Typically, the most fascinating sportbikes have high price tags and outrageous levels of power. KTM’s playful new RC390 has neither but, nevertheless is almost irresistibly appealing.

Until now, entry-level sportbikes have been fun to ride but lack the desirability, equipment and performance that experienced riders demand. The RC390 has the style and capabilities to change that equation. Compare its sharp lines, lovely tubular-trellis frame and radial-mount brakes to segment rivals like Kawasaki’s Ninja 300 and Honda’s new CBR300R, and the RC390 looks like it punches in a class or two higher.

We published our First Ride Review of the RC390 a few days ago, and now we’re bringing you the sights and sounds of the alluring KTM in a video you can view below.

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Powering KTM’s latest RC is a single-cylinder engine displacing 373cc, giving it a big leg up on the 286cc Single in the Honda. The twin-cylinder Ninja 300 (296cc) will come close to matching the KTM’s peak horsepower (43 horses claimed at the crank), but the Kawi (and Honda) will fall well short of the RC’s torque output, crank-rated at 25.8 ft-lb.

The RC390 uses a cool, robotically welded trellis frame that adds style points and saves weight. KTM claims a lithe 324-lb tank-empty weight, which undercuts the CBR’s 337 lbs and the Ninja’s 357 lbs. The RC is pushing the power-to-weight limits of Europe’s A2 licensing tier. Switchable ABS is standard equipment.

Yet to be released is the RC390’s price, but it’s expected to be surprisingly low, aided by the RC’s production taking place in India. I originally guessed an MSRP in the $6,000 range, but KTM today confirmed its price will be “very competitive” with bikes in its class. With ABS, the CBR retails for $4,899, while the Ninja is priced at $5,299, so the sexy little KTM will almost surely have a sub-$6k MSRP, which would make its value proposition even stronger.

Americans will have their first chance to see the RC390 during the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, California, November 14-16, when the official MSRP will be announced. Availability in dealers is expected by March 2015.

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KTM Communities

  • hunkyleepickle

    Great bike, but i keep hearing that KTM is not telling anyone how much!! this makes me very concerned that they will drop the usual KTM bomb with their ‘premium pricing’. Whats the deal KTM, tell us how much!

    • Yves Khadra

      In Lebanon we will sell the bike for 6999 usd priced less than the kawasaki.250 and 300

  • Brands Guy

    I had the Duke 390 and despite a few flaws and overall finish quality being just ok, it was a heck of a lot of fun and highly addictive. Light weight and smaller displacement bikes with some poke are just my thing for the commute or occasional blat. Currently have a Ninja 300 and believe this will still be more practical, better finished and more reliable than the KTM. But something tells me when the RC 390 arrives at my local dealership, the looks and grin factor will win me over and change from green to orange. Could come down to how much more aggressive the seating and bars are over the comfortable set up of the Ninja 300.

  • BTRDAYZ

    Are there any known plans to release a RC690 since we have a Duke690?

    • Yves Khadra

      No plans at all for the moment

    • Reid

      An RC690 would struggle to be cost-competitive with its 600+cc rivals, I’m afraid. The 690 Duke already pushes it in that department. Being the pinnacle of single-cylinder street bikes is cool, but unless it’s something you just can’t live without there will always be multi-cyinder bikes that do more for less or equal money.

  • Steven Holmes

    Looks like a blast! I really like KTM’s orange trellis frame… very sexy contrast of white/orange…mmmmmmm.

    I’d love to throw a leg over this one.

  • Luke

    This is the first sports bike I’ve ever wanted. I enjoy premium and small and I’m super happy that KTM has embraced the philosophy (like Mini did with cars). I might need to get a more comfortable seat though as I don’t see my going knee down on a track any time soon (more back road bombing). Test ride at a minimum, likely purchase if not right away, then used in a year or two.

  • Shawn Poorman

    Hey Kevin,

    According to a few other sources KTM has announced the price as $5499 for the RC390, and $4999 for the Duke 390, both including ABS of course.

    I think the only thing stopping some people from buying this bike over its competition will be the lack of a relatively close KTM dealer in many parts of the country. And possibly some availability issues as well; I would expect these things to sell like hotcakes.

    Only question for me is, Duke or RC? I’ll have to ride both to find out!