The KTM Duke 390 – The Devil’s Advocate | 6000kms Ownership Review

If you have never ridden a KTM before, chances are that you wouldn’t believe me when I say , the very definition of how much fun you can have with something between your legs is going to be shredded, I am sure people who have tasted the KTM are grinning right now,and re-living that first ride of theirs in their mind. When the Katoom 200 came by , it had a somewhat similar Hype, but for some reason it never stuck me to try and have a go at the wonderful piece of machinery it was, time passed and KTM became a big success, then the 390 rumors started rising, I thought to myself “Just another naked bike to the list”, then the specs came out, 44 BHP on a 390 single, OK, now they had me to stop and pay close attention.This was like none other in the current Indian 2 wheeler market, a 44 bhp single cylinder with Metzeler tyres and a very capable frame, it was a dream combination for many. Now I did not hurry up and do a test ride or anything, the first piece that comes to dealership and the first few batches wouldn’t be good enough to get a proper feel of what the bike is capable of, and it’s one thing to ride a bike for a few kms and judge it and is a totally different thing to ride it for thousands of kms and then try to put in down to words. So I waited ,mind you till then I hadn’t ridden a KTM in my entire life and boy was I in for a shocker when I was to accept delivery of a spanking new KTM 390 about 2 months later.

THE KTM Duke 390

THE KTM Duke 390

So here I am ready to share my side of the story after 6k kms with the wonderful machine.

First Crank and First Ride

So I was thinking, OK, it’s a 44 bhp motor, so it does command some respect or it definitely will bite back, and was expecting the ride to be a bit too occupying keeping all that things in mind. So, finally I get to sit on the bike and going to crank her up, till then I was never a fan of the sound of the KTM, but once I fired her up, it changed, no logical explanation of why, probably having her fired up under you does brings on a different impression, and was she loud or what..!! Blipped the throttle a bit and got that nasty-angry snarl as a response, Wow..!!  Now I was impressed. And then pulled in the clutch(very heavy BTW) and slotted it into the first gear,and that was it, it will leave a lasting impression on you,the amount of power on tap right from that moment you roll the throttle is just un-real , If you have been riding sub 250cc or even 250cc bikes till then, the term performance biking has a new meaning now, form now on , every bike you ride is going to be a direct comparison to the 390 on the sheer power delivery spits out. And then once I got some clear tarmac, blipped the throttle a wee bit and then all hell is unleashed, you feel all that NA horses being transferred onto the rear wheel, the feeling is just over-whelming and adrenaline pumping, within a minute or so, the definition of the word “Fun” was set at a new benchmark.

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Stricking a Pose

P.S: For first time riders, you might find that the bike will stall on you in the first gear on you first few attempt, the reason is because the amount of power right from the word go is just too much and the rate at which you release the clutch is too fast, so do keep in mind that when rolling on , maintain the bike in half clutch and give a wee bit extra throttle and slowly ease the bike into a rolling motion, a fast and sudden release in clutch with minimum input will cause the bike to stall.

Run-In/Break-In

The run-in procedure, this is not your typical run-in type, the bike  asks you to not rev beyond 7.5k, now that is all I am going to say, to know what is special in that , I would suggest you get a test ride bike and try it out, to know what 7.5k in each gear feels like on the 390. Well, In my case, I kept it below 7.5k at all times, and had the most fun breaking in the engine than I have ever had on any of the other bikes I have. Well, the bike eased in perfectly, had the first 1000 kms completed in less than a week.

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Engine Refinement & Performance 

Refinement is a tough word to go with , everything about the 390 makes you feel alive, awake and self conscious,  the high compression 375 cc single cylinder mill firing beneath you is a constant reminder of what a capable widow maker it can be if not handled with care. Long highway rides in cool temperatures, the bike manages to remain refined, even with the high compression engine and hard clutch that it has, but constant city traffic , and tip towing around is something that it doesn’t like at all and it can be easily understood when the engine starts getting harsh and the gear changes get a bit cranky and weird on you.

The 375 CC Mill

The 375 CC Mill

Performance..hmmm…let’s just put it this way, It really knows how to feed and build up your ego and crush into dust that of others. Power is found at abundance  almost all through out the RPM band, it is quite easy to intimidate a fellow rider/driver with it’s power and also crush others challenge without breaking a sweat and you can put on a smug face of satisfaction after. It is like a hyper active puppy jumping and running  around the whole place, it so filled with power that relaxed riding is a concept unknown or unheard of when aboard this little devil.

The initial pull is equivalent to a swift kick to the crotch, it manages to power wheelie without any effort in the first 2 gears and that can get a bit scary at first, but Boy it is surely fun when it does that. the bike climbs revs in a jiffy, and shifting through gears is fast, but if you really want some fun, then stay in each gear till you see red-line and it is a whole new world, mind you , it does need some serious balls to do something like that, and one more thing I might add, if you aren’t from the group of the mentally insane you would get it when I say that , the city or narrow roads are NOT a place to do that.

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The name says it all

Now throttle response and performance on the roll is also pretty much impressive, overtaking in highways are effortless , just slight dab of the throttle and you find yourself pulling away with ease, it happens to be the same experience even in the cruising gear.

If you are facing any issues with loss of power, you might want to check this out.

Engine Oil

Nothing short of good quality Fully Synthetic oil will do or you will find yourself with blown gaskets or seized engines or sheared off engine parts, especially if you are living in  areas with hot climatic conditions nothing short of 20W50 will do.  Again the heat generated as a part of the high compression being the culprit ,  the oil being used must hold itself together even in such high operating temperatures, to protect the engine from overheating or premature wear and tear.

So oil that i’d suggest would be Motul 7100 and Motul 300v, with more preference towards the  Motul 300V, have been using the Motul 7100 till now and even with such a brilliant product the bike manages to heat up to the second last bar in the temperature gauge in the highly demanding Bangalore traffic. So, in such heavy traffic even the 7100 is deemed not enough , so it really needs the 300v to help the bike lubricate itself better at high temperature and also will help in keeping the engine much cooler and thereby much safer.

P.S: The service centers will be using the 7100, if you can afford it is always to insist them on using the 300v for your bike when getting it serviced.

P.P.S : For helping keeping the engine cool and to lift the pressure of the lubes a bit, it will benefit to use the “Engine Ice” radiator coolant , which is said to drop the operating temperature of the bike by 3-4 degree Celsius. This will really help people who have to encounter a lot of city riding.

Design and Build quality

Well, as far as design goes, it has the word “Hooligan” written all over it,  the styling is pretty aggressive and minimalist and it works. It truly portrays the hot-head manic look and behaves exactly that way too.  The dash of Orange on the rims and frame cries for attention everywhere it goes, no matter if it is parked or you are puttering around in the city , it is a absolute head turner. The Headlights are quite adequate for night rides, with decent coverage and spread. The indicators though a bit flimsy , they are quite bright and do the job well. The rear brake lights are a work of art, the design is quite exquisite and the LED lights again give very good illumination in making you visible to people behind you at night time.Even with the minimalist design, the bike electrical are well hidden and doesn’t expose itself upon a quick gaze. So overall in design aspect it can be said to be really good. 

IMG_0475

Console

Tail Light

Tail Light

Now , moving over to build quality, it is top notch, starting form the handle bars , the handle bar switch lights and buttons to the aluminium swing arms which is a beautifully crafted piece to look at, the plastic parts have not shown any damages or any weak points as of yet, the paint is staying exactly the way it should be, no fading or such problem.

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Excellent Paint Quality

Now, a very prominent issue that the duke 390 has faced is the build quality of the rims, now Rims cracking is a issue heard of in almost most bikes, but with the 390 we have been seeing many cases where the rims shear off and break into many pieces on impact, now we are not talking about high speed head-ons or anything, something as small as hitting a pot hole at moderate speeds. That is a really big life threat in such a situation. Though I have faced no such issues with Rims, it seems there is always a constant danger of that since this issue has not been localized to any specific batch of bikes and no official statement from KTM has been noted addressing this issue.  This particular issue can be a deal-breaker when considering for this bike. So this is something KTM must look into and come up with a official statement about.

Overload of Orange

Overload of Orange

Rideability

Well, in a nutshell, it is just pure fun, superb mass-centralization,a very capable frame, really sticky Metzelers and stiff and high performance WP suspension means it is a corner craving machine and  easy to flick from side to side and to fight your way through traffic (given that you have enough space for that, reason i will mention soon enough). But that just covers the general case. Let us now look into each aspect of riding.

City

City riding is a place where the 390 can be a menace to ride on, if you are in a city area which is more or less having rush hour traffic almost any time of day, then you are going to suffer, the bike dos not like bumper to bumper traffic, it will heat up almost instantly, and you are left with well cooked thighs and you find yourself constantly gazing at the temperature gauge and praying for it to not hit the last bar, which means trouble. Thanks to the high compression engine that along with creating mad horse also does this. Now if that wasn’t enough comes the hard clutch, Oh yes, that is a real bitch when it comes to traffic, you find yourself riding the clutch for majority of the city ride , which as we all know not so good considering the life of the clutch, then comes the FE for city rides, I have recorded a mileage of as low as 16-18kmpl in full city rides(Bangalore city traffic). Ah, I almost forgot, the blown gasket issue, the love child of  extreme heat from traffic and hot weather. This is another issue you are going to face if your riding consists of mostly rush hour city rides. Things does get a bit better as night time falls. So, if you are a strict city user, you might want to keep this in mind and a few factors that I will explain in the next section.

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Highway

Highway riding is quite satisfactory, you get open roads which the bikes loves and also quite a lot of space to play with the throttle , the bike feels very much alive and can cruise at high speed without any issues. So can we call it as a good touring bike ? No Why ? Well for starters, the low tank range for one factor, it holds only 10ltrs of fuel with a range of 200-250 kms to be generous, which can be a big drag when going for long tours where fuel station and fuel quality might be a big factor. Secondly, the bike is not something that I would say that makes relaxed riding possible, even on open highways the bike always has a sense of emergency looming around and always wants to lunge ahead with more speed, not exactly what we can say as cruising. Thirdly,If your concept of touring includes a pillion too , then it gets even worse, the pillion seat is almost non existent and whatever is left of it is really uncomfortable too. Wind blast being another issue,it is a naked bike , it is not build for the highways, but a decent windshield can take care of that issue. The Fazer /CBR250 Windshield are the preferred fix for this problem of the 390. And then comes the tyres, but it has got a funny predicament when it comes to this, I’ll explain it in the Tyres section. Now, does that mean it is a terrible touring bike ? No, yeah, I know it sounds crazy, the most of the 6k kms I have done on the duke, I have spent touring on it. If you do not mind the low fuel range , the bit hard rider seat and you like to ride solo, this is actually a bike that can take you places, but the only thing is it won’t be as comfortable as a CBR250  or a 220 or Karizma would have been. I hope you get the comparison on the touring aspect.

Highway rides

Highway rides

Off-road

The bike works great off-road, every ounce of that fun factor can be extracted on the dirt, the abundance of power and the upright riding posture all helps, have done a few off-road trials and loved it to the core. But the only thing to be careful of is the soft compound Metzelers, being really soft, they are really vulnerable to cuts and punctures. So, if you plan on taking it for off-road trails , you might as well swap the tyres to off-road spec ones and have fun.

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Maneuverability

Mass centralization, Capable frame,  Sticky Metzelers, WP Suspension and great brakes, I guess this speaks for the bike, I am not going to blabber more about it. These words should be enough.

WP Shocks

WP Shocks

Tyres

This was one of the most hyped feature about the 390. When most of the bikes available in India came with tyres with poor grip , and particlarly at the time when biking was getting more popular and serious among the Indian crowd , the need for better grip was really a big agenda. Then KTM came up with this, Metzeler tyres , until then it was a brand which we could see only on the high end super bikes and other imported bikes. Being a product for such track oriented machines, we knew for sure the potential of those tyres and they did not have to prove anything. And as thought it made a world of difference on the 390.

Metzelers

Metzelers

The confidence level that this bike gave us with the phenomenal grip was staggering. The bike had inherently become more merciful and forgiving in the corners , it wouldn’t spit us out on the slightest error, but instead stay planted unless one does something totally stupid. But then , comes the trade off. There were 2 pressing factors, Life span and Cost.
Let’s talk about Life time. The tyre being a super soft compound tyre, it would give insane grip ,as the tyre can get heated faster and the hotter the compound gets the stickier it becomes, the problem with such tyres is that it gets worn out just as quickly,it is tough to put a cap on it , but it would be highly optimistic thinking if you could get 13-14k kms of use with this tyres, taking into consideration they have been used properly. Now what I meant by “using properly ” is that, if super soft compound tyres such as this is used just for long and straight highway rides and city rides where all we use is the central contact patch area of the tyre, the tyre starts to wear of squarely. That is the center patch will become flattened and then the tyre shoulders are left unused(chicken strips).

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Metzelers

Now that is a shameful way to wear off these tyres, To add salt to the wound, let’s look into what it costs, the cost of the tyre comes at close to 10k or more for one tyre. Now adding both these points and stating the obvious we reach at the conclusion that to use the tyres given with this bike, it has to be ridden in ghats section where corners are at plenty or at the track, without which it is just a waste of money and some really good tyres. Now you can see why even long straight highways can be a bad proposition when it comes to touring. It would be a different case if the touring involves ghats and tons and tons of corners, then it is a different story all together.

Brakes

Well, with great power you need even greater stopping force, and so the 390 comes with really huge disc brake at front and at par rear disk, mated with a ABS system developed by BOSCH , and this is being offered as standard feature. But the main part about it is that the ABS can be turned on or off as per the riders wish, there is a button for that, read the manual for finding how to do it. Anyways, the ABS in this is quite a fine piece of machinery and software,  it works just fine, when the bike can gain such high speeds it is almost inevitable that the number of emergency situation it might encounter will be the same(I am sure some might not understand, but one day you’ll get it) and the ABS does a great work to prevent wheel lock and assist in a controlled stop. But a few times I did hate the way the ABS kicked in for no worldly reason I could think of, but that was just a isolated incidences , so I think I’ll let it pass.

BRAKES

Stopping power from Bybre

Conclusion

Ok, so that brings us to the conclusion, I am not sure actually how to end this review. It has got just too many variables where you might get stuck trying to decide is it worth it or not. It is always in a constant battle between the Brain and the Heart.

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Question like “Can it be used to tour ” and you go like “No..!!”, then on thinking again it’s like “Hell, yeah ..it can ..!”, “But is it comfortable enough ? ” and the answer be like “No”. Then comes “Is it a good city ride ?”  and the obvious answers is “Of course it is, it is a naked bike and a Duke for Christ sake, haven’t you ridden the Duke 200” and then once you ride it in city traffic and  you smell your legs getting cooked and low fuel light flashing you are like “Oh God..!! Why me ? Why is it always like this” and now even your hands are aching riding the clutch. And then you get a open stretch of road and give the throttle and then suddenly all those little chatter inside your head goes quite, and suddenly you feel alive, you feel a surge of adrenaline rushing through your veins and instantly forget all those worries and have that crazy ass grin on your face.

So, putting it lightly, It may not be the best when it comes to touring and comfort, it may not be the best bike to be riding when it’s rush hour traffic or when you are at the phase to get new set of tyres.

But then at the end of the day, was it worth it ? Hell Yeah..! You do not know what real fun is until you ride  a Duke..!!!

The Devil's Advocate

The Devil’s Advocate

And with that I can truly say, it has rightfully earned the name, The Devils’s Advocate

Cheers
Ride Safe
Krishna

205 responses to “The KTM Duke 390 – The Devil’s Advocate | 6000kms Ownership Review

  1. Hey, so I got my Duke 390(Black) yesterday. I was wondering about the run in method. The guy at the showroom told me not to go beyond 40 and not to rev beyond 4000rpm and only then will it give good mileage. Really struck me as odd. What do you think? What should I do? And the one I got is the september 2015 model, so I assumed that the hot start problem was rectified. But I still experience it. Am I doing something wrong?
    Thanks
    Cheers

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    • Never do run in based on speed.. It’s the rpm you should monitor and the 4k rpm is absolute foolishness the manual suggests to keep it within 7k rpm with varying the rev range and not holding the bike at the same speed for too long.
      You can find a blog topic on run in in my blog. Do have a look at it.

      Like

  2. Hey Krishna,
    1st off your review is detailed and very real time much better than the overdrives and autocars so hats off. I have always been a ktm fan even though i have never owned one but i have ridden my pal’s 200 a lot and am aware how it needs to be treated. I am thinking of buying 390 have done a test ride and its crazy, but the 2 things that stands out as a concern to me the rims breaking and the tyres, is the rim issue that common? And MRF has recently come out with a Zapper series for performance bikes is that a good alternative.I was so sure i wanted 390 but after the review i am in 2 minds. I basically will use it only on weekends other 5 days i prefer public transport.the worst part is i dont like any other bike currently in the market except for Benneli 300 but it does not have ABS.Kindly put me out of this dilemma.

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    • Losing out on the 390 because of rim and tyre issue would be a premature decision.

      The rim issue had been addressed with a stronger alloy from Ktm officially with announcement and the tyre, not sure what you meant. The metzelers are steller in performance, nothing else comes close, if replacement cost is what you are worried about then the Michelin pilot street is there as the best substitute. It is by no means cheap but cheaper than metzelers and is bang for buck.
      And since you use it only for weekend , it is THE perfect bike to have.l, or maybe the RC 390 is the only rival. Ktm’s are the best bike to have fun in our market..period. How this helps.
      Cheers
      Krishna

      Like

      • Thanks for the swift response. Well since the rims issue is addressed and you have suggested a relatively inexpensive option for the tyres , now i know what i will go for. as far as safety is concerned will LS2 cut it or is better to switch to better option. My budget 12k for a Helmet.Cud u suggest the basic riding gear to buy and where i cud buy them?.i know i cant afford Dainese.

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        • Helmet if you have a budget of 12k better go for an Mt top varient or hjc helmets.
          Entry level riding gears would be Spartan/tbg gloves within 3.5k , a decent jacket for 5-6k should be enough to keep you sage. You can slowly add riding pants and boots to the list.

          Like

    • Hey, I would just want to inform you that benelli is launching their 300cc bike in early 2017 armed with ABS. This will be a version of their 300tornado TNT decorated with fairings

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  3. Hey krishna… Love the review.. It was almost as if I owned the bike. Anyways, my doubt was that, I am a beginner when it comes to bikes.. I have ridden my friends Duke 200 and was intending to buy the same for myself and every ereview I saw concerning the Duke 200 said tht it is a pretty good beginners bike if u r mentally sound and don’t have a suicidal tendency… But after reading ur review and also seeing a few armature bikers directly going in for the Duke 390 instead of the Duke 200 I was wondering wheather it would be a good idea to do the same… I am doing my college in chennai SRM and thus the overall climate in general is extremely hot except for in December. So the heating issue and the blown gaskets worry me… What would u do if u were in my position… And also my basic use would be from my flat to the college on weekdays ( less than a kilometer) and long highway rides on every odd weekend.

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    • Being a student the maintainance and consumables like tyre and chain might be a bit heavy for you.
      Running wise the bike now comes with slipper clutch so the heavy clutch issue is somewhat sorted, another potential problem would be toe to toe traffic . the bike just always wants to leap forward ,with sudden burst of power..so this obviously becomes a problem while riding in traffic..but nonetheless less can be controlled. So in every sense is the 200 a better option, yes..but is it as fun as the 390 ? Nope nope nope..

      Like

  4. Hi Krishna,
    I’m planning to buy duke for the new year, Queries from others & your reviews have already answered most my doubts. But still i cant decide between 200 & 390. .
    My heart says 390 but mind says 200.
    I don’t want loose out on the fun of riding 390 & I don’t want to spend much on maintenance either. Can comprise on mileage if its 5-10kms lesser to its sibling.
    I will be using it for daily commute in Bangalore(Whitefield’s slow moving traffic :P) & weekend gateways (under 150kms ) & long rides once in a month (under 350kms). Where I will be after 3 yrs with my 390 wrt maintenance, mileage & others aspects. And how would it be different 200.
    And this will be my first bike above 200cc, my previous companion was yahama fazer.

    Pls get me out of the dilemma.

    warm regards,
    A Confused Soul

    Like

    • Hey Preetham, I had just answered the same question in the previous comment. Pls do read it, its just that I’m having to answer the same thing over and over again.
      Since you are working person, the maintainance shouldn’t be a big factor, tyres might be heavy on the pocket but cheaper substitutes are available. Since the slipper clutch update riding 390 is much much more better in traffic now compared to older models, but 200 would be better for city riding. But weekend fun the 390 will always be better.

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  5. Well I saw u did answer that student problem but the lack of abs on 200 is a striking factor for me as I am kind of a learner … But just can’t get the monster outta my head what should I do please any suggestions at all would help my friends suggests the Honda cbr 250r but I am not very comfortable with heavy bikes and the fairing on it rc definitely but the riding on street again a question so I just can’t decide 200 or 390 why or why not (kindly refer to the new ones) thanks would be really helpful if u could sorto out this confusion(it would be my firstb bike)

    Like

    • It’s a tough choice….while the CBR does long rides without breaking a sweat but not so cut out for offroading, the duke 390 can handle OFFROAD(with proper OFFROAD tyres) but then might not be so great for touring..you’d have to compromise on one front.

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  6. There is someone I know who wants to sell his 390 for 1.4 k with 8500 Kms done. It’s a nov 2013 model. I am not sure if I should go for it. I travel from dairy circle to eco space on outer ring road everyday in my car but want to move to a bike to reduce travel time but at the same time go for a good bike. Not sure if this is as good as the latest models..Your views?

    Like

    • The 2013models are without slipper clutch and would be a bit of a bother to ridenin traffic..dairy circle to ecospace means you will have multiple bottlenecks to deal with. So I’m not sure how well the old models will handle it compared to the newer ones.
      Also, 8.5k sounds like the metzelers would be reaching their end in life…somewhat..getting a new set could cost you a bit.
      Do checkout the bike if you want to.

      If it where me in this situation, I’d not go for the old 390 for a strict commute point of view.

      Cheers
      Ride safe
      Krishna

      Like

  7. I am up for buying the Duke 390 for touring( 500km+ and also Ley, Ladhak) since you have rode the bike for 6k km and mainly in touring how did you manage to solve the petrol tank constraint and also are there good off market accessories like saddle bags etc which help with storing a spare petrol can??

    Like

    • 10liters is quite less for a tank capacity, butnif you plan your trip well enough , you shouldn’t run out. Many people have done leh on their 390s successfully, obviously they will be carrying extra jerry cans or bottles of petrol.
      You can get frames built for leh trip. That would be the best solution. Or you would have to figure out how to carry the extra bottles of fuel.

      Like

  8. Nice detailed review… And good too see your responses to all queries! Appreciate it. Needed your advice. My daily commute is my car and I stay in Mumbai (hot weather +traffic). I’m looking for a performance bike and only duke 390 and cbr250 are the available options in 2L range, mainly for long/weekend rides. Number wise d390 is hands down winner, while practically (pillion, tour, comfort, refinement) cbr250 seems better. Also unsure if cbr300/cb300f might launch soon. I’m deeply confused! What would be your view point? Thanks in advance.

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    • I have literally just given up on the updated CBR models , its just too tiring to wait for those.
      So I would never suggest about the models which aren’t out yet.
      Now again since its only weekend rides, of course in an all round performer perspective the CBR ticks more boxes. If you have pillion in mind there is no question at all. But if you ride alone, a few tours and such and a lot of that rides the Ktm is a super fun bike to have.
      The new dukes with slipper clutch is also a very tempting prospective. Do give it a test ride and decide.

      Like

  9. Hey Krishna,
    Great review. One of the reasons finalized on a Duke, over other bikes. I just have one question. I have a great offer for a second hand D390 batch 2, without the slipper, barely used.

    Considering that the bikes in good shape, and offers good. Which would you suggest? Go for a new bike or older one. Considering that it’s a Duke and not some workhorse like CBR

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  10. hello, i am currently owning a yamaha fz-s 2012 model.Thinking of upgrading to the Duke 390.Can you please tell me if the latest model with slipper clutch is available in india? Have the prices increased for new the newer model?
    Also, i want to know a bit about how a slipper clutch functions

    Like

  11. Hi, I like cross country long rides like leh or 7sisters.Which needs a proper kind of cross country performance bike.It will be snow,water,rocks and all other kinds of obstacles all the way through.So can u suggest me a bike bellow 2.5 lakhs.Which can perform be some what comfortable and main does not have easy breakdown issues.The seat is hard but can be fixed by just adding a extra padded seat cover.So these kind of minor issues are not a problem.Just tell me if there are any big problems like the sitting position or engine problems or any thing like that please suggest me some thing good.I am too confused in all this mess.So I need a third person s take on it.I read ur review and ur better the the experts as I feel.Duke 390,inazuma 250,AS 200 or any other of ur choice.

    Like

    • The 390 would require a tyre change and maybe better engine oil and coolants and it can do the route you mentioned without any issues. I had my friend ride from Kerala up through the seven sister states on his duke 200. The latest duke 390 with slipper clutch and add ons should be worth it. One concern on the duke would be low fuel range. It can be a bit too less for places which use up more fuel. Hope this helps. Another bike I’d suggest is the cbr250, very robust and reliable, but not exactly at home when the terrain changes, dont get me wrong , the CBR can handle those, but the duke fits better for such terrains..all it needs are proper OFFROAD tyres, metzelers arnt built for such trips.

      Like

  12. Hello dear friend,

    Thx for the review because it will help to us to make a decision on this ktm bike.
    I read ur review on ur ktm bike . I have one doubt , is this review covered for the new ktm 390 2015 model with slipper clutch?
    I live in delhi nd almost very close to buy ktm 390. Is there any suggestions that u can give me before buying so that it can help me to cut out the confusions before or after buying? Thx in advance.

    Like

  13. Hello , please let me know which one is good Duke 390 ABS or Benelli TNT 25 ? please reply going to buy , and my budget is max of 2.50 lakhs onroad.

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  14. i am about to buy a bike,and have 2 options in mind-Cbr 150r and duke200.but i m mostly avid to duke,so i want to know about handling(i m a beginner so),and seat comfort.I also head that many accidents are caused by duke(Is it true??).And tell me which is better duke200or cbr 150???

    Like

    • Accidents are caused by riders, not by the bikes.
      I’d suggest duke among the 2 , cbr150 being almost useless in the lower powerbands and the overpriced nature of it while at a bit more you get quality stuff the duke has to offer.

      Like

  15. Hi,krishna now i am 17 and i am planning to buy a bike but i don’t have any experience with bike you can say i am learning to ride bikes.I am too attracted by duke 390 but then i think if i’ll able to handle it properly so i go back on duke 200 but my heart is not ready to understand my heart, especially after your post.:p
    So can you please help me in solving this problem?

    Like

    • Well, I’d suggest you wait till you’re 18 firstly. Secondly, the Duke 390 isn’t really a beginners bike, although some if not all may recommend it for beginners. It’s powerful, light and needs coming to terms with. I;d suggest the new Apache 200 ABS or the 180 ABS depending on availability and budget. These are light, good bikes and have the safety element of ABS in them. Get used to them for 2-3 years. Then upgrade to something like the Duke, CBR, etc in future. Thanks

      Like

  16. hi krish
    I’m a student n working at education sector too! Now I want to buy a bike for my daily journey! I have to cover minimum 200 kms three days in a week for my office. And I’m not living in a rush hour traffic zone (as I read above)! And duke is my favorite one. Now I have confusion between duke 200 & 390! And I love 390.Now plzz help me to choose one.And I like your review….and thnx in advance…(must reply) 🙂

    Like

  17. hi krish
    I’m a student and working at education sector too…now I want to buy a bike for my daily journey…I have to cover 200 kms minimum 3days in a week…and I’m not living in a rush hour traffic zone…So, duke is one of my fav bike models…now I have confusion between duke 200&390…which will be better for me overall mileage, performance and maintains?
    Reply plzz bro…and your review is just awesome 🙂

    Like

    • If you are speaking about highways and empty roads where you could easily go above 80kmph I ll suggest you to buy 390. Duke 200 is an city bike you could ride it at 30 in 6th gear. But 390 is an highway one. You could use 6th gear only above 55-60 in city you need to downshift a lot.

      I dunno about 200. But 390 gives you 30-33 on highways (I use SPEED petrol) if you drive it around 100-110 if you go beyond 120 it ll give 27. It gives you good mileage only if you drive fast on 6th. In city for rash driving & small trips it ll give 22. Average you could expect is 24-27.

      Just now found this Driving 390 at 60 in 6th gear gives 40-43kmpl lol. But no fun in that I drove it Cz mine running low on fuel. I also got as low as 18 when I drove fast to my friends house 1km away from my home.

      — Sent from my iPhone

      >

      Like

  18. Hey krishna, I have been confused between duke390 and Mahindra mojo. I don’t plan on doing many highway trips but the tank capacity is something I’m worried about.
    My past experience with cbr250 has left me in a bad opinion abt suspension experiences for paillion rider. Mojo suspension was looking good but I’m kinda doubtful abt duke.
    And have you done any modifications for pillion seat?
    Please suggest.

    Like

  19. Hi Krishna,
    I am planning to purchase good performance bike.After a long research finally I have got two bikes in my mind one is duke 390 n the other was RC 390 . My main concern was Iam 6 feet tall and now Iam in big confusion which one suits me well and on which bike I feel more comfortable.it would be appreciated if you could suggest which one would be good to go with. I mean which one suits better for taller riders in these two bikes. Thanks Naveen!!

    Like

    • Test drive and decide which suits you.

      Duke is comfortable than RC

      But my tall friend has trouble hugging his legs on dukes tank.

      — Sent from my iPhone

      >

      Like

  20. Hi Krishna,

    Its been 2 months and first servicing is done for my 390. But while changing gears they are very tight and makes tak tak sound. Showroom guys r telling it is normal. Is that really normal? My rev limitter is 5k to 6.5 k….is dat okay…pls help.

    Thanks and regards,

    Bidyut Saikia

    Like

  21. I am planning to buy Ktm duke but i am bit confused which i engine should i prefer 390 or 200.I have heard of heating problems of Ktm .I am fan of 390 monster but lot of abrupt things going through my mind as i dont want to loose fun on riding on the other hand i dont want to spend too much on maintainence.The mileage is not a great concern for me but if i’m spending more than 2 lakh on a bike it should be a worth.Can you give me detailed comparison between two siblings considering all aspects.My dealy routine is i would be riding 50 kms on an average. Please if u could get me out of this dilemma.

    Like

  22. The most idiotic part of this review is the fact that you say it can off road well. When the bike can’t even absorb normal bad roads how the hell does it work off road well?!? Just cos it a KTM it don’t mean it can off road, next you will say the KTM rc8 is also a good offroader , please ride an enduro , moto cross or trials bike first!

    Like

    • Hey the rookie, it’s OK not to agree to what someone says on the internet. I have done my fair share of soft reading and off roading with the dukes(390,200) and it suits me pretty well and served me right.

      The bike has served me well even on broken roads, absorbing most of the bumps ,forks never sprung a leak till date. Maybe you had a different exp with the forks and suspension, I can’t help that.

      I can’t get my hands on a enduro, motocross or trail bikes , so I can’t taste those machines and compare how much better they are to these road going machines, but that’s OK for me.

      Like

      • Duke has enough GC & power for off-roading. You just need to change tyres (Metz- mess off-road). And remove plastic crash guard and replace it with an custom built skid plate.

        — Sent from my iPhone

        >

        Like

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  24. Hi , with the KTM 390 being sold as a beginner/ first bike the world over, do you recommend it as a first bike to use in india. I was looking for a light bike with abs to learn on. Usage will be to learn to ride and then ride on weekends or mornings. Never for commuting as I use my car for that and other bumper to bumper drives.
    Also do you recommend learning on it – can leave the running in period rev limiter on longer to make sure I don’t goof up ? What do you think. I dint want to buy a commuter etc which won’t motivate me to get on and learn, and lose money selling it after a few months.
    Lastly with new duke coming in 2017 should one wait? Or not delay the experience and go for what’s available, and well sorted out now?

    Thanks
    G

    Like

    • Hi,
      Well , for someone who hasn’t experienced a powerful bike the 390 can prove to be a handful. But never a problem if thebrider is willing to learn and be responsible rider, since you do not intent to take it for commutes , you should be able to enjoy the bike thoroughly as a weekend get away vehicle.
      About the rev limiter, I don’t think you need to restrict it. I mean, just being and riding responsibly is enough.

      Hope this helps.
      Cheers
      Ride Safe.

      Like

  25. Hi,
    I bought a duke 390. Brilliant bike. My only issue is the wind blast. Any suggestions for wind screen? The fazer wind screen makes the bike look bad..

    Like

  26. Hey
    I just wanted to buy a duke 200???
    Can u suggest me any other bike like duke….other wise give disadvantages of duke….

    Like

  27. Pingback: New bikes in India for August 2015 includes KTM RC8 | Good Cars Review·

  28. Hi I am 40 year old and owned RE 535 2001 model. I sold it as it rusted, so not a big fan of RE. Today I just took 390 test drive and was blown away with its power. My aim is only long touring and just have rides on open road. Considering my age … I am not sure, if I can enjoy 390.
    I want to buy triumph street twin ( test drive was amazing) but it out of my budget.
    How about 40 year old guy riding 390 ? I mean it’s practical.

    Like

    • Well ,if you are physically fit, and you love the thrill of brute power.. you will definitely enjoy it.
      But a street twin would be the best is what I feel. Budget, yes it’s a bit too high probably compared to the 390. But 390 is never a relaxed bike..it’s just too brutal to ride normally. But insanely awesome for some serious fun.
      I feel I might have put you in more dilemma now than before.

      Like

      • Thanks for your reply, yes more confused now. Street twin is out of my budget so no use thinking of it.
        However got stuck on Himalyan RE . I compared it with 390 and its not worth. Still i think of being wise and think of 5 years ahead when i will be 45.
        I know you cant answer this but then i just need some gudiance on Himalayan RE when compared to duke 390.

        Like

  29. Hi,
    Since the Mojo is out now, I am in a dilemma between Mojo and Duke 390. My requirement is that I primarily use it for commuting to office (around 35 kms per day) and occasionally go on a long trip (less than 250 kms). I am still doubtful of Mojo’s longevity. On the other hand the Duke 390 is at least 30k more expensive. Can you please let me know your thoughts?

    Like

  30. Hey!!
    I bought a duke 390 recently!!
    It’s run around 3500 kms!!
    Since the beginning I have been facing problems with the chain sprocket
    I do lubrication in every 500 kms even after doing that it makes a lot of noise when I ride.
    When I accelerate and leave it makes a lot of noise.
    Why is it ?
    Please help me
    Thanks in advance

    Like

    • If the chain slack/tightness is not adjusted properly it can cause such noises.
      The chance of loose/very tight chain for a fresh bike is kinda common..the svc skip over it in PDI checks.I would suggest you get the chain tightened to the correct measure , neither loose or over tight. And then clean and lube the chain. It should sort out the issue.
      Hope this helps.
      Krishna.

      Like

  31. Hi krishna,
    Nice review…
    I know , for a perfomance engine, mileage is not a factor….
    Bt jst 4 my knowlegde , can u tell the avg mileage of KTM duke 390’s mileage on city nd highways…

    Like

  32. Hi Krishna,

    I must say awesome review mate. I am planning to change my bike and I’m stuck between the duke 200 and 390. Which one would you suggest as my travelling mainly consists of city rides and a few ocassional long rides. Just to let you know, I am using a Royal Enfield Classic 500 Desert Storm.

    Thanks & regards,
    Joy

    Like

    • Well it you are sticking true to your needs a duke 200 would suffice, but considering the new bat he’s of the 390 with the slipper clutch and all, it’d be more vfm to get the 390. Traffic rides would still be tougher than the 200 , but with the slipper clutch and all should be easier than the older 390 models.
      If I had the chance to choose in the given situation I would go with the 390, maybe not as sensible as the 200 but you can have a lot more fun with the 390.
      Hope this helps.

      Like

  33. Hi krishn i read full review with every comments
    Im a diploma student and im confused what i should buy a RC200 OR DUKE 200 OR DUKE 390
    I live in navi .Mumbai vashi so I usually dont suffer from traffic and those speed breakers
    And my daily riding shall not exceed 10 kms
    I req u plz suggest me which bike i should buy
    DUKE 390 RC 200 DUKE 200
    Though i loved duke 390 as anything

    Like

    • Then I would suggest to go ahead with the 390. Since traffic or road co editions aren’t going to be an issue why not get the best performer of the lot.
      But do consider your riding style and all before choosing between rc and duke, you don’t want to be regretting later.

      Like

  34. Hello Krishna , hope your doing well,
    Was wondering if you have any inside news with regards to the pending launch of Duke 390 2017,I’m assuming the engine is a new one right ? Just thinking if I should wait for the new 390 , and the TNT 300 with ABS, good option ? In terms of overall ride experience without any comparison is Benelli a good bike ?

    Like

    • I wouldn’t trust bennelli over KTM. The benelli though sounds sweet. KTM is much of an overall package, the 2017 models make it even more sweet machine to own.
      Yes, test mules of he new one have been spotted around here for sometime now. And 2017 should see the bikes in the market. Which month or quarter , that I have no idea of. So if you can wait, I’d strongly suggest you do that.

      Cheers
      Ride safe
      Krishna

      Like

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