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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

Last updated on: August 29, 2013 18:11 IST

Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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The KTM Duke 390, with the performance it offers at this price, is simply unmatchable writes Faisal Ali Khan of MotorBeam.com

KTM launched the Duke 390 on June 25, 2013, after showcasing the motorcycle last year. The Duke 390 has been highly awaited by Indian motorcyclists since the time news broke about it being on the anvil.

Manufactured in India and exported the world over, the KTM Duke 390 boasts of mouth watering specifications on paper. The bike carries some of the best bit of hardware which is unseen even at twice its price.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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On the styling front, the Duke 390 is identical to the Duke 200 as both bikes share parts. However KTM has given the Duke 390 a few changes to the colour scheme which makes it stand apart.

The wheels and trellis frame are orange coloured, which is quite loud and can't be missed on the roads.

The graphics are different and 390 is boldly written instead of Duke, which is highlighted on the Duke 200.

The naked styling is very attractive and the Duke 390 flexes its muscles showing its chunky parts.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: KTM

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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The instrument cluster of the Duke 390 is identical to the Duke 200, except the hidden ABS switch off button.

The console is good to read on the move but the digital tachometer is a bit difficult to keep up with when you are accelerating hard. The all digital meter carries an array of information which can shame even luxury cars.

You get distance to empty, average fuel consumption, service reminder, twin trip meters, shift light, etc.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: KTM Duke , ABS

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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KTM has reduced the seat height on the Duke 390 by 10 mm compared to the Duke 200. The sitting position is upright and the wide handlebar makes it easy to pilot the bike.

The mirrors are a tad small though. The pillion seat is not very comfortable and the seat is itself a bit hard.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: KTM

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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Giving the Duke 390 fire spitting power is a 373.2cc, single-cylinder engine. This DOHC unit is unlike other single-cylinder engines you have heard of.

KTM has given the Duke 390's powertrain the best bit of tech, mainly inspired from racing. The sleeveless cylinder is coated with NIKASIL while the piston is forged. The cam gets diamond like coating to reduce friction.

All this results in a high-tech engine which weighs a measly 36 kgs.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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With such high tech inside the motor, the Duke 390 is a complete missile. This motor produces a whooping 43.5 PS of power at 9000 RPM and 35 Nm of torque at 7000 RPM.

When you factor in the weight of the bike, which is just 154 kgs, you realise all this is a recipe for hooliganism. Power to weight ratio is in excess of 300 PS per tonne while PS/litre is an impressive 118.

With so much power and tech packed under the Duke 390, it is bound to a be a rocket on Indian roads.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: RPM , KTM Duke

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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Start the engine and there are some vibes, which is an inherent flaw of single-cylinder engines.

Smack the throttle and the Duke 390 takes off with such urgency that you could end up doing a power-wheelie. In terms of numbers, the Duke 390 will nudge past 60 km/hr in just 2.8 seconds while 100 km/hr comes up in just 5.8 seconds.

Keep your right wrist twisted and the Duke 390 will zoom past 130 km/hr in just 11 seconds.

Top speed is in excess of 160 km/hr and the Duke 390 revs cleanly to its 10,500 RPM redline without any hiccup. It not only feels fast but accelerates like a complete maniac on steroids.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: KTM , RPM

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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The Duke 390's motor is coupled to a 6-speed gearbox, which offers smooth shifts. Gearing is on the taller side which means you can comfortably cruise on the highway.

The engine itself doesn't feel as frantic as the Duke 200 which makes riding the 390 easier than its younger sibling.

At 100 km/hr in sixth gear, the RPM needle hovers at around 5000 RPM, which keeps the mill very relaxed. However in city conditions, when you are ambling around in first gear, the engine tends to heat quite a bit, which can be felt on your legs.

Mileage from the Duke 390 is around 25-30 km/l, depending on how fast you ride it.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: RPM , KTM

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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The Duke 390 uses upside down forks at the front and monoshock at the rear, made by suspension experts WP.

The suspension is set on the stiffer side and thus the ride quality is harsh on our bad roads. Over good roads, the Duke 390 is quite pliant but it transfers most to the rider when you move fast over broken tarmac and potholes.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: KTM , WP

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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Maneuvering the Duke 390 is easy, in spite of the huge power on offer. The Duke 390 darts into corners with precision and stays glued even on the tightest of turns thanks to its able chassis and super sticky Metzeler tyres.

The bike is very agile and nimble and offers tremendous feedback to the rider, which thoroughly boosts her/his confidence.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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The Duke 390 is capable of some high speeds and thus it needs the best of brakes. KTM has given the bike ABS as standard which works well to stop the Duke 390 dead in its track without any drama. The ABS can be switched off via a hidden button on the dash.

The front uses a four pot radial calliper while the rear uses a single pot calliper. The wide and gluey tyres give the Duke terrific stopping prowess.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: KTM Duke , ABS

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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Headlight offers good illumination for highway journeys. The Duke comes with backlit switches. The tail light and indicators use LEDs which look impressive in the night.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: KTM

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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The Duke 390 is a terrific motorcycle. However it's a bike for the enthusiast as the ride quality is on the stiffer side and the engine heats a bit in city conditions.

But once on the open road, this KTM comes in its own and accelerates like a bullet train.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: KTM Duke

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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At Rs 1.8 lakh (ex-showroom), the Duke 390 is simply unmatched for what it offers. This motorcycle is fast, super footed and handles beautifully. The brakes are outstanding as well.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: KTM Duke

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Bike review: KTM Duke 390 is a pocket mein rocket!

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While the engine doesn't sound sports bike like, the performance can rival machines which cost more than twice as much. This makes the Duke 390 a definite recommend for biker lovers in our country. Performance motorcycling doesn't get any better than this.


Image: KTM Duke 390
Photographs: MotorBeam.com
Tags: KTM

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