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KTM Duke 390 catches fire at fuel station (Video)

KTM RC 200 Burnt Fire

The rider was injured in the incident.

Rush Lane reader has managed to capture a video on his phone, which shows a KTM Duke 390 catches fire, which in no time engulfs the entire bike. The incident took place at a petrol pump, and was recorded on their CCTV camera. The video was then captured on a phone, when it was being streamed on a computer screen. You can watch the same video below.

So what happens here in the over 2 minute video? Initial impression suggests that the Duke 390 caught fire due to engine overheating. The video clearly shows that the fire starts from the engine belly of Duke 390. As we have already heard some complaints about the overheating problems with 390’s engine, we too deduce the same.

But, on closer inspection and carefully studying the video, frame by frame, we are sure that the culprit is not the engine of Duke 390. The culprit in this particular case is the not-so-attentive rider, or the fuel pump attendant.

If you look carefully, you will notice that when the video begins, the fuel pump is already filling the tank of Duke 390. The rider and the attendant then get busy, what looks like a payment process. After a few seconds, while the rider is still looking in his wallet for change, the attendant realizes that the Duke 390 tank has been filled. He then tries to remove the fuel pump, but by then it is too late. The petrol spills from the tank, onto the engine, from where it catches fire.

Within a second, the entire Duke 390 is engulfed in flames, right next to the fuel pump. The attendant flees the spot, while its rider manages to get himself away from the bike, but not before his pants are on fire. The next instant, one brave attendant runs to the motorcycle which is now a huge ball of fire, while another pump attendant runs to the rescue of the biker.

The pump attendant who first reached the spot, gets help from a second attendant and they somehow get hold of a fire extinguisher. Soon they are joined by a few others and more fire extinguishers. About a minute later, the fire is finally doused.

If it was not for the brave attendants, the entire fuel station could have caught fire, causing a major blast. Luckily, no one was seriously injured in this mishap. We would request readers to be more attentive at when at petrol pumps.

KTM RC 200 Burnt Fire

KTM RC200 burnt completely.

In another case, which has come to light, a KTM RC 200 sports bike too has been engulfed in flames. The image above was also sent by a reader, who claims that the bike caught fire due to engine overheating.

UPDATE 1: Readers Gautham and Emmanuel have claimed that the KTM RC 200 in the photo above, was not burnt due to engine overheating, but it was burnt by some jealous miscreants.

UPDATE 2: Reader Arun Kumar has had the following to add

It is custom painted Duke 200 and not 390 that is seen in the video. The safety valve of the petrol gun didn’t work and the fuel had over-flown. The rider was filling full tank as he was on his way to IBW. The over-flowing petrol spilled on the engine which triggered the fire. The rider suffered burns in his right arm and thighs and is recovering well. i wish all the readers to pray for his speedy recovery.

About the author

Sagar Patel

Sagar Patel

A first drive in a manual rickety old van was enough to pave the road forward for Editor in Chief, Sagar Patel. When not driving or riding, his dexterity shifts gear to voice passion through words via reviews, and news, all the while, closely monitoring updates from the auto industry.

Email - sagar@rushlane.com

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Your opinion matters

  • Jidnesh Shinde

    Cellphone incoming call may have triggered the Fuel. Please switch it off. People seriously doesn’t know the consequences.

    • HHH’s shovel

      you’re an idiot. Cellphone myth was busted long time ago

    • Gautham Logaraj

      cell phone is never an cause for fuel station fire, its a myth.

    • NabanitaSR

      Jidnesh, watch again to see what really happened. Sloppy refuelling is to blame.

  • Akshay Saxena

    This one is scripted how can cameraman knows that bike is going to catch fire…

    • NabanitaSR

      It’s the CCTV camera footage re-recorded on a cell phone.

  • Gautham Logaraj

    the second photo is not due to engine fire. some jealous miscreant did that to the bike.

    • NabanitaSR

      Gautam, by any chance do you know whose bike the RC 200 is. This is the 2nd notification we’ve gotten regarding it being an act of jealousy.

  • roughguy

    I should not laugh but biker ke pichwade me aag lag gayi and while workers are trying to extinguish fire on the bike, there are a few workers jo biker ko nanga karke uski aag bujha rahe hain. hahahaha…

  • Vignesh

    The above video is enough for KTM to do something for their engines to be cooler.

    • NabanitaSR

      Not so much. This is really a freak accident. Haven’t actually seen Duke’s burning.

      • Vignesh

        Even if somebody accidentally had contact with any of the engine’s moving and heating parts, he/she must have severe burns.

        • NabanitaSR

          Yup, if you view the video again, you’ll see the rider runs to the back. And his pants are clearly on fire. Two of the fuel station attendants are helping him.

  • phani

    The heat on the engine is not sufficient to ignite petrol. Even in compressed for petrol never ignites itself. That’s why spark plugs are used. Either there has to be another reason or the video must be fake

    • Vivekanand Athanikar

      finally someone who makes sense ! would request the author to read this
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoignition_temperature (signed up just to make this comment. there are too many rumours flying around these days regarding such incidents !)

      • http://www.rushlane.com/ Sagar Patel

        To quote the content in the link – ” Autoignition temperatures of liquid chemicals are typically measured using a 500 mL flask placed in a temperature controlled oven ”

        In this case, there was no flask, nor there was 500 mL of fluid. One single drop is easier to heat (burn), as compared to 500 mL together.

        Moving on – ” Autoignition temperature for petrol is 247–280 °C. ”

        The exhaust pipe, right where it is attached to the engine, has a temperature much higher than that, thereby causing petrol to catch fire as it easily achieved autoignition temperature.

        For a hi-res image of the exhaust pipe setup in a a KTM Duke, head to this link http://www.rushlane.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/KTM-Duke-390-ride-review-images-rushlane-13.jpg

        • Vivekanand Athanikar

          first off.. i dont think it was less than 500ml.. secondly im not sure how you concluded that lesser liquid means easier combustion.. I’m not a pro but from the formula doesn’t look like volume comes into the picture (Density yes).. third and most important point.. I have owned a KTM Duke 200 and ridden it at soaring temperatures along with having petrol drip all over the bike (while trying to remove petrol from it.. that time volume was actually lesser than 500 ml).. if what you say is true then I should be resting in peace with my beast (ex).. I’ll conclude by saying this.. rather than arguing on things we don’t know.. as a reporter you should make sure you have the facts right (All the facts) along with reference points so that such things can be verified and rumours thereby be avoided.. half truths only help in instilling fear where not required.. just my 2 cents.. dont want to turn this into a flame war

          • http://www.rushlane.com/ Sagar Patel

            Yes, one drop of 500 ml or petrol, will have the same effect when it reaches Autoignition temperature. Agreed.

            We have tried to be as accurate as possible in the post. The reader who sent us the video, claimed that the case was of KTM Duke 390 catching fire due to engine overheating. We did study the grainy video again and again, frame by frame. What we concluded, is very close to accurate.

            You can read Arun Kumar’s comments above, he knows the biker, where it happened, and how it happened.

            We also updated the post as soon as we received more inputs.

            Not arguing, but you have been lucky if you have dripped fuel all over your bike when engine and exhaust are red hot.

            The post does not instil fear. The purpose here is to share what happened, so that we bikers are careful when fuelling. Not everyone will be as lucky as you.

          • Vivekanand Athanikar

            Ok … Thanks for the reply … Let me do one thing … I have the number of the Mumbai after sales manager for KTM … I’ll check with him to see what temperatures KTM can reach .. KTM has a temperature gauge and you shouldn’t ride the bike when you get the high temperature warning … Not sure what degree Celsius it is though (I thought it was in the low one hundreds) … This is a big concern if what you reported is true

          • Arun kumar

            The temperature is that of the coolant and not the engine. The coolant temperature would obviously be less than that of the engine for the cooling to happen and the high temperature warning comes when there is not efficient cooling happens. The temperature would be anyway less than 327 C as that is the melting temperature of Aluminium of which the engine is made

          • Vivekanand Athanikar

            agreed.. forgot about that (although we should be able to relate that temperature to the engine.. not so sure about this).. anyways .. was gonna check with him (after sales mgr) with regards to the engine/exhaust temperatures but I haven’t gotten any response yet (no answer)

          • Vivekanand Athanikar

            Ok.. I got in touch with the manager. These are his thoughts.. The engine temperature goes to about 117 degree Celsius max… but this is inside the engine.. the externals of the engine would be much cooler than this (due to the multiple coolings happening to the system).. so as per him.. there is no possibility of petrol to engine contact causing the fire.. I have directed him to this discussion and hopefully he is able to contribute more to this topic.. I have done my part .. hope there is something concrete we can get to
            Regards,
            Vivek

          • Arun kumar

            IMO, it is the eternal temperature that would be close to 117 C after all the cooling. The coolant temperature itself can be considered as that of the external temperature for simplicity sake. There could be chance that the ignition is due to static electricity which has been the cause of many fire accidents in fuel station

          • NabanitaSR

            It would be great if he could offer an input.

          • Arun kumar

            500 ml is a standard to for the test sample and does not have to do with ignition. Petrol is highly volatile and it will get ignited only when the sufficient heat is supplied

      • Arun kumar

        What happens in the video is not auto ignition. it has to do more with the fire point and flash point. You have probably over-looked “without an external source of ignition, such as a flame or spark.” Here the heat source could be the exhaust or the engine itself. I had witnessed another case where a cloth kept(between the handle bar) for cleaning the bike had fallen on the engine(Ninja 300) and got ignited. So what would happen for a highly inflammable liquid like petrol?

    • Arun kumar

      Spark ignition engine are not compressed beyond certain level to avoid explosion. This is not the case of compression ignition engine which runs on Diesel. A small experiment will clearly explain. try to pour some petrol in the floor and throw a lighted match stick and it would burn, but for diesel this will not happen as the flash point and fire point are high.

    • Suman

      The temperature inside the cylinder reaches 700 degree cel. Considering 35% heat
      dissipation the engine might get heated upto 250 degree celc for sure, hot enough to ignite a thin layer of petrol on it. Quite possible!

      • Sanjoy Singha Roy

        As far as of my knowledge, petrol never burns without a spark or an open flame. So the story above is not for the splashing of petrol. It may have some other possible causes.

  • Arun kumar

    It is custom painted Duke 200 and not 390 that is seen in the video. The safety valve of the petrol gun didn’t work and the fuel had over-flown. The rider was filling full tank as he was on his way to IBW. The over-flowing petrol spilled on the engine which triggered the fire. The rider suffered burns in his right arm and thighs and is recovering well. i wish all the readers to pray for his speedy recovery.

    • http://www.rushlane.com/ Sagar Patel

      Thank you for the info. I have updated the same in the story above. We wish for his speedy recovery.

      • Arun kumar

        Thanks a lot.

        • Akshay Ballal

          Can you specify where did this happen?

          • Arun kumar

            Kanchipuram in Chennai-Blore highway.

        • NabanitaSR

          Thanks Arun. We wish him well.