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Old 1st March 2021, 13:47   #1
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Default New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem

So, this is quite disappointing.

Brand new 2020 Duke 390 developed an intermittent problem. It started stalling, with unusual sputtering throttling issues at low speed. It would stall when downshifting at low speed, but notably it would stall when the clutch is pulled (so it's not an issue of downshifting and letting the revs get so low that the engine stalls).

I've been a loyal KTM fanboy for years now. Started with a Duke 200, quickly upgraded to a 2016 Duke 390, which I rode for many years. So this is my third KTM.

Took it to the service center, it seemed okay on the ride home but the problem surfaced the next day. Took it back several times. I'm no mechanical genius but I figure the issue is with the fueling, maybe a clogged fuel line or such. It runs fine at higher speeds or when you open up the throttle, but stalls and sputters in traffic. Really weird behavior for a brand new bike.

Here's a quick montage of the stalling. Note the speeds, and also understand that it stalls when I have the clutch pulled in:



So three trips to the service center (and some missed work) and the problem persisted.

I called up the showroom where I bought the bike from and explained my issue. They said they'd have someone call me back and make everything right, but nobody called. I even reached out to a senior sales manager who did the same thing.

Now I'm a generally polite guy who doesn't like to make a fuss, so I really didn't want to opt for the "nuclear option" of taking to social media and shaming the company. So I opted for one last try by DMing them on their official Insta. Explained the problem, they said they'd get back to me, and again, nothing happened after that.

Finally I posted it on Twitter. I haven't really used the account in ages so admittedly I don't have a huge following or anything, but I was expecting at least a boiler plate "sorry for the inconvenience, we'll contact you" like with Instagram but not even that.

New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem-screen-shot-20210301-1.22.54-pm.png

New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem-signal20210301131534.jpeg

New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem-signal20210301131603.jpeg

New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem-signal20210301131644.jpeg

New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem-signal20210301131730.jpeg


Anyway, since KTM can't be bothered, my bike is now with a private mechanic who I used to go to for service and repairs for my 4-year-old Duke.

I'm quite disheartened because I've had generally good experiences with KTM over the last several years. I'm an enthusiastic supporter and encouraged friends to go for a KTM rather than a Harley or Kawasaki etc, telling them how my experiences with KTM have been almost all positive. My riding buddies tease me sometimes for being such an orange fanboy (I even had a couple of official KTM jerseys imported just coz I'm an unapologetic fan).

I can't say what has caused KTM to fall from grace like this. You can check my posting
/ commenting history to see that I'm not the type to take to the internet and shame a brand over some bad experience. But after praising KTM so much for so many years, I think it's fair that people know that things have changed. I don't know whether this is some kind of Bajaj-ification economies-of-scale nonsense, where KTM service centers are pressured to rush their work and have bikes go in and out as quickly as possible, and mechanics are pressured into simply replacing parts and rushing to the next bike in the queue rather than actually diagnosing problems properly and thoroughly, I can't say.

All I know is, this is pretty disappointing for a 3 lac bike from an internationally renowned badge.

A friend of mine was filling up on petrol at the pump when a stranger on a Royal Enfield Meteor pulled up beside him. They got talking about the bike and it was quite impressive. Then the guy mentioned that he was returning the bike, because after buying it he noticed the tank had a tiny scratch on it. So Royal Enfield will exchange and replace an entire bike from scratch over a tiny ding on the tank, but KTM won't return calls to a loyal customer facing an issue that shouldn't exist on a four-month-old bike?

Next week I'll be leading my small MC here on a weekend trip to Dehradun and Massourie (sp). The bike does actually run, just not that well. So I could probably make the trip without any major issues.

But once I return to Delhi I'm definitely selling it for something else. Which is annoying for obvious reasons, mainly that I simply wasn't planning on buying a new bike so soon. Current candidates include the new Ninja 300, the BMW 310R, the RE Interceptor 650, and optionally maybe even a Dominar 400.

So... if you're being tempted by a KTM, be warned. This is an ownership thread, after all, and I've owned not one but two Duke 390s, so perhaps you should be aware of what you're possibly getting into if you go down this road.
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Old 1st March 2021, 13:51   #2
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Default Re: The KTM Duke 390 Ownership Experience Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcussantiago View Post
It started stalling, with unusual sputtering throttling issues at low speed. It would stall when downshifting at low speed, but notably it would stall when the clutch is pulled (so it's not an issue of downshifting and letting the revs get so low that the engine stalls).
Most likely, a dirty throttle body. Can you get that opened and checked, if you find sooty deposits around the butterfly then get those cleaned - the bike should be fine after that.
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Old 1st March 2021, 14:17   #3
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Default Re: The KTM Duke 390 Ownership Experience Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcussantiago View Post
So, this is quite disappointing.

Here's a quick montage of the stalling. Note the speeds, and also understand that it stalls when I have the clutch pulled in:
Why don't you try doing the whole reboot thing (engine kill switch AND ignition key switch off and on) instead of simply thumbing the starter every time she stalls?

Cheers, Doc
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Old 1st March 2021, 14:53   #4
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Default Re: The KTM Duke 390 Ownership Experience Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcussantiago View Post
It started stalling, with unusual sputtering throttling issues at low speed. It would stall when downshifting at low speed, but notably it would stall when the clutch is pulled
A faulty clutch sensor switch -- Given it's brand new bike you should be able to get the part replaced under warranty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcussantiago View Post
But once I return to Delhi I'm definitely selling it for something else.
Don't give up just yet, Marcus.
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Old 1st March 2021, 18:56   #5
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Default Re: The KTM Duke 390 Ownership Experience Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcussantiago View Post
So, this is quite disappointing.
.
Hi Mate,

Sorry to hear about this - I had the same issue in my 2017 D390

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...l-enfield.html (My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield)

This is from my Review on the Link

Bike Stall at low speeds - when I downshift from 6th to 1st or 5th to 2nd to navigate a pothole

It drove me mad and I had a Maruti Dzire rear end me because he saw me wringing the throttle after a sharp 1st gear speed bump and thought i'd have power to ride away but the engine had already shut off.

The Guys scanned the bike for an Error Code - found one related to the Clutch and Accelerator which just wouldn't go away. They kept erasing it and each time I drove away from the Service Station, the same problem occurred and when connected to their scanner, the same error code would show up again

They replaced a clutch switch or something similar - under warranty and fixed it for good. I haven't had the problem reoccur since then - more than a year now.

Last edited by rahul4321 : 1st March 2021 at 19:00.
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Old 1st March 2021, 19:43   #6
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Default Re: The KTM Duke 390 Ownership Experience Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4321 View Post
Hi Mate,

Sorry to hear about this - I had the same issue in my 2017 D390

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...l-enfield.html (My ownership review of the KTM Duke 390, and how it pushed me back towards owning a Royal Enfield)
====
They replaced a clutch switch or something similar - under warranty and fixed it for good. I haven't had the problem reoccur since then - more than a year now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcussantiago View Post
So, this is quite disappointing.

Brand new 2020 Duke 390 developed an intermittent problem. It started stalling, with unusual sputtering throttling issues at low speed. It would stall when downshifting at low speed, but notably it would stall when the clutch is pulled (so it's not an issue of downshifting and letting the revs get so low that the engine stalls).
When my clutch switch broke on the Adventure 390 had the same issue of stalling, so it can be a misaligned or faulty clutch switch. It is under the clutch lever yoke and held by two start screws. You can carefully try removing and refitting it to see if the issue gets resolved. If not order one and replace the unit, it is not very expensive (under 200 INR) if I remember correct.
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Old 1st March 2021, 20:32   #7
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Default Re: The KTM Duke 390 Ownership Experience Thread

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Originally Posted by marcussantiago View Post
Here's a quick montage of the stalling.
Reminds me of a friend & BHPian sold off his RC390 due to a similar stalling issue! He got a scare of his life when it stalled - once while approaching a corner, and once while preparing an overtaking manoeuvre.

Strange to hear similar issues even after a couple of years!
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Old 2nd March 2021, 07:07   #8
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Default Re: New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem

marcussantiago, moving your post to a new thread for greater visibility. Will also go to our homepage this week. Hope your issue is solved soon.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 11:18   #9
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Default Re: New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
marcussantiago, moving your post to a new thread for greater visibility. Will also go to our homepage this week. Hope your issue is solved soon.
Thanks! Appreciate the visibility

And thanks everyone for the advice too.

Will update on what happens.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 13:57   #10
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Default Re: The KTM Duke 390 Ownership Experience Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcussantiago View Post
So, this is quite disappointing.

Brand new 2020 Duke 390 developed an intermittent problem. It started stalling, with unusual sputtering throttling issues at low speed. It would stall when downshifting at low speed, but notably it would stall when the clutch is pulled (so it's not an issue of downshifting and letting the revs get so low that the engine stalls).
Quote:
Originally Posted by tabrez View Post
A faulty clutch sensor switch -- Given it's brand new bike you should be able to get the part replaced under warranty.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4321 View Post

They replaced a clutch switch or something similar - under warranty and fixed it for good. I haven't had the problem reoccur since then - more than a year now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
When my clutch switch broke on the Adventure 390 had the same issue of stalling, so it can be a misaligned or faulty clutch switch. It is under the clutch lever yoke and held by two start screws. You can carefully try removing and refitting it to see if the issue gets resolved. If not order one and replace the unit, it is not very expensive (under 200 INR) if I remember correct.
As many have mentioned here, Clutch Sensor Switch - this tiny little thing is the culprit. I faced the exact same issue on my 5 year old RS200, which is essentially a Duke 200 with fancy plastics. It started showing the EXACT signs you and few other bhpians have mentioned little after 4 years of ownership. I can totally understand your frustration. Bike stalling every time you basically slow down is bonkers, man it gets to anyone's nerves. Here's something which may be a light at the end of the tunnel - Once the sensor switch was replaced there was no looking back. Touchwood

Last edited by RYP : 2nd March 2021 at 14:01.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 14:36   #11
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Default Re: New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem

Hope Bajaj changes the vendor of this switch. Its not the 200 buck replacement that is the issue. Its simply not something one needs happening in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Cheers, Doc
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Old 5th March 2021, 10:27   #12
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Default Re: New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcussantiago View Post
So... if you're being tempted by a KTM, be warned. This is an ownership thread, after all, and I've owned not one but two Duke 390s, so perhaps you should be aware of what you're possibly getting into if you go down this road.

I'm having the exact same issue on my BS6 Duke 390. Got the clutch sensor switch replaced, but still the problem persists.
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Old 5th March 2021, 11:53   #13
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Default Re: New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem

Ah the infamous random stalling. Let me give some background, I ride a 2016 BS3 Duke 390 with the cable actuated throttle, and a good friend of mine has a 2018 BS4 RC390 with the ride by wire throttle.

I have never faced this issue on my (cable throttle) Duke, but I've faced it multiple times on my friend's RC390. This got annoying to the point that if I tried to rev match when downshifting, the engine would cut inbetween gears. It was dangerous, annoying and a little bit unsafe.

Now I don't actually know the solution, or what fixed it. But now the rc390 is around 20,000 km old. And the problem was there for the first 6000 ish km. It doesn't occur at all anymore. Here are a few points for you to check and troubleshoot:

1. Dirty Throttle body/ injector. We had cleaned the throttle body and injector at 6000km due to some bad fuel and rusting in the tank. This seemed to make the issue a bit better.

2. Sensors: There are multiple sensors that can trigger an engine cut off on a new KTM. My bike for instance had a faulty side stand sensor. Sometimes, it would activate even when the side stand was up and kill the engine. Also, someone mentioned a faulty clutch sensor. This is possible maybe? Not sure. We didn't make any changes to the clutch sensor.
3. The ride by wire system itself: I don't entirely trust the way it reacts, especially at idle and low revs. Maybe it is cutting the throttle too much when it shouldn't, or maybe the fuelling and timing isnt syncing up for some reason. This would be an ECU problem. Re flashing the ECU from KTM may help if thats the case.

4. KTMs run very lean at low rpms from the factory. This has always been the case, however for bs4 and bs6 I think they've made the setup even more lean. When my friend's RC used to stall, the feeling was almost similar to the bike not getting enough fuel and coughing to a halt suddenly.

Solutions:
Easy: Use some sort of injector cleaner, like liqui moly 4t Shooter and maybe get the throttle body cleaned and fuel filter replaced. Also, ask if its possible to get a ECU reflash just in case there are any issues with ECU.

Hard: If none of those fix the problem, then its potentially a deeper mechanical issue. Make sure you diagnose it from KTM, and then claim warranty. I've found that involving KTM on social media and emailling their customer service helps in making warranty claims, even more entire engine blocks. (My Duke had the head gasket coolant leak. Entire upper half of engine was replaced under warranty)

Last edited by amartyasg : 5th March 2021 at 11:56.
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Old 5th March 2021, 12:47   #14
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Default Re: New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem

I strongly urge you to not sell the bike this early, it will only result in a substantial loss of money, besides KTM 390 is a fantastic bike in all respects, in all probability your problem matches exactly with what others have pointed out to be a small clutch sensor issue.
What'll maybe make you feel better is this is an common engineering issue with the Himalayan (Stalling while idling and running as well, although in cold engine), so much so that they don't even count this as an issue, i was shocked when this exact thing happened in brother's brand new Himalayan but on digging deeper, it is an common and unfixable issue in that bike and that F.I bike even comes with a choke, to get rid of this issue, your issue should easily be fixed, just change your service center as they don't have anyone who could diagnose this issue for you, it should have been fixed the first time you had it.

It was nice to see Gurgaon - Delhi road in your video, this is the same road i commute through everyday.
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Old 5th March 2021, 12:59   #15
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Default Re: New KTM 390 Duke | Engine Stalling Problem

Hi everyone, quick update.

So I took my bike to my old mechanic and explained the issue. He kept the bike for three or four days and rode it frequently until he could reproduce the problem.

Sure enough, it was dirt in the throttle body / fuel system. He did a thorough deep clean of everything. He also changed the spark plug just as a precaution, though that was probably not needed. Since then, it's run just fine.

So it was just this simple issue. I'm still a bit shaken from KTM's poor response. I still haven't heard back from anyone at KTM to date.

So the bike is fine now, and I still do love riding it, so I'll stick with it and won't sell it off or anything. But yeah, disappointing after sales service though.

Thanks for all your responses! This forum rocks

p.s. my mechanic was AS Probiking in CR Park, New Delhi. They're a pair of brothers who used to work for Kawasaki and KTM, and regularly service and repair superbikes as well as Pulsars / Dominars / KTMs. They're especially skilled at diagnosing Dominar issues, based on testimony from a few friends that ride them. They do generally good work and post a lot of how-to guides on their YouTube and Insta channels.
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