The list of exotic sportbikes available now in India is seemingly unending, with a variety of quick two-wheeled machines available to cater to all rider’s tastes. Sadly, due to soaring price tags, many larger-capacity bikes retailing in India remain out of reach for most Indian enthusiasts.
Over the past few years though, KTM with Bajaj has slowly been changing things, bridging the gap between the affordability of everyday commuter bikes and the capabilities of focussed performance bikes. Now, this super successful partnership has introduced yet another motorcycle, that’s being touted as nothing short of extraordinary.
The newly launched 200 and 390 RC or Race Competition siblings are two fully faired sportbikes that share the same engines as their Duke siblings, yet ride nothing like them.
We get astride the flagship KTM RC390 to tell you how this bike performs in Indian conditions.
The KTM RC390 may share the same engine at the 390 Duke, but it rides nothing like a Duke. The RC390 is held together by a steel trellis frame that ensures stability even when pushing to the limit. Forward-mounted clip-on handle bars and rear-set foot pegs most certainly make for an aggressive ride posture. This isn’t a forgiving bike for beginners, but will prove rewarding for experienced riders looking for the sharp handling edge of a sportsbike. The manufacturer has given the RC390’s rider seat a firm touch, with minimal padding, as only to be expected on a sportbike such as this.
The RC390 is stable at high speeds, even past 150kph, and its fairing deflects wind well, leaving behind a calmer environment to think when piercing through the breeze. The ergonomic fuel tank also provides good thigh support. Once you get used to the RC390’s wide turning radius, negotiating traffic doesn’t take much effort.
The RC390 comes with beefy, 43mm upside-down WP front suspension that absorbs bumps at high speeds, despite reduced travel compared to the Duke. The RC390 also has sharper steering angle, which makes the bike more agile. Speaking of which, the bike tips into aggressive lean angles without much effort and springs back quickly, to blast out of corners with composure.
Tubeless, radial Metzeler tyres front and rear provide solid grip on tarmac, and decent grip on concrete too.
Braking duties are taken care of by hydraulic-fed discs, front (300mm four-pot, radial mounted) and rear (230mm). The front brake has strong bite when required. ABS here is a Bosch-KTM developed 9MB, twin-channel system, never compromising on performance or safety.
In our brake tests, the RC390 stopped in 58.58 meters from 100kph, taking 17.82m from 60kph.