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Old 31st March 2014, 21:42   #1
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Default Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

I am starting this thread with a disclaimer that I am not much of a writer, and hence this post might bore you to death.


Background:

Last year got posted in a rural area which is about 100kms from my place, and due to demanding office commitment and lack of proper connectivity had to rent a place there as daily commute was not possible. Sold off my p220 as I was not using it anymore (my office was barely 500mts away from my new place), and used public transport to travel to my home on weekends.

This went on well for few months but then the biker inside me was starving, and I started looking for a new bike. Coming from p220 background I needed a fast and fun bike. Options considered were cbr 250, r15, p200 ns, and p220 itself (again) but despite all the options I ended up buying the karizma R, which was not even an option for me.

Karizma R is a very good bike, didn't have the grunt as my p220 but the engine was very smooth and very torquey. I enjoyed it a lot while crossing a section of hills which comes in my way, with the p220 I had to frequently shift gears. Then suddenly I had a nasty accident in sept last year, when I was rear ended by an alto in a traffic signal. The bike was badly damaged, lack of leg guard is a major cause.

Repaired the bike, claimed insurance and sold it off in a month. The bike had just 1100 something kms on odo.


Now the hunt began again, the hunt that finally ended up me buying the beast.



Duke Mania:

It was around Nov last year and the duke 390 fever was on. The internet was just buzzing with it, and here in my city it had not yet arrived at the dealership.

Sometime later in Dec, the bike was available with the dealer. Went ahead and took a TD of the bike. Didn't like the bike, found it rough, full of vibrations and didn't find the pick up to be monstrous. The baby duke was standing right next to it and took a TD of it too, loved the bike. Felt much better than the bigger brother in all the aspects, except little less power. Came out of the showroom mighty impressed with the baby duke. Now the heart and brain fight began for me, heart said just go ahead and get yourself one d200, but brain started thinking logically. The place where I am posted now, people's head turn even on seeing a r15, just imagine how would people react to seeing a duke. I wondered whether they knew anything about the brand KTM. I am a very sober person and don't want unwanted attention. The attention and chaos that would be created by my new ride in the rural area gave me sleepless nights thinking about people's reaction. Kept imagining kids bunking schools/colleges to see the duke and people scratching and writing their names on the bike


It was also during that time that around 6 of my friends had got themselves bulls, ranging from classic to thunderbird to electra. I quite liked the classic 350, and booked myself a sliver classic 350. Was promised a delivery by april 2014. 2014 came, and I kept waiting for my bull to arrive, and went on a lot of rides with my friends in the meanwhile. The more I rode the bull, the more I realised that I am made for speed and the classic 350 wont just fulfill my basic need. Took a TD of the Continental GT too, but it didn't seem appropriate for touring. Then came the auto expo, had high hope for some really exciting launches. But it was a dud for me, only bike that had my attention was the pulsar 370 cs.


I was back to the internet, and it was full of duke 390 videos and ownership reviews. I really liked the video review my powerdrift. And the duke mania had started again, this time for the duke 390 which I had disliked earlier.

Went to the showroom and took a TD again, by this time the bike had settled a bit, even though properly abused by test riders it felt better than the first time I rode it. I took a fairly long ride and loved it, despite of the vibes. My heart was urging me to book it then n there, but the mind took over and I walked out of the showroom saying I needed some more time to think about it. My only concern was the attention that I was gonna get, and whether I would be able to live with it.

Decision was tough, but I made. My love for speed and thrill is more than my care for the bike. And we only have one life, can't waste it lusting about the duke 390 and not buying it because of others. So, went ahead and booked one by paying 30k, and got the delivery in 17days.



Delivery and Dealer Experience:

The sales team or I should say duo, was very good. Very well behaved and friendly. The bike was all ready to be delivered before I entered the showroom. It was neat, expect a small scratch each on the left grab rail and front brake lever. I did a quick PDI and all the things were normal, the VIN was decoded and it turned out to be a FEB 2014 bike. Removed the hand and sari guards at the first sight of them.
Total on road cost came at 2.06L here in Guwahati.

The service guys were hopeless. They just adjusted the rpm1 and rpm2 at 5000 and 7500 respectively. And to all my other queries they had negative/disappointing answers: 1) Is the idle rpm at 2000 normal? 2) How to toggle the various modes, 3) How often should I add coolant, 4) What fuel would you recomend? 5) This is my first FI bike, any suggestions?



Initial ride impression:

Disgusted by the service guys response I rode out of the showroom, and it just took seconds to pop a smile on my face. The bike felt leaps better then the TD bike, felt pretty smooth. The gears are all very well laid out and tall, I didn't even cross the 5k rpm mark while returning. It hits 70 kmph in 6th gear in under 5k rpm, thats pretty good. While returning, went and tanked up the bike and that is where I got my first compliment. I loved it, hence sharing with you guys. The guy who was filling up petrol recognized the bike but mistook it for the d200. He could make out that the bike was just out from the showroom, and seeing the orange alloys, he asked me whether I got them painted right at the showroom. To which I replied that its the newer duke 390 and comes with orange wheels as standard. He loved the look and inquired the price, I told him 2.06L. He was shocked, and called upon his mates and told them "look thats an alto standing right there", and I just couldn't control my smile. The smile kept planted on my face as long as I was riding the bike.

Till now I have just ridden only about 150 kms, and this is what I can say from my experience.


Pros:


1) The bike handles very well in city traffic, the front end is very light and flickable. The wider handle bar also helps.

2) The exhaust note is good and louder than the baby duke.

3) The MID showed 30 kmpl mileage in city, which I feel is great for a bike of this caliber. Not revving beyond 5k rpm must be the reason here.

4) The brakes are really good even without ABS kicking in and inspires confidence.

5) I didn't find any problem with the seat, In fact the wide seat allows you to keep shifting your weight around.


Won't be able to comment on how good the performance is, as I have ridden it so less. Same goes for the tyres, have to test them before commenting anything. I will mention some of the cons which I have found.


Cons:

1) The headlight of the bike is weak, both the beams are average.

2) The horn has been lifted straight out of some scooty, I feel irritated every time I press the horn button.

3) As with all the other pulsar bikes, the engine kill switch looks pretty cheap. I wonder why bajaj doesn't replace it with a better quality switch.

4) Early morning cold start requires 2-3 attempts, my p220 always started at the first attempt.

5) Engine heat is an issue, I won't exactly call it a con as it is expected from such a bike. I feel it is more as the silencer wraps up the engine, which generates more heat. If the duke had a proper silencer I feel the heat won't be as much.

6) The rear end of the bike makes some thak-thak noise every time I pass over a pot hole or bump, I feel its coming from the tyre hugger.



Some other points:

* The bike cover and hand gloves from KTM cost 800 and 6000 something respectively, and both don't deserve their price tag.

* KTM should provide black hand guards as standard for the black d390s.

* The font for the rpm marking in the speedo console is really very small, you need binoculars to spot them. The rpm1 and rpm2 come handy here.

* I don't like the position of the front number plate, spoils the look of the bike IMO. Should have managed to place it on the front forks.

* You need to adjust to the gearing of the bike.


Lastly, some pictures of the beast.
Attached Thumbnails
Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390-20140328_164233.jpg  

Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390-20140328_163843.jpg  

Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390-20140328_184747.jpg  

Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390-20140329_102527.jpg  

Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390-20140329_102549.jpg  


Last edited by miles_hungry : 1st April 2014 at 19:29. Reason: updates
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Old 1st April 2014, 20:19   #2
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Default re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Thread moved from Assembly Line to Initial Ownerships Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 1st April 2014, 21:28   #3
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Default re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Congrats on getting the Black Duke. Can you elaborate on "need to adjust to the gearing" part? Are you referring to having to change gears often? If yes, it's only a passing phase initially. When I started riding my Duke, I was very uncomfortable on it and found it impossible to ride it sensibly. Now, I use it to ferry my toddler from school and am able to ride it slow and comfortable in traffic and on bad roads.

Last edited by Bluu : 1st April 2014 at 21:30.
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Old 1st April 2014, 21:54   #4
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Default re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluu View Post
Congrats on getting the Black Duke. Can you elaborate on "need to adjust to the gearing" part? Are you referring to having to change gears often? If yes, it's only a passing phase initially. When I started riding my Duke, I was very uncomfortable on it and found it impossible to ride it sensibly. Now, I use it to ferry my toddler from school and am able to ride it slow and comfortable in traffic and on bad roads.
Thank you, what I wanted to mean was that the gearing is tall. Say for example in my previous bikes, I used to shift to 3rd gear at 25-30kmph and 4th gear at 35-40kmph. But with the duke I have to hold it a bit longer, and shift a bit later. At lower rpms the bike is very jerky and not comfortable.


Also, I missed a point in the previous post. The clutch is very hard, and is a nightmare in stop n go traffic. One of my friends who was riding the bike in traffic for about 45 mins, gave up riding bike due to pain in the left hand and handed over me to ride it.

Can the clutch be adjusted/softened during the service?
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Old 2nd April 2014, 10:38   #5
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Default Re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

The clutch just needs adjustment.
congrats! Sweet looking 390. Looks great in black.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 10:45   #6
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Default Re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by miles_hungry View Post

5) Engine heat is an issue, I won't exactly call it a con as it is expected from such a bike. I feel it is more as the silencer wraps up the engine, which generates more heat. If the duke had a proper silencer I feel the heat won't be as much.
Take a look at this: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...0152677&type=1
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Old 2nd April 2014, 10:49   #7
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Default Re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Congratulations bro, good decision going in for the D390.

Do take care of the safety i.e. good quality helmet and riding jacket to keep you safe and keep enjoying the beast.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 18:58   #8
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Default Re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfy View Post
The clutch just needs adjustment.
Have you tried it? or know anyone who has got it done? How was the result? Just curious
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Old 2nd April 2014, 23:19   #9
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Default Re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Liked the review that reveals so many facts.Many facts about the KTM 390 were not known to me. In fact, I had many clicks of the Baby DUKE at the showroom but have not been there after the 390 was launched.
Happy Biking always and must handle the machine with care- its peppy and heavy !
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Old 3rd April 2014, 11:02   #10
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Default Re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by miles_hungry View Post
Have you tried it? or know anyone who has got it done? How was the result? Just curious
Miles,
No experience owning the duke 390. I have only test ridden one for a couple of kilometers. However, I own a duke 200 which has run 19xxxkms so far and found marginal to no difference in the clutch feel between the two.

I adjust the clutch myself whenever needed.
Two adjustments: one near the lever and another on the right side behind the barrel. If you aren't sure how to adjust your clutch, just ride down to your service center and they should be able to fix that for you. It is a 5 minute job at most.
It shouldn't be so tight that a rider needs to give up riding after 45 minutes on the duke.

Cheers! Safe "Miles"!
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Old 3rd April 2014, 19:31   #11
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Default Re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by miles_hungry View Post
But with the duke I have to hold it a bit longer, and shift a bit later. At lower rpms the bike is very jerky and not comfortable.
You are correct. Under normal traffic conditions it's difficult to get to 5th gear and nearly impossible to get to the 6th. In city conditions, I usually shift into second early (~20kph) and move to third around 50kph and so on.

Two things I have found (YMMV):

1. The bike performs better once things are warmed (heated?) up. I have constantly preferred the riding experience after 15 odd minutes. Also, I find that the gearbox performs better at high speeds (on the highway, for example) and can be a bit clumsy in traffic.

2. It takes a little while to get used to the Duke. Like I mentioned earlier, I can now comfortably ride it slowly (~40-50kph; never more than 60kph) with my daughter. The first 2-3 days were harrowing since I was not used to this kind of power and while it was exciting to experience the surge of acceleration, it was also terrifying.
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Old 3rd April 2014, 20:28   #12
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Default Re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfy View Post
I adjust the clutch myself whenever needed.
Two adjustments: one near the lever and another on the right side behind the barrel. If you aren't sure how to adjust your clutch, just ride down to your service center and they should be able to fix that for you. It is a 5 minute job at most.
It shouldn't be so tight that a rider needs to give up riding after 45 minutes on the duke.

Cheers! Safe "Miles"!
Thanks for reassuring and telling me the procedure, even though I won't do it myself but it helps in knowing. While the service guys will be fixing it, I will be able to put in some words

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluu View Post
I usually shift into second early (~20kph) and move to third around 50kph and so on.
Isn't holding on to 2nd gear till about 50 a bit too much? What is the rpm at position?


Also, in my d390 I feel that the bike is pulling towards the right hand side. I mean it feels more free towards the right side. And when I leave both the hands of the handle bar it turns/pulls towards the right side. What could be the reason behind this? I will not be able to visit the service center for 2 weeks, hence asking for some pointers.
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Old 8th April 2014, 16:14   #13
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Default Re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by miles_hungry View Post
Isn't holding on to 2nd gear till about 50 a bit too much? What is the rpm at position?


Also, in my d390 I feel that the bike is pulling towards the right hand side. I mean it feels more free towards the right side. And when I leave both the hands of the handle bar it turns/pulls towards the right side. What could be the reason behind this? I will not be able to visit the service center for 2 weeks, hence asking for some pointers.
You can easily hit 50kph in first! 50kph in 2nd should be close to 6-7K (I may be wrong - this is off the top of my head) On an enthusiastic day, I've hit the ton in 4th with grunt to spare. You must remember that the bike revs to 10,500rpm and tops out at 170+kph. Don't be afraid (within road rules and your own limits) to push it a bit. It won't break.

Word of warning: Do not ride the bike harder than YOU can handle. The bike is more capable than most of us as riders and you must have a gradual learning curve unless you are a master rider, in which case pardon my note.

Regarding pulling to one side, I'm not qualified to comment but I can suggest you get it checked immediately since it can lead to an accident if the situation worsens as you are riding.

Sorry for sounding patriarchal but I'd like bikers to lose the "hooligans" tag they current sport in the Indian mindset.

Last edited by Bluu : 8th April 2014 at 16:15.
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Old 8th April 2014, 19:25   #14
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Default Re: Orange soul, Black venom - KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluu View Post
You can easily hit 50kph in first! 50kph in 2nd should be close to 6-7K (I may be wrong - this is off the top of my head) On an enthusiastic day, I've hit the ton in 4th with grunt to spare. You must remember that the bike revs to 10,500rpm and tops out at 170+kph. Don't be afraid (within road rules and your own limits) to push it a bit. It won't break.
Can't wait to start exploring the potential of the bike
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