KTM Duke 390 Review

Sleek. Effortless control. The power that surprises. This machine is crafted for the tarmac, making it a genuine street motorcycle. This Duke might seamlessly bridge that gap for those torn between 300cc and over 500cc.


  • Engine that outperforms typical starter bikes
  • Nimble for freeway overtakes and lane-splitting
  • A thrill on the racetrack


  • Missing hazard light switch
  • Fuel tank could be larger for long rides
  • Aesthetically, it’s simple

KTM Duke 390 Review: Effortless Control

KTM Duke 390 Review Effortless Control
KTM Duke 390 Review Effortless Control

The KTM Duke 390 is a motorcycle that commands respect. It boasts a lightweight frame, ensuring ease of control, paired with a punch of power that makes city rides exhilarating and highway cruises a breeze. It ranks among the top beginner motorcycles available today.

Labeling the Duke 390 as a beginner’s bike would be an understatement. Its single-cylinder engine, clocking in at an impressive 373cc, offers more oomph than competitors like the Ninja 300 or the CBR 250. This ensures you’re still wanting when overtaking at higher velocities. While it does offer torque at lower ranges, the Duke 390 truly comes alive as you push the RPMs.

This isn’t just a motorcycle; it’s an invitation to mischief. You might find the front wheel lifting off the ground with a throttle twist and a quick clutch release. A feat only a few entry-level bikes can boast of.

The Ideal Starter Motorcycle

Despite its playful nature, the Duke 390 is tailored for those new to the biking world. It lacks extensive plastic fairings, making it more resilient to the occasional tumble. The engine’s power delivery is consistent, allowing novices to get a feel for gear shifts.

Its lightweight nature, a common trait among its peers, is a boon during slow-speed maneuvers. If you ever lose balance, recovering a bike like this is far less daunting than wrestling a hefty 600+ lb machine.

Points to Ponder…

While the Duke 390 ticks many boxes, it has quirks. One noticeable aspect is the throttle play. Some of these bikes exhibit a slight delay before the engine responds to throttle input. It’s not a deal-breaker and can be rectified with minor adjustments. However, it isn’t very pleasant on a brand-new purchase.

A glaring omission is the lack of hazard lights. While it’s equipped with functional turn signals, the absence of a hazard light switch is puzzling.

There have been murmurs about the alloy wheels not holding up well on rugged terrains or pothole-ridden streets. But it’s essential to remember that these wheels, designed with racing in mind, prioritize being lightweight. Stick to well-maintained roads and steer clear of off-road adventures, and the Duke 390 will serve you well, especially on the racetrack.

KTM Duke 390 Review: Is This Your Next Ride?

KTM Duke 390 Review Is This Your Next Ride
KTM Duke 390 Review Is This Your Next Ride

Determining if the KTM Duke 390 is the right fit hinges on the kind of rider one identifies as. For novices seeking safety, affordability, flair, and dependability in a motorcycle, the Duke 390 might be the answer. Especially if there’s a clue of a thrill-seeker within, fearing the monotony of a less powerful bike. With the Duke, redundancy is outside the vocabulary.

For those oscillating between 300cc and something north of 500cc, the Duke offers a compelling case. It boasts slightly more oomph than several 200-300cc counterparts. Its featherweight nature accentuates this power, ensuring smooth freeway rides and confident overtakes.

However, if aesthetics are paramount and the Duke’s distinct appearance doesn’t resonate, alternatives like the Ninja 300 or Yamaha R3 – more sporty, more sleek – might appeal. The Duke exudes a rugged charm, leaning more towards functionality. Off-roading enthusiasts might want to look elsewhere; the Duke thrives on asphalt.


  • The engine that surpasses many entry-level bikes in power
  • Agile on highways and adept at lane navigation
  • Exhilarating on racetracks


  • Absence of a hazard light switch
  • Fuel capacity could be limiting for long journeys

KTM Duke 390 Technical Details:

KTM Duke 390 Technical Details
KTM Duke 390 Technical Details
  • ENGINE: Cooled by liquid, operating on a four-stroke mechanism
  • DISPLACEMENT: 373.2cc precisely
  • BORE & STROKE: Dimensions are 89mm x 60.0mm
  • POWER OUTPUT: Peaks at 43 hp, achieved at 9500 pm
  • TORQUE: Maxes out at 25.8 lb.-ft., reached at 7250 pm
  • GEAR SYSTEM: A six-speed configuration
  • CLUTCH TYPE: Employs a wet multi-plate system
  • IGNITION: Electronically controlled, complemented by digital timing tweaks
  • FRAMEWORK: Powder-coated tubular-steel space frame
  • FRONT FORK: WP’s inverted fork
  • REAR DAMPER: WP’s signature Monoshock
  • FRONT SUSPENSION TRAVEL: A span of 5.9 in.
  • FRONT BRAKING: 300mm disc brake, paired with a four-pot caliper
  • REAR BRAKING: 230mm disc brake, accompanied by a single-pot caliper
  • STEERING ANGLE: Set at 65°
  • AXLE DISTANCE: Measures 53.8 in.
  • SEAT ELEVATION (WITHOUT LOAD): Positioned at 32.5 in.
  • FUEL RESERVOIR: Can hold roughly 2.9 gallons
  • WEIGHT (WHEN DRY): Tips the scale at 306.4 lb.
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