There are numerous obstacles to streetbike ownership for young adults, including how fewer children are even riding bicycles these days, never mind motorcycles, as I discussed in my latest Duke’s Den editorial. So, for an entry-level bike to overcome the hurdle into motorcycling, it has to be cool enough to push the desirability scale past the point of trepidation.
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After two days riding KTM’s 390 Duke around Thailand, including many laps burned at a local racetrack, I’ve been seduced by its combination of style, performance and value. There are plenty of faster bikes, and there are several cheaper bikes. But, to my mind, the 390 Duke hits a wonderful balance in the coolness-per-dollar ratio.
A single-cylinder engine seems a bit modest when some of its competitors use Twins, but its 373cc displacement is bigger. Its engine internals are fairly high spec, so it’s by no means slow – an 80-mph cruise is easy. Plus, it can hit triple digits given enough prodding. More importantly, the 390 Duke looks like something special rather than a typical entry-level sportbike that can’t hide its penny-squeezing build sheet.
Ringing in at a very palatable $4,999, the lightweight 390 Duke makes a good case for honors in the Value category of our 2015 MOBO awards. Take a look at the video to see if you agree, and let us know your opinion in the comments section below.
|KTM 390 Duke||Honda CB300F||Honda CB500F||Kawasaki Ninja 300||Suzuki DRZ400SM|
|Engine Type||Liquid-cooled, DOHC, single-cylinder, four-stroke, 4 valves per cylinder||Liquid-cooled, DOHC, single-cylinder, four-stroke, 4 valves per cylinder||Liquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel-Twin, four-stroke, 4 valves per cylinder||Liquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel-Twin, four-stroke, 4 valves per cylinder||Liquid-cooled, DOHC, single-cylinder, four-stroke, 4 valves per cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke||89.0mm x 60.0mm||76.0mm x 63.0mm||67.0mm x 66.8mm||62.0mm x 49.0mm||90.0mm x 62.6mm|
|Horsepower||43 (claimed)||26 (est)||43||34||34.7|
|Torque||25.8 (claimed)||17.8 (est)||29||18||25.9|
|Fuel System||Electronic Fuel Injection||PGM-Fi, 38mm throttle body||PGM-FI, two 34mm throttle bodies||Electronic Fuel Injection||Single Mikuni BSR36 carburettor|
|Front Suspension||WP 43mm inverted fork. 5.9 in travel||37mm conventional fork. 4.65 in. travel||41mm fork; 4.3 in. travel||37mm conventional fork. 4.7 in travel||Showa inverted fork. Adjustable for rebound and compression|
|Rear Suspension||WP shock. Preload adjustable. 5.9 in travel||Pro-link single shock, preload adjustable, 4.07 in travel||Pro-Link single shock. Preload adjustable. 4.7 in travel||Single shock. Preload adjustable. 5.2 in travel||Showa monoshock. Fully adjustable with high- and low-speed compression adjustment|
|Front Brakes||Single 300mm disc. 4-piston, radial-mount caliper||Single 296mm disc. Twin-piston caliper||Single 320mm wave disc. Two-piston caliper||Single 290mm wave disc. Two-piston caliper||Single 300mm disc. Two-piston caliper|
|Rear Brakes||Single 230mm disc. Single-piston caliper||Single 220mm disc. Single-piston caliper||Single 240mm wave disc. Single-piston caliper||Single 220mm wave disc. Two-piston caliper||Single 245mm disc. Single-piston caliper|
|Front Tire||110/70-17||110/70-17||120/70-17||110/70-17||120/70-17 tube|
|Rear Tire||150/60-17||140/70-17||160/60-17||140/70-17||140/70-17 tube|
|Seat Height||31.5 in||30.7 in||30.9 in||30.9 in||35.0 in|
|Wheelbase||53.8 in||54.3 in||55.5 in||55.3 in||57.5 in|
|Rake/Trail||25.0 deg/3.9 in||25.3 deg/3.9 in||25.5 deg/4.1 in||27.0 deg/3.7 in||NA|
|Curb Weight||345 (claimed)||351 (claimed)||418 (claimed)||379.3 (claimed)||321 (claimed)|
|Fuel Capacity||2.9 gal||3.4 gal||4.1 gal||4.5 gal||2.6 gal|