There’s great admiration for KTM’s motorcycles from the biking community that understands motorcycling better than Tinder bios. It’s for these throttle twisters KTM exists and the KTM 390 Duke 2024 sings to an even smaller set of audience within that community. Those that have more stitches than tattoos and love pushing this 399cc engine to the red line and mostly, shimmying it up on its rear or nose-diving into a stoppie to check the status of the tarmac. And sometimes snaking around corners to toy with the idea of sleeping with the motorcycle itself. The KTM 390 Duke 2024 is, in every way, an enthusiast motorcycle and if you feel strongly about riding in circles on a single wheel, away from the traffic and its tribunals, the KTM 390 Duke 2024 is a reservoir of performance.
KTM 390 Duke 2024 First Ride review
The most loved hooligan
The 2024 390 Duke basically copies the entire design homework from the elder sibling Super Duke and that’s not a bad thing. There are personality and design elements here that are simply difficult to imitate. How many orange motorcycles have you seen in the mid-segment? The sharp angles and the forward hunching tank panels make it look meaner. The LED headlight is disturbingly flatter than its bulbous Gen 1 sibling. In comparison, the Gen 1 Duke headlights look like a hamster after a 3-hour Christmas dinner. The 390 also gets the DRLs which is also an optional accessory for the 250 Duke. The oddities of the KTM 390 Duke are also what sets it apart on the road and in your garage. The cables are neatly tucked, the panel work is put together nicely, the switchgear is solid and the TFT display is legible in bright outdoor light. The basics are prim and proper on the KTM 390 Duke.
That’s just hygiene at this point for KTM but we want to know what makes this thing special. This Gen 3 KTM 390 Duke has an all-new engine, chassis and suspension. The LC4c single-cylinder engine is larger at 399cc with a slightly longer stroke than before which makes the motorcycle behave slightly acceptable around 3,500rpm. There’s a new steel trellis main frame with a pressure die-cast aluminium subframe. You get WP Apex suspension front and back. The rear mono shock is offset to the right to make way for a bigger airbox which takes the peak power to 46hp at 8500rpm and 39Nm at 6500rpm. The front suspension can now be manually adjusted.
This thing is fast, lightweight and agile. The three pillar stones of what the original KTM 390 Duke brought to the Indian market. KTM says this has the highest power-to-weight ratio and we have to agree. This is the fastest naked sport in this price segment we’ve got a chance to plonk our bottoms on.
It’s not just the 399cc with a larger airbox at play here. There’s a strict weight reduction regime for the 2024 KTM 390 Duke this time. The wheels are hollowed out to shave off the grams and the die-cast aluminium subframe is doing its job. In total, this is 4kgs lighter than the second generation 390 Duke.
The end result? You can really feel the Duke lurching forward with every throttle twist. It’s not as rowdy as the original 2013 Duke but this is not happy at lower rpm. That said, traffic movement is manageable this time with less sputtering. However, it will start getting angsty when you’re not managing the clutch as delicately as you should. The KTM 390 Duke demands more attention than a hungry dog. It will test you and this still remains a motorcycle for enthusiast folks. Street, track and pot-hole-infested areas, the new KTM can do those better than its predecessors.
The WP Apex front suspension is 5-click rebound and compression adjustable, meanwhile, the rear mono shock has 5-click rebound adjustability and 10-click preload adjustments. We rode it on Bajaj’s internal test track and outside the factory as well. The Duke can handle track days and everyday commutes superbly. It’s planted and balanced on the track. Gone are the days of wobbly uncertainty from the front at high speeds. This thing loves being at high speeds and you will feel more confident on it as well. The 183mm ground clearance is enough for tight cornering without scrapping the footpegs. Out on the beloved potholes of Indian roads, the KTM manages the bumps and undulations of the road very well. This takes the value proposition of the motorcycle even further.
The ABS cuts in too early around corners in my opinion. KTM says the cornering ABS kicks in as soon as the motorcycle detects a lean angle. If you want to bring the rear end out then the Supermoto ABS will switch off the rear ABS for some slides. The three ride modes are Track, Street and Rain. You get the full output from the engine on the Street and Track modes. The Rain mode reduces the output a bit but KTM won’t tell us how much. Trade secret apparently. The Track mode will spring up a new display with lap times and other metrics and you can also enable launch control.
There’s a quickshifter+ (for upshifts and downshifts), ride-by-wire and slipper clutch here as standard as well. The 800mm seat height is almost tailor-made for Indian riders but if you’re taller than average, KTM will sell you an optional 820mm seat. The TFT display also has turn-by-turn navigation and smartphone connectivity. We didn’t get to try this during our ride so we can’t say for sure how good it will be. You also get a USB Type-C for charging your smartphone.
Our one full day with the KTM 390 Duke on the track, out on the tarmac and some rough patches in between was enough to solidify the KTM’s bang for your buck value. There are some minor upgrades to its engine character especially in the bottom end and some serious upgrades to its ride quality and enthusiast feature set. It has none of the ease-of-life features like a cooling seat from the TVS RTR 310 but it more than makes up for where it matters and that’s out on the road and track. This still handles like a cheetah on a sugar rush and if you ask us, the Electronic Orange colour looks way hotter than the Atlantic Blue.
A lot of fun, and way more manic, the 390 Duke will excite you in ways your body won’t forget!
|Engine:||Type Single Cylinder, Liquid Cooled, 398.63 cc|
|Bore x Stroke:||89 mm X 64 mm|
|Power:||(PS) 46 PS @ 8500 rpm|
|Torque:||39 Nm @ 6500 rpm|
|Front Suspension:||5-click Compression & Rebound adjustable, Open Cartridge, WP APEX USD forks, 43mm diameter|
|Rear Suspension:||Adjustable WP APEX Monoshock, 5-step Rebound damping, 10-step preload adjust|
|Frame:||Split-Trellis frame, Sub Frame Aluminum cast sub-frame|
|Front Brake:||TYPE 320 mm Disc with Radially mounted calliper|
|Rear Brake:||TYPE 240 mm Disc with Floating calliper|
|Fuel Tank Capacity:||15 L|
|Ground Clearance:||183 mm|
|Saddle Height:||800 / 820 mm|
|Kerb Weight:||168.3 kg|
|Ride modes:||Street & Rain|
|Features:||Launch Control, Cornering ABS, Ride-by-wire, Quickshifter+, SuperMoto ABS, Type-C charging port|
|Headlight:||Full Split LED Headlamp|
|Instrument cluster:||5" TFT dash display|