Push the starter button, and you are greeted by a relatively quieter exhaust note. Similar is the case with the engine character. While the power and torque numbers are identical to the BS4 motorcycle, the BS6 bike feels mellower than its predecessor. The power delivery is very linear, and there aren’t any surprises when the engine heads into the higher rev-band.
The engine feels uncomfortable under the 4,000rpm levels. It starts to pull away cleanly post that mark with a noticeable step-up in acceleration from 6,000rpm onwards. The 100kmph mark is crossed in the third gear with three more gears at your disposal. The long straight on Bajaj’s test track saw a top speed of 147kmph with a 90kg rider. My colleague, who hits the gym more often than I do, witnessed a top speed of 163kmph.
(All figures mentioned above are speedometer indicated)
The Quickshifter+ works fine most of the time, although the upshifts felt inconsistent on a few occasions. Part of the reason behind the uneven performance in the upshifts could be associated with the lack of pressure sensor on the gear lever. We found that the upshifts work best in the higher rev band. The clutchless downshifts, on the other hand, worked flawlessly. Purists can turn-off the system completely.
Anchoring hardware is carried forward from the BS4 model, and the brakes continue to offer a commendable feedback. The dual-channel ABS ensures that the hardest of brake lever inputs are forgiven easily. The Supermoto mode turns off the safety net at the rear wheel.
The suspension setup, too, is similar to the BS4 motorcycle, and the shock absorption tasks are handled by 43mm WP APEX upside-down forks with open-cartridge system at the front and a preload-adjustable mono-shock at the back. The setup feels firm, and confidence-inspiring in the corners. The geometry has not changed either. Thus, the BS6 390 Duke feels just as agile as its predecessor, and the bike feels comfortable with sharp direction changes. The Metzeler Sportec M5 (H-rated) tyres deliver plenty of grip to push the motorcycle around the corners.
The refinement levels are noticeably better than the BS4 motorcycle. There are, however, some vibrations still evident from the footpegs.