I have owned a passion & pulsar 180 before the duke 390.. After the pulsar, i wanted to upgrade, back then i always saw myself as a guy who would prefer a laid-back cruiser and just glide around.. :d and an obvious choice then was the 'thunderbird' (not surprised are you? ;) ) i got to know of the duke 390 from my friends who had it then (those were the ones w/o the slipper clutch) and during one of those "orange rides" (which ktms organize) i got a chance to ride both the duke 390 and the rc 390.. I was in awe of that power which i wasn't used to and that adrenaline rush, it took me a while to get used to that.. Let me honest, it did freak me out... Second encounter was during one of the rides to hp (shoja), i was on my pulsar 180 and the two friends of mine on their duke 390s; riding at an easy pace towards chd, those guys making sure i am on their trail.. But the moment we hit the himalayan expressway the two dukes took off like rockets dropping me like a stone..!!! it felt humiliating (face-palm)... That was the moment when i decided to buy this mean machine and nothing else.. Bought it in 2015 (that's when the slipper clutch came) and been riding it since.. Most of the kms clocked on the odo are from rides..
The bike is very agile and light… and has the go-to-anywhere ability.. I have pushed the bike to its limit and what it does is takes me to my destinations in one piece… i had never imagined me leaning on the curves/apexes, but the duke 390 taught me those (courtesy those metzelers) and with each and every ride, i can feel i am getting confident.. The servicing – maintenance of the bike after such rides does not burn a big hole in your pocket at all, even when i have had certain incidents.. A major plus point.. I know how many times i have breath sigh of relief after seeing the bill.. The power delivery is spot on, that 43 bhp power is enough to give you goosebumps.. Even in traffic one can easily navigate at lower speeds..
It’s a very distinct bike.. The ‘orange’ on it and the ‘sputtering firing’ catches everyone’s attention and people actually turn their heads to see.. On most of my rides, the locals come upto me enquiring about the bike, the tech specs and even asked to have their picture clicked with the bike.. Hahaha.. On a recent trip to mana (the last indian village in uttarakhand); one of the local boys excitedly comes to me and asks, “bhaiya kya ye duke waali bike hain?? maine suna hai iske baare me” (“is this bike the duke? i have heard about this bike!!”)
The flip side what i can think of on the top of my mind would be the space for the pillion.. It’s a little too cramped.. So riding with a pillion would be slightly uncomfortable and other issue is the heat from the engine especially when you are in traffic, you can feel the heat coming onto your legs.. If you can look past that, nothing to worry about.. That’s all i can think off.. Summing it up, those who want an adventure machine, which will take you to almost everywhere without having to worry what damage it will do this is the machine to buy.. Most importantly all the goodies packed into this and at the price it’s at makes it totally a “value for money” buy..
Happy riding! :)