The new 390 Duke looks meaner than before and is more manageable with major upgrades in features and equipment.
What is it?
The 390 Duke has always been a real-life example of the ‘David and Goliath’ story. That admittedly small-looking bike from KTM packs a far larger punch than its dimensions, or cubic capacity for that matter, suggest; on-road and on-track, it could put some bigger bikes to shame. In fact, it has even inspired fear in riders that were not primed for how manic it could get.
And now, as we are standing in front of its evolution, we can feel an inkling of that fear taking bloom inside of us. Because the 2017 390 Duke looks ready to bite your head off.
This bike is sharp, sharp as a chef’s knife. There are lots of lines, angles and pointy ends everywhere, so much so that this bike might as well have come from the sets of Terminator 3. The split headlight unit up front looks like an inverted pitchfork and houses all-LED headlamps and daytime running lamps. Crowning the headlamp unit is an all-new TFT colour instrument display that can connect to your smartphone and stream/control phone calls and audio.
The fuel tank is also all-new, it’s built out of steel and capable of holding up to 13.5 litres. As with the Duke 250, which we reviewed a week back, the fuel tank is more vertical and forward-inclined than before, empowering the 390 with a more purposeful, more aggressive and ready-for-action stance. Underneath the tank is the bright orange trellis frame that we have come to associate with the Dukes. It has been modified for the new 390 and now features an exposed bolt-on subframe. The subframe beautifully disappears under the pillion seat, portraying the 390 Duke as a wonderful sum of its parts.
Other cosmetic changes include a simpler underbelly pan, a side-slung exhaust (as opposed to the erstwhile underbelly unit) and newly designed seats.
The 390 Duke is quite the looker on the whole. It looks raw, ready, mean and even deadly; it looks built for purpose.