2024 KTM Duke 390 Review – A first ride – Styling in Focus, Poised Perfection
Approaching the Chakan test track for the KTM Duke 390 review, I was immediately struck by its styling. The photos I had seen beforehand didn’t do it justice. The abstract design of the fairing around the fuel tank was nothing short of a level of sophistication. It simply couldn’t be fully captured in a two-dimensional image. KTM had masterfully improved upon the edgy design of the second-gen Duke, drawing inspiration from the formidable Super Duke. The result was a complementary and continual design integrated with the Duke’s existing language. At the same time, it amalgamates into a refreshing and contemporary aesthetic. A visual testament to KTM’s commitment to evolving their motorcycles.
KTM Duke 390 enters its third phase in 2023, marking a significant evolution from its earlier iterations. The first phase, launched in 2013, was exuberant and unbridled, capturing hearts with its sheer excitement. By 2017, the second phase emerged, showcasing a more matured persona with advanced technology and enhanced skills. Now, in its third phase, the Duke 390 exudes a newfound poise, akin to adulthood. It distinguishes itself from its predecessors, setting a new standard for maturity in the segment. This evolution reflects KTM’s commitment to continuous improvement, ensuring the Duke 390 remains a benchmark in its class.
Fit and Finish Brilliance: A Deep Dive into the KTM Duke 390’s Craftsmanship
The fit and finish of the KTM Duke 390 have seen significant enhancements. Components and cables now exhibit a more organic cohesion. The headlamp and its distinct DRL unit (exclusive to 390) stand out against the backdrop of its crafted bodywork. Unlike its predecessor, the TFT unit is securely affixed at the centre of the handlebar. This reduces vibration concerns previously managed by rubber supports. Ergonomically designed switchgears ensure intuitive control. Interestingly, the mirrors are borrowed from the latest Dominar model, exemplifying KTM’s strategic parts integration. These refinements underscore the bike’s meticulous attention to detail.
KTM Duke 390 inherits its disc rotors from the RC series, accompanied by lighter alloy wheels compared to the second-gen Duke. This reduction in unsprung mass, approximately 1.5 kg lighter, also incorporates a newly designed swing arm. The bike’s right-side profile showcases the front disc, rear disc, and offset rear monoshock, all thoughtfully arranged. The exhaust, subtly concealed beneath, blends seamlessly with its black finish, contributing to the bike’s sleek appearance. A delightful surprise is the cast aluminium rear subframe, harmonising with the rear body panels. Additionally, the seats boast improved contours and a larger profile for enhanced comfort and aesthetics.
Feature Rich 2024 KTM Duke 390’s Advanced Instrument Panel, Enhanced Suspension
2024 KTM Duke 390 boasts an entirely redesigned 5-inch instrument panel, equipped with Bluetooth connectivity for call control, music playback, and navigation assist. The display features a clean and easily legible layout. It adapts its colour scheme and information display when toggling between Street, Rain, and Track riding modes, enhancing user-friendliness. Keeping up with modern connectivity trends, the 2024 Duke 390 includes a USB-C port for charging, aligning seamlessly with contemporary device standards.
Track mode on the KTM Duke 390 offers launch control at 7,000 rpm. It also boasts cornering ABS and traction control. Suspension upgrades include WP inverted forks with 5-step compression and rebound damping control, along with a monoshock featuring preload and rebound damping adjustment, elevating ride quality and handling precision.
Ride Redefined: The 2024 KTM Duke 390’s Nimble Performance, Precision Handling
Ride, Handing – A step in the right direction! KTM Duke 390’s lighter weight of 4 kg compared to its predecessor translates into enhanced nimbleness and manoeuvrability. It provides a significantly smoother throttle response, eliminating the jerky ride often associated with previous models. Riders can bid farewell to those unexpected jolts and the nearly-thrown-off experiences, as the new Duke offers superior performance without sacrificing rider comfort. Whether tackling city traffic or hitting the track, the reduced vibrations and lesser heat dissipation make the bike more user-friendly (that otherwise translates to heat that radiates through the pants) in various riding conditions.
Furthermore, the bike’s ability to absorb bumps and potholes is commendable, and the added option to adjust damping settings offers a comforting level of customization. While these improvements cater to a wide range of riders, it’s worth noting that some may find the rear suspension slightly stiffer according to personal preferences. In terms of handling, the 2024 Duke maintains its reputation as a razor-sharp race-line follower, setting the bar high for precision and control in its class.
Effortless Control: Low-Speed Throttle Mastery in the 2024 Duke 390
Engine & Performance – The Duke’s remarkable generational upgrade is accompanied by an equally impressive all-new engine. Now sporting a 399 cc capacity, up from the previous 373 cc, it delivers 46 bhp at 8,500 rpm and 39 Nm at 6,500 rpm. This marks a substantial increase of 2.5 bhp and 2 Nm, with both peak power and torque arriving 500 rpm earlier. Coupled with the 4 kg weight reduction, the latest Duke promises an exhilarating and beastly performance, making it a formidable contender on the track and elevating its overall prowess.
On the streets, the KTM Duke 390 strikes a balance between controlled power and early, manageable pull. The acceleration is evenly distributed, gradually building excitement as the tachometer climbs higher. This model caters to a broader audience with its exceptional low-speed throttle control, a standout feature within the Duke 390 series. Riders will appreciate the reduced need for frequent gear shifts, and when necessary, the quickshifter adds a likable touch.
Butter Smooth Transitions: Gear Changes in the New Duke 390
Unlike the previous iteration where the quickshifter felt somewhat retrofitted, the LC4 engine in this model was purposefully designed with the Quickshifter+ in mind. As a result, the gear changes are exceptionally smooth. Think butter smooth.
Two less teeth on the rear sprocket contribute to a linear and smoother power delivery. The smaller rear sprocket allows for achieving triple-digit speeds earlier on the tachometer, reducing engine stress and promoting relaxed cruising. Vibrations are primarily felt at the handlebar, with minimal presence in other areas like foot pegs and tank, ensuring a more comfortable and vibration-free ride.
Embrace the Orange: The Thrills Awaiting in the KTM Duke 390
Verdict – In bidding adieu, the trailblazing KTM Duke 390 has surpassed its own standards, now catering to a broader demographic. If you can embrace the bold orange aesthetic, you’re going to have fun squeezing that much more fun out of it when you swing your leg over it. It’s a bike that lives up to its reputation and then some. Beyond the scope of a first ride KTM Duke 390 Review.