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Old 29th September 2013, 12:16   #1
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Default Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Why the 390?
Wanted a superbike to replace the last one I had, but the back problems would not help convince me on the utility of one. I then zeroed into a cruiser and realized there was no way to be able to afford it either.

Sat back and thought again and realized I just needed a run about inside town and not long distances for now but still wanted the acceleration and fun that the superbike gave me.

Options were very limited, FZ1, Ninja 650 felt a tad too expensive for a runabout and a chance borrowing of the 200 got me thinking of looking out for something a bit more powerful yet as agile. Started the lookout for a Motard / SuperMoto but was quite unlucky I must say.

Then came the announcement of the 390 being available so there I was on the day one putting the booking amount on the table based on the videos and reviews I saw on YouTube. I am not the one for showroom vehicles but I made an exception and haven’t regretted it.

The Wait?
I booked at KTM – BTM on day one and it was exciting to initially hear that the bikes would be available in 20-30 days but as the strike and exchange rates had to have it I ended up waiting 2 weeks shorter than the 90 day announcement.

I had applied for a loan on the bike a week after booking so that my paperwork would be ready on time of the delivery.

I also had reviews on the test rides on the bike from other people but took a test ride just one week prior to delivery and was satisfied on the grunt in the first 2 gears itself.

The Delivery?
Constant follow-ups led to no feedback just asking me to wait. I had more news on the forums than from the dealership. Till finally my receipt number was put up on Team-BHP and I was frantically calling them up for the next bike.

Landed up at the showroom saw the bike there finished the rest of the formalities for the loan in half an hour and closed complete payment on the vehicle. The interesting part was that no one at home knew the bike was coming.

I received the delivery of the vehicle on the very next day.

The changes I got done at the dealership prior to delivery were:
  • Remove hand guards
  • Remove saree guard
  • Stiffen rear suspension

The staff were extremely helpful and made sure that the work was completed as requested and then delivered.

The ride?
The first riding experience was actually a letdown as the mid on the bike was more linear than what I saw in the videos and the run in kept me from wringing the throttle open to see what next. Sedate riding is what happened for the first 250km with an average speed of 20kmph at the max.
Now am in the process of cycling the RPM’s across the range to get the engine to settle in quick bursts followed by straightforward cruising to get the moving parts well meshed and also heating and cooling the bike in quick cycles.

The fun began when the bursts started, it just out accelerated anyone who came my way and braked down to a dime when I wanted, the tyres too work their magic time and again. The ABS is flawless and helps keep a straight line, I didn’t feel any pull to the left on the handle bar as I was expecting.
I ride about 40km a day at a snail’s pace with occasional bursts when the traffic allows me to. It is about 500km till now since I got the bike.


The good, bad and ugly?
The bike overall has a good feel and a great ride quality, handles like a dream and brakes on a dime. The tires have given me enough confidence to lean all over again and the scruff marks on the tires are the sole testament to the grip they provide and not to mention the confidence they give me.
Where I feel Bajaj and KTM could have done better was on routing the wiring and cabling in a more planned manner instead of body colored zip ties.

Based on my riding till date here is a quick feedback on what’s not right:
  • The levers are a little too far out and a painful experience in heavy traffic, would prefer shorty’s
  • The fan needs to come on a little earlier for our conditions maybe 8 bars to keep the engine cooler in heavy traffic KTM change the thermostat it will help
  • Half throttle 5k rpm feeling the bikes leaning out, WOT is perfect
  • Need a responsive throttle can’t keep twisting too far all the time, time for a better cam for the throttle pipe
  • Front suspension is a little soft for me especially on cornering on bumpy roads needs me to steer more than normal while leaning


The looks?
Well it’s an orange monster in sheep’s clothing but very well tamed is the best way I can describe it. The bike is styled similar to the 200 but stiffer and has a distinctive growl. The bright orange makes it stand out from the crowd and the white was what I exactly wanted.

The Equipment?
KTM/Bajaj could have done a better job in planning the wiring for the bike it seems to be all over the place and held together with orange zip-ties to the frame. The radiator at times is sometimes ineffective at hard riding between 2-3 gear at speeds of 20-40 kmph needs a lot more airflow and has a high dependence on the fan on stop and go traffic situations. If the temp hits the 12th bar it tends to move into overheat pretty quickly and takes a good 15 mins stop time to let it cool down.
The chain is stretching a bit too much am at about 2-3 cm play now need to get it fixed. The seat initially was extremely hard but am getting used to it now.


Distance till date?
Have done about 550 km through heavy traffic and a few hard bursts. I do about 40 km a day on the bike since I got it.

Riding?
Power available on tap but no place to use it is the best way I can describe my situation today. Engine overall quite refined and smooth till about 6.5K rpm and then it surges to redline. Quite linear till then, however have a feeling that the mid’s are way leaner comparative to WOT.

The gears fall into place almost like a superbikes a bit clunky but precise with hardly any effort.

I have in the city averaged at about 21 – 22 kmpl in heavy traffic and the worst mileage figure seen is 8kmpl at a short WOT run.

Rear suspension needs to be hardened a bit and personally feel the front should too. However handling is precise and lean-in’s are phenomenal building confidence. However the downside is scary not knowing where the suspension / tyres are going to let go.

The metzeler’s are extremely grippy in all road conditions I have ridden in rain, dry and dusty, their lifespan is something we are yet to see.

The brakes are near perfect stopping right on the dot(use the front brakes a lot more). However the rear brakes tend to clank, suspect the loose chain. The worry here is whether the person behind can stop as quick and the rear view mirrors are completely useless here.


Summary?
It is not a cruiser / sports bike, it is a street fighter / supermoto and needs to be treated equally to be enjoyed thoroughly. It is a very forgiving bike excepting in low RPM scenarios.
The best bike at its price point and not an easy bike to master as a first fast bike. Why do I say this is because it is more critical to know your limits rather than the bikes and I wonder how many people will understand this.
  • My biggest dislike, I wish it had more mid-range punch to lift off the front wheel on hard acceleration without clutching
  • The best part is the way 100kmph comes up on the speedo on empty roads

Will keep updating as things progress, here are a few pics of the bike.

Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390-img_20130929_111551.jpg

Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390-img_20130929_111330.jpg

Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390-img_20130929_111235.jpg

Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390-img_20130929_111005.jpg

Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390-img_20130929_110729.jpg

Last edited by Psycho : 3rd October 2013 at 15:36.
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Old 29th September 2013, 17:54   #2
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Default re: Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Fantastic pictures... Congratulations on joining the orange brigade !
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Old 29th September 2013, 23:02   #3
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Default re: Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Fantastic bike...Big congratulations to you. I fell in love with her, just after a very short TD.

Drive hard, be safe.
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Old 30th September 2013, 09:27   #4
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Default re: Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Congrats Keshav. So finally we get to see some pics of the bike.

Any plans to squeeze some more juice out of this orange in the near future?
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Old 4th October 2013, 15:52   #5
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Default Re: Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Motorbikes Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 4th October 2013, 16:16   #6
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Default Re: Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Congrats!
She's a monster in monster's clothing. :P

Is the tyre hugger staying?
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Old 4th October 2013, 16:59   #7
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Default Re: Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by n_aditya View Post
Congrats Keshav. So finally we get to see some pics of the bike.

Any plans to squeeze some more juice out of this orange in the near future?
Yes there is will need to wait for a while though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by E63 View Post
Congrats!
She's a monster in monster's clothing. :P

Is the tyre hugger staying?
Yes, I kind of like the look of it
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Old 4th October 2013, 17:52   #8
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Default Re: Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Hi!

Thanks for the lovely thread & insights.

It is very modest of you to not compare bikes you rode comprehensively prior to going for the 390, but I would like to know a bit and how do they rank up?

How would you rate for say a fast 200/300kms round trip to a very fast w/o stops 800kms round trip. (maybe you can answer by this year's end)

I somehow shake my head every-time a nice 390 thread pops up, or see someone having FUN on the 390, but distance myself to not fall prey to it.

The prime deterrent for me are wind blast & been hearing quality not matching Jap standard.

Maybe your thread will help us know better as from the opening post, it is apparent you are pretty keyed in.

Thanks again for sharing your experiences :-)
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Old 4th October 2013, 20:26   #9
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Default Re: Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
It is very modest of you to not compare bikes you rode comprehensively prior to going for the 390, but I would like to know a bit and how do they rank up?
The last bike I had was a 954rr prior to that had owned 2 bullet 350's however over the years have ridden quite a few bikes right from 1988 on including imports both Jap and European. I woudn't want to compare it to any other as all I wanted was a powerful streetable bike and it hit the nail right on the head. The only bike that closely came to mind was a childhood dream the bike had to be more powerful than the RD but each of them have their own characters and are quite unique.

I had one unique requirement, upright seating posture due to a bad back which is remnant of an accident I had in 96.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
How would you rate for say a fast 200/300kms round trip to a very fast w/o stops 800kms round trip. (maybe you can answer by this year's end)
200-300 is something I feel should be quite comfortable based on the seating and ride quality but am not sure about the 800 number. Should try a Leh run to confirm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
I somehow shake my head every-time a nice 390 thread pops up, or see someone having FUN on the 390, but distance myself to not fall prey to it.
The prime deterrent for me are wind blast & been hearing quality not matching Jap standard.
I personally picked the bike for city use rather than highway riding, however one off trip would be ok. Like i said earlier each machine is designed to be used best what it is designed for and according to me it is a street fighter and a good weekend fun bike which would love the twisties.

Thinking about Jap standards all I can say is here is a bike built in India and sold all over. This is a start and it can hopefully only get better.
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Old 4th October 2013, 20:29   #10
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Default Re: Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Hey Congrats Mate for getting your ride
Have a great time zipping around in this beast of a machine. Did you get a chance to test the ride quality for pillion rider (any willing soul for the puny back seat).
Any accessories planned yet or bought already?
Read a few days back about the radiator assembly fix, howz the heat on your ride, in traffic and in longer runs.
Wishing you a million happy miles on your ride

p.s. Me still waiting for my call to come thru from KTM. 90+7 days... :(
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Old 5th October 2013, 11:27   #11
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Default Re: Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Psycho,

Would you potentially miss the RE Cafe Racer/Continental GT (whenever its launched) over the KTM ? The 535 cc engine on that bike is supposed to be "the best engine ever" made by RE.
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Old 5th October 2013, 13:21   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
Psycho,

Would you potentially miss the RE Cafe Racer/Continental GT (whenever its launched) over the KTM ? The 535 cc engine on that bike is supposed to be "the best engine ever" made by RE.
Well no had the bullets for 18 years and that's enough. More the whole package than just the engine.
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Old 5th October 2013, 13:39   #13
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Yet another 390 on the forum! I'm already dreaming of the TBHP 390 meet! Can't wait to see these beautiful bikes lined up!

Congratulations Sir and welcome to the club! Nice crisp review! It'll be great to learn about the bike from all the knowledge and experience you've got!

Also it's time you finish those 1000 km soon and get the service done. The bike is even more mad on the other side of 7000rpm!
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Old 6th October 2013, 17:10   #14
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Default Re: Two Orange Wheels : My KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho View Post

200-300 is something I feel should be quite comfortable based on the seating and ride quality but am not sure about the 800 number. Should try a Leh run to confirm
~800 would be a bit extreme on any bike, but differs between individuals. I believe for this, the Ninja-300 might be a better bet.


Quote:
I personally picked the bike for city use rather than highway riding, however one off trip would be ok. Like i said earlier each machine is designed to be used best what it is designed for and according to me it is a street fighter and a good weekend fun bike which would love the twisties.

Thinking about Jap standards all I can say is here is a bike built in India and sold all over. This is a start and it can hopefully only get better.
Mine identity has reduced from a tourer to a wannabe tourer. At most, I ride 3-4 times a year for max two days & the ride is split between 500-700kms a day.

Hence, in all honesty, I believe the D-390 might suit me a bit better than the CBR-250R I am riding currently.

Shall keep watching your thread for updates & as to how blissfully is the relationship with the 390 going, prior to committing

Thanks again
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Old 7th October 2013, 10:48   #15
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Dropped the bike off for the first service today. Looking at a full radiator and engine flush, check on rear break for clanking at slow speeds have a doubt on the abs pickup as it is placed a little further away than the front. Some sound on the front light assembly.

I had to tighten the chain a couple of days back as it was stretched. Have also asked them to check the spark plugs.

Approx 2000 is what the service manager told me.

No complaints from the dealership prompt service and took notes with the job card.

Shall update once I have the bike back in the evening.
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