Re: The KTM Duke 390 Ownership Experience Thread
I must reiterate here - the 390 is an absolute dog in slow moving chaotic Pune Camp traffic. Waves of heat toasting your lower legs all the way to your upper thigh and groin area. Khatak khatak clunky upshifts (when you decide at 30-40 that 1st gear needs to be swapped for the second). Then promptly finding 2nd is too tall and the bike is galloping into the fat tortoise hogging the lane in front. And shifting down to 1st again. And the cycle repeats.
The fan comes on and goes off while the bike is on the move. But stays on once it comes on when coming to a stop in the parking. And something new I discovered. It stays on for a few seconds even after you put the ignition off.n as in on, not coasting to a stop. She absolutely needs to be caned for the gears to fall nicely without those khataks. Which she is everytime I get an opening in the traffic. Then I'm gone. Till the next syrup-thick trickle of slow moving humanity .....
So I have absolutely no doubt in my mind to recommend a 200 to anyone who is going to be using his bike as a working bike, to commute, for city, in city, with wekkend highway rides and some tours thrown in. The 200 is a slick shifting point and shoot nimble maniacal goat. And most riders I know agree that it sounds so much better (that hollow metallic sound). These two bikes are just so so different in their character. They just look the same.
Coming back to my 390, KTM Baner owned by my good friend Varad More had organized a 2 day free service-checkup camp. Since I've not had time on the week days due to work to take my bike to Sai Service in Kothrud (where I always went for my 200) and since Sai is soon no longer going to be servicing Kawasakis and KTMs (some dispute with Bajaj), I decided to ride down to this new service center and get a few things done and check out their setup, personnel.
The checkup was pretty thorough and worth the distance and the wait (huge number of 390s and 200s already there). The air filter was thoroughly cleaned. The throttle body was sprayed with a cleaner. Both rear and front disc pads were removed, sanded, reinstalled, and brake cleaner sprayed on the pads and the rotors. The engine oil quality and level was checked. Level was ok, but those with low levels were topped up free. Rear brake fluid was topped up. Front was ok. Coolant level was ok as well. Spark plug was cleane, gap was ok. Chain cleaner spray was sprayed all over the chain. It was then cleaned. Slack was adjusted (it still makes a noise though - it's a Duke trait, live with it!). Rear tyre hugger and rear fender reflector still hit and make a noise (its a Duke trait, live with it, or take off the hugger! For the moment the hugger and saree guard is staying though the saree guard makes it really difficult to clean the rim on that side properly).
Clutch and throttle play were checked and found to bhe levers were lubed, as were all the foot pegs and foot lever pivot points. Top clamp main nut was torqued slightly. Air pressure in both tyres was really low (20 in front and 22 in the rear) so they were inflated to 25 and 30 respectively (the technician was recommending 28 and 32 for my weight, but I asked him to keep it to company specs). The left mirror position was adjusted so that I could see more of what was behind and to the side of me, rather than my elbows. The right side crash guard was replaced (it had been straighted after a fall by the previous owner).
Must mention here that the new crash guard has been modified compared to the older ones. Probably in response to feedback by multiple Duke owners who have lowsided and either broken or ripped off or badly bent the top mount of the crash guard (the lower one rarely gets displaced or damaged), the new top mounts now have metal plate cross struts welded for aditional rigidity and strength. I have also heard that the old engine mount brackets (the silver things where the crash guards are bolted) were weak and used to break, and the new ones are much stronger. Ditto the new foot levers and wheel rims. For example this bike in its fall to the right side has a part of the shift foot knob of the rear brake lever ground away and the lever was slightly bent in (was straightened back into position in Kolhapur itself before I started off). The old foot lever would have simply broken in a similar fall.
Another thing I learned is that the new hand levers in the 2014 (MY14) bikes are longer and are angled differently. My bike is a 2013 (MY13) bike, and has shorter levers. Also the end of the clutch lever is angled a bit more compared to the brake lever (the distance betwen the hand grip to the lver end knob is more on the clutch side than the brake side). Technician says its normal and is there on all the bikes. Could someone confirm please?
Coming back, the battery was load tested and found to be ok. Terminals were tightened, cleaned, vaseline applied (the terminal breakages are due to the terminals not being positioned and tightened properly in many cases). Error codes were checked and everything found ok. Also got to see the engine running in kms (2802 - my odo is 2877 now). My tool kit did not have the rubber bands, and the temporary rubber bands put in Kolhapur had broken (one broken one was found INSIDE my air filter box - scary). Need to get new ones. Any suggestions? The rear monoshock is at position 5 - leaving it there for now. Most guys at BIC, even the ones lighter than me, have moved the preload to the top position #10.
All in all, a good job by KTM Baner, very professionally done. The only thing missing there (besides the fact that the service bay is a bit small, as is the one at SNK Bajaj in Wakdewadi), is that they do not have an in-house bike washing area and have to get it done outside. I enjoy that bit of my visits to Sai, as my 200 used to get a nice pressure wash and scrub everytime I used to go there (good to get off all the muck which at-home bucket and cloth washing cannot). Bike felt a lot better, responsive and tighter on the ride back home.
Saw a couple of test RCs there. One had been crashed (lowsided on the left). The other one I sat on - too forward leaning the riding position is for me. Also, the rider seat is way smaller than the one on the Duke. With no proper flare and contouring. Its a committed riding and seating position suitable for younger backs and smaller backsides. Definitely not for me (not that I have a problem back or a large backside, thankfully .....). I was thinking of trying to get the integrated full cover rear monoshock mudflap attacked to my 390, but saw the test RC's white spring and surrounding areas covered with mud splatters, so did not find any advantage from trying to fit that big piee if extra plastic on to the bike. The hand grips of the RC though are very nice. Much less poky, and more comfortable to hold with your bare hands, than the ones on the Dukes.
Last edited by ebonho : 17th November 2014 at 12:25.