After much anticipation from the Malaysian riding public, the 2018 KTM 790 Duke “The Scalpel” is now in Malaysia and priced at RM64,800, excluding GST, road tax, insurance and registration. The replacement model for the much-loved hooligan bike, the KTM 690 Duke, The Scalpel is thoroughly updated and now comes with two cylinders.

Carrying a parallel-twin LC8c engine displacing 799 cc, The Scalpel is said to produce 105 hp at 9,000 rpm and 87 Nm of torque at 8,000 rpm. The eight-valve, DOHC mill is fed by EFI and features two counter-balancer shafts to reduce vibration, one located in front of the camshafts and another in-between.

Power gets to the ground via a six speed gearbox and KTM’s PASC slipper clutch, which reduces clutch effort at the lever while eliminating rear-wheel hop under hard down-shifting.

Weighing in at 189 kg wet, The Scalpel places KTM’s split LED headlight out in front, with necessary information for the rider displayed inside the cockpit with a TFT-LCD screen, as previously seen on the KTM Super Duke R, Super Duke GT and 390 Duke.

Go-to suspension brand for KTM, WP Suspension, does the duties front and rear using a 43 mm upside-down fork in front and monoshock at the rear, along with a WP steering damper. Braking is with KTM OEM brand callipers, the four-piston unit in front clamping a 300 mm diameter disc with a single-piston unit at the back grabbing a 240 mm disc.

A full suite of electronics now comes standard on the 790 Duke, with Bosch 9MP two-channel ABS along with traction control and four ride modes. One unique feature of The Scalpel is “Supermoto” mode, which lets the rider switch off the rear wheel ABS, allowing the wheel to be locked up at will for sideways corner entry stunts.

Adding to the ergonomics of the 790 Duke is a four-position 760 mm wide handlebar, made from aluminium. Seat height on the 790 Duke is a very reasonable 825 mm, letting most riders mount the bike with two-feet down confidence.

For Malaysia, the 2018 KTM 790 Duke is a CBU unit, with units expected to appear in official KTM dealer showrooms very shortly. Amongst local competition for the 790 Duke is the Triumph 765RS priced at RM62,900, the Yamaha MT-09 at RM44,706, the Kawasaki Z900 at RM47,901 and the Ducati Monster 821 at RM67,830.