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.

MCN

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