The KTM 390 Duke has always been positioned in a sweet spot of the market, since its launch in mid-2013. From the word go, there’s been little competition to hold a candle to this potent single cylinder bike. Priced to please at just over Rs 2 lakh, the 390 Duke still packs a mega punch, offering genuine 160kph plus top speed capability, aided by a healthy 42.4bhp that gets you there at the drop of a hat. And then there’s a mouth watering array of specifications, the package including all you could want at this budget: a trellis frame with alloy swingarm, fat USD front suspension, liquid-cooling, fuel-injection, six-speed transmission, gluey Metzeler tyres, ABS equipped disc brakes fed via steel braided hosing, and so on.
Adding to this, KTM has quietly added a significant feature to the bike - a slipper clutch. The new clutch will help keep the 390 Duke in control, never allowing engine retardation to get the better of and lock the rear wheel; this can send it into a slide or cause tyre chatter if downshifting through the gearbox aggressively, while hard braking from high speed.
The new slipper clutch system is in place on the 2015 model 390 Duke naked streetbikes, already available to customers in showrooms across India. Given that the mini supersports class RC390 shares its engine with its Duke counterpart, it’s only a matter of time before you see a slipper clutch on sale with these sportsbikes as well.