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Old 4th January 2019, 18:13   #1
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Default My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

This review is few months late but then I wanted to spend some good time with the motorcycle before my review.

My 7 year itch with RE lasted an additional 10 years. After 17 years of riding the right shift gear RE Machismo A350 (which included a complete rebuild), I felt it was time to move on. It was a lovely motorcycle, and gave me negligible trouble (compared to the stories I heard). I had done 1.08L km on it and was regularly serviced every 5000 km.

My pre-owned KTM Duke 390-re.jpg
The A350 before and after rebuild.

Why move?
- I wanted a change. Better options in the market now - when I started out, RE was the only domestic option for long distance riding available
- Hard to find a good dedicated mechanic nearby for the RE ever since I moved to Bangalore. Most of the old timers have their own whims and fancies. A 10 minute job could easily stretch to 2 hours
- I didn't have the time luxury like before (things have changed on the personal front) to sit with the mechanic for each and every visit. There was a time when I used sit with the mechanic till he got the service done. Towards the last, I had to go him 2 to 3 times for the same issue which was frustrating
- Maintaining and cleaning the chrome was proving to be an effort
- Parts availability. For e.g. I had to fabricate a new round air filter cover (so that I could fit the UCE air filter) as I could no longer find the original air filter. The original CDI was no longer available

Must haves for the next motorcycle :
- ABS
- Fun to ride. I planned to use it only for weekend rides
- Refinement (vibrations in the RE at higher speeds)
- A good ecosystem (availability of parts, mechanics, ease of maintenance and community to support)
- Decent specs to cruise at 100 - 120 km/h effortlessly
- Upright riding position (I am not comfortable with the crouched riding position)

Options considered :
I felt it was better to slowly move up than directly jump to a larger capacity motorcycle from the stock RE.

As long as I had the RE with me, I was going lax with the search. Sold it in January of last year. At that time, there was no confirmation from RE when they would launch the ABS motorcycles and the 650 Twins.

The new CBR 250 was not out yet at that time and the showroom personnel had no idea when it would be launched.

Over successive weekends I rented the 2016 Duke 390, Dominar, Duke 250 (had the same riding position as the 2017 Duke 390 and I could not get the 2017 Duke 390 for weekend rental). I could not find a CBR 250 to rent.

I loved the 2016 Duke 390. Frantic acceleration that scared you a bit but also put a wide grin on your face. Power on tap, easy to flick, corner and fun to ride. And it could cruise at 120 km/h effortlessly with almost no vibrations. The slipper clutch was very slick. I was happy and I loved the feeling after I got off the motorcycle. The heart said a big yes.

The Dominar had vibrations and the acceleration was very linear and predictable. I don't know if the vibrations were because of the rental bike. The personnel at the showroom allowed only 500m of test ride. Not helpful at all and I did not find a connect with it. Plus the seat was not flat and I kept finding myself pinned to the tank inspite of moving back in the seat.

The Duke 250 was a lovely ride. No ABS and hence did not consider it. I rode it only to check the riding position.

The Duke showroom personnel (when I went to check the 2017 Duke 390) were extremely helpful. They gave a long test ride, patiently answered all my questions, I also went back for a test ride with my wife as pillion. With the features it made a great value for money proposition. But the whole TFT display, shutting down, niggles faced, upgrading software made me rethink my decision to buy the 2017 Duke 390.

I started looking at the 2016 and before Duke 390's and read through the posts by PrasannaDhana, unk9ja, v12, nasirkaka, VW2010 and the ones in the "The KTM Duke 390 Ownership Experience Thread". I also talked to VW2010 multiple times and would have chewed his brains out. He was super patient and even helped me find prospective 390s on OLX in Bangalore and also talked to some of them.

Most of these 390s were badly maintained or the owner was quoting high, refusing to come down. A seller also sent me the scam email "Pay X amount and the remaining Y you can go to the Bangalore Airport and pay the lady in Customs. The bike is in the parking and you can ride it out"

Finally a friend's friend had a well maintained 2016 Duke 390. I was putting it off as he lived in the other part of town. One fine weekend, called him up, landed up at his house on Sunday and test rode the motorcycle. We agreed on a price and the deal was done! It also came with a Zana Engine Guard and a Paddock stand.

I wanted to ride it back home then and there but there was paper work to be done. I waited and finally on May/11 the 390 came home. Aug/2016 registration with 17K kms on the odo. I have clocked close to 3K kms and loving it so far.

My pre-owned KTM Duke 390-img20180812wa0050.jpg

Likes (most of the comparison would be with my erstwhile 2001 RE) :
- The black and orange styling
- Compact and light weight
- Performance
- Cornering
- Power on tap
- No chrome. Easy to clean (Phew)
- MID console

Could be better :
- Limited 10L fuel tank. In a way this also forces you to take a break and stretch when you stop for fuel. But then once I cross 180 km, I start looking for fuel stations
- Hard seat. Rear tends to pain a bit after continuous riding
- A bit difficult to stand and ride on bad roads
- No side stays like in the RE to tie luggage with a bungee cord

Changes / modifications / accessories :
- Windscreen, thanks to unk9ja (a down to earth gent. Started with a PM and he has been always helpful. A big thank you to him.)
- 1 inch handlebar risers from Bikers Billet
- The front Metz had worn out. Fit a MRF Revz-FC1 (based on some online reviews)
- The stock battery was changed to Exide Explore XLTZ9 as a Low Battery Warning started showing up
- Water and Dust Rear Suspension cover from Superb Auto Spares
- Tank bag - ViaTerra Oxus Bag
- Front Fender Extender (this motorcycle didn't have one)

Engine :
I found it very refined but it does not like slow moving traffic. The fan when it comes on, is loud, it does not bother me. I haven't felt the heat on my legs yet (I rarely ride it in the city traffic). Pulls away quickly, scary quickly at times. Feels very relaxed in the 6500-7500 rpm range.

Gearbox :
Sometimes there is a noticeable clunk when engaging the first gear. Otherwise it has been a smooth affair. I found the clutch light.

Ride :
Lovely so far on the good roads and the cornering. I love the riding position, especially after fitting the 1 inch risers.
Not so good on bad roads, where you feel the bumps and potholes. I either slow down or stand and ride through them. It is a matter of getting used to. The brakes have proved to be good so far.

Tires :
This is where I have a challenge. On long rides, on the off beaten tracks, the soft compound tires struggle to keep up. Ideally would prefer a balanced tire that would work well on the roads and off it. I have no plans to take it on the track. On the good roads, I have found the MRF + Metz combination more than adequate.

Pillion :
The seat is narrow and if the occasional pillion does not hold on, a quick twist of the throttle could throw them back. My wife surprisingly found it bearable when I took her out once in the city for a short 20 km ride. A small pillion back rest / something to prevent them from sliding back would be nice.

Fuel Economy :
Some find this useful, some may not. The worst I got was 20 km/l and the best, 31 km/l. Averages around 27 km/l.

Servicing :
There is a KTM Service Centre and a known mechanic in a 5 km radius. I prefer the mechanic. He has worked in KTM dealership before, is passionate, knows the motorcycle well, rides the older 390 and is patient with my Q&A. I clean and lube the chain every 500 km. I intend to do an oil change every 5000 km.

That brings an end to my review. Thanks to this wonderful community and to all the members who meticulously posted up their experiences so that people like me can benefit.
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Old 4th January 2019, 20:16   #2
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Default re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Congratulations on the bike! IMO the earlier generation (non ride-by-wire) are more fun

Quote:
Originally Posted by jusgetgoing View Post
- 1 inch handlebar risers from Bikers Billet
Did you also have to change the wire harness? Or is the length sufficient?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jusgetgoing View Post
- Water and Dust Rear Suspension cover from Superb Auto Spares
What exactly is this?
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Old 4th January 2019, 20:29   #3
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Default re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by timuseravan View Post
Congratulations on the bike! IMO the earlier generation (non ride-by-wire) are more fun
Did you also have to change the wire harness? Or is the length sufficient?
What exactly is this?
Thank you. They are more fun!

The wire harness does not have to be changed for the 1 inch risers. The length was sufficient.

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The Rear Suspension cover is washable cover that wraps around the rear shock absorber. It is heat resistant.
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Old 4th January 2019, 21:36   #4
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Default re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Nice review. Where did you source the rear suspension cover from?
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Old 5th January 2019, 12:53   #5
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Default re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
Nice review. Where did you source the rear suspension cover from?
Thank you red_liner.
You can contact Mr Simon Raj (+91 85531 02534) for the suspension cover. He runs Christ The King Motors on Hennur Main Road. I also bought the below gear lever sock from him.
My pre-owned KTM Duke 390-img_20180729_131147829.jpg

Last edited by navin : 7th January 2019 at 13:45. Reason: typo
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Old 6th January 2019, 20:51   #6
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Default Re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

I too have 2007 thunderbird and was in a similar quandary with the same set of problems you have with the RE.
-Persistent problems
-No reliable Mechanic
-Urge for something new and something that can zip around in Bangalore traffic
-And especially in my case a mid 30s crisis. :-)
Had zeroed in on pre-loved 390s as a next possible buy.Checked out a few as well. But quite a few of them had the ABS light on for unexplained reasons on all the bikes.Then the twins came in and I went ahead and booked the GT.
Had planned to sell of the t-Bird but since I am not getting a fair deal keeping it for now,got it fixed again from another new Mechanic.The GT should be here this month. God knows what I will do with 2 bikes.
jusgetgoing , Since you mentioned you ride quite a bit it would be great if I can join you. :-)
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Old 7th January 2019, 11:40   #7
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Default Re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Congratulations on the Duke 390! Looks so much better in plain black without all the usual KTM stickers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jusgetgoing View Post
Over successive weekends I rented the 2016 Duke 390, Dominar, Duke 250 (had the same riding position as the 2017 Duke 390 and I could not get the 2017 Duke 390 for weekend rental). I could not find a CBR 250 to rent.
Excellent way to decide on the motorcycle.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 7th January 2019 at 11:42.
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Old 7th January 2019, 12:04   #8
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Default Re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

You mention fuel efficiency figures for the KTM, how different are they from the older RE?
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Old 7th January 2019, 15:12   #9
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Default Re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemicuda View Post
God knows what I will do with 2 bikes.
jusgetgoing , Since you mentioned you ride quite a bit it would be great if I can join you. :-)
At one point in time, between me and my brother, we owned 4 RE motorcycles. But now, I would stick with just one motorcycle.
You are welcome to join. Your profile says Mumbai though. (Attempted to send you a PM but you have disabled receiving messages/email). Please do PM if you are in Bangalore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by De-Veer View Post
You mention fuel efficiency figures for the KTM, how different are they from the older RE?
If I remember, the A350 used to return between 30-35 km/l. But then, it was not running stock.
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Old 7th January 2019, 15:33   #10
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Default Re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Congrats on the purchase, I also owned a similar generation 390 and I loved every bit of it. I hope you have done your research on the nagging quality issues on this generation of the 390s, for everything else this bike is a cracker.
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Old 7th January 2019, 18:42   #11
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Default Re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Congratulations mate!

Your experiences about the Duke 390 were so similar to mine

What a cracker of a bike!! I loved my pre-worshipped 390 to the core. I currently ride a 2017 rc390, but I still miss the rage of the first gen 390.

Don't sweat about the niggles though. You will have them, but they are nothing major. For example, mine had intermittent 0 on the console at times, the battery had a mind of its own etc. But not once did it leave me stranded anywhere.

After all, it's totally worth it when you open the throttle, and involuntarily your jaws open wide within your helmet

Look out for the coolant mixing with the engine oil. A lot of 2016 Duke 390s had that issue.

Ride hard, ride safe!
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Old 8th January 2019, 14:57   #12
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Default Re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Thanks for the review and the details you've shared.

I too picked up a preowned Duke 390 a few weeks ago. Would be great if you could share some details on the Windscreen that you've installed. It looks nice.
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Old 8th January 2019, 16:30   #13
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Default Re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by theqca View Post
Thanks for the review and the details you've shared.

I too picked up a preowned Duke 390 a few weeks ago. Would be great if you could share some details on the Windscreen that you've installed. It looks nice.

That one was picked up from aliexpress for 1.5K. It was destined for my friends' bike but was lying around his apartment for over a year. When justgetgoing asked me for the details just like you did today, and also my friend was selling his Duke around the same time, I picked it back and handed over to justgetgoing.
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Old 9th January 2019, 14:10   #14
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Default Re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by unk9ja View Post
I picked it back and handed over to justgetgoing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by theqca View Post
Would be great if you could share some details on the Windscreen that you've installed. It looks nice.
Adding to what unk9ja mentioned, I came across the following links for the old gen KTM 390 windscreen. Please check if they are of help.

lluvia
order2india
bandidospitstop

I am no way related to them or promoting their products - just passing on the information.
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Old 9th January 2019, 14:18   #15
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Default Re: My pre-owned KTM Duke 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by theqca View Post
I too picked up a preowned Duke 390 a few weeks ago. Would be great if you could share some details on the Windscreen that you've installed. It looks nice.
I have a lightly used one for the first gen Duke which I am not using. If you are ok to pay the shipping, I can send it to you.
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