KTM Duke 390 Overview
Indians do have a huge love affair for Europe. The Alps, Big Ben, Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa, etc have always lured the Indians towards themselves. Even Europian automobiles have always been in the Numero Uno spot in their wishlist, with cars from the stables of VW, Audi, BMW, Merc and JLR and pure exotics like Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce. But Indians never had some serious stints with the exquisite two wheelers from this continent, as the big Jap players already had their sure-footing among Indian bike lovers. But 2012 really proved to be a table-turning year, as the Bajaj-KTM alliance finally broke the ground and introduced Duke 200, which instantly made this Austrian bike maker the hot favorites amongst the performance lovers. Thanks to this move, other European giant players like Ducati, BMW Motorrad and Aprilia began to think seriously about the Indian bike market. But the men from the Orange factory didn’t exhaust here. With Indians beginning to build a soft corner for the handsome Dukes in their hearts and giving them a really warm reception in our market, Bajaj-KTM now has introduced to us what we can call a stepped-up version of their first offering, which is more beefier and has more adrenaline than it. Say hello to the KTM Duke 390.
KTM Duke 390 Designing
It’s a year since the Duke 200 has arrived on the Indian shores and now we are familiar with the ravishing stance this Austrian hottie has. It’s, by far, one of the most good-looking naked street bikes we have ever seen on our roads. This motorcycle is too photogenic from every angle. Talking about the front, the oval shaped headlight, with a tiny rectangular beard-like pilot lamp below it, is surrounded by a thick plastic cowl, which has bolder graphics adorned on it. The sleek LED turn indicators attached to this cowl make it look like a face of a handsome goblin. The angular rear-view mirrors also enhance the sharpness of the design. This face, coupled with the fat front tire, compact fender, muscular front forks and jewel-studded crown like tiny visor with number plate, provides an aggressive feel to the front. It isn’t that the front has all the anger associated with it. Moving to the side of this machine, and you will find that the alloy wheels have a 10 spoke design, but unlike those found in Duke 200, are colored in orange, which look more tastier than the blackened out version. This bike looks like a beast taking steroids, while being on dieting, as the motorcycle although having a muscular appeal, has a lean body language throughout the side silhoutte. This whole credit goes to the mass centralization process carried out on the bike. It has minimalistic but beefy body panels and tubular Trellis steel frame painted in Orange which look very lustrous. The stylish side profile, beginning from the pointed and aerodynamic tank, flowing through the small-sized under cowl and the extended edgy rear body panels, can give the curvaceous Bollywood actresses some inferiority complexes. The split seats with the grab rails mounted on the rear cowl also do the act of garnishing here. Though the most striking feature is the under-belly exhaust which is placed below the front foot-pegs, which along with the large clearance between the rear fender and tire, increases the explicit nakedness of the bike. The rear fender is one of the largest ever seen with a tiny LED tail light mounted on its top, which makes this bike look brutal from the rear. The only grouse with the whole styling is that this bike looks exactly the same as its younger sibling, Duke 200. Apart from the color of the alloy wheels and some un-noticeable graphic changes, there is nothing to differentiate between the two brothers. The instrument console too is the similar unit, with a small rectangular orange-colored LCD screen, having plethora of information like speedometer, tachometer, odometer, 2 trip meters, fuel gauge, temperature gauge, gear indicator and much more in a digital fashion. Though being fabulously designed, the tiny size of the fonts and cascading tachometer do require some serious concentration to be read. The other important basic tell-tale lamps are placed around this screen. The build quality and fit & finish is top notch with a typical Europian soul to it, with the backlit switchgear carried straight away from the Pulsar clan. The color option for the time being is just one – White with Orange decals. We do expect KTM to introduce more colors in the near future.
Colors of KTM Duke 390 Engine & Performance
So, if you thought the 200cc mill was too hot to handle, this one will literally boil you out. This extremely hardcore machine is a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 4-stroke, 373.2cc heart, which pumps out a maximum power of 44bhp at 9000 rpm and an utmost torque of 35 Nm, which is churned out at 7250 rpm. It is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, with a one-down-five-up pattern, which offers you the most accurate gearshifts out there. The celestial relationship of this utter wild engine and the extra-light tubular frame (the dry weight being just 145 kg) results in an incredible power-to-weight ratio, and this is felt instantly once you rev this throttle wide open. This wonderful nature of the chassis makes the motorcycle cover up the sprint of 0-100 kmph in a light-fastening 7 seconds. The super-slick and smooth gearbox, boasting of well-matched gear ratios, should be given full credits here, because of which the power is utilized to its fullest. Rowdy demons need not to be loud and gruff, and this 373.2cc engine proves it. This powerhouse is refined and vibe-free even at the speed of 150 kmph. The awesome low-end and mid-range grunt makes this bike one of the fastest single-cylinder motorcycles available on the Indian soil. This performance is not reserved for flat-straights, but can be utilized for rough and irregular terrains as the chassis is much flexible for off-roading credentials too, complemented with its high ground clearance of 170mm. The fuel-efficiency is expected to be around 22-25 kmpl, which is quite good, considering the oodles of power a sub-400cc motorcycle has a right to generate.
KTM Duke 390 Braking & Handling
In spite of the devilish character this engine has symbolized for itself, the KTM Duke 390 is very comfortable to ride. Unlike other performance oriented sportsbikes with fully committed riding postures, this one has a slightly upraised and almost flat and compact handlebar and firm palm grips, with rear set foot-pegs and full size padded seats, which urges you to push the bike even further and ensure you optimum comfort and superior flickability through city traffic and long rides, a natural trait only associated to commuter bikes. Though the perch for pillion riders is not that comfortable for long highway jaunts for a full-sized adult. The fantastic race-inspired suspension setup of upside-down 43mm dia hydraulic forks at front and monoshock at rear enables you to steer this bike with full confidence at any corner or at any speed. The tires are also very much trust-worthy; the super-special Metzeler sportec tubeless rubbers – 110/70 front and 150/60 rear – are first for any Indian bike, which provide you ample grip to be stable at each and every condition. These tires, though costlier, provide more grip than the same-sized MRFs found on the 200cc version. The brakes too are responsive to bring to hault this enormous amount of performance on tap. The 300mm front disc and a 200mm rear disc, supported with the Bosch standard ABS system which can be switched off when not in use, have the perfect bite which offers you the least possible stopping distances and the ABS giving the extra stability in wet terrains. This whole amalgamation of fabulous engine, Trellis chassis, suspension, ABS and brakes is a boon for performance lovers, especially stunt riders.
KTM Duke 390 Safety Features
KTM has fully kitted out this bike with safety features like front disc brakes and ABS system, along with other warning lights on the digital instrumentation. For the agile nimbleness of this machine, it deserves such safety features.
KTM Duke 390 Pros
Stunning looks, breath-taking performance, Price
KTM Duke 390 Cons
Looks too similar to Duke 200, thin service and dealership network, available only in one colour option
KTM Duke 390 Updates
They say – “Good things come at a price”. But at an impressive introductory pricing of Rs.1.80 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai), this bike is an almost inexpensive deal and one of the most irresistible value-for-money options which you can buy at present, if you are looking for a performance oriented motorcycle. Inexpensive because, it’s fully loaded to the gills in every arena – be it performance, suspension, tires, brakes, equipments, looks – just everything. It’s unmatched packaging is surely going to give nightmares to its competitors, which are priced at the same price point like CBR250R, Hyosung GT250R and even one of it’s Japanese pen friend with whom it shares space in Bajaj Pro-biking showrooms, Kawasaki Ninja 300, with an advantage of cubic capacity over all of them. KTM will start delivering the first lot of 390 Duke from September last onwards. With so much qualities embossed on this two-wheeled monster, KTM surely has got another winner in its hands. Hats off to KTM – two back-to-back debut products, equally respectable beyond the limits. And this makes the pure enthusiasts make these Austrian beauties call ‘Killer Thrilling Machines’ – That’s what KTM is an abbreviation for them, right?