When Toti Alberto, the head honcho of Access Plus, the Philippine distributor of Ducati and KTM, offers you to test ride a motorcycle, you just don’t say no. That is how my rendezvous with the KTM Duke 390 began.
I have long been a fan of the KTM brand. The dominance of the brand in the 2000s of the Dakar Rally fortified it’s status as a premiere brand specially to the off-road segment.
Recently, the partnership between Bajaj Auto, India’s leading motorcycle manufacturer , and KTM has given the region and the Philippines specifically two new bikes that are perfect for the riding environment.
The 390s single cylinder, water cooled engine is no pushover. Pushing out 43 hp on a bike that has a dry weight of approximately only 300 lbs, the 390 goes, and goes fast. Torque is excellent, perfect for in city riding and the occasional escape burst you need when overtaking. Low and mid range is fantastic while the top end drops off a wee bit, which is understandable since it is a single.
Fuel consumption is fantastic. I averaged roughly 30-35 kilometers per liter on my Calatagan day trip. Mostly on straights and never really pushing the engine. This was a relatively new bike with only 100 kms on the clock when I used it so fuel efficiency should improve some more as the engine runs in.
Ride and Handling
This is where the Duke 390 excels. In traffic situation, this can compete with the best of them. Surefooted steering, thanks to well positioned handlebars and great tire traction make weaving in and out of tight spaces a breeze. I have told my scooter friends that it was easier to ride the 390 in traffic than my Vespa PX. Of course the extremely light weight of the bike is one major factor in it’s nimble nature.
Riding position left me a little bit wanting. Not really the bikes fault. My rather ample derriere had a bit of a rough time in the narrowish seat that had a slight downward slope. But I’m pretty sure slightly less ample riders will have no problem with it. The ABS works well, as evidenced by several hairy instances with our friendly neighborhood jeepneys. The combination of the suspension and the abs kicking in meant a smooth but quick stop, no drama, no fuss.
The front fork is good. Stiff for my taste, but rightly so due to it’s sporty character. Cornering is a breeze. Again, weight, tires and suspension make them fun with no surprises. The adjustable rear suspension could use a bit more travel, but that’s just my bum talking, otherwise it’s great.
The Duke instrument panel is cool. ABS can be switched off via a button on the console. Several odometer and trip meter modes can be accessed as well as a cool fuel savings computer. The tachometer is also digital and could be bigger as my tired old eyes had a hard time figuring out what RPM I was on. Seat is comfortable but a bit narrow and there is little room for a bag on the buddy seat.
The Duke 390 is a great bike. An super entry level bike to those moving up from the below 200cc bikes and a fantastic second bike to our more experienced riders. Being at home both in the city as well as on the open road the Duke 390 has successfully managed to marry style and substance into one great looking and performing bike.
|Design||1-cylinder 4-stroke engine, water-cooled|
|Performance||32 kW (43 hp)|
|Starting aid||Electric starter|
|Transmission||6 speed, claw shifted|
|Engine lubrication||Forced oil lubrication with 2 Eaton pumps|
|Primary gear ratio||30:80|
|Secondary gear ratio||15:45|
|Cooling system||Liquid cooling system, continuous circulation of cooling liquid with water pump|
|Clutch||Wet multi-disc clutch / mechanically operated|
|Ignition system||Contactless, controlled, fully electronic ignition system with digital ignition timing adjustment|
|Frame||Tubular space frame made from steel, powder-coated|
|Fork||WP Suspension Up Side Down|
|Shock absorber||WP Monoshock|
|Suspension travel Front||150 mm|
|Suspension travel Rear||150 mm|
|Brake system Front||Disc brake with four-pot brake caliper|
|Brake system Rear||Disc brake with one-pot brake caliper, floating brake discs|
|Brake discs – diameter Front||300 mm|
|Brake discs – diameter Rear||230 mm|
|Chain||5/8 x 1/4” X?Ring|
|Steering head angle||65°|
|Wheel base||1,367±15 mm|
|Ground clearance (unloaded)||170 mm|
|Seat height (unloaded)||800 mm|
|Total fuel tank capacity approx.||11 l
Unleaded premium fuel (95 RON)
|Weight without fuel approx.||139 kg|
KTM is distributed by:
Access Plus – KTM Philippines
102 P.Tuazon Street, Cubao Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. Nos.: +63 2 725 0897