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Intro: You all know about the KTM 200 and its look alike KTM 125. What we did not know that they were not twins, but a triplet! Bikers and Bikernis please welcome the third of the mini Dukes: KTM 390. However one is no slouch (not that its other siblings were). Here we get you the first ride review of this pocket rocket from our Australian rider friend, Mark Hinchliffe.
Mark Hinchliffe ([email protected]) is a senior motorcycle journalist in Australia who has been writing reviews, bike travel and motorcycle industry news for more than a decade for newspapers, magazines and on-line sites such as News Ltd metropolitan newspapers, Australian Provincial Newspapers, Australian Road Rider, 2wheels, Cruiser & Trike,mcnews.com.au and the forthcoming website, **********.com.au which he will edit.[/B]
KTM has expanded its range of street bikes built in India with the versatile 390 Duke. Since 2011, KTM has been building the 125 and 200 Dukes at the Bajaj Chakan factory in Pune. KTM PR manager Thomas Kuttruf says the arrangement with the minority shareholder has given the Austrian company an improvement in quality.
“We can learn a lot from these guys in manufacturing a quality bike in high quantities,” he says. Bikes sold in Europe are returned to the Austrian factory for quality checks while bikes exported to the rest of the world are quality checked at the Pune factory under strict KTM guidelines.
The full-size bike features safe anti-lock brakes, quality suspension components, an efficient engine and a sizzling modern style that will suit many riders. The 390 fills the hole between the 200 and 690 Dukes and the company is so confident of its success it will be the first KTM to be sold in all 76 markets around the world where they have dealers. Previously, their 200 Duke was the most popular KTM street bike.
This bike is built with the same frame as the 125 and 200 Dukes, but with an all-new 375cc single-cylinder engine. It’s an over-square unit which means the bore is bigger than the stroke, so it revs higher and achieves its power and torque at higher revs than normal. But don‘t expect a zinging little buzz box that rattles the fillings out of your teeth, vibrates the mirrors so you can’t see what’s behind you and makes your fingers go numb after an hour in the saddle. Quite the opposite.
This is a versatile engine that seems to have plenty of torque for casual acceleration, smooth delivery of power through the range and only minor tingles through the seat of your pants.
However, if you do want to explore the upper limits of its peak performance, you can easily keep it spinning between the peak power/torque revs of 9500 up to the abrupt limiter at 10,500rpm by working the trouble-free six-speed transmission. It’s a slick little box with neutral very easy to find and no “angel” gears.
Hit the highway and it will spin along effortlessly at 5000 rpm in sixth gear at 100 km/h from where it will accelerate with a quick click down a gear. Point it up a hill and the bike doesn’t become asthmatic, thanks to its light weight of just 150 kg fully fueled.
KTM claims fuel economy of just 3.4L/100km which should be good for a range of about 300 km, which is more than enough for this style of street bike. Its light weight makes it very easy to flick around in traffic or through a tight set of corners. Meanwhile, the 1367 mm wheelbase and wide handlebars provide stable handling at high speeds. Handling is ably complemented by quality WP Suspension, a wholly owned subsidiary of KTM. It has 150 mm of travel at both ends so it should be capable of absorbing the impact of most potholes, however, on the world launch in Austria it was difficult impossible to tell on their silky smooth road surfaces. Its light weight also means it pulls up very quickly, ably assisted by quality Bosch ABS brakes and calipers made in India under licence to Brembo, hence “BYBRE” stamped on the side rather than “BREMBO” which indicates Italian manufacture.
The sit-up-and-beg riding position is comfortable with short people able to tough the ground from the 800 mm seat as it is quite thin at the front. Tall people may feel a little cramped in the legs as the pegs are set high and back for ground clearance. However, the flat and hard seat provides plenty of fore and aft movement so most riders can get comfortable.
KTM has a range of accessories including handguards, a tank bag and rear rack and soft bag that replaces the rear seat.