KTM 390 Duke

The KTM 390 Duke made waves in the Indian motorcycling scene a decade ago, reshaping the landscape of performance motorcycles, especially in terms of affordability, thanks to its locally assembled design.

A decade ago, the first-generation 390 Duke hit the market at ₹1.8 lakh (ex-showroom), a price that now seems like a steal considering today’s inflated market rates. Its power-to-price ratio was groundbreaking, and while many attempted to replicate its formula, few succeeded as impressively as KTM.

Now, a new iteration of the KTM 390 Duke is available, the third generation. This version, priced nearly double its predecessor, aims to combine the best aspects of the first two generations in terms of performance and desirability.

However, can it evoke the same emotions as the original? Can it provide the visceral experience that has defined the 390 Duke? We recently took the 2024 KTM 390 Duke for a spin to find out.

2024 KTM 390 Duke: Super Duke-Inspired Design

The third-gen KTM 390 Duke builds upon the foundations laid by its predecessors. Its design is bolder, drawing inspiration from the larger 1290 Super Duke. The new headlamp cluster sits lower, featuring LED DRLs on the sides.

The redesigned fuel tank boasts a 15-litre capacity, 1.5 litres more than the previous generation, and displays a more aggressive look with extended tank shrouds. A new side panel, a first for the 390 Duke, blends seamlessly into the new aluminium subframe, mirroring the aesthetics of larger Duke models.

A fresh swingarm aims to enhance the bike’s agility, while the compact dimensions and slightly reduced wheelbase maintain a commanding road presence. The bold new design ensures that it’s impossible to go unnoticed when riding this bike.

The tail section features sharp styling, complemented by a smart LED taillight, further contributing to the bike’s striking appearance. 

New wheels, borrowed from the latest generation RC 390, offer not only aesthetic appeal but also structural reinforcement. KTM retains its signature orange paint scheme, now available in Atlantic Blue and Electronic Orange.

Weight Reduction

The new KTM 390 Duke sheds weight compared to its predecessor. The engine is 1 kg lighter, and the wheels, thanks to fewer spokes, an open hub design, and a hollow axle, are 1.7 kg lighter. Removing the tire hugger contributes to shedding about 800 grams. Overall, the 390 Duke is 3.6 kg lighter than its predecessor, resulting in an improved power-to-weight ratio.

2024 KTM 390 Duke: New Digital Console

The third-gen 390 Duke introduces a significant upgrade in the form of a new 5-inch TFT screen. This digital console is not only more legible but also features a simpler and user-friendly layout. It provides access to critical information, including various features such as ride mode selection, traction control, and ABS settings.

Bluetooth connectivity is a noteworthy addition, enabling turn-by-turn navigation through an app, a much-needed feature for modern riders. The new switchgear enhances the premium feel of the bike.

The 390 Duke offers three riding modes: Rain, Street, and Track. While Rain limits power and torque, Street and Track unlock the bike’s full potential. Track mode introduces a dedicated display with features like Launch Control and a lap timer.

2024 KTM 390 Duke: Enhanced Ergonomics

Rider ergonomics has seen significant improvements. The shorter wheelbase, combined with better mass distribution, results in a more connected riding experience. The redesigned seating position allows riders to feel integrated with the bike.

Rear-set footpegs and a wide handlebar are still present, but the enhanced seat design provides a roomier and more comfortable riding posture. The medium-hard cushioning ensures comfort during extended rides.

The India-spec model offers an 800 mm seat height, accommodating riders of varying sizes. For taller riders, an 820 mm seat option is available through KTM’s accessory lineup.

Power And Performance

The highlight of the 2024 KTM 390 Duke is its new engine. With a displacement increase from 373 cc to 399 cc due to a larger stroke, it delivers higher power and torque figures that kick in earlier in the rev range. 

The engine now produces 44.2 bhp at 8,500 rpm and 39 Nm of peak torque at 6,500 rpm, 500 rpm earlier than the previous generation.

The refined and tractable engine provides a seamless power delivery, making it more manageable at low speeds while maintaining its high-revving nature. Vibrations are significantly reduced across the rev range. The bike offers quick and smooth gear shifts, with the assist and slipper clutch aiding in traffic.

The 390 Duke features a new radiator from the RC 390, ensuring efficient cooling. KTM claims a top speed of 155 kmph, but the bike is known to perform beyond this limit comfortably.

Handling And Braking

The third-generation 390 Duke handles like a dream, smoothly transitioning through high-speed corners. It possesses a composure that brings a big-bike feel without added displacement. The adjustable suspension allows riders to fine-tune their settings for optimal performance, whether on the track or the road

The higher ground clearance of 183 mm permits impressive lean angles, making the bike feel at home on the track. On the road, it effortlessly navigates through traffic with precision.

Braking performance remains sharp, with a 320 mm front and 240 mm rear disc brake setup. The ABS intervention is well-balanced, and the Supermoto mode disengages the rear ABS for those seeking rear-wheel excitement. Launch Control, available in Track mode, prevents unwanted wheelies while enhancing traction control.

Price And Verdict

The third-generation KTM 390 Duke feels like a familiar friend who has returned, now more mature and experienced. It retains its entertaining spirit while becoming more forgiving. It tugs at the heartstrings just as effectively as before.

Priced at ₹3.11 lakh (ex-showroom), it’s a mere ₹12,000 more than its predecessor but offers significantly more value. KTM has redefined the power-to-price ratio with this new release, setting a new benchmark in the process.

Despite increasing competition, the 390 Duke stands as the best-performance motorcycle under 400 cc. It seamlessly combines performance and value, making it a compelling choice for enthusiasts.

In short, the 2024 KTM 390 Duke carries forward the legacy of its predecessors while introducing notable improvements. It’s a bike that refuses to compromise on performance and continues to offer an exhilarating riding experience. If you’re seeking the ideal pocket rocket, look no further; the 390 Duke delivers in spades. Take it for a test ride; you won’t be disappointed.

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