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Old 08-26-2015, 03:40 PM   #1
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SPIED: KTM 800 Duke/Husqvarna Café Racer

Now that KTM has successfully colonized the big-bore streetbike segment with its excellent—and ever-expanding—lineup of V-twin adventure and naked bikes, it appears that the Austrian firm will target the midsize market next with what is believed to be an 800cc parallel twin. This new naked bike should slot nicely between the single-cylinder 690 Duke and the V-twin 1290 Super Duke R, the latter our choice for the best naked bike of the 2015.

As usual, virtually nothing is known about this prototype except what we can glean from carefully studying the photos and extrapolating from statements by KTM President Stefan Pierer, who confirmed in a speech at EICMA last fall that the company was indeed developing a new line of middleweight motorcycles. It’s clear from these pictures that the new bikes will not be powered by a sleeved-down V-twin, as originally thought, or by a repurposed version of the discontinued Husqvarna Nuda’s parallel twin (Husky is now wholly owned by KTM), but instead by an all-new parallel twin of KTM’s own design. We can see here that it will be a compact arrangement, with a vertically stacked transmission to save space and a slightly forward cylinder orientation. Dual overhead cams and a large-capacity radiator suggest that this engine will be built to make power—anticipate around 100 horsepower motivating a curb weight just over 400 pounds—to credibly compete with bikes like Triumph’s Street Triple and Yamaha’s FZ-09.

The chassis spec—including an inverted fork no doubt from KTM house brand WP, radial-mounted Brembo front brake calipers, and a stout, beam-type swingarm—further underline KTM’s “Ready to Race” corporate philosophy. Only two big questions remain: when will we see the inevitable adventure-touring version of this platform, and will this bike be made in KTM’s traditional Mattighofen, Austria, factory or at its new and thoroughly modern manufacturing facility in Chakan, India? Expect at least one of these questions to be answered this fall, when the production version of this bike is expected to break cover at EICMA 2015.

At the same time, spy photographers also captured what is believed to be a development mule for a forthcoming streetbike from Husqvarna, supporting statements to the effect that Husky’s future streetbikes will be strictly distinguished from KTMs traditionally off-road and adventure-derived lineup. Looking like little more than a KTM 690 Duke with an attitude adjustment in the form of a squashed rear end with a flat seat and low-mounted, clip-on handlebars, the bike, which our sources say will be called the 701 Café Racer, was actually photographed crossing the street that separates KTM Mattighofen factory from its R&D facility.

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