It’s a romantic thought, venturing out for a long ride on your bike through the pouring rain. My personal reality, though, is that shooting in the monsoon is a weary affair, with half the time spent on cleaning bikes and/ or waiting for the rain to subside so that the cameras can come out. Unsurprisingly, when you spend three days a week drenched to the bone, you want to just laze in over the weekend. As a result, the 790 Duke has only clocked 520km so far.
KTM states that the first service for a 790 Duke is scheduled for either 1,000km or one month. Since time has passed by much faster than my bike’s odometer, the job had to be done at the 500km mark.
Rs 4,018 for the oil filter kit jacks up the cost of a regular service.
Having owned a 390 Duke for six years before this, I can attest to the fact that the 790 gets special treatment at the workshop. There’s a specially trained technician who works on 790s, and no one at the service centre gets to take a test ride. Instead, there’s a rolling road platform outside, where Rajnikanth, the friendly KTM South Mumbai service manager, carefully ran the bike through the gears before and after the service was done.
The KTM 790 Duke’s first service consists of changing the oil and oil filter, brake-pad cleaning, chain lube/adjust, air-filter clean-up, an electronic firmware update and a thorough wash. The rest of the KTM line-up receives a similar treatment, but two things stand out for the 790 Duke. The first is that it requires a fancy tablet computer for its updates, and the second being that the service isn’t cheap. At Rs 9,914, this bike’s first service costs far more than what you’d have to pay for a 390 Duke’s, which uses about a litre less of the same 10W50 Motul 7100 engine oil.
With a recommended 91 octane, the bike runs fine on normal fuel.
Again, there are two major reasons. The first is that there’s no free first service for the 790 and that the service charge came to Rs 2,600. That’s quite reasonable for a big bike, but the harder pill to swallow is that the oil filter set (which consists of one filter and two plastic strainers) costs a ridiculous Rs 4,018. Yes, this kit is imported, but even a super-premium brand like Ducati has managed to price the Monster 821’s oil filter below Rs 1,000. As of now, the 790’s annual service cost is expensive, but if KTM can just correct the filter price, the 790 Duke will probably have the lowest service cost in the segment. Oh, in case you were wondering, I asked – using any aftermarket oil-filter kit will void the two-year warranty.
Over the last 500km, I have grown to understand the 790 Duke quite well, and if you keep it in Street mode it can be ridden in a reasonably civil manner – which is great, considering that the engine was being run in. With the first service done, the engine feels smoother, crisper, and ready to rip. I’ve now been given a free rein with the rev counter and, hopefully, there’ll be plenty more riding action for you to read about in the next report.
KTM 790 Duke long term review, first report