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Old 28th March 2020, 15:15   #1
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Default My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield

Until I started following Formula 1, I was never a big fan of motorcycles. Weird, you might think- but there is a connection. Formula 1 introduced me to motorsports which in turn introduced me to following; Rallying, Offroading as well as Motorcycles (And MotoGP ofcourse).

I love travelling by roads; Cars, Motorcycles or even Buses – it doesn’t matter. As long as I am travelling via roads, it makes me very happy. At one point of time, I used to love driving over long distances. It would be just me in the car, my thoughts, some light music and a long trip to look forward to. I used to hate arriving at the destination because for me the journey was what I looked forward to. Arriving at the destination meant the conclusion of the journey which was something that made me feel a little sad. As I started travelling more and more- I found out about one more thing which I started to despise. They were “Road Tolls”. Tolls made me stop, they forced me to get out of the ‘zen like zone’ which I had put myself into and in general – forced me to exit my sub consciousness because I would have to have a conversation, hand over money and in general creep forward by millimeters until I exited the toll. I would barely get myself into a ‘zen like zone’ once again before I would find myself facing another toll

So I shifted to motorcycles. With a motorcycle, I could get past the toll in no time at all, stay in my mental zone, piling on the kilometers, not having to talk to anybody and in general traversing the roads in peace. Motorcycles also introduced me to something else which the Cars did not. While being lost in my own thoughts, I had to ensure that my concentration stayed on the jagged edge because road surfaces changed constantly as did grip levels. Ofcourse, there is the clear and present danger of the car drivers who do not really care a lot about motorcycles or the riders riding the motorcycles. I enjoyed it. It made 90% of my consciousness blend into a subconscious state of mind but the remaining 10% was on full active duty all the time. By the time I completed my journey for the day which was usually 400 to 500 kilometers, I felt fresh and drained at the same time mentally. It is difficult to explain but I liked it!

My journey with Motorcycles started in 2008. My first motorcycle was a LML Graptor, followed by a Pulsar 180 (the Limited “Black Edition” – non digital dashboard). These two motorcycles were used solely for commuting.

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The very first motorcycle which I used for touring was a 2011 Royal Enfield Electra. I rode it for almost 50k kilometers and had an absolute blast. The motorcycle introduced me to all the good things in life as well as all the bad things in life too. It gave me a sense of perspective; how to thump along at 75 kilometeres per hour lost in thoughts contemplating over life and how you fit in. However, the motorcycle also gave me strict lessons in terms of its limitations when I tried to go fast. I learnt how I need to shed weight if I want to run fast. The brakes on the Electra taught me the importance of praying to God whenever I had to panic-brake. The ribbed front MRF Nylogrips – when caught in the trucker's tarmac ripples taught me how to keep myself calm while the the tyre would diligently keep on following the ripple on the road and refuse to extract itself from the ripple - now matter how much i pushed or shoved. The low-end torque let me go off-road, on trails and even on dusty jungle tracks. It was a motorcycle without many faults but also with only a few redeeming qualities. Mostly – the motorcycle taught me how to walk by myself, at my pace and keep calm. However, when you are young – you make a lot of mistakes. You let go of things because you think you want something – which you feel is better. However, you find out after you attain it, that it really isn’t better.

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-electrae.jpg


My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-ekectra1.jpg

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-electra.jpg

So – now comes the short story of how I made my mind believe that I need something better, something faster, something more accurate, something with more character, something more spunky and something which would make me much more Instagram-esque

I always believed that the Electra did everything for me except for speed. I could not sustain speeds of around 90 kilometeres per hour for longer durations because the vibrations would make my teeth chatter. Also, the vibrations affected the stability of the motorcycle as well as the braking (which anyway was nothing to write home about). I also found that I was taking 14 to 15 hours to cover 500 kilometeres in a day while the Karizma / Duke 390 / Ninja 650 Crowd was doing it in 10 to 12 hours. It hurt me that I was doing the same speeds as an Alto 800 and somebody else who had spent the same money as me on a Karizma- was able to cut down his travel time by upto 30%


So I decided to sell the Electra and go for a faster bike. I thought – it would make me happier, make my life more exciting, make me reach destinations faster and I would be able to do more things at the destination. Under the heady influence of money, Facebook and the movie Dhoom, I decided to upgrade to an affordable sportsbike. This review is mainly about the Duke 390 and my take on it. The motorcycle has been reviewed so extensively that I do not need to take photographs from each and every angle but what I have rather done is taken pictures of the motorcycle in a habitat not very natural for it; on Inter-state highways fully loaded with luggage. I have had so many people tell me that this motorcycle is not a tourer - it is a corner carver, a weekend motorcycle, a motorcycle for the tracks, a motorcycle for high speed short hauls. Well, I have used it only for long distance touring and this review is also centered around it being used as a long distance tourer and how it has performed so far at 15k kilometeres and on its second set of tyres. I have detailed my decision making process below

The contenders: I checked out the Kawasaki Ninja 250 / 300 but the prohibitive cost of the service kept me away from it. Another reason was that while I was a big fan of its looks, I thought it was severely under-tyred at the rear. I looked at the Karizma but in 2016, it was on its way out. I briefly considered the Pulsar 220 but it was not much of an upgrade from the Pulsar 180 I owned in 2008. I then started eyeing the Bajaj Dominar. In Ahmedabad, the Bajaj showroom and the KTM showroom were next to each other. Somehow the Dominar that I received for a test drive was not in good shape. The acceleration was brisk but it made a lot of sounds from the fairing and God-Knows-where else. The braking on the test bike also left a bit to be desired. I thought to myself that I would test drive it at another dealership and make up my mind. In the middle of all this, a KTM dealer opened up in my hometown Gandhinagar. I visited them but sadly, they only had the 200’s on display. I told the Sales guy that I was interested in the 390 but I will not be able to buy the motorcycle without doing an extensive test ride. The Sales Guy made a few calls and asked me to come down on a Saturday whereby he would give me a test ride of a 390 which he had sold a few months back. Apparently, he was good friends with the owner of the motorcycle and the owner did not mind lending it to me for a test ride. I rode the motorcycle for a good 15 kilometers and came back heavily impressed. The motorcycle was like a rocket and was an absolutely sharp handler. Also, it fit me perfectly. I am only 5’5 in height and the low saddle height of the KTM was great as it allowed me to flat foot with Woodland shoes. I could not flat foot that comfortably on the Dominar for some reason. I loved the bone-jarring ride of the KTM and having a Mahindra Bolero (with leaf springs all round) as a daily drive, a stiff suspension never bothered me. The stiffer the suspension, the more I enjoyed the feeling of being glued to the road. I loved feeling on my spine - every single undulation, particle, speck of tarmac, dust, pebble and the ever changing road conditions. At this point of time, I fell ill and delayed my purchase for a month. After a month, the Sales guy called me and stated that KTM will be launching the Duke 390 in White (it only came in Orange) and he could give me the first White Motorcycle in Gujarat. I did not care much about being the first – but I liked the colour (At 33 years old, the Orange was too young for me ) and so I decided to put down my money on it

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-ktm-delivery.jpg

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My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-tftdashboard1.jpg

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-tft-dashboard.jpg

On a Mumbai to Ahmedabad Trip, I got the Triple Problem which I have been reading about on a few KTM Forums

(a) ABS Failure
(b) Bike Stall at low speeds - when I downshift from 6th to 1st or 5th to 2nd to navigate a pothole
(c) LED DRL's would remain switched on even though I had the keys in my hand

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-abs-failure.jpg

I have had the motorcycle about 3 years now and have covered 15000 kilometres on it (all solo touring). I love the acceleration, the one-finger braking, the way it corners and the fact that there are zero vibrations at speeds around 130 km/hour. I tie my bags on the rear seat with some bungee cords, put my favourite playlist on Spotify (thanks GTO for introducing me to Spotify – you had mentioned somewhere that it is the best music streaming app you have used) and connect my phone to the TFT as well as the Audio Headset via Bluetooth. The motorcycle makes mincemeat of short rides. It is only on longer rides that your butt starts to ache. The seat is so hard, firm and thinly padded that it feels like you are sitting on a plank of wood. It would have been great if KTM had padded the seat a little bit more but then I also understand that the D390 was not intended to be a tourer- it is I who am using it to tour

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-duke-trip-hyderabad.jpg

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-duke-trip-hyderabadd.jpg

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-duke-390-b1.jpg

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-duke-390-b2.jpg

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-d390-rains.jpg

At Lonavala - on the way to Pune

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-duke-390-lonavala.jpg


At Mount Abu

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-duke-390-abu.jpg

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-duke-390-cliff.jpg


On the way to the Bullet Baba Temple at Pali - On the Duke and not on a Bullet (because I was stupid enough to sell off my Electra)


My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-d390-beawar.jpg

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-d390-bl1.jpg

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The few things that I do not like about the bike are the fact that it has no low end torque. Absolutely nothing below 2500 RPM. It is like flogging a dead horse. Most of the times I did need the torque was when I was trying to start from standstill on the sides of the road; in dirt, gravel or on a mild incline on unpaved roads. The problem was further compounded with the road-only Metzlers. They had absolutely no grip if they did not have paved tarmac underneath them. The Catch – 22 situation I always ended up in was I needed low end torque to get moving which the engine did not have and since the tyres were not grooved or button’d, they could not find grip to get moving. And with my height of 5’5, I could not use my feet as a pivot to push my way and supplement the non-existent torque of the engine to get going. I remember going to Pushkar and a group of people from the Hostel we were staying at decided to go to some sort of “Sunset Point” which was off the beaten path and required a few kilometers of trail riding. The group consisted of an Activa, a Splendor and a Caliber. All 3 did it without any problems while I had trouble getting moving whenever we came to a full standstill. At one point of time, I had zero traction on dirt roadsso I gave it a little bit of throttle. The rear spun, the bike got sideways and I had to drop the motorcycle. It was at about this point of time that I realized the importance of low-end torque which the 350 Electra had in oodles. It might not be fast but it never ever put me in a situation I could not get out of. The D390 was an excellent mile muncher but it lacked the low end torque of a Bullet which on Indian Roads is a necessity and not a luxury – particularly when you are not tall.

I am also not particularly impressed with the headlights of the bike. They look bright – those Devils, err DRL’s. But they are all show and no go. They do a terrible job at lighting up a completely dark road. The D390 in the night has to do the speeds of an Electra because there is just no visibility. The last thing about the bike which I like or dislike (depending on my mood) is the constant need to shift gears to extract maximum punch from the engine. Now – don’t get me wrong, one of the major reasons I love motorcycles is the fact that I get to shift gears, feel the slick shifting mechanism slotting into the right gear and the acceleration that comes afterwards. However, on some nights after a long day at work when I wanted to go on a night ride to get some thinking done, I had to constantly work through the gearbox to ensure I have the power I need. It wasn’t like say my Electra where I could putter around on the highways in 4th or 5th gear and just lose myself in my thoughts. The Duke needs to be in the right gear at the right time or else it will start knocking.

Due to all of these reasons, I started missing my Electra and thought I made a mistake by selling it off. I should have kept both; the Electra and the Duke because neither one can replace the other and both are different motorcycles which are best for different moods, different purposes and possibly different days

So I started thinking of getting a Bullet once again. I visited the local RE showroom and was almost going to put down my money on a Bullet 500 Fi when I saw someone taking delivery of a Black Himalayan. Motorcycle for Motorcycle, I liked the Bullet 500 over the Himalayan. It had the same familiar posture of my Electra on which I had done 50k kilometers, an engine with even higher torque than the 350 Electra and felt “familiar”. However, one part of me thought that the Himalayan will be better in terms of hiding the Duke’s flaws because of the fact that it came with Button tyres and was more suited to traversing through back roads, trails, dirt, sand and gravel. It was a tug-of-war in my heart but the Himalayan won by a slight margin (more of because of the novelty factor). However, I will be lying if I said that I did not shed a tear when I read the news on Team-Bhp about the Bullet 500 being discontinued due to the BS4 transition. A few pictures of the Himalayan below but I will write a detailed review about it some other day. This one is about the Duke and how it pushed me back to owning a RE


My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-himalayan-delivery.jpg

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-himalayan-trip-diu.jpg

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-himalayan-trip-pushkar.jpg

Currently; I am enjoying riding both the horses in my stable. In January, I did a 3000 kilometre solo round trip from Ahmedabad to Hyderabad on the D390 and then came back and did a trip to Diu and Pushkar on the Himalayan. Over the weekend – I first ask myself what I am in the mood for and then I pick up the keys to the motorcycle that tugs at my heart.

I seem to be at peace – for now.

My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield-random-due.jpg

Last edited by rahul4321 : 28th March 2020 at 15:38. Reason: Removing Typo's
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Old 28th March 2020, 18:05   #2
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Default re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield

I would have watched numerous review videos on youtube but none of them could bring the important points required for touring and how Duke 390 lacked in some of the points.

Eagerly waiting for your Himalayan review. Thanks a lot for pouring your heart out and writing this review
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Old 28th March 2020, 18:56   #3
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Default re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield

Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4321 View Post
The few things that I do not like about the bike are the fact that it has no low end torque. Absolutely nothing below 2500 RPM. It is like flogging a dead horse. Most of the times I did need the torque was when I was trying to start from standstill on the sides of the road; in dirt, gravel or on a mild incline on unpaved roads.
This is a predominant concern with short stroke motors, due to peaky power output it makes minimal to nil torque off idle, what makes things worse is the duration between power strokes which being shorter doesn't give the rear wheel enough time to grip the surface before the next surge.

The only way out of this is to build some revs and burn some clutch i.e old school traction control. This not only fatigues the motorcycle but also the rider.

Going for the Himalayan in your case was a smart move considering the terrain you enjoy riding cause no matter how much you stress yourself out the Duke would not be able to tackle the way the Himalayan would when things start to get challenging.

RE retaining its signature 90mm stroke on the Himalayan is what makes it sell is what I strongly feel, have to hand it to them for that.

And, Kudos friend for sharing your adventures, it is really wonderful to go through experiences of enthusiasts who like clocking some serious miles, the perspective and the experience that formed it completely different from the rest and it also presents a good learning opportunity for potential enthusiasts contemplating hitting the roads for longer hauls.

Ride Safe,
A.P.
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Old 28th March 2020, 19:40   #4
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Default re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield

Congrats, you have best of both worlds now in your garage.

Highways in your itinerary - pick up Duke.

Bad roads/ uneven terrain/ trip to mountains - pick up Himalayan.

Keep clocking miles and do share your experiences.
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Old 29th March 2020, 02:45   #5
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Default re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield

Loved the way you’ve written your review on your experience and a review of D390 and Himalayan side by side.

D390 was the first bike that scared the hell out of me when I irresponsibly took it for a test ride without a helmet! Yes, just after 200meters I came back and put the helmet on and then took it for a TD. It introduced me to performance motoring. I wasn’t a fan of naked bikes. However, it had earned a huge respect back in the days when it was launched and I was commuting on my humble 220 FI. I have now settled down for a N300 alongside 220

You made a good call by keeping them both. Happy and safe riding.

Regards

RV
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Old 29th March 2020, 19:08   #6
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Default Re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfiel

Only one motorcycle kept popping up in my head like a big question mark when reading your review - the much-hyped 390 Adventure.

It was ideally supposed to bridge the gap between these two motorcycles!
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Old 29th March 2020, 19:14   #7
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Default Re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfiel

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Only one motorcycle kept popping up in my head like a big question mark when reading your review - the much-hyped 390 Adventure.

It was ideally supposed to bridge the gap between these two motorcycles!
Doesn't bridge the gap, but it certainly sits in between these two bikes. I think someone who likes the low end, heavy nature of the himalayan as well as how it looks will probably not look at the 390 Adventure. They might however look at the G 310GS however, that bike is ergonomically and character wise closer to the himalayan than the 390 adventure is.

And congrats to the OP!
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Old 30th March 2020, 15:07   #8
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Default Re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfiel

Quote:
Originally Posted by amit_purohit20 View Post
I would have watched numerous review videos on youtube but none of them could bring the important points required for touring and how Duke 390 lacked in some of the points.

Eagerly waiting for your Himalayan review. Thanks a lot for pouring your heart out and writing this review

My pleasure Amit. Thank you so much for your kind words. I will be authoring a review of the Himalayan shortly


Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
This is a predominant concern with short stroke motors, due to peaky power output it makes minimal to nil torque off idle, what makes things worse is the duration between power strokes which being shorter doesn't give the rear wheel enough time to grip the surface before the next surge.


And, Kudos friend for sharing your adventures, it is really wonderful to go through experiences of enthusiasts who like clocking some serious miles, the perspective and the experience that formed it completely different from the rest and it also presents a good learning opportunity for potential enthusiasts contemplating hitting the roads for longer hauls.

Ride Safe,
A.P.
Very True. That is exactly the problem. There is no constant surge of torque but rather surge at different points of the gear and rpm combination which comes in bursts but is not linear.

My pleasure. Honestly, compared to what you do with the humble CT100B and the kilometers you pile up in a day on a 100cc motorcycle, my trips are quite sedate. If only, I had your stamina [and possibly your height too ]


Quote:
Originally Posted by ast.ggn View Post
Congrats, you have best of both worlds now in your garage.

Highways in your itinerary - pick up Duke.

Bad roads/ uneven terrain/ trip to mountains - pick up Himalayan.

Keep clocking miles and do share your experiences.

Thank you so much. That is exactly what I too think about my garage now. One for the smooth tarmac'd highways and one for on-road / off-road combinations. They are both different motorcycles serving different purposes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gururajrv View Post
Loved the way you’ve written your review on your experience and a review of D390 and Himalayan side by side.

D390 was the first bike that scared the hell out of me when I irresponsibly took it for a test ride without a helmet! Yes, just after 200meters I came back and put the helmet on and then took it for a TD. It introduced me to performance motoring. I wasn’t a fan of naked bikes. However, it had earned a huge respect back in the days when it was launched and I was commuting on my humble 220 FI. I have now settled down for a N300 alongside 220

You made a good call by keeping them both. Happy and safe riding.

Regards

RV

Thank you so much. Yes, I remember riding the first gen 390 in 2013 and I was absolutely scared out of my wits (and I was even wearing a helmet). I came back to the showroom and asked for a test ride of the 200 because I just could not control the First-Gen 390. The 2017 edition is now quite calm- still has pretty good acceleration but had none of that psycho on-off acceleration of the first gen 390.

Both of these now serve different purposes and appeal to me on different days


Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Only one motorcycle kept popping up in my head like a big question mark when reading your review - the much-hyped 390 Adventure.

It was ideally supposed to bridge the gap between these two motorcycles!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
Doesn't bridge the gap, but it certainly sits in between these two bikes. I think someone who likes the low end, heavy nature of the himalayan as well as how it looks will probably not look at the 390 Adventure. They might however look at the G 310GS however, that bike is ergonomically and character wise closer to the himalayan than the 390 adventure is.

And congrats to the OP!

@ CrazyDrive - Well to be honest, my Himalayan is only a few months old. When i bought it, the first ride reviews of the 390 Adventure were already out. All of them had the same thing to say in relation to the torque. The existing 390 Duke Engine had not been reworked to produce more torque low down the RPM range. And that is honestly the problem I have with my current 390. So I did not consider the Adventure 390 at all

@Red liner - Exactly. Coming from an Electra, I missed the lazy torque low down the RPM range in lower gears - which came in waves and gave the motorcycle linear acceleration on pretty much any type of surface. Dont get me wrong - The 390 Adventure is loaded to the gills with tech and should be an absolute hoot to ride off-road but I just wasnt sure that it would be correct for me.

Last edited by rahul4321 : 30th March 2020 at 15:08. Reason: Removing Typo's
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Old 30th March 2020, 16:54   #9
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Default Re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfiel

Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4321 View Post
The 390 Adventure is loaded to the gills with tech and should be an absolute hoot to ride off-road but I just wasnt sure that it would be correct for me.
Congratulations on the Himalayan. I sense you have a pull towards touring and maybe a little towards semi-off road stuff.

Did you consider looking at the Adventure 390 which actually is loaded to the gills and a capable machine to satisfy both your needs of D390 and H350, saved the hassle of maintaining two bikes along-with saving some bucks?

Cheers,
Amey
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Old 30th March 2020, 22:54   #10
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Default Re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfiel

I love your honesty, and style of writing, rahul4321.

Will search and look out for more of your touring write-ups.

Cheers,

FourWheelDrift
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Old 31st March 2020, 02:11   #11
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Default Re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfiel

Nice write-up and pics, thanks for sharing!

Basically it is a matter of scalpel vs machete. The Dukes are very street and track focused, very fun on technical twisties. But not made for long-distance, and not suited for touring at all. Everything from the engine characteristics to riding posture to (lack of) wind protection to gearing to suspension, is all tuned towards having a corner-carver. In the right application, the Dukes are a lot of fun. They are great for city-street hooliganism too, and popping wheelies (done in a controlled environment by stunt experts of course ) and generally putting a grin on your face. I wouldn't imagine riding hundreds of miles on one, though people do it.

Personally, nothing comes close to the riding posture of a Royal Enfield Bullet and its variants. Only Adv bikes are equally good or better, and I would only use these for touring. So.. though the Dukes and REs compete at a price-point, I don't think they are inherently competing products at all, except maybe the 390 Adv and Himalayan.

Ideally, I would have both - one of each.
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Old 31st March 2020, 10:51   #12
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Default Re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfiel

Deja Vu
I own a Himalayan and now planning for Duke 390.
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Old 31st March 2020, 18:03   #13
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Default Re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfiel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amey Kulkarni View Post
Congratulations on the Himalayan. I sense you have a pull towards touring and maybe a little towards semi-off road stuff.

Did you consider looking at the Adventure 390 which actually is loaded to the gills and a capable machine to satisfy both your needs of D390 and H350, saved the hassle of maintaining two bikes along-with saving some bucks?

Cheers,
Amey
I gave it some serious thought for a few days but I then decided not to follow that line of thinking when I heard (a) The Adventure 390 is only suitable for tall riders (I am only 5'5) and (b) there is no torque low down the rpm range in lower gears which I terribly miss having been riding a RE since 2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by FourWheelDrift View Post
I love your honesty, and style of writing, rahul4321.

Will search and look out for more of your touring write-ups.

Cheers,

FourWheelDrift
Thank you so much. That is very kind of you to say so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Nice write-up and pics, thanks for sharing!

Basically it is a matter of scalpel vs machete. The Dukes are very street and track focused, very fun on technical twisties. But not made for long-distance, and not suited for touring at all. Everything from the engine characteristics to riding posture to (lack of) wind protection to gearing to suspension, is all tuned towards having a corner-carver. In the right application, the Dukes are a lot of fun. They are great for city-street hooliganism too, and popping wheelies (done in a controlled environment by stunt experts of course ) and generally putting a grin on your face. I wouldn't imagine riding hundreds of miles on one, though people do it.

Personally, nothing comes close to the riding posture of a Royal Enfield Bullet and its variants. Only Adv bikes are equally good or better, and I would only use these for touring. So.. though the Dukes and REs compete at a price-point, I don't think they are inherently competing products at all, except maybe the 390 Adv and Himalayan.

Ideally, I would have both - one of each.

That is very true. The Duke 390 has been set up that way always - however I can guarantee that it is a very capable machine to do long journey's on as long as you are (a) Okay with the fact that the seat is terribly hard and gives you very little wiggle room (b) the suspension of the motorcycle will transmit feedback of all kinds to your spine (I love this personally speaking - its butter smooth feedback on great roads and spine juddering feedback on bad roads) and (c) If you are tall (which I am definitely not), your thighs and legs will be very cramped.

However, if you are only going to tour good roads and want to tour like you are on track, hitting the rev-limiter in every gear, braking late at hairpins and taking curved loops at speeds around a ton - this motorcycle is for you.

But absolutely agree - nothing, absolutely nothing comes close to the riding posture of a Bullet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YDS View Post
Deja Vu
I own a Himalayan and now planning for Duke 390.
Heh heh heh. All the very best. I found touring on the Himalayan akin to touring on a sofa after touring on the Duke. You will find that you will be going from a luxurious comfortable Sofa to a small hard wooden chair

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 31st March 2020 at 19:27. Reason: Smileys = 2 per post.
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Old 31st March 2020, 19:09   #14
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Default Re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfiel

Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4321 View Post
Until I started following Formula 1, I was never a big fan of motorcycles. Weird, you might think
The Duke and the Himalayan both needs some getting used to. In my owning of both, the MY2015-2016 Duke, which was, is and will be truly a hooligan of a machine when it comes to good torque low down. The newer models are a wee bit sedate and the difference is immediately felt when jumping from old Duke to new.

Though the snatchiness was a downer on the previous generation Duke, the current model did do a good job owing to the RBW and revised maps. For what it has to offer, the Duke is one of those bikes that will always make one grin end to end, irrespective of the day.

The Himalayan on the other hand, is an extremely tractable motorcycle when it comes to torque spread. Using the right RPM for each gear, the torque low down and at low RPM is so addictive that you almost need not cross 3.5k to 4.2k RPM for most of your rides, unless wringing the neck at highways.

Both are honestly true to their tagline, one is ready to race, and one takes road or no road with panache.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
This is a predominant concern with short stroke motors, due to peaky power output it makes minimal to nil torque off idle, what makes things worse is the duration between power strokes which being shorter doesn't give the rear wheel enough time to grip the surface before the next surge.
Indeed. Though the tractability can be an issue with extremely short stroke engines, their peak power RPM is what makes the difference. There is nothing mismatch between the power strokes or the bang stroke or the firing sequence for that matter. When you have an extremely high compression single, and an over square, it's a given you will have tractability, idle issues. Heck, the Duke had a crappy map right from the factory, extremely, extremely lean, so it will give you the surge.

This is where PowerTronic comes in.I don't know if you've ridden a PowerTronic D390, but the difference it makes in low speed tractability, and low speed power delivery, is day and night when compared to stock Dukes. But yeah, I can go on and on with the tire, but that's for another day!


Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
The only way out of this is to build some revs and burn some clutch i.e old school traction control. This not only fatigues the motorcycle but also the rider.
Not necessarily Ashwin. Those clutch burns, noobish clutch techniques aren't really a necessity nor are they warranted in today's bikes. It takes some getting used to, as I reiterated, and once you get the knack of it all, it's easy peasy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
Going for the Himalayan in your case was a smart move considering the terrain you enjoy riding cause no matter how much you stress yourself out the Duke would not be able to tackle the way the Himalayan would when things start to get challenging.
RE retaining its signature 90mm stroke on the Himalayan is what makes it sell is what I strongly feel, have to hand it to them for that.

Indeed. The torque spread is so beautifully laid out, that it's way too effortless. And when you jump from a Himalayan to Duke, you do feel lazy to have work out the gears. Oh well.
And no, the Himalayan has BxS stroke of 78 x 86.

Cheers!
VJ

Last edited by VijayAnand1 : 31st March 2020 at 19:11.
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Old 31st March 2020, 19:26   #15
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Default Re: My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfiel

The bikes you are speaking about are probably in a different league in their own worlds, but did you ever try or consider the Fz25? Felt like it can do a slight bit of both although maybe to a much lower magnitude
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