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Old 18th January 2015, 18:11   #1
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Question KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

This might be a totally odd thread because it really is very difficult for me to choose between these 2 bikes. First of all I have been into cars all my life and this is the first time I'm dipping my foot into the Motorbike world , not really sure why now (maybe it's just to overcome my mid life crisis).

So on one side I'm just beginning to learn how to ride my friends Pulsar 150 and on the other I'm trying really hard to decide on which bike I really want between the RC390 and Ninja 300. Obviously for most the choice is easy as, if you have the cash , just plonk it on the Ninja 300 , simple and end of story , but it isn't !

Here's what I'm looking for in a bike with my priorities stated first.

1) Good looks.
2) Very good power.
3) ABS and Exclusivity.
4) Comfort and good built quality.
5) A proper Exhaust.
6) Easy and cheaper to service.
7) ABS (since I'm a beginner).
8 ) Good resale( incase I decide to sell if this isn't my cup of tea )
9 ) Refinement.
10) Value for money.

Based on my requirements both bikes are a hit and a miss. The thing is the RC 390 costs 2.45 lakhs and to fit the Akrapovic Exhaust with the tune would bring the cost to 3.5 Lakhs close to the Ninja 300 which costs 4 lakhs (but would also make the RC390 more powerful).

The Ninja 300 then fits the bill for the best beginner bike but it doesn't , because it does not have one very important safety feature which is ABS and it isn't as powerful as the RC 390 even after spending more cash. Also I read on many forums that it's very difficult to get spare parts for the Ninja as parts are not available easily.

Both bikes look good but I like the Ninjas a little better and it's better built too.

The RC 390 then seems to have everything going for it but I'm not sure about its built quality, exclusivity and resale. Also since it's a single cylinder it's going to lack in refinement. What also goes against it is its comfort levels , although I haven't read about any owner complaining about its sporty seating position , I'm not sure if as a beginner I will be able to cope with it.

So this is the problem , both bikes have what I want in parts but not together as a whole. I'm planning to wait it out for a few months and see what other bikes will enter our market which would fit my bill and probably then make a decision.

What do you guys think , will we get a better bike than these 2 in the coming months in the same price range or should I choose any one of these based on your replies ?
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Old 18th January 2015, 18:49   #2
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Default re: KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

Since you are not sure whether you will keep the bike why not look for a used bike. very good ones are available, like ninja 300 or CBR 250. I think that has ABS.
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Old 18th January 2015, 18:51   #3
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Just go for the Ninja 300. Despite the lack of ABS, the Ninja has better brakes. The sound of the twin cylinder would sound miles better than the RC390 with any sort of aftermarket exhaust.

Might I suggest you try a pre owned Ninja 250 to begin with? If you like it, plonk the money on a 300 else get the RC390. You might lose some money but you'll make a much better decision.

Last edited by SunnyBoi : 18th January 2015 at 18:54.
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Old 18th January 2015, 18:55   #4
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Default re: KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post
?
1) Good looks. Both look decent. Upto you
2) Very good power. Both are pretty powerful. RC has the edge.
3) ABS and Exclusivity. ABS = RC390 Exclusivity = Both
4) Comfort and good built quality. Ninja
5) A proper Exhaust. Define proper?
6) Easy and cheaper to service. Easy to service? Are you going to do it youself? And I believe the RC is cheaper to service, but with the niggles, it may take more than one trip so consider the equal.
7) ABS (since I'm a beginner). [/b]RC has ABS.[/b]
8 ) Good resale( incase I decide to sell if this isn't my cup of tea ) You will realistically lose equal amount on both of them. The depriciation on the ninja is lower as a percentage, but it is priced higher
9 ) Refinement. ninja
10) Value for money. Rc390

Overall, get the RC390, since you're a beginner.
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Old 18th January 2015, 19:14   #5
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Default re: KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

I have a duke 390 and I am a beginner ( I am 25 and my previous bike was/is an enfield so a sportsbike this powerful is a level above a bullet ).

My experience astride a ninja 300 is very limited so cannot comment on that though my observation is it is very difficult to justify the price tag . The 5.5 L or even 6 L for the 650's can be justified but not 4 for the 300 . Within 0-100kmph range , a range that is one going to find himself in majority of the times , the 390's are downright more powerful and exciting . If you are top speed freak then 300 is the way to go . Reliability of course should be a level above but again for that price ?

The duke 390 is very beginner friendly , the engine while powerful allows for close throttle modulation so you can use engine braking to your advantage to shed speed right after a fast overtake . The RC has more aggressive riding position , I myself am not comfortable with those ergonomics and will certainly require some time getting adjusted to . ABS helps , it is more for the head than practical applications for 99/100 times but there will come that one time when a newbie like me will thank god the bike has ABS , happened a couple of times in 2k km so far . My suggestion is don't compromise on ABS unless you consider yourself adept with disc brakes , I don't mean in normal conditions but panic braking situations .

As for Akrapovic , may I ask why ? The bike no matter what you slap on it won't sound good , it is not the exhaust note that is bad , it is the engine rattle that is bad . An aftermarket exhaust won't make it rattle any less . And at that price , it not whether you can afford it or not , it is just wastage of money . Aftermarket exhaust for liter class bikes often cost less . If sound matters , then ninja is the no brainer choice because the 390's sound really bad at standstill or slow speed. Once moving at higher rpms thought , it is fine .

As for looks , the RC looks different and unique on road with very good paint/graphic scheme ( I wish the duke 390 had better decals too ) . Also personally don't like that matte green on the ninja , it looks good under sun , not so much under artificial light .

On topic of service , the ninja will cost more but the probability of a 390 going bonkers is higher than a 300 . One will cost to the pocket , another there is a decent probability will cost you your peace of mind at intervals . And correct me someone if I am wrong but ninja service interval is at 10K kms but for 390 it is 5K km .


There are no upcoming bikes worthy of notice as such except honda cbr 300 which god knows when they will release . It is worth checking out for sure , will cost same as RC but likely offer better reliability and engine refinement but lose out at the obvious dept.

Last edited by basuroy : 18th January 2015 at 19:21.
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Old 18th January 2015, 19:29   #6
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Default re: KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

Quote:
Originally Posted by MADMAX111 View Post
Since you are not sure whether you will keep the bike why not look for a used bike. very good ones are available, like ninja 300 or CBR 250. I think that has ABS.
Bad advice IMO.

Incase he has to re-sell it, it will be sold a s third hand. And that will dent the wallet in a huge way.
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Old 18th January 2015, 19:36   #7
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Default re: KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post
The Ninja 300 then fits the bill for the best beginner bike but it doesn't , because it does not have one very important safety feature which is ABS and it isn't as powerful as the RC 390 even after spending more cash. Also I read on many forums that it's very difficult to get spare parts for the Ninja as parts are not available easily.
I have owned Duke 390 and now own Ninja 300. I have ridden RC 390 for about 500 kms as well. From that perspective my advise would be to go for Ninja 300 if you can afford it. It is miles ahead in terms of build quality and refinement. Another thing to consider is how long you are going to keep this bike - if the answer is 3 years or more then Ninja would surely age better.

RC 390 is fun bike to ride and feels faster than N300. But ergos are much more agressive and vibrations are also felt on butt, feet and hands. RC390 sounds much better than Duke 390 but the twin of N300 at higher RPMS gives better thrills.
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Old 18th January 2015, 19:41   #8
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Default re: KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

Quote:
Originally Posted by MADMAX111 View Post
Since you are not sure whether you will keep the bike why not look for a used bike. very good ones are available, like ninja 300 or CBR 250. I think that has ABS.
Though pre-owned is a better route I would like to avoid this because of my total lack of knowledge in bikes. Also when it comes to sport bikes , it's going to be trashed and I would really not want a bike that would create problems just after purchase. Would prefer new bike with warranty for peace of mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyBoi View Post
Just go for the Ninja 300. Despite the lack of ABS, the Ninja has better brakes. The sound of the twin cylinder would sound miles better than the RC390 with any sort of aftermarket exhaust.

Might I suggest you try a pre owned Ninja 250 to begin with? If you like it, plonk the money on a 300 else get the RC390. You might lose some money but you'll make a much better decision.
Isn't it dangerous for a beginner to ride a powerful bike without ABS ? Won't the bike skid if I apply panic brakes ? In a car without ABS is relatively safer compared to bikes.

No pre-owned sir , just looking for new bikes for peace of mind. I actually don't like the look of the 250 as well.

I haven't heard the Exhaust of the Ninja yet but the RC 390 with the Akrapovic sounds and looks good as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HyperRetard View Post
1) Good looks. Both look decent. Upto you
2) Very good power. Both are pretty powerful. RC has the edge.
3) ABS and Exclusivity. ABS = RC390 Exclusivity = Both
4) Comfort and good built quality. Ninja
5) A proper Exhaust. Define proper?
6) Easy and cheaper to service. Easy to service? Are you going to do it youself? And I believe the RC is cheaper to service, but with the niggles, it may take more than one trip so consider the equal.
7) ABS (since I'm a beginner). [/b]RC has ABS.[/b]
8 ) Good resale( incase I decide to sell if this isn't my cup of tea ) You will realistically lose equal amount on both of them. The depriciation on the ninja is lower as a percentage, but it is priced higher
9 ) Refinement. ninja
10) Value for money. Rc390

Overall, get the RC390, since you're a beginner.
By proper Exhaust I mean it should sound good , provide some power as well as look good on the bike.

Service will be done at the service center only. So far I haven't seen much complaints from any owners on niggles for the RC 390 but some do complain about KTM service centers.

I feel a bit inclined towards the RC 390 but I'm a bit skeptical about its comfort levels and refinement on our roads and priced at around 2.5 lakhs it isn't going to be that exclusive compared to the Ninja.

Ninja is also good but if it wasn't for the lack of ABS and poor spare parts availability I would have taken it in a blink.
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Old 18th January 2015, 19:43   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post

What do you guys think , will we get a better bike than these 2 in the coming months in the same price range or should I choose any one of these based on your replies ?
I feel your dilemma. RC is perfect bang for your buck, although you might have to make some compromises in comfort, refinement, exhaust note etc. N300 is an all rounder but the price tag just isn't justifiable. The N650 is even more VFM.

Why don't you wait for the Yamaha YZF-R25? Although it's still unclear as in which configuration Yamaha decides to bring the model (R25/R3,ABS +/- ), I think it's safe to assume that it's going to be a great product!

Here's a first ride by Powerdrift -

First Ride: Yamaha R25 : PowerDrift:

Last edited by GKR9900 : 18th January 2015 at 19:45.
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Old 18th January 2015, 19:54   #10
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Default re: KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post
By proper Exhaust I mean it should sound good , provide some power as well as look good on the bike.

The function of an exhaust is not to provide power, but to expel the gases. It is the engine which provides power. In essence how aftermarket ehausts work are they allow for a quicker, more efficient path for exhaust gases to escape. This means your engine "breathes" better, so spent fuel and air exit the combustion chambers faster. That means more fuel and air can be burned to create more power.

So in case you have decided that you are going to get an aftermarket exhaust, get the ninja by all means. The 80K that the akras command at the KTM is definitely not worth it and the RC390 + akra = Ninja 300

And about the braking, dont worry, everyone has to learn at sometime.
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Old 18th January 2015, 21:00   #11
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Default re: KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

If you have the moolah to manage maintenance and replacements on the long run, go for the Ninja. Ninja is far more refined.

On the other hand, the 390 is a pocket rocket anyday and it will be far cheaper to maintain and the cost of repairs are definitely far far cheaper than owning a Ninja,

Both are capable but it all depends on what makes you tick. Smug value is Ninja anyday. Practicality for me will push me towards 390 for i can get 2 of them for the price of 1 300(May be 1.6) and that means i have enough bank left to literally replace the bike in case of repair.
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Old 18th January 2015, 22:25   #12
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Default re: KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

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If you have the moolah to manage maintenance and replacements on the long run, go for the Ninja. Ninja is far more refined.
The problem with Ninja 300 is many owners complain about not being able to receive replacement parts on time. So even if one does have the money , what's the use if parts aren't there ? So this creates a long term ownership problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GKR9900 View Post
I feel your dilemma. RC is perfect bang for your buck, although you might have to make some compromises in comfort, refinement, exhaust note etc. N300 is an all rounder but the price tag just isn't justifiable. The N650 is even more .
R25 seems promising and I feel Yamaha will have something to take on the RC 390 and Ninja 300.

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Last edited by noopster : 21st January 2015 at 14:35. Reason: Fixed quote tag
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Old 19th January 2015, 08:29   #13
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R25 seems promising and I feel Yamaha will have something to take on the RC 390 and Ninja 300.
It better be! With the kind of onslaught manufacturers are throwing in at the affordable performance segment (Read KTM) , I don't think Yamaha can afford to price the R25 at Ninja levels. They should be looking for volumes. If it were just another brand exercise, the bike should've seen our shores earlier. I'm not so sure about Kawasaki. Their bigger bikes seem to be better priced than the mainstream models. I really appreciate what KTM has done for the Indian motorcycle enthusiast, just that the RC is a bit too hardcore. Yamaha is pitching the R25 as a 'Superbike you can ride everyday'. Now that's my kind of thing

To be simple,
N300 - well rounded product but burns a hole through your pocket and peace of mind(if you drop it)

RC390 - best sportsbike for our Indian conditions as of now, but a bit too track-focused.

R25 - should bring the best of both worlds, or so I hope.
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Old 20th January 2015, 19:15   #14
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Default Re: KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300

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It better be! With the kind of onslaught manufacturers are throwing in at the affordable performance segment (Read KTM) , I don't think Yamaha can afford to price the R25 at Ninja levels. They should be looking for volumes. If it were just another brand exercise, the bike should've seen our shores earlier. I'm not so sure about Kawasaki. Their bigger bikes seem to be better priced than the mainstream models. I really appreciate what KTM has done for the Indian motorcycle enthusiast, just that the RC is a bit too hardcore. Yamaha is pitching the R25 as a 'Superbike you can ride everyday'. Now that's my kind of thing

To be simple,
N300 - well rounded product but burns a hole through your pocket and peace of mind(if you drop it)

RC390 - best sportsbike for our Indian conditions as of now, but a bit too track-focused.

R25 - should bring the best of both worlds, or so I hope.
Is the R25 actually coming to India or is it the R3 now ?
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Old 20th January 2015, 19:55   #15
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Is the R25 actually coming to India or is it the R3 now ?
I don't know if Yamaha themselves have made up their mind whether to bring in the R25/R3 to India. Despite being twin cylinders, they are already at a power disadvantage to the RC390. Add to that the KTM's brilliant pricing, and we can see why Yamaha is hesitant. R3 though is closer to RC390 in terms of power. So there's a good chance that we'll be getting the R3. After all, 300 is the new 250! I would surely take it provided they don't shoot themselves in the face with the pricing :P
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