the Rising Sun? Rather than spending over eight and a half lakh rupees on the parallel-twin motorcycle, you could save around Rs 1 lakh and get yourself an inline four-cylinder Suzuki GSX S750 that puts out more power and torque (114PS and 81Nm) compared to the 790 Duke (104.6PS and 87Nm). Aside from its menacing looks, the bike gets a couple of extra features such as a three-level traction control system, Low RPM Assist and Suzuki's Easy Start System. On the downside, it weighs a lot more than the Scalpel: 215kg kerb against the 790’s 169kg dry (roughly 180kg wet) weight.
Alternatively, for just Rs 65 over the GSX you could hop onto Suzuki’s adventure touring platform with the V-Strom 650 XT. This bike is powered by a 645cc V-twin that puts out 71PS and 62.3Nm of torque. It gets 19-inch front and 17-inch rear spoked wheels wrapped with tubeless tyres which none of the other bikes in its segment in India get. You also get a large 20-litre fuel tank which should ensure good range for touring. Plus, its Bridgestone Battlax A40 tubeless tyres offer a good balance of on- and off-road usability. Other features worth noting are different rider modes, a 12V charging socket and a low seat height option.
Honda CBR650R - Rs. 7.70 lakh
If a street fighter doesn’t make the cut for you, you could opt for a fully faired bike instead. Case in point the 2019 Honda CBR650R. It draws its design cues from the bigger CBR1000RR and gets features like a full-digital instrument console, LED lighting system and a revised riding posture that’s slightly more aggressive than its previous iteration for an engaging riding experience. With 88PS and 60.1Nm dished out from its 648.72 cc inline-four engine, the CBR650R isn’t as powerful as the 790 Duke. But on the positive side, Honda’s big bikes are known to be quite affordable when it comes to spares and maintenance costs. While KTMs are known to be affordable to maintain, it remains to be seen how the case is for a premium bike like the 790 Duke. The CBR650R costs Rs 94,000 less than the 790 Duke and gets Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) to manage rear wheel traction.
Triumph Bonneville T100 - Rs 8.87 lakh
How about going retro? Well, neo-retro to be precise. We couldn’t think of a better fit than the Bonneville T100, a bike with a rich heritage and classic design features like its signature fuel tank, spoked wheels, twin peashooter silencers, and two-tone paint options with hand-painted gold coach lines. At the heart lies a 900cc high-torque Bonneville engine that puts out 61.1PS and 76.73Nm mated to a five-speed transmission. It also features modern electronics like ride-by-wire, switchable traction control and engine immobiliser - all as standard.
Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle - Rs.8.92 Lakh
The flat tracker-inspired Scrambler Full Throttle makes sense if you like to hit the dirt occasionally and love getting your tail out. There’s plenty of power in between your legs (73.41PS and 67Nm) to keep you grinning for ages. Besides, the iconic yellow and black paint scheme paired with its neo-retro styling is sure to grab eyeballs wherever you go -- unlike the 790 which could be mistaken for a 390 Duke from its design and packaging. On the flip side, it costs Rs 28,000 over the 790 Duke, and the bike lacks fancy electronics apart from cornering ABS.
Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Rs 9.23 Lakh
Not everyone wants a sharp-handling motorcycle. Some like it easy but still prefer to have ample torque at their disposal. We’d suggest the Iron 883 in this case. A lowered front and rear with dragster-style seat height of 760mm inspires confidence for riders of all sizes. This paired with dragster-style handlebars offers a sense of sportiness. Not to mention the delightful rumble of the 883cc air-cooled V-twin which puts out 70Nm of torque to the rear wheel. Being a Harley, the bike also offers plenty of scope to customise to your heart’s content. That said, the stock bike is priced at quite a premium (Rs 59,000 dearer than the 790 Duke), and doesn’t feature any electronic aids apart from standard dual-channel ABS.