Spy Photos: 2012 KTM Duke

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Snapped by MCN, this spy photo appears to show an early development prototype for the 2012 KTM Duke. There appear to be three big changes: 1) the headlight unit is now less shockingly ugly (or they appear to have borrowed the 125 Duke’s for this proto). 2) the exhaust moves from underslung to a more-traditional side-mount. 3) the pillion seat is now separate from the riders’ and appears to be larger.

The current 690 Duke.

Little is known about the new Duke at this point, but one of the challenges KTM likely faces with it is getting the big single to meet new Euro IV emissions standards which take effect on motorcycles starting in 2012. That’s just the beginning of a larger tightening of motorcycle emissions in the run up to 2020, when they’ll need to achieve parity with cars under the new Euro VI regulation. Currently, the Duke uses a 64bhp, 50lb/ft, 654cc single-cylinder. Making that quieter and less polluting is going to be difficult, especially if KTM also targets a small power increase. This prototype appears to be fitted with an under-engine collector as well as the large exhaust canister.

The current KTM 690 Duke is an extraordinary motorcycle, weighing just 327lbs (dry) and coming standard with high-spec components like Marchesini wheels and a radial brake caliper. It’s the perfect bike for urban hooning. It’s probably too early to judge the components on this prototype, but they appear to come straight off the old bike.


  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    I really, really like the Duke. I am pleased with the headlight redesign, and look forward to seeing how it all shakes out.

  • Myles

    My favorite part of the old duke is the exhaust.

    Oh well, still a great bike.

  • http://www.anotherdamndj.com evilbahumut

    I like my 690 Duke. I’m always for changing stuff, but that spy pick looks like a single cylinder Monster more than a Duke.

    And how are they NOT going to melt off the plate holder with that exhaust? Reminds me of those 690 Enduro exhaust/turn signal problems…

    • http://www.anotherdamndj.com evilbahumut

      Hell, the more I look at it, the more I like it. I think it’s the seat that I don’t like, but the rest of it is starting to look pretty good.

      • Jefferson

        I think you were right the first time. I prefer the current Duke’s light, exhaust and seat to the 2012.

        • Bronson

          +1. Love the current design. Badass hooligan bike.

  • http://www.ninja250blog.com R.Sallee

    Without the headlight and underslung exhaust, the bike looks a bit generic. Like a Ducati Monster or something.

  • mike

    NOOO, Looks like KTM is trying to bland it up.

    The exhaust and bodywork of the old Duke make it distinctive, and memorable. I lusted for one. Attention bike manufacturers, we don’t ALL want generic bikes.

    • soban881

      Agreed, the old model looks sharp. I can get down with the headlight redesign, but the seat and exhaust should stay!

      Looks like they changed the wheels too, or could that just be a quick swap once the bike is finalized?

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        Well would you rather not have a 2012 Duke or have one with an ugly exhaust? Increasingly very stringent emissions regulations are going to be meaning bigger and bigger exhausts on all bikes over the next few years.

        • a hipster

          balls. how am i supposed to choose between an ugly light and an ugly exhaust?

          the obvious hipster answer is go with the ugly exhaust because more people (aka non-riders and girls) will notice the light more than the exhaust


          i fucking love the current exhaust.

          • Dani Peral

            Put the new light on the old bike.

            I also love the current exhaust…i dont like single huge exhausts on the side…it breaks the simmetry. I prefer one on each side, one or two under the seat or under the bike, like the duke!! :D

        • mike

          Yes, its difficult to meet the new emission standards. I think you’re probably right thats the reason why KTM is doing this to people, Wes… but running the side mounted pipe covers up the beautiful expressive swing arm and hugger, two of the best design elements of the old design. After the under-pipe, that is.

  • soban881

    I’m just whining, if the exhaust must be big due to regulations, then so be it. I could look at bikes all day though – I find them so cool not only because of the performance and riding experience, but because of the architecture. Some have incredible lines…Norton Commando, MV F4… Bike museums hold far more sway over me than walking through an art exhibit. It’s all subjective of course, but this new Duke has lost some of its character.

    Whoops, meant to reply to Wes.

  • http://www.faster-faster.com fasterfaster

    I liked the old headlight. Definitely prefer the old tail. It’s a bad angle, but between the lowered exhaust and the airbox cover (I think?) this one looks so tail heavy, not forward or muscular at all.

    • dux

      Too much Diavel influence, I think!

    • Miles Prower

      Agreed. This one looks like a fat pig. I prefer the look of my 2009 690 — thin like a wasp and very origami-like. The headlight assembly on mine, BTW, looks much better with the “taller” (still short) KTM windscreen attached to it.

  • Miles Prower

    “Making that quieter and less polluting is going to be difficult”

    Especially because the current 690 in stock form is already super quiet. It’s the quietest motorcycle I’ve ridden — and it sounds like a sewing machine. If you peruse the various KTM forums, owners joke about their “Singer” 690s.