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Old 19th September 2013, 23:47   #1
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Default My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

I don't generally write. I don't generally click. If there's something I can do well, it's to ride! So you know what to expect further.

The History:

They say take one step at a time and so I have done. Talking strictly about two wheels, I started with the good old Suzuki Fiero ('01). A fantastic engine coupled with shaky handling and BSA cycle tyres and my bike specifically was plagued with electrical issues. Despite this my dad loved this bike. For him, the ideal bike is light, should seat his wife comfortably, should have a heal-toe shifter and must (and should) have an all-4-down gearbox.

I sold the Fiero against my father's wish after about 35k on the odometer for a Bajaj Pulsar 180 DTS-i UG2 ('06). Sadly, I don't have a picture of the Fiero. The Red and Black Pulsar was a looker for sure. It also came with a clunky gearbox and a pathetic ever-shuddering clutch. However, the bike proved reliable for 25k km I owned it. At this point I realized the bike's momentum did not match with the racket the engine was making. Add to this all the stories of Bajaj bikes not being reliable after 30k and also a very tempting offer from a friend who was in a hurry to sell his sparingly used Karizma, I sold the Pulsar with 27k on the odo.

The Karizma was a beautiful bike. I was used to the ever-grunting, unrefined, front-heavy Pulsar and the Karizma was a fresh change. It simply had a bullet-proof engine, a good gearbox, a balanced ride and boy was it refined! It could do 120 Kmph all day! I was very happy with my ever reliable Karizma until one fine day I rode my cousin's Duke 200. I got jolted out of the world of sanity and pushed into the world of sheer brutal madness. I was hooked to this and didn't want to ride my Karizma again. I was infatuated. Lack of Vitamin M, an unemployed-Bachelor-of-Engineering tag and news of a bigger Duke helped me not opt for the 200.

Fast Forward to the Present:

After drooling over pictures and lapping up all the news/coverage on the 390 like my ever-hungry labrador, I walked into the Bajaj/KTM showroom on the 25th of June 2013 as a proud techie with his own credit card. Paid the advance and booked a bike for myself.

Meanwhile, posted ads to sell my much loved Karizma on the www. I found a buyer in my neighbor before my Tbhp ad could get approved. The neighbor brought along his trusted mechanic who quoted more than what I had planned to quote. Finally, got much more than I had hoped for and was all set to get my KTM in August. With people saying "Remember they said 3 months for 200 also? They started deliveries in a month", I was very optimistic of getting the Duke by July end until the world caught Dollar and Rupee in a compromising position and KTM/Bajaj had to take advantage of this. We all know the rest. At least I was fortunate enough to get a decent test ride in ORR Bangalore and that helped keep calm.

On the 18th of September, I got a call from the dealer that my Duke is ready for delivery and that all the deliveries of the first lot will happen in Indiranagar after a small get-together. A gloomy rainy day is not the best time to get the Duke home due to it's I-love-getting-dirty design.

During my PDI, I noticed the fan relay dangling down. Notified the technician who promptly ensured it was locked and fit into the groove. Also noticed some PDI (apparently done by a KTM Technician in the stockyard) remarks/instructions written on the seat. Nevertheless, the bikes were washed, papers signed, photos clicked and I was ready to ride home.
Some (cellphone) pictures during PDI/Delivery:

1. Bikes lined up for Delivery:


My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390-20130918_175258.jpg

2. My Hooligan:

My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390-20130918_175327.jpg

3. Remarks written on the seat during KTM/Bajaj internal PDI:

My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390-20130918_180943.jpg

4. After the customary Pooja:

My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390-20130919_081618.jpg



The Twist in the Fairy Tale:

So off I went riding euphorically only for the Duke to be welcomed by the chaotic Bangalore traffic and roads. I rode till MG road in stop-go traffic, filled her up to the brim with normal fuel and got the air-pressure checked. Front -26 PSI and Rear - 30 PSI. I rode on from the bunk after answering the usual questions on price and mileage. Just stopped at the next signal and noticed the "Hot Coolant Temperature" with the temperature gauge showing the penultimate bar in the console.

This was unusual as I have been riding my brother's Duke 200. It never ever overheated even in choked traffic. I knew something was amiss. As expected the ECU cut off the engine after the threshold temperature was reached. Cranked once and the engine refused to come to life. Pushed to the left rather embarrassingly and could think of two things here.

1. No Coolant: Checked the coolant level in the window and it was perfectly in between Min and Max.

2. Radiator Fan conked: Bent down to check if I can see/hear the fan. I could see the fan standstill and what I saw next to it gave me the answer. The jack/socket to be connected to the Radiator Fan was dangling down. It's the white socket (marked in Red) you see in the below picture. As I mentioned above, I noticed the fan relay was dangling down which was set right by the technician. This is marked in yellow.

My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390-20130918_195404.jpg

So now I knew what the issue is, but not the solution. I could not figure out where the female part is to connect the dangling male part.

At this point I called Punarsheel AKA Paul from KTM and informed him of the situation. So, here I was, stranded with my brand new Duke 390 in the middle of crawling traffic in the middle of the city with people craning out to see if it's indeed a 390. I was trying to act cool and behaving as if I was waiting for a friend.

Thankfully, Paul and the technician Ravi reached the spot and fixed the dangling jack in no time. Thanked and appreciated Paul and Ravi. Mistakes happen. Owning up and sorting things out in the shortest time possible is what matters. I really appreciate Bajaj/KTM and their staff for the way this was handled. Looking back, I'm not quite sure if I did not notice this during my PDI or the wire snapped out while on the move. Ravi said if the jack isn't locked with an assuring "click", it might snap out.

I realized Ravi happens to stay quite close to my place and agreed to drop him home. Was actually quite happy to know I can test if the fan is fine in the presence of the technician and the test was a success.

Thanks to the delay, the traffic had thinned down a little and I got glimpses of what the beast could do. Got the Pooja done next day morning and rode to work.

I shall jump to the initial impressions of the bike. My relative comparison will be with my Karizma and also my brother's D200 as I've been riding it extensively in the recent past. Do note this D200 is on the stock ECU map and hasn't been flashed. So it's faster compared to the newer dukes and jerkier below 3k RPM and stalls if you're not in the right gear.
  • The engine is free revving and feels effortless and refined (at least upto 7.5k RPM that I have hit till now).
  • Gearbox is very slick and accurate. No false neutrals or ambiguous shifts. It's especially easy to constantly switch between first and Neutral in crawling traffic. Gearing is very very tall compared to the D200. However I feel it's comparable to my Karizma of course with the additional 6th cog. If you are upgrading from a D200, ensure you are one gear down in all situations compared to the gear you would have been on, on the 200. IMHO this is better. The engine doesn't red line restlessly at the blink of an eye. Third and Fourth are for pottering in the city. Fifth is when you are faster than 43kmph and sixth when faster than 48kmph. I haven't ridden on an open highway and haven't crossed 100kmph yet.
  • Unlike the D200, this bike cannot be ridden without clutch riding/slipping. It crawls at 21kmph in third gear, 15kmph in second and 10kmph in first without clutch riding. The good part is, if the traffic is crawling at 10-11kmph, the bike glides along like a diesel car without any throttle input.
  • Heating is a non-issue for me. The D200 felt hotter in fact, surely because of the jet of hot air hitting my legs directly. The 390 surely redirects the hot air-stream away towards the front and it's not just placebo. Wrt to the temperature gauge, it's identical to D200. Apart from the day 1 incident, I have not seen it cross the last second bar in the console.
  • The Metzellers are simply awesome. I have not had a single scary moment till now be it dry/wet roads. In fact the tyres along with ABS have already made me so over confident that I keep reminding myself not to brake too late for the fear of being rear ended.
  • The suspension is softer than D200 although I have not noticed the setting/level till now. Also I am not sure if the other owners have noticed, the rider seat is definitely softer than that on D200. Can anyone else confirm this?
  • The horn is simply bad especially for the highway. Need to find a solution without voiding warranty. Headlights bulbs strictly suffice for in-city riding.
  • Personally I am not a great fan of the aesthetics. I feel the pillion seat could have been bigger and the rear mudguard overhang could have been reduced. The knuckle guards are made of cheap plastic and are not even finished properly. They are practical though and I'll let them be and do their job.
  • The exhaust note is irritating when idling but is sweet music when on the move.

Issues/Niggles:

1. The biggest problem for me is the intermittent starting issue. Sometimes the bike starts normally and sometimes it doesn't start even after two long cranks. Although people have reported this predominantly with hot starts and attributed it to the decompressor, I have faced this even during cold starts and I don't seem to find any sort of pattern of recurrence.

Although not advised, I have noticed that opening the throttle about 1/8th brings the engine to life almost certainly.

Due to this I am not confident enough to switch off the bike in signals until I'm in the left most corner and this in turn heats the engine further. It might be bike specific and I'm planning to visit the service centre over the weekend.

2. The clutch is very tight. My fingers ache after riding in normal traffic.

3. There seems to be some vibration from the front of the bike. It's irritating and it can be heard during deceleration in every gear. Need to get this checked too.

4. The foot pegs (especially LHS) are always buzzing above about 4k RPM.

Overall Satisfaction Quotient:

To sum it up, this bike is an average Indian enthusiast's dream-come-true. 375 CC and 44 Horses at 2.1L OTR is a steal any day. The bike is mad and frighteningly fast and the best part is the ease with which it can attain good speeds. This bike hasn't made me feel I am running it in. 25-30 Kmpl (apparently) is an added bonus IMHO. On the whole, this truly is what they call - A Pocket Rocket.

Last edited by Added_flavor : 20th September 2013 at 22:17.
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Old 21st September 2013, 00:03   #2
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Exclamation Re: My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

Note from Support: Thanks for sharing! Moving to Motorbikes section.
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Old 21st September 2013, 04:13   #3
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Default Re: My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

Thanks for the review and congrats for your new acquisition. For city traffic which bike would you prefer, the D200 or the D390?
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Old 21st September 2013, 07:34   #4
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Congrats on your steed mate! Its a great feeling to run-in your new bike, I remember the first day the NS came home for me!
Anyway, I guess the whole ownership experience is dependent on how your ride makes you feel! There are bigger, faster and badder machines out there, but as you righty pointed out facts about your Victor, Pulsar and Karizma, that they all made you feel good at some point in time is what really matters.
Owning a ride is like marriage, I speak from second hand experience though! No matter how many small niggles are there, we learn to live with them. Once we straddle the saddle and ride out into the distance, the sense of being, becomes evident and purposeful. Stay in love mate and fall in love every morning!
Ride safe, wish you a long standing relationship with your baby!

Cheers!
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Old 21st September 2013, 07:38   #5
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Default Re: My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post messages that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further. We request you to post ONLY when you have something substantial to add to a discussion.

Last edited by GTO : 23rd September 2013 at 11:48.
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Old 21st September 2013, 13:55   #6
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Default Re: My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Thanks for the review and congrats for your new acquisition. For city traffic which bike would you prefer, the D200 or the D390?
My only fear was about the heating issue which is not an issue anymore! So I have no apprehensions in saying I'm very happy with the relaxed nature of the 390 to potter around the city.

Quote:
Originally Posted by preetam_KORG View Post
Congrats on your steed mate! Its a great feeling to run-in your new bike, I remember the first day the NS came home for me!
Anyway, I guess the whole ownership experience is dependent on how your ride makes you feel! There are bigger, faster and badder machines out there, but as you righty pointed out facts about your Victor, Pulsar and Karizma, that they all made you feel good at some point in time is what really matters.
Owning a ride is like marriage, I speak from second hand experience though! No matter how many small niggles are there, we learn to live with them. Once we straddle the saddle and ride out into the distance, the sense of being, becomes evident and purposeful. Stay in love mate and fall in love every morning!
Ride safe, wish you a long standing relationship with your baby!

Cheers!

and thank you!
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Old 21st September 2013, 15:24   #7
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Default Re: My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

Congrats for the ride man! drive safe! hey , can you tell me which bike is there in the first pic, inside the showroom? It looks to be a proper sports bike.

Last edited by sajid33 : 21st September 2013 at 15:26. Reason: spelling
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Old 21st September 2013, 15:34   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sajid33 View Post
Congrats for the ride man! drive safe! hey , can you tell me which bike is there in the first pic, inside the showroom? It looks to be a proper sports bike.
Thank you. That is the RC8. It's kept for display in almost all KTM/Bajaj Probiking showrooms.
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Old 21st September 2013, 16:52   #9
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Default Re: My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

Congrats on your new bike bro! Use her well.

You are the second guy I have heard saying the suspension is softer than the 200's.

If so, there is a big change between the bike I tested and this commercial lot setting. Those were significantly stiffer.
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Old 22nd September 2013, 01:09   #10
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Default Re: My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
Congrats on your new bike bro! Use her well.

You are the second guy I have heard saying the suspension is softer than the 200's.

If so, there is a big change between the bike I tested and this commercial lot setting. Those were significantly stiffer.
Doc,

IMO, the bikes given for testing had different settings to get the feedback for parameters in different conditions.

For instance, I felt my D 200's suspension a lot stiffer than the D 390's (# 852).

I am wondering if I can get the 390's suspension on my bike

I tested the demo bike in the showroom and a lot has been changed for good w.r.t the test bike.

And Congrats to the owner for getting relatively early delivery. Happy Mile Munching
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Old 22nd September 2013, 12:50   #11
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Default Re: My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

Hey there congrats on your new ride
Have a great time revving and riding this beauty.

I am still waiting for mine to be delivered... :(
Have you planned any accessories for your ride? Any mods?
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Old 22nd September 2013, 19:31   #12
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Default Re: My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
Congrats on your new bike bro! Use her well.

You are the second guy I have heard saying the suspension is softer than the 200's.

If so, there is a big change between the bike I tested and this commercial lot setting. Those were significantly stiffer.
Thanks Doc.

UPDATE:

Went for a small ride today and I can say the softer suspension is not an issue for cornering either. The bike feels planted and sticks to the line without any drama. I had my first footpeg scrape

Also, the bike feels absolutely relaxed in top gear at 100 odd kmph with the engine revving at just about ~ 5.5K RPM. The tall gearing is an absolute pleasure on highways for sure. I don't know if it's just me but at speeds above 70 kmph the exhaust note sounds like a good old Yezdi! Engine breaking I feel is on the higher side. Similar to the D200, the bike slows down in a hurry even in 6th gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazinga View Post
Hey there congrats on your new ride
Have a great time revving and riding this beauty.

I am still waiting for mine to be delivered... :(
Have you planned any accessories for your ride? Any mods?
Thanks Buddy! The mods/accessories I'm looking at in the near future are

1. Front fender Extension: Surely protects the radiator from the muck thrown by the front tyre. Pic Below. Source

Name:  WP_20130704_003.jpg
Views: 18469
Size:  108.9 KB

2. A Windscreen is a must have on this bike.

3. Not sure how effective the crash guards are. Thinking of frame sliders.

EDIT: The bike in the pic also has an extra tyre hugger on the rear tyre. That's a good idea during monsoons/touring too!

Last edited by Added_flavor : 22nd September 2013 at 19:35.
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Old 22nd September 2013, 20:52   #13
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Who ever wrote this told Nayeed to replace the fan(probably the radiator fan) but didn`t ask him to connect the fan`s wiring to the electrical system! That could be the reason why you had that dangling wiring/connector!

Congrats on your new ride! It is looks awesomely naked!

Last edited by GTO : 23rd September 2013 at 11:49. Reason: Removing XL-size pic
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Old 23rd September 2013, 10:05   #14
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Default Re: My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

Many Congratulations to you !!! Wow its raining D390 here at team-bhp, I am sure in next couple of months there will be many more threads dedicated to D390 - way to go.

During my test ride I felt the suspension to be stiffer than the D200, infact you are the only one I have heard who feels the suspension is softer - please check what setting are the mono's set on and change it as per your riding comfort and style.

Ride Safe Man - any plans to do some custom work on the bike.
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Old 23rd September 2013, 10:24   #15
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Default Re: My Orange Hooligan comes home: The KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by Added_flavor View Post

Not sure how effective the crash guards are. Thinking of frame sliders.
Congrats on the bike Added_flavor, I should be receiving my bike fairly shortly ! can you do me a favour please? I'd like to know how many frame sliders can be installed on the 390 as well as the bolt sizes needed. Sending you a PM as well.

Thanks

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