KTM RC 390 Review: First Ride
Needless to say, KTM RC 390 is an eye catcher. But to elaborate, the Duke 390 that underwent minor bone surgery and came out with full fairing is a racy machine that would inspire you to join the Moto3 club. KTM RC 390 has a unique front fascia, that is headlamp and chin section, which may first appear to be weird to some, and then grow on you as you meet it in person. Twin projector headlamps is first in its segment / price range, that enabled RC 390 to sport its narrow front end. Beneath the pair, there is a set of LED DRLs shaped to give the RC 390 an alien look.
Transparent visor mounted on elegant black head section fairing adds a hint of class to the new KTM flagship. Strong and stylish wing mirrors on KTM RC 390 are embedded with turn blinkers to avoid fixing feeble units that would be poking out of side fairing.
Fully digital instrument cluster in KTM RC 390 is similar to the piece found in Duke brother. It offers over 30 functions, some of them are speedo, tacho, odo, trip (F1, F2, F3), clock, gear position, fuel level, coolant temperature, mileage, distance to empty, distance to next service, low oil pressure warning, low battery charge prompt and high coolant temperature sign.
KTM RC 390’s clip on handlebar assembly is the first interface of action. Position, feel and the heaviness it passes on to your hands give the feeling of a higher value sport bike. But it doesn’t mean RC 390 is a hulk to handle, it is the lightest in its segment (rather competition). We will talk about its behaviour down the page.
Next to notice is its edgy fuel tank that kind of blends into the main fairing. Matte black finish camouflages the 9.5 litre reservoir, especially as white finished aprons on sides pop out in contrast. Added livery holds our eyes on them, not letting our sight switch to naked remainder of the bike.
Orange coated tubular steel-trellis frame exposed towards RC 390’s posterior bears continuation of matte black theme through integrated rider and pillion seat. Well technically they are just designed to look integrated; rider seat can be pulled off to shove registration documents underneath. Real catch here is that people easily miss the fact that rear end of seat is actually a seat. Its overlay easily convinces first-lookers that it is plastic and not meant to be seated over.
After you figure that out and decide to hop on, you will be surprised to learn (mostly not by yourself) that there is a pair of grab slots beneath the tail piece you can hold tight when the rider decides to scare you around a corner. Learn some prayers as the RC 390 will threaten your soul if you’re sitting back.
Last in the list is sleek rear end turn signals and striped stop lamps with clear lens fitting.
Oh, we almost missed, muffler of KTM RC 390 is hiding in the fairing underneath the engine.
KTM RC 390 uses the same 373 cc single cylinder liquid-cooled engine performing in Duke 390 pushing 43 hp max. power and 35 Nm peak torque. Power unit is mated to same 6 speed gearbox doing duty in Duke with no change in gear ratios. So many would be acquainted with the engine’s pleasurable responsiveness and not so silky refinement.
So the same thump in sport bike package is what is offered as RC 390, with vital changes in handling department, making the RC more agile on road. To explain in technical terms, Duke 390 has 25 degree rake angle and 99 mm caster trail, whereas RC 390 has steeper 23.5 degrees rake and shorter 89 mm trail. Also, wheelbase of RC 390 is shorter by 27 mm at 1340 mm, making overall handling sharper than the naked version. KTM RC390 is nimble even at very low speeds, in dense traffic.
Coming to ride quality, there is underlying stiffness in RC 390, but it cannot be complained about since it is totally track focussed. In conjunction with gecko-like Metzeler tires, assaulting a circuit with RC 390 would give budding racers insight into what Moto3 would actually feel like. Even on meet track, hard braking would not be a problem as RC 390 is equipped with ABS on both wheels, which enslave the Bybre callipers.
Getting back to the question of value for money, if all the above offered at whooping price of Rs. 2.05 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) is not a great deal, then what is?
Here is a brief Video review of features of KTM RC 200 and RC 390: