Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE

Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE

Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE

30 Years ago both the new KTM DUKE and Duke Nukem 3D burst upon the scene! Coincidently named? We think not as both are powerhouses of unapologetically raw and unbridled in-your-face aggression. the 1994 KTM DUKE was a radical departure from traditional motorcycle designs. 30 years later The DUKE has evolved to be the ultimate hyper-naked motorcycle with immense power, unmatched electronics, and an all-new direction in design!

I’ve rode a 990 Super Duke, but now I kinda wish I bought a KTM Duke these past 30 years… what have I been thinking?!

From 1994 to 2024 welcome to Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE! Like the Original Duke Nukem “I’m here to kick ass and chew bubblegum and I’m all outta gum!” oh, that brings back a lot of memories for me. Ok, that just means more Duke Nukem quotes at the end of this article then!!

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Total Motorcycle would like to thank KTM and our over 425 million of motorcycle riders and enthusiasts who visit and support TMW for inspiring us to bring you this week’s Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE!

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Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE


The last 30 years of the KTM DUKE model range can be summed up in one word: Evolution. From its humble beginnings in 1994 to its current status as a symbol of performance and innovation, the KTM DUKE nameplate has stood the test of time.

In 1994, KTM burst into the street scene with the first motorcycle to carry the DUKE nameplate. It featured a big-bore 609 cc single-cylinder engine, with ergonomics and styling that straddled the line between Supermoto and street fighter. It brought true hooligan personality to the street, unapologetically Naked and stripped back to the bare essence of what a motorcycle should be.

At the time, the 1994 KTM DUKE was a radical departure from traditional motorcycle designs. Featuring an exposed trellis frame, minimalist bodywork, and a single-cylinder engine, it was an anomaly in the market. However, it instantly captured the attention of riders seeking a raw and unbridled riding experience.

Such was its success that KTM introduced a more powerful DUKE II version in 1999, with sharper styling replacing the rounded body contours of its predecessor. Unknowingly, this would launch the Naked segment within the KTM street motorcycle line-up, with more engine capacities and cylinders being added to the DUKE range.

In 2005, the SUPER DUKE nameplate was introduced, boasting a powerful 990 cc LC8 V-Twin powerplant. The KTM 990 SUPER DUKE quickly reached cult status, leading the way for the KTM 990 SUPER DUKE R variant to tear into the market in 2008.

2008 also brought the KTM 690 DUKE to market, once again shaking up the design norms of the times. The 2008 KTM 690 DUKE was a hunkered down, powerful single-cylinder machine, with an underslung exhaust and aggressive, elbows-out riding position. This would later become the blueprint for the DUKE attitude.

2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R EVO

2011 saw the rise of smaller capacity DUKE models, with the KTM 125 DUKE entering the market. This compact and energetic machine delivered ample power and easy maneuverability, without sacrificing any of the DUKE personality. This made it the ideal launchpad for future DUKE pilots, and future middle-weight models.

In 2012, KTM introduced the game-changing KTM 200 DUKE, with THE CORNER ROCKET KTM 390 DUKE joining the line-up in 2013. The KTM 390 DUKE became a favorite among urban riders, thanks to its nimble handling and punchy power delivery.

KTM then shook the Naked motorcycle segment in 2014, with the introduction of THE BEAST – the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. With a 1,301cc V-twin engine at its core, the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R gained the reputation of having the most powerful LC8 engine, which paved the way for a new segment and the more travel-focused KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE GT arriving in 2016.

The following year, 2017, THE BEAST received its first real update. Dubbed THE BEAST 2.0, the 2017 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R boasted power, suspension, and styling updates. But its new electronics package took center stage, with more refined rider aids and a new TRACK Mode setting the tone.

Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE

A turning point in the DUKE evolution came about in 2018, when KTM unleashed the KTM 790 DUKE, dubbed THE SCALPEL. This was the introduction of a new era of performance and style for the DUKE name, featuring a powerful parallel-twin engine, cutting-edge electronics, and a bold design. Moreso, it showcased the determination to dominate the middleweight Naked bike segment.

Now, 30 years later, three-anniversary models enter the fray. At the entry-level, the KTM 390 DUKE boasts its boldest evolutionary step, with distinct styling, a class-leading electronics package, and unrivaled performance.

The KTM 990 DUKE – not to be confused with the KTM 990 SUPER DUKE of old – is powered by an all-new LC8c parallel-twin, bringing the fight directly to the 1,000 cc Naked segment. It boasts bigger dimensions, more tech, and more street presence.

Lastly, the KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R and its stablemate, the KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R EVO, have evolved to be the ultimate pair of hyper-naked motorcycles with immense power, unmatched electronics, and an all-new direction in design.

To celebrate this milestone, the three aforementioned models have dedicated 30 YEARS OF DUKE livery, inspired by the DUKE models that came before them.

KTM also endeavored to reward DUKE fans by giving away a KTM 390 DUKE, a KTM 990 DUKE, and a KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R via its digital platforms, with over 700,000 entries received.

KTM will officially kick off its 30 YEARS OF DUKE campaign at the International Media Launch held in Almeria, Spain. This will allow the press and associated partners to experience the 2024 KTM 390 DUKE, KTM 990 DUKE, KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R and KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R EVO models in their ideal habitats.

This will also be the first time in KTM history that three new models are being launched at the same time, with the three DUKE winners joining the event. Together with KTM Ambassador Rok Bagaros and KTM royalty, Jeremy McWilliams on hand to show them what the new DUKE models are capable of, the press will have two days to get to grips with the new DUKEs themselves. Day one will see the media cover 115 km on Spain’s finest coastline and twisty passes onboard the KTM 390 DUKE, as well as testing themselves and each other on a gymkhana course.

Day two, sees the group experience the KTM 990 DUKE out on a dedicated road ride led by KTM staff, with the other half staying on track with Jeremy McWilliams to test the KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R and KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R EVO. There will also be three specially built KTM 1390 SUPER DUKE R’s on hand, fitted with all the KTM PowerParts, WP PRO COMPONENTS Suspension and slick tires.

To end off this epic launch, the press and DUKE winners alike will be treated to an afterparty fit for a DUKE, with dinner in the pits, with the KTM DUKE range sharing the floor.


Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE

KTM Motorcycle Guides from 1994 to today

2020 – 2029 KTM Motorcycle Guides
2024 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2023 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2022 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2021 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2020 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide


2010 -2019 KTM Motorcycle Guides
– 2019 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2018 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2017 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2016 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2015 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2014 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2013 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2012 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2011 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2010 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide


2010 + KTM ATV/Quad Guides
– 2013 KTM ATV/Quad Model Guide
– 2012 KTM ATV/Quad Model Guide


2000 – 2009 KTM Motorcycle Guides
– 2009 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2008 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2007 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2006 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2005 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2004 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2003 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2002 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2001 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 2000 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide


1990 – 1999 KTM Motorcycle Guides
– 1999 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 1998 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 1997 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 1996 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 1995 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide
– 1994 KTM Motorcycle Model Guide


Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE


For 2024, the single cylinder capacity DUKE range steps into the ring with renewed punching power and clear differentiation between the different displacements. The new models represent the biggest change to the single cylinder capacity KTM DUKE model range since the 2011 KTM 125 DUKE. This has resulted in a complete redesign, with all-new engines, chassis, and styling, all in-line with the typical, sharp, and aggressive KTM DUKE design language you’ve come to expect.

390 DUKE
The unprecedented success of the KTM 390 DUKE worldwide has been an essential part of the growth of KTM. For 2024, the KTM 390 DUKE presents an all-new design, featuring the latest technology, adjustable suspension, impressive brakes, and renewed styling.

250 DUKE
The new generation KTM 250 DUKE boasts a reduced total weight and now shares its engine platform with the KTM 125 DUKE, rather than the KTM 390 DUKE. This has allowed for a significant weight reduction and dramatically improved power-to-weight ratio.

125 DUKE
The KTM 125 DUKE has long been the best-selling 125 model in many European markets with its outstanding performance, sharp looks, and advanced technology.


All models now share a new metal fuel tank and high-quality surface finishes. However, there are now more visual differences between the 2024 KTM 390 DUKE and its stablemates. This has been accomplished by introducing various bodywork components which complement each model individually.

The KTM 125 DUKE and KTM 250 DUKE boast a slim and compact profile, thanks to a set of smaller tank spoilers compared to the KTM 390 DUKE, aligned with painted headlight surrounds. This, along with a lower seat height compared to the 2nd generation models.

The 2024 KTM 390 DUKE has longer tank spoilers and radiator covers which differentiate it from the rest of the DUKE range. The tank spoilers also feature visible air intakes, with a new seat design, complete with an Electronic Orange Metallic accent strip, located under the seat. External LED positioning lights and a brand-new TFT display finish off the premium looks of the 2024 KTM 390 DUKE.

The 2024 DUKE range features a high-quality, multi-layered wet-painted finish with overcoated graphics, along with a brace of new color schemes. This is supported by a unique DUKE textured seat material and lasered textures on the inner spoilers.

An all-new frame, new lightweight wheels, and changes to the overall frame stiffness offer greatly improved feel and compliance when being pushed to the limits – both on the road and on the track. For 2024 the chassis has also been engineered with a lower seat height than previous generations, without sacrificing any of the signature DUKE riding agility and feel.

The new 2-piece frame design is composed of an all-new steel trellis main frame with a pressure die-cast aluminum subframe, complete with new triple clamps that feature a new offset that improves handling and provides riders with greater control and stability.

The primary objective for the frame design is to enhance dynamics by augmenting torsional rigidity, allowing for improved agility and enhanced feedback from the chassis. Ensuring best in class handling, stability and comfort. An all-new curved lightweight swingarm is now also present, which contours around the relocated rear shock absorber allowing for a new muffler. The rear shock absorber is now also mounted offcenter to allow for an optimally positioned airbox while reducing seat height and, at the same time, adding to the aggressive stance of the 2024 DUKE range.

The new subframe sports a sleek and lightweight design, thanks to its open structure that achieves weight reduction compared to traditional steel trellis subframes. Not only does this unique design contribute to a strong and sturdy build, but it also enhances the 2024 DUKE’s overall aesthetic with an exposed construction.

Furthermore, the subframe is specifically crafted to offer a lower seat height and a shorter standover height, resulting in a machine that is not only stylish and functional, but also accommodating to a wider range of riders.

The new curved cast aluminum swingarm features a direct shock absorber mounting point which is now offset to the side, making it more visible. This not only adds to a sleek and modern appearance but also creates additional space for the new muffler, and dramatically enhances the 2024 DUKE’s sophisticated and refined look.

All the 2024 KTM DUKE models feature a 43 mm WP APEX front fork with 150 mm travel, with notable differences between the models. The 2024 KTM 390 DUKE features a 43 mm WP APEX open cartridge fork with easy compression and rebound adjustability in 5-click steps, while the KTM 125 DUKE features the same in a non-adjustable setup. The KTM 250 DUKE features a non-adjustable 43 mm WP APEX big piston fork setup. On the rear, all the new generation DUKE models make use of an off-center WP APEX shock absorber with 150 mm of travel, with some differences among the range

The 2024 KTM 390 DUKE makes use of a WP APEX Separate piston shock absorber with 5-click rebound hand adjustment and tool-adjustable preload. The 2024 KTM 125 DUKE makes use of the same, however, only offers tool-adjustable preload. The 2024 KTM 250 makes use of a WP APEX Emulsion shock absorber, with preload adjustability.

Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE

An all-new lightweight wheel design reduces rotating unsprung mass, improving the overall handling characteristics of the 2024 DUKE range. These weight savings were achieved by having fewer spokes and an open hub design, optimized to accommodate the new brake setup. This, combined with the lighter front brake disk and hollow front axle make for a much lighter front end. The wheels on the 2024 KTM 390 DUKE are wrapped in Michelin tires, while the 2024 KTM 125 DUKE is equipped with Michelin Road 5 tires, and the 2024 KTM 250 DUKE rides on Vredestein Centauro tires.

The faster you go, the better your brakes need to be. For that reason, the 2024 KTM DUKE range features a generously specced braking system, complemented by the state-of-the-art Supermoto ABS package as standard. All three models in the range are fitted with a 320 mm brake disk and four-piston caliper up front, and a 240 mm brake disk with a brand-new twin-piston caliper on the rear. This brake setup is not only visibly different with a new edgy design but also features great improvements in corrosion resistance thanks to more anodized components. Furthermore, the KTM 390 DUKE and KTM 125 DUKE boast adjustable brake levers.

The new DUKE models are powered by an entirely new generation of lightweight, compact small, single-cylinder engines. Dubbed the LC4c – c for compact – the engine range is made up of a smaller 125-250 cc engine and a larger 399 cc engine, as found in the KTM 390 DUKE. Building from the experience gained with the previous generation of single-cylinder engines, these powerplants are completely redesigned, with newly optimized cylinder heads and gearboxes, and are ready for EURO 5+ compatibility. For the 2024 KTM 390 DUKE, the engine size has been increased with a longer stroke of 64 mm to reach 399 cc of displacement, while the 2024 KTM 125 DUKE and KTM 250 DUKE share their engine platform and feature a new SOHC design that is lighter and simpler with fewer components, as well as ride-by-wire, a PASC clutch, and improved power-to-weight ratio.


Setting the benchmark for the single cylinder NAKED segment, the 2024 KTM DUKE range brings the fight to the street with real-world technological advancements.

All models in the 2024 KTM DUKE line-up feature the latest version of selectable Supermoto ABS as standard. In this iteration, Supermoto ABS mode stays activated even after the ignition is switched off, retaining the settings.

The 2024 KTM 390 DUKE also features cornering MTC as standard, which uses the input from the 3D sensor to adapt traction control in cornering situations, with the ability to be toggled on or off.

The 2024 KTM 390 DUKE gets Launch Control as standard equipment and allows riders to get off the line even faster. When the system is engaged, Launch Control maintains the revs at 7000 rpm with the throttle pinned to the stop. This new feature is only accessible while in the TRACK screen mode.

QUICKSHIFTER+ is now available on all models as an optional extra, and allows riders to work the gearbox, both for up and downshifts, without the need to pull the clutch lever. This results in quicker shift times, and a more precise and smoother ride, since clutch actuation and backing off the throttle are no longer required.

Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE

The KTM 390 DUKE features selectable ride modes. The default setting is STREET Mode, with RAIN Mode being selectable in adverse weather conditions for a less aggressive throttle response, and more sensitive traction control. Finally, a first for the 2024 KTM 390 DUKE, KTM features TRACK screen – this Mode changes the screen to a more race-focused layout enlarging the rev counter, showing the lap timer, selected gear display, reducing the size of the speed readout, and showing the selected setting for MTC and ABS

All models in the 2024 lineup feature an LED headlight, tail light, and indicators, with this being the first-year model to feature automatically canceling indicators after 10 minutes or after 150 meters traveled.

The 2024 KTM 390 DUKE also boasts LED position lights as standard. The new positioning light can be fitted as an optional extra on both the 2024 KTM 125 DUKE and the 2024 KTM 250 DUKE models.

The 2024 KTM DUKE range ensures all information offered to the rider is clear and crisp, thanks in part to all-new 5” dashboards. Both 2024 KTM 390 DUKE and 2024 KTM 125 DUKE models receive a bonded glass TFT display, while the 2024 KTM 250 DUKE receive an updated LCD unit.

The dashboard features a lap timer across all models, with the KTM 390 DUKE and KTM 125 DUKE also benefiting from a speed limiter function which can be used in areas with a lot of speed cameras. The new 5 “TFT dash also allows 2024 KTM 390 DUKE riders to toggle between ride modes, adjust the MTC and initiate Launch Control.

All new generation DUKE models will also be equipped with connectivity functions, such as a music player via the KTMconnect app, and the ability to answer incoming calls, and Turn-by-turn navigation. The new dashboards are supported by completely redesigned switchgear with optimized ergonomics and illuminated switches.


Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE

Glorious Raw Duke Nukem Quotes!!

Duke Nukem : It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I’m all out of gum.

[first lines]

Duke Nukem : Damn, those alien bastards are gonna pay for shooting up my ride.

[Duke examines the Duke Nukem II arcade machine] Duke Nukem : Hmm, don’t have time to play with myself.

Duke Nukem : Ahhhh… much better!

Duke Nukem : You’re an inspiration for birth-control.

Duke Nukem : Groovy!

Duke Nukem : I’ll rip your head off and shit down your neck!

Duke Nukem : [Nintendo 64 version only]

[after entering a secret area and finding Snake from Escape from L.A. dead, torn in half, and hanging on chains] Duke Nukem : I guess he didn’t escape from L.A.

Duke Nukem : [singing horribly] Born To Be Wiiillllddd!

Duke Nukem : Let’s rock!

Duke Nukem : Your face. Your ass. What’s the difference?

Duke Nukem : Nobody steals our chicks… and lives!

[seeing a torn corpse of a Space Marine from Doom]

Duke Nukem : Hmm, that’s one doomed space marine.

Duke Nukem : This really pisses me off!

Duke Nukem : [sometimes says it after finishing a level] Ready for action!

Duke Nukem : [whenever an alien is blown to bits] Oooooooooh, that’s gotta hurt!

Duke Nukem : [after looking at himself in a mirror] Damn! I’m looking good!

Duke Nukem : [after discovering 3 women in a hidden room] Hmmm, my kind of party! I wish I had time!

Duke Nukem : [upon seeing an Assault Trooper blowing up after it crosses an activated Laser Tripbomb] Blow it out your ass!

Duke Nukem : [sometimes says it after an alien squishes itself when passing through a wall] Eat shit and die!

Duke Nukem : We meet again, Doctor Jones!

Duke Nukem : [Sometimes upon seeing a stripper dancing] Shake it, baby!

Duke Nukem : [Sometimes upon seeing a stripper dancing] Wanna dance?

Duke Nukem : Rest in pieces!

Duke Nukem : Who wants some?

Duke Nukem : What are you waiting for? Christmas?

Duke Nukem : Uh, uh, uh. Where is it?

[after an earthquake shakes the level] Duke Nukem : I ain’t afraid of no quake!

Duke Nukem : Damn, you’re ugly.

Duke Nukem : This is K-T-I-T. KTIT. Playing the breast… Uh… The best tunes in town!

Duke Nukem : Damn. Those alien maggots booby-trapped the sub!

Duke Nukem : [checking out office computer playing Duke 3D] Get back to work, you slacker!

Duke Nukem : Damn, that’s the second time those alien bastards shot up my ride!

Duke Nukem : My name’s Duke Nukem. After some few days of R&R, I’ll be ready for some more action!

Woman : Aww, come back to bed, Duke! I’m ready for some action, nowww!

Duke Nukem : [after seeing an ID4 spaceship hovering over Duke Burger on a screen] Nobody jacks with our Independence!

Duke Nukem : [after entering a back room in Duke Burger] Nobody messes with my meat!

Duke Nukem : What are you? Some bottom-feeding, scum-sucking algae eater?

Duke Nukem : Lucky son of a bitch!

Duke Nukem : Die, you son of a bitch!

Boss 1 : Who… the… hell… are you? [Duke shoots the boss’s head and kills him]

Duke Nukem : I’m Duke Nukem. And I’m coming to get the rest of you alien bastards!

Duke Nukem : Let god sort ’em out.

Duke Nukem : Heh, heh, heh, what a mess!

Duke Nukem : I should have known those alien maggots booby-trapped the sub.

Duke Nukem : I’m going in.

Duke Nukem : I think you need some down time…

Duke Nukem : Looks like it’s time for me to go POSTAL!

Duke Nukem : Nukem ’till they glow, then shoot ’em in the dark!

Duke Nukem : And I thought 10 guns was hard to carry!

Duke Nukem : …And I thought cigars tasted bad!

Duke Nukem : [upon blowing up an Assault Commander with the RPG] Suck it down!

Duke Nukem : It’s down to you and me, you one-eyed freak!

Duke Nukem : Somebody’s gonna freakin’ pay for screwin’ up my vacation.

Duke Nukem : [after discovering Luke Skywalker’s corpse hanging upside-down] Now this is a force to be reckoned with!

Duke Nukem : [sometimes says it after squishing an alien] Bitchin’!

Duke Nukem : Yo ho ho, and a bottle of Jack!

Duke Nukem : [after stepping in a puddle from a monster that soiled itself in death] Shit happens!

[upon defeating the Alien Queen, the final boss of the game] Duke Nukem : It’s time to abort your whole friggin’ species!

[blows up the Alien Queen’s corpse with a pipe bomb]

Duke Nukem : Get the crap outta here!

Inspiration Friday: 30 years of the KTM DUKE

About Michael Le Pard 10046 Articles
"Mr. Totalmotorcycle". Owner and Founder of Total Motorcycle, the World’s Largest Motorcycle Site with over 425 million readers since 1999. Total Motorcycle is my pride and joy and being able to reach 425 million people has been incredible and I could not have done it without the support of my visitors, readers and members...thank you so much! We are all making a difference to millions of riders worldwide.