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2024 KTM 390 Duke: Road Test Review

Authors Image

Ajinkya Lad

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GalleryIntroductionStyling and QualityErgonomics and ComfortPerformance and HandlingFeatures and TechFuel EfficiencyShould you buy it?

Introduction

KTM 390 Duke Right Front Three Quarter

Why buy it?

- Excellent performance

- Good ride and handling balance

- First-in-class tech

Why avoid it?

- Build quality could be better

- Engine could be more refined

Every once in a while, there comes a motorcycle that is very special and sets new benchmarks in the segment. The KTM 390 Duke is one such motorcycle. Back when the first-gen Duke 390 was launched in India in 2013, it brought performance motorcycling to the masses. The Duke was unabashedly raw, menacingly fast, and extremely pocket-friendly. The 2017 model came packed with segment-best features and more maturity. Now, the 2024 KTM 390 Duke, in its completely new avatar, aims to take the performance game a few notches higher. So, what does the new 390 Duke bring to the table? And should you be interested?

Styling and Quality

KTM 390 Duke Left Front Three Quarter

KTM bikes are known to have quirky, yet sporty designs. That said, the 2024 KTM 390 Duke’s styling, inspired by the bigger 1290 Super Duke R, is quite sporty and likeable in my books. The low-slung headlamp, extended tank shrouds, muscular fuel tank, and the sleek tail section offer a radical look to the motorcycle. The bike is available in two colours - Electronic Orange Metallic, and Atlantic Blue.

KTM 390 Duke Right Side View

The new Duke is underpinned by an all-new steel trellis frame and a composite cast-aluminium subframe. Then, it also features lighter wheels and discs, which help in better handling, courtesy of the lower rolling resistance. You also get a 15-litre fuel tank, which is two litres more than that of the old model. The new chassis and lighter hardware have resulted in a kerb weight of 168.3kg.

KTM 390 Duke Fuel Tank

That said, the 2024 390 Duke suffers from inconsistent quality levels. Although the switch cubes are of good quality and offer a nice and tactile feel, a closer look reveals that the panels around the fuel tank have inconsistent gaps, and some of them aren’t properly aligned. Moreover, the seat material looks aftermarket, and the stitching quality leaves a lot to be desired.

Ergonomics and Comfort

KTM 390 Duke Left Side View

The new chassis has helped KTM engineers lower the seat height to 800mm, which is quite accessible for most folks who are 5’6” or taller. Although the wider handlebar and rear-set footpegs help offer a command riding position, the ergonomics feel cramped due to the lack of space to move around.

KTM 390 Duke Split Seat

The seat, too, lacks sufficient cushioning, which is an issue on longer journeys. Moreover, the seat fabric isn’t the best in business and takes some time to dry every time you wash the bike. So, if you are in a hurry, you run the risk of getting your pants wet.

Performance and Handling

Although the new 390 Duke has been completely revamped, the biggest change comes in the form of a completely reworked engine that has grown bigger in capacity. This new single-cylinder, liquid-cooled unit displaces 399cc and pumps out 46bhp at 8,000rpm and 39Nm at 6,500rpm. The motor is paired with a six-speed gearbox.

KTM 390 Duke Engine From Right

The power and torque are not only higher than the figures of the older 373cc motor but also deliver earlier in the rev range. And that is quite evident in the way the engine chugs along in stop-go city traffic. It is very tractable compared to the older model and warrants lesser downshifts at slower speeds.

KTM 390 Duke Right Front Three Quarter

Out on the highway is where the engine comes into its own. The motor delivers its power predictably and in a mature manner. It’s as if the new KTM 390 Duke has a dual personality. Keep it under 6,000rpm and the engine delivers power linearly. It is also quite frugal when ridden calmly. But, rev it past 6,000rpm and the motorcycle offers ferocious acceleration all the way to its 9,000rpm redline. It can easily do triple-digit speeds all day long and keeping up with bigger bikes isn’t much of an issue either.

KTM 390 Duke Left Front Three Quarter

What also works well is the bi-directional quickshifter, which is leagues better than the one offered on the 390 Adventure or the RC 390. It is instantly addictive, and you seldom have to use the clutch for upshifts or downshifts.

KTM 390 Duke Gear Lever Adjustment

The only downside of this engine is the vibrations that are present throughout the rev range. You can feel them on the tank and the seat, but they are more noticeable on the pegs and the handlebar. That said, although the vibrations may bother you at lower speeds, they don’t feel too intrusive when riding at highway speed.

KTM 390 Duke Right Front Three Quarter

Courtesy of its reworked chassis and well-tuned suspension, the new 390 Duke offers sharp handling. It is easy to filter the motorcycle through traffic and feels incredibly responsive to swerve it from side to side. Even when you take it on twisty roads or switchbacks, it glides through the corners with razor-sharp precision. It is like point-and-shoot; it responds to steering inputs with flawless accuracy and is swift to make quick direction changes.

KTM 390 Duke Left Rear Three Quarter

In its stock setting, the suspension setup feels well-damped and pliant in most situations. Sure, it has an underlying firmness to it, but that in turn helps in the handling department. The setup deals with potholes, bumps, patched surfaces, or even speed breakers without much bother. What’s truly game-changing is that the fully adjustable suspension can be tweaked for a comfier or sportier ride, depending on the rider’s preference.

KTM 390 Duke Front Disc Brake

As for the brakes, they offer excellent stopping power. Not just the front, but the rear as well. The 320mm front brake offers good bite and progression, and there’s a decent lever feel too. At times, you may misjudge a corner and brake late, but even then the motorcycle stops predictably without throwing any surprises.

Features and Tech

KTM 390 Duke Left Side View

The KTM 390 Duke is a tech fest when it comes to features and equipment. You get a fully adjustable suspension at both ends. While the front gets five-step adjustability for rebound and compression damping, the rear monoshock comes with a five-step rebound and a 10-step preload adjustment. Further, the new Duke also comes equipped with a switchable traction control system, and dual-channel ABS along with a Supermoto mode.

KTM 390 Duke Head Light

You also get full LED lighting and a new five-inch colour TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity, complete with call and message alerts and a turn-by-turn navigation system. Then, the 2024 KTM 390 Duke also comes with three ride modes - Track, Street, and Rain. Needless to say, the throttle response and ABS intervention changes with the mode selected.

KTM 390 Duke TFT / Instrument Cluster

The new 390 Duke also benefits from a launch control system, which can only be accessed in Track mode. When engaged, the system allows you to lock the throttle at 7,000rpm, enabling you to get the perfect race start by dumping the clutch and preventing any unwanted wheelies.

Fuel Efficiency

KTM 390 Duke Left Side View

Although the KTM 390 Duke is a performance-focused offering, we put it through BikeWale’s fuel efficiency test. But, in addition to the usual city FE test, the bike was also subjected to a highway fuel economy test.

KTM 390 Duke Right Rear Three Quarter

In the city, the 390 Duke returned a mileage of 25.80kmpl, which is quite a respectable figure for a motorcycle pumping out close to 46bhp. That said, it truly impressed us with its highway FE of 28.40 kmpl despite being subjected to triple-digit speeds for the most part. With a fuel tank capacity of 15 litres, the KTM 390 Duke offers a phenomenal range of close to 400km on a full tank.

Should you buy it?

KTM 390 Duke Left Rear Three Quarter

To sum it up, the 2024 KTM 390 is one heck of a motorcycle. If the 2013 model was fast, the new Duke is brutal. If the 2017 version was feature-loaded, the 2024 iteration is a tech fest. But above all, the new 390 Duke is an extremely versatile bike. It is fast, involving, extremely fun, and practical as well. Plus, you get the added convenience of adjustable suspension, which should suit all types of riders.

KTM 390 Duke Right Front Three Quarter

Yes, it has some flaws. For instance, it could do with better engine refinement, comfier ergonomics, and a spacious rider seat. However, every time you ride the motorcycle, you’ll be grinning from ear to ear under the helmet. Moreover, at Rs. 3.10 lakh (ex-showroom), the 390 Duke offers a good value, considering the kind of electronic rider aids and performance it packs. So, if you are in the market for a 400cc naked streetfighter and can overlook some of its flaws, you should definitely consider buying the KTM 390 Duke.

Photography by Kapil Angane

Gallery

KTM 390 Duke Left Side View
KTM 390 Duke Gear Lever Adjustment
KTM 390 Duke Head Light
KTM 390 Duke Fuel Tank
KTM 390 Duke Right Front Three Quarter
KTM 390 Duke Left Front Three Quarter
KTM 390 Duke Left Rear Three Quarter
KTM 390 Duke Front Suspension
KTM 390 Duke Monoshock Absorber
KTM 390 Duke Right Front Three Quarter

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