The Gen 3 of the KTM 390 Duke is here and sets new benchmarks in its segment.
For the first time in its decade-long history, KTM engineers have bumped the displacement of the engine. The older bikes were powered by a 373 cc power plant, while the new bike sports a 399 cc engine. The jump in power and torque figures can be easily made out, the moment you open the throttle, it’s properly quick! 0-100 kmph is dismissed under 6 seconds and the new 390 Duke has the frantic nature of the Gen 1 390 Duke I even saw a speedo-indicated 165 kmph, so this bike has the right performance.
What’s more impressive is how more rideable the new engine is as 80 % of the peak torque and power is made available at just 5,000 rpm so commuting in stop-and-go traffic is less strenuous. Also, refinement levels are good, it’s not butter-smooth, but you feel a minor buzz which is fine and the new 390 Duke can also sit at triple-digit speeds all day long making it a good touring option as well.
Apart from the engine, the other big talking point is the upgrade in hardware. The new 390 Duke gets an aluminium subframe and a new swingarm. Additionally, you also get adjustable suspension on both ends and lighter wheels. The KTM 390 Duke has always had very good handling dynamics, but it gets a notch better on the new bike. It flows into corners, and the handling feels almost telepathic. You can corner hard with confidence and the new bike is more forgiving making average riders look good, however, I wished it had W-rated Metzeler rubber.
One more big change on the new bike is how easy and accessible it has become. The seat height has been dropped to 800 mm to make it friendlier for shorter riders. What’s even more clever is that the new swingarm and offset monoshock have allowed the engineers to package the bike better and this has resulted in a 30 mm increase in ground clearance. The adjustable suspension also allows riders to tune the bike to better suit their weight and riding style. Lastly, there are electronic aids such as traction control and cornering ABS. Given the ballistic performance on offer, the electronic aids are a worthy addition.
The 2023 KTM 390 Duke adopts an all-new design language and has very little in common with its predecessor. You get the same aggressive split LED headlights and LED DRLs. The main design element is the large fuel tank and the massive shrouds that give it a butch stance. It sports a mass-forward design language, which is common for higher-capacity street bikes. In fact in terms of dimensions the new 390 Duke has grown and it looks like a mid-capacity motorcycle. Apart from the new sharp styling, quality levels and fit and finish of the bike are also better than the older bike.
What seals the deal further is the pricing, Yes, a sticker price of Rs 3.10 lakh (ex-showroom) isn’t affordable by any standard. But when one compares it to the older bike, the price jump is Rs 12,000, and for that money, what you’re getting is an incredible motorcycle that sets new benchmarks and makes its rivals look archaic.
While we have listed down five reasons, I am sure all it will take is just one test ride for most of you to make up your minds and heart, that’s how good the 2023 KTM 390 Duke is.
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