What is there to say about the KTM RC 390? Well, for starters, it’s probably the lightest, snappiest and most sharp-steering scalpel of a bike the current small-displacement sportbike market has to offer. It’s no surprise why many junior and development race series like MotoGP’s ADAC, WSBK’s WorldSSP 300 class and MotoAmerica’s KTM RC Cup and now Junior Cup feature racing based heavily on the RC 390, who’s DNA is deeply rooted in Moto3 competition.

2017 KTM 390 Duke Review

It’s a fantastic stepping-stone in building up to a 600cc supersport as well as just a plain riot to ride for riders of all abilities, from just starting out to seasoned veterans. The RC 390 and its naked sibling, the 390 Duke, pack perhaps the biggest punch and provide the most grin-inducing performance of any sub 500cc street bike.

2018 KTM RC 390 R

The RC 390 R with the optional SSP300 Race Kit

KTM has just kicked it up a notch and announced that it will be producing an RC 390 R model for the European and overseas markets in 2018 – a homologated, limited edition machine ready for Supersport 300 competition when combined with the optional and dedicated SSP300 Race Kit. Production will be limited, though, as only 500 models will be made and available only abroad – for now. For us in America, we’ll have to wait a little longer, but we’re told a U.S. version is on the way. The introduction of the new, hardcore R model comes right on the heels of the ever-growing popularity and promotion of small-displacement motorcycle racing, as evidenced by WSBK’s WorldSSP 300 class, which is starting its sophomore year in 2018, MotoAmerica’s successful RC Cup and all-new Junior cup, and the newly announced M1GP/Women in Motorsports Foundation Superlites Endurance Championship.

2018 KTM RC 390 R

The R model will feature a host of factory race parts including fully adjustable WP suspension both front and rear that will allow racers of all sizes to dial in their perfect setup, a lighter and more aggressively positioned top triple-tree and bars, and CNC milled foldable levers designed to swivel and not break in the event of a crash or lay down. Additionally, the RC 390 R will have a shorter intake to maximize and widen the 373.2cc single-cylinder engine’s overall powerband. The whole package will be wrapped in a racey graphics kit.

Beginner-ish Sportbike Shootout + Video

The KTM RC 390 R, due to its top-shelf componentry and race-inspired nature, will set overseas riders back a considerable amount over the base model. Costing 8,500€ including German VAT, it doesn’t sound cheap, but it’s arguably some of the best equipment money can buy. Other bikes in the RC 390’s class include the Ninja 300/400, Yamaha YZF-R3 and Honda CBR500R, which are all considerably cheaper to initially acquire, but definitely require additional investment in key component areas to bring up to competitive race-pace.

For racers who want even more performance and tunability, KTM is also offering the SSP300 Race Kit, which complies with international SSP 300 FIM regulations for 2018 and contains more than 230 individual parts that truly give racers the ability to custom tune the bike to suit various tracks and conditions. The Race Kit includes a full titanium Akrapovič SSP300 EVO02 system with race ECU, STM slipper clutch, quickshifter, wiring harness, spare wheels, a huge selection of gearing options, an increased-capacity cooling system and a full bodywork kit made from strong, lightweight materials, in addition to other various parts.

2016 KTM 390 Duke Long-Term Review

2018 KTM RC 390 R

From various sized sprockets to a larger-capacity radiator, the SSP 300 Race Kit contains more than 230 individual parts allowing racers the ability to custom tune the bike to their liking while suiting various tracks and conditions.

The SSP 300 Race Kit will set an overseas rider back 11,000€, including German VAT, over the initial cost of the bike. But to a dedicated racer, having a brand-new, completely race-ready bike out of the box with factory-level equipment and an exceptional amount of adjustability might be worth it for that competitive edge. After all, KTM’s mantra is READY TO RACE. Just as the R model will be limited to 500 total units, the SSP300 Race Kit will also be limited to only 50 kits per year and will have to be acquired directly from KTM Customer Racing.

Fortunately for us Westerners, KTM tells us we can expect a U.S. announcement including pricing sometime soon.

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KTM Communities

  • DickRuble

    Boring.. Bring the Duke 690R, made in Austria.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      So Triumphs are made in Thailand. Are they boring too? BMW G310Rs are made in India. Are they boring? Most sub-500cc bikes are made in South and Southeast Asia. That doesn’t make them ‘boring’. How about Land Rovers which are made in India?

    • Born to Ride

      I might have considered a Duke 690R if it were available. Briefly, but I would have gone to the trouble to schedule a test ride and give it a chance.

  • SRMark

    Stupid is as stupid does

    • spiff

      ? Offering a small cc race ready bike is stupid?

      • Sayyed Bashir

        Some people need to comment just to comment. Challenge him to a race and then see what he has to say.

      • Born to Ride

        Including all those spare head gaskets is a little disconcerting…

        • Connie

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        • spiff

          Wring the piss out of a single and pay the price. We all know how to make a small fortune in racing.

          Edit: On the up side you can probably do the head gasket in your van at the track.

          • Born to Ride

            True, but I’d rather spend 14,000$ on the new Kawi 400, a truckload of slicks, every single upgrade part I can think of, and NOT be doing headgaskets in my van when I should be on the damn track!

          • spiff

            Racebikes not trackbikes, run’em hard and fix’em. I think the 390 would out run the Ninja, but that is what the race would determine. If I were to buy a track bike it would be a 5 to 10 year old 600 racebike that someone cared for. Bonus if we weighed the same. Truth is if I do go back to the track it would most likely be supermoto. I enjoy it, and it feels natural to me.

            At the end of the day I don’t want to work on my bike at the track either. Lol

      • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

        Yeah we should make it harder for younger generations to come into motorcycling and racing in particular…… (sarcastic)

        • DickRuble

          I am sure there are many youngsters that can toss $14k at a bike to go racing Sundays (sarcastic).

        • spiff

          Racing is a rich mans/womans sport. It has nothing to do with buying a clapped out bike and riding it until the wheels fall off.

          • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

            Even rich people have kids…

        • JMDGT

          Maybe the younger generations should get off their pussified asses and develop some passion for riding and pay for it themselves.

          • LOL did your kids ask you for money again?

          • JMDGT

            I didn’t but the government insists on it.

      • DickRuble

        It is if it’s meant to attract new kids to racing. Where is an 18-20 y.o. going to get $14k (before taxes) to go racing? Or rather: how many 18-20 yo kids can afford to toss 14K + trailer + fees + equipment to go racing? If that’s the “cheap” way to racing fawgitit.

        • Born to Ride

          I just found out that my local flat track charges 45$ for race registration. Forty five dollars. If you qualify you race. Nuts. Lol

          • DickRuble

            So you pay $45 to race the qualifiers.. That may mean what? One, two, three rounds, depending on the field?

          • Born to Ride

            Practice days are 35$. Maybe I can qualify one day!

        • spiff

          Who said cheap? You ever price shifter carts? A bone stock 250 mx bike still needs a grand or more in the suspension alone to be competitive. These bikes aren’t meant to introduce people into racing. It is a beginning for experianced riders making a real effort to make it in racing.

          How does one make a small fortune in racing? (Start with a large one.)

          • DickRuble

            It says “bargain” in the article.

          • spiff

            These bikes are designed to be raced in a feeder class. I bet kids with half assed dreams of making it in Motocross spend this much.

  • spiff

    For all of you who think this bike is too expensive I say this. You are not looking to competitively race in a feeded class with ambitions to go pro. I have been around lots of racing growing up. In my youth it was mainly around cars. A friend of the family, who raced “Modifieds” on half mile dirt, told me the following. When the sponsor wrote you the check (this case $40k), most if not all immediately went to the engine guy to pay for last season. He also dumped a substantial amount of his own money into the “hobby”. $14k ain’t shit if your serious.

    • DickRuble

      So you’ve seen more expensive, therefore you’re immune to it and feel it’s not. Ok..Like selling a Mercedes AMG to a middle school teacher arguing that it’s cheap compared to a Bentley. With that argument you go bring more people to the sport… good luck.

      • spiff

        Come to Vegas, that weed your smoking is leagal here. If someone is looking to get into racing ,they can alway buy an old race bike for $5k to see if it is worth pursuing.
        🙂

        • Born to Ride

          He’s in Colorado I think. They’ve got you guys beat by a few years when it comes to weed. Lol

    • JMDGT

      Spiff, you know and understand reality. Go Spiff end transmission.

  • JMDGT

    The good news is KTM makes this available. Everything comes at a cost. It is all relative. Oh I know maybe we can get the government to steal money from the producers in the country and give it to someone that wants this bike and give it to them as a subsidy. That will keep the cost down. Even if I didn’t race I would have loved to have this bike avaialble to me as a young man. Go cheap if you want to. Cheap is different than inexpensive. It is also different than not available at any price. Good for KTM.

    • spiff

      And for $5500 you can have a bone stock one that is probably the best trackbike in the class.

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    • LOL at reverse Marxism.

      • DickRuble

        I’ll laugh with you if you can articulate what Marxism stands for.

  • Bmwclay

    Does it come with touring bags and tank bag? I want to visit every state and providence before I die.