JACKS OF ALL TRADES: MASTERS OF ALL FUN
Cycle World|Issue 3 - 2020
Middleweight naked bikes and good times
Michael Gilbert

It’s hard to recall the exact moment when it happened, but somewhere between burning knee pucks through Chuckwalla Valley Raceway’s 70 mph bowl turn, with Senior Editor Adam Waheed flanking me, and exiting Turn 16 in a crossed-up wheelie, disbelief set in that these are the same motorcycles on the same tires we’d used to cover hundreds of miles on the street riding from the Cycle World office to the racetrack the day before. Long hours in relative comfort, countless black lines painted on winding back roads, endless entertainment, and an average of 37 mpg between the two are a testament to the Triumph Street Triple RS’s and KTM 890 Duke R’s balance of performance, fun, and practicality.

Outright performance and practicality are cool, but, like you, we’re mostly here for the good times. And we get a lot of that, thanks to the broad aim of both these bikes. Their design philosophies hearken back to the fabled Universal Japanese Motorcycle, except they come equipped with advanced rider-aid electronics, relentless engine performance, top-shelf components from excellent suppliers, and some of the most impressive production tire technology ever offered.

But what’s particularly interesting here is that these two machines conquer similar goals in very different ways.

The 2020 Triumph Street Triple RS and multi time Cycle World Ten Best Bikes Middleweight Streetbike features a rev-happy yet flexible 765cc inline-triple at its core and is one of the most polished sporty naked bikes on the market. This British-designed machine was excellent right out of the gate at its 2017 introduction, and has been reworked and refined since. It most recently received electronic upgrades and engine improvements said to increase power output while meeting tighter Euro 5 emissions standards. It’s been the class benchmark for being swift, comfortable, and smooth. It’s the epitome of the modern sporty middleweight standard.

Austria isn’t exactly close to England, and neither is KTM’s approach to the segment. Not long after introducing the 790 Duke, the Orange Brigade unveiled the 2020 890 Duke R, with a larger displacement, more powerful 889cc parallel-twin, increased adjustability of its WP Apex suspension bits, and racier ergonomics. It’s built to be raw and edgy, with a focus on sporting characteristics. This is KTM’s effort to take hold of the class.

And while we know that most owners use these motorcycles as transportation and for weekend-warrior canyon ripping and tearing, it’s hard to argue against their racetrack prowess. Each bike is built with trickle-down technology from its respective manufacturer’s flagship models and racing efforts. Take note that both KTM and Triumph display hardcore track-riding shots on their websites. We didn’t need much more prompting than that, so after covering a mix of mountain roads, highway slogs, stop-and-go traffic, and photo passes, we cut the KTM 890 Duke R and Triumph Street Triple RS loose at the race circuit.

Chuckwalla Valley Raceway’s 17-turn, 2.68-mile layout nestled in the desert of Southern California is a worthy proving ground to hammer on these middleweight machines, offering a blend of elevation changes, medium-length straightaways, fast sweeping corners, and tire-scorching acceleration zones. It’s the perfect place to test their sporting intent. Note that lap times weren’t recorded because of routine track maintenance in several corners, which created unpredictable conditions, but we utilized our VBox data logger to target key corners and acceleration zones for objective comparison. These bikes aren’t so much about lap times as they are for having fast fun, though we did a full complement of instrumented acceleration and brake testing at our private facility, followed by full weights and measures, plus runs on Cycle World’s in-house Dynojet 250i dynamometer.

Interpreting dyno charts clearly shows the result of a 124cc displacement difference between the inline-triple and parallel-twin engines used here, as well as highlighting the way their respective designs influence how they make power.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

RELATED STORIES

IRS BLOWS LID ON HARRY & MEGHAN CHARITY SCANDAL!

Big bucks spent on their lawyers

2 mins read
National Enquirer
January 24, 2022

How Many Ways Can You Spin an Idea?

One insight can produce many companies. My obsessive music habit as a teen has already driven three.

2 mins read
Entrepreneur
December 2021

JACK GROWS ON MOSS!

Elisabeth wants Nicholson back in biz & sharing Scientology throne

2 mins read
National Enquirer
November 01, 2021

Charles & Harry: TV WAR!

WITH A NEW STREAMING DEAL, PRINCE CHARLES SENDS A MESSAGE TO HIS WAYWARD SON: TWO CAN PLAY AT THIS GAME.

3 mins read
Star
October 18, 2021

CRUSADER KINKS PART II

Continuing the raunchy reign of King Randy Cockburn.

9 mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
November 2021

coach SPEAK

Head coach Brian Flores offers his thoughts on a wide variety of topics, including Jakeem Grant and his value as a returner, what the new linebackers will bring, and Jacoby Brissett’s team-first attitude

10 mins read
Dolphin Digest
August 30, 2021

DO YOU HAVE ESP?

MAKE YOUR OWN ZENER CARD DECK AND FIND OUT!

4 mins read
Muse Science Magazine for Kids
January 2021

Life in the clear

THE SECRET TO BEING (ALMOST) INVISIBLE

6 mins read
Muse Science Magazine for Kids
January 2021

HARRY& MEGHAN : WE HAVE TOO MUCH MONEY!

Forced to blow wads of cash to offset taxes

2 mins read
National Enquirer
January 11, 2021

SHEARWATER - Speedy Shearwater creates new opportunities for offshore research

The scientists at Duke University Marine Lab had a good idea what they wanted in a new research vessel. It had to be quick enough to keep pace with the speedy pilot whales, and efficient enough for voyages well offshore.

6 mins read
Professional Mariner
Annual American Ship Review 2021