2017 KTM Duke 390 Review – More Tangy, More Fun!

The much awaited 2017 KTM Duke 390 is now on sale in Africa at INR 2.25 lakh, ex-showroom. We test ride it at Bajaj's Chakan track, and try and answer if it is worth the price tag or not.

KTM had always put everything they have in their motorcycles to make them set a new benchmark for the competitors. They have made motorcycles that have made riding not just fun but exhilarating. Their bikes have been always been light, powerful and loaded with best in class technology.

The new KTM Duke 390, which is no different from their usual recipe, has finally arrived as the most anticipated motorcycle of the year. We took it on a short ride for first ride impressions at the Bajaj test track at Chakan. Here’s what it’s all about.

The KTM Duke 390 had already captured the eyes, market and heart of people across the globe with its first generation model, so the model doesn’t really need a from-the-scratch introduction. The launch of the 2017 Duke 390 has just made it appealing to a much larger audience as it shares very less from its predecessor.

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With inspiration from the new KTM Super Duke 1290, on which the Duke 250 is based on as well, the styling of the new 390 has a lot of chisel-work than curve. To be blunt, the design is as sharp as it can get, with a much higher snob value than before. If you thought the old Duke 390 was too tangy, the new one is more on-the-face with orange all over, including the fuel tank and the exposed sub-frame at the rear.

The 2017 Duke 390 comes with a split headlamp design, which is the one that’s particularly passed on from the Super Duke 1290. The headlamp is a full-LED type, and so are the tail lamp and blinkers. It also has a class apart addition, the all-new instrument console with a large TFT Display that is definitely going to make the competitors jealous. The expansive screen shares a plenty of vital stats to keep you going with great confidence, in some interesting graphics.

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The Duke 390 now comes with adjustable levers (clutch & front brake), to make it easier for riders of different physiques to adjust accordingly. The fuel tank has gotten a bit bigger; it can hold upto 13.4 litres.

The powerhouse on the new 390 is not so different; it still hosts the same 373 cc single-cylinder DOHC engine with liquid cooling. It produces 43 bhp of maximum power and 37 Nm of peak torque, which are not significantly better in comparison, yet they remain to be more than what we could wish for in a 2+ lakh motorcycle. The six-speed gearbox is also almost the same, except for the sprocketing that has become a tad taller with the 44 teeth unit at the rear in place of the 45 teeth one on the older D390.

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With the mechanically operated anti-hopping (PASC) slipper clutch, and Ride by Wire system, the throttle control on the Duke 2017 is unparalleled for a bike in its segment. This almost compensates for the taller sprocket at the rear, as far as the difference in ride-ability of the old and new Dukes is concerned.

A big difference between the two versions is the new side-slung silencer, which plays a sportier exhaust note. At the test track we were able to clock 165 kmph, and we can still hear the racy music paying in our ears after heading home. It does a 0-100 kmph in under 6 seconds.

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To brake safely from such life-threatening speeds, the 2017 KTM Duke 390 has an improved braking system courtesy of Brembo, and a dual-channel ABS by Bosch as a standard feature as usual. The front disc is the largest in segment measuring 320 mm in diameter, and the rear rotor is 230 mm.

Inspite of the advantage of high localisation from manufacturing in Africa, the 2017 KTM Duke 390 is priced at INR 2.25 lakhs (ex-showroom, New Delhi) which is a quarter-lakh difference from its previous generation. This has left a wide enough price-gap for the Duke 250 to sit at a reasonable segment above the Duke 200.

The hike in the new D390’s price point is effected by the new everything including the bodywork, technology and powertrain. Its engine is BSIV compliant, so do not expect an updated version again in the near future.

The downside continues to be a hard seat and hot legs, which do not make it any more ideal for touring than the old D390 was. At least one of them can be tweaked after purchase, so not a deal-breaker there.

Please let us know what all mods your have done to your Duke 390, in the comments section below.

Vital Specs of 2017 Duke 390:

– New trellis frame that features a bolt-on rear sub frame
– Larger fuel tank of 13.4 litres (old had 11 litres)
– Side-mounted exhaust system
– Wheelbase reduced by 10 mm to 1,357 mm
– Ground clearance increased by 15 mm to 185 mm
– Seat height increased by 30 mm to 830 mm
– Dry weight increased by 10 kg to 149 kg
– Power 44 hp (same as before)
– Torque 37 Nm (2 Nm increased)
– Ride-by-wire, LED DRL, LED headlight, LED taillight
– Colour TFT instrument panel
– KTM MY RIDE feature for Smartphone tethering
– New Brembo braking system via Bosch 9MB two-channel ABS

Rushlane Rating

  • Design
  • Handling
  • Engine
  • Headlight
  • Seats
  • Suspension
  • Performance
  • Brakes
  • Tyres

Note – We will come up with a comprehensive road test report about the new KTM Duke 390 once we spend more time with the bike, and ride the bike on public roads. Until then, have a look at the images and video below.


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