KTM does not plan to import the 990 SuperDuke or 690 Duke to the North American market this year or next, citing unfavorable market conditions. In the case of the SuperDuke, the move is likely intended to clear dealer stock ahead of the new 1290cc bike which is arriving for the 2013 model year. Sadly, in the case of the single-cylinder Duke, it appears the new model isn’t destined for North America, so current stocks are all that remain of one of the most uniquely fun motorcycles currently available.
Photo: Schedi R.
While researching a story last week we noticed neither bike is currently listed on KTM’s US website and reached out to the company for confirmation. A week later, they responded, simply stating, “The 990 SuperDuke and 690 Duke are not being imported into North America for model year 2011. KTM continuously evaluates the motorcycle industry sales and our dealer inventory to ensure that we have the best line-up of motorcycle, parts and accessories for our customers.”
What they’re not telling you is that we scooped a leak of their North American model lineup for the next three years earlier this month. While it revealed the arrival of that new large-capacity 2013 KTM SuperDuke 1290, there was no mention of the revised 2012 KTM Duke, which has been spied several times in Europe.
What’s that tell us? Well, the little Duke was always an odd fit for the North American market. Designed to appeal to European commuters who want a lightweight, exploitable, single-cylinder naked fitted with high-end components, it was an odd fit for this continent’s relatively low-information market where literbikes, cruisers and dirtbikes are viewed as mainstream choices. Its $10,598 price tag — uncomfortably close to that of the discounts offered on most liter bikes — and KTM’s poor dealer presence also made it an odd fit. Anecdotally, it also appeared as if the bike had very little marketing put behind it on this side of the Atlantic and wasn’t even stocked in many of KTM’s already sparse dealers. A friend shopping for one early this year couldn’t find one in stock anywhere in the greater LA area.
The Duke’s disappearance could also be clearing room for arrival of new models like the KTM Duke 350 and KTM Freeride range of electric motorcycles, both of which are landing on these shores in 2013 and may be pitched at similar markets. 350, 690 and 1290cc nakeds could simply have been too crowded a range for a relatively small company to handle.