2017 KTM 390 Duke

Editor Score: 91.25%
Engine 19.0/20
Suspension/Handling 13.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.5/10
Brakes 9.0/10
Instruments/Controls4.75/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.75/10
Appearance/Quality 9.5/10
Desirability 8.25/10
Value 10/10
Overall Score91.25/100

The moto market is spoiled for lustful choices in the high-end arena, but creating a desirable motorcycle at a budget price is a more challenging achievement. The KTM 390 Duke has been entertaining us with its unequaled balance of style, performance and value since we first took the terrific little funster for a spin in 2015, and it rightfully earned its place as Best Entry-Level Motorcycle in our annual MOBO awards. For 2017, the little Duke gets even more desirable by offering greater comfort, higher technology and a bit more power.

Best Lightweight/Entry-Level Motorcycle Of 2016

Let’s start with the aspect of a bike that first makes it attractive to a rider – appearance. It’s not easy to spawn a frugal machine that looks expensive, but the 390 Duke pulls off that feat better than any other reasonably priced roadster in recent memory. The sharp creases of its new bodywork yield a bold and contemporary visage, enabling its rider to hold his or her head high at the local bike night.

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The Duke’s new face is a split headlight design that roughly mimics that of its large-and-in-charge Super Duke R brother, now incorporating full LED lighting – a first in its class. The orange trellis frame (revised to deliver a 10mm shorter wheelbase and 5mm less trail) underpinning the Duke is visually offset by its white-colored lattice subframe, now a bolt-on design that allows for easier crash repair should you be unfortunate enough to not be saved by the bike’s tremendous agility or its two-channel Bosch ABS system.

2017 KTM 390 Duke on Fiat car factory spiral ramp

The 390 Duke will look good at your moto hangout or in the incredible spiralling ramp system at Fiat’s old car factory in Turin, Italy, opened in 1923 and retired in 1982.

The upscale theme continues in the instrument panel, a color TFT display that is another first in its class. It looks expensive, and its 5.2-inch panel remains easy to read thanks to automatic adjustments to ambient light and switching over to a black background in low light. The tach is represented in an analog sweep that changes to red as it nears its 10,000-rpm rev limit. It’s a huge improvement over the mediocre former instruments and also offers KTM’s optional My Ride feature ($25.99) that syncs via Bluetooth with your smartphone to control and display calls and music.

2017 KTM 390 Duke TFT display

Navigating menus is fairly intuitive via new left-side backlit switchgear borrowed from the 690 Duke. That tapered handlebar is now steel rather than aluminum, a cost concession to help offset costlier bits like the thin-film-transistor instrumentation seen here in its nighttime background and with the My Ride menu.

The 390’s agreeable ergonomics gets tweaks for 2017 that are both subtle and significant. The handlebar places the grips a bit forward and slightly higher, and new dogleg levers now feature span adjustments to five positions. Footrests are a bit higher and more rear-set, and their brackets are now made from forged aluminum instead of the previous castings to help prevent cracking that apparently occurred seldomly when thrashed on undeveloped roads in second-world nations. A new seat dramatically improves comfort relative to the previous saddle that felt cheap and unsupportive, but it comes at the cost of increased height. KTM says it sits at a fairly lofty 32.7 inches (up from 31.5), but it feels significantly lower thanks to a narrowish front section that gives legs a convenient straight shot at the ground.

2017 KTM 390 Duke ergonomics

Five-foot-8 Duke fits comfortably on the 390 Duke. Taller riders at the launch praised the altered riding triangle that better accommodates long legs. The KTM riding gear is thanks to Air France, which misplaced my luggage until most of the ride was over, necessitating an improvised wardrobe all available at your KTM dealer. Seen on the bike in these action photos is a carbon Akrapovic slip-on replacing the stock muffler, available as an accessory from KTM. It’s nicely only slightly louder than stock, and only at the upper reaches of revs.

More improvements come from WP, the KTM-owned suspension company. The 390’s previous suspenders were closer to adequate than excellent, so WP stepped up with new components at both ends. The beefy 43mm inverted fork still lacks adjustability but now uses an open-cartridge design apparently able to better accommodate a variety of loads, with rebound- and compression-damping circuits in separate legs. Progressive-wound springs are better able to support chassis pitching while remaining compliant. A new progressive spring also joins the new damper out back, a separate-piston design adjustable only for preload over nine steps of its ramped collar. The suspension performed well under my 150 lbs, but 220-lb Bertrand Gahel from Canada’s Le Guide de la Moto also had praise for it.

2017 KTM 390 Duke going down spiral ramp

A radially mounted four-piston caliper on a 300mm rotor on the original 390 appeared to be class-leading but in actual testing wasn’t, so the Brembo-designed ByBre caliper now bites on a 320mm disc and addresses a weakness in the previous edition by providing excellent stopping power. The ABS can be switched to a Supermoto setting that disables rear antilocking for hooligan skidding activity, which, by the way, is frowned on when painting black lines on the rooftop of a century-old building.

The little Duke ushers in ride-by-wire throttle control to the sub-500cc category, a strategy to help the 373cc motor meet Euro 4 emissions regulations. It includes one-touch starting and helps the single-cylinder mill light up quickly, a welcome upgrade from the sometimes-finicky previous version.

The engine receives no internal changes, but a slightly larger airbox and a new exhaust system are purported to help contribute an extra 1.5 lb-ft of midrange torque. This small number may seem insignificant, but it’s an improvement of 5.7% and feels like even more when measured at the ol’ butt dyno. Based on our previous actual dyno measurements, we expect 26 lb-ft of twist at its rear wheel. Horsepower is said to be the same as before, so it’ll likely hit about 40 horses around 9000 rpm. Both those power numbers are significantly more than you’ll find from any sub-400cc streetbike and are enough to coax out wheelies even in second gear.

2017 KTM 390 Duke wheelie

Entry-level bikes certainly don’t require wheelie ability, but a surfeit of grunt over a broad rev range to keep from getting trampled by traffic is a benefit to any rider, and it enables a longer ownership lifespan as skills develop. Behind me is one of the banked corners on the roof of the old Fiat factory, and riding on the 90-year-old test track was a highly unique experience.

The Duke’s exhaust system got overhauled for 2017, with rerouted headers and the cat-con behind the cylinder on the left. The system retains a sizable chamber behind the engine but adds a tidy side-exit muffler in front of the Duke’s aluminum swingarm (another unusual item in its class) that completes the conversion to Euro 4 acceptability.

KTM claimed a dry weight of 306 lbs for the original version and 328 lbs for this one. Considering the 2016 weighed about 340 lbs wet, and the new fuel tank (steel, no longer nylon) carries a welcome extra 0.6 gallon to 3.5 gallons, we expect the 2017 edition will scale in around 360 lbs when full of fuel.

2017 KTM 390 Duke review

Despite the weight gain, the 390 Duke can still rip up a twisty road or scythe through traffic like nobody’s business. The Metzeler Sportec M5 tires on this bike gripped better on pavement than whatever it was I was riding on here alongside a Torino skate park. The svelte and unobtrusive turnsignals above the headlight are doomed by DOT regulations for replacement with something uglier for the American market.

Riding the 390 Duke is almost completely delightful. Clutch effort is light, the engine pulls cleanly from low revs, and gearshifts are light. The clutch’s slipper function makes ill-timed or aggressive downshifts nearly foolproof. The Duke excels at squirting through the tight confines of urban traffic, and it has plenty enough power to cruise at 80-per while its counterbalanced engine keeps vibration levels from becoming oppressive. Carving a twisty road is a riot, with responsive steering enabling changes of direction quicker than a border collie while maintaining the stability of a basset hound. It’s truly a wonderful backroad scratcher that flatters its rider.

2017 KTM 390 Duke leaned over

Ah, at least my head is now wearing my own helmet… This photo reveals some of KTM’s attention to detail. The rectangular bulge toward the rear of the circular alternator cover formerly was at the bottom of the disc, so KTM moved it to improve cornering clearance. It also has the supposed side benefit of allowing better circulation of engine oil.

The least impressive part of the 390 Duke experience is a radiator fan that kicks on just three bars away from its cold reading, whining away as obnoxiously loud as the Buell Ulysses rear cylinder fan. Word from KTM is that its partner, Bajaj, which builds the smaller Dukes in India, wants the fan to come on early so there would be no overheating issues in their hot domestic climate. KTM says it’s working on trying an update for bikes bound for Western markets that would prevent the fan from kicking in until reaching higher temperatures.

2017 KTM 390 Duke subframe welds

There’s so much to like about the 390 Duke, including many nice finish details like hidden bodywork fasteners and backlit switchgear, which makes sloppy welds like these annoyingly incongruous.

But you’ve got to look pretty damn closely to find fault with the new 390 Duke. It’s almost as if KTM took to heart the nits we had to pick with the previous version and refined one of our favorite small-displacement roadsters of all time into something almost debonair, which is quite a feat for a motorcycle that retails for just $5,299. The little Duke has earned the first perfect 10 score I’ve awarded in our Value category.

2017 KTM 390 Duke
+ Highs

  • Sensational value
  • Sharp appearance
  • Punches way above its weight
– Sighs

  • Whiny radiator fan
  • A few ugly welds
  • No 390 Dukes when we were 16

Related Reading
Best Lightweight/Entry-Level Motorcycle Of 2015
2017 KTM 390 Duke Preview
2016 KTM 390 Duke Long-Term Review
Little Tearers Comparison: Honda CB500F vs. KTM 390 Duke
2015 KTM 390 Duke First Ride Review

2017 KTM 390 Duke Specifications
MSRP $5,299
Engine Type Single cylinder, 4-stroke
Displacement 373.2 cc
Bore/Stroke 89 / 60 mm
Power 42.9 hp at 9000 rpm (claimed)
Torque 27.3 lb-ft. at 7000 rpm (claimed)
Compression Ratio 12.6:1
Starter/Battery Electric starter / 12V, 8 Ah
Transmission 6 gears
Fuel System Bosch EFI (throttle body 46 mm)
Control 4 V / DOHC
Lubrication Wet sump
Engine Oil Motorex Formula 4T
Primary Drive 30:80
Final Drive 15:45
Cooling Liquid cooling
Clutch PASC slipper clutch, mechanically operated
Engine Management Bosch EMS with RBW
Frame Steel trellis frame, powder coated
Subframe Steel trellis frame, powder coated
Handlebar Steel, tapered, Ø 26 / 22 mm
Front Suspension WP-USD Ø 43 mm, 5.6 inches travel
Rear Suspension WP shock absorber, 5.9 inches travel
Front Brake Four piston, radially mounted caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mm
Rear Brake Single piston, floating caliper, brake disc Ø 230 mm
Abs Bosch 9.1MP Two Channel (disengageable)
Front Wheel Cast aluminum, 3.00 x 17″
Rear Wheel Cast aluminum, 4.00 x 17″
FrontTire 110/70 ZR 17
Rear Tire 150/60 ZR 17
Chain X-Ring 5/8 x 1/4″
Silencer Stainless steel primary and aluminum secondary silencer
Steering Head Angle 65°
Trail 3.7 inches
Wheel Base 53.4 ± 0.6 inches
Ground Clearance 7.3 inches
Seat Height 32.7 inches
Fuel Tank Capacity 3.5 gallons / 0.4 gallons reserve
Dry Weight approx. 328 pounds (claimed)

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KTM Communities

  • spiff

    One of the things the Internet is good for is owner feedback. It seems that KTM is not the only company reading forums and blogs to get real riders opinions. They addressing what improvements people want to see.

  • spiff

    You mentioned they are going to try to change the temp that the fan comes on before the bikes hit the states. I think something similar is going on with the 1290. Thay aren’t here yet. I am hoping they are cleaning up the quick shifter in the lower gears.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      The 1290 is not made in India so it will not have the early fan problem. I have not heard the fan on my 1190 Adventure even in the summer.

      • spiff

        I am unsure why the 1290 is delayed. I am being optimistic that they are cleaning up the quick shifter. I didn’t mean it had anything to do with the fan.

        • Kevin Duke

          KTM says the SDRs will be here early next month!

          • spiff

            You fool. Now you are on the hook. You want kind words about your chiseled looks and intriguing writing style? KTM better deliver. 🙂

          • spiff

            Do you think KTM will do anything special for those who are waiting with a deposit made? Giving a deal on products out of the accessory catalog would make a nice gesture. Or a deal on the electronic upgrades.

            I on the other hand am just a jester looking forward to a new bike.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I had to pay a deposit in Oct 2014 to get my 1190R in Jan 2015. I was lucky to get the bike, much less any deals.

          • spiff

            The bike is going to be 5 or 6 weeks late. Not a huge deal, but it does sucks. I have read about a couple of people who are not going to wait, but they are the minority. At the end of the day if they did something nice it would be cool, but I wasn’t really holding my breath.

    • Matt Forero

      Funny that in the 690 community, most swap out the thermostat to lower the fan engagement temp. It doesn’t come on until 3 bars from the top.

  • JMDGT

    Where was this bike when I was sixteen? I feel the same. The whiny fan and sloppy welds bother me to no end. I like it regardless. More HP than my old CB350. Looks like it is more nimble. I believe it weighs less. It is the bike I would have had in High School. KTM has done a nice job. The welds. Work on those welds KTM. It makes a quality machine seem cheap.

    • Gabriel Owens

      I’m 40 years old, 16?, shhhoott no. I want one now.

      • David Gasser

        I’m 44 and have one on order

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Good for you!

        • Gabriel Owens

          I almost fit comfortably on one. The Duke 690 is perfect fit but at that price the xrs900 is in range and much better motorcycle. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Versys 300 turns out. Hopefully ktm will make a 390 to compete with it because that would be a great do everything motorcycle.

  • Gabriel Owens

    Whatever they have here in parts but built to look like Kawasaki’s Versys 300 x.

  • Born to Ride

    The bike isn’t my style, I prefer a cleaner and more subdued naked. But I can’t imagine passing this thing up if I was in the market for my very first bike. It hits all the boxes for a perfect beginner ride. If they could make a version with a round headlight and a monochromatic paint job, I might even pick one up a for tossing in the back of the truck when we go on road trips. It makes me think of a road equivalent of my XR100, just good clean light-weight fun for the whole family.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      KTM is never going to be subtle or subdued. It is not their style. KTM stands for Krazy to The Max.

    • Matt Forero

      It would still be well worth a few cans of plastidip to tone it down if orange isn’t your thing. They are really fun bikes.

      • Born to Ride

        More like the shape of all the body work and headlight, plus the orange. Lol

    • Buy a Honda.. Lol

      • Born to Ride

        Have you seen a CB500f? Not exactly classic styling, and it weighs 420lbs. If they built a CB500 that looked like a CB1100 and weighed 350lbs wet like this Duke, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

        • Yes I have seen that and especially I liked the way they styled it in 2017 but what I dislike about 500 Honda twins (cb/cbr) that they are very heavy and don’t handle good as KTMs. No doubt they are more reliable but less fun bikes. Just my opinion

      • Born to Ride

        Something like this, with the KTM 390 motor, and all the same performance specs. I would be in heaven.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fdde7b19126adb25d00bf070b4f24c7dfed0c9bd68b9e11ccc6571896e63fe3e.jpg

        • Ulysses Araujo

          Well, they are not THAT classic, but you may be happy with the 390 engined something-pilens coming from KTM sister company (Husqvarna).

        • They might just bring a whole black color option later. Who knows.

    • appliance5000

      vinyl – and don’t look at the headlight.

  • DickRuble

    ” Word from KTM is that its partner, Bajaj, which builds the smaller Dukes in India, wants the fan to come on early ” – the tail wagging the dog.. Yeah ..bike sucks.. but it’s not KTM..it’s the contractor.. KTM have no control… Well WRITE BAJAJ on the thing and call it a day!! At least people will know what they’re getting.

    • Jon Jones

      It’s another unfinished KTM product.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        How is it unfinished? Are you smarter than EiC Kevin Duke who went all the way to Italy to actually ride the bike and then rated it 10/10 for value and 91.25% overall? Do you know of any “finished” product that is rated this highly? Have you even seen or ridden the bike?

        • Jon Jones

          There’s a huge difference between test riding a manufacturer’s prepped press bike on an all-expense-paid junket as opposed to actual ownership of the bike—especially when the warranty runs out.

          And I toil the days away in the service department at a dealership that sells KTM. I stand firmly by my statement.

          • DickRuble

            Can’t imagine what a local market version is like. According to Indian consumers, the “export” version of the bike has different QC standards.

          • Jon Jones

            They’re not that bad, just flawed in certain areas. And as it’s been stated before, the Euro manufacturers seem to get a pass on issues that the Japanese would be taken to task over. Seems KTM can do no wrong in the eyes of the press.

          • Kevin Duke

            Dang, Jon, a sweeping generalization like KTM can do no wrong in the eyes of the press is annoying when, for example, I take a picture of sloppy welds to show our readers that the bike isn’t perfect. Also, we noted several critiques of the previous 390, and we also gave it a long-term test to check its durability and found no fault. That’s a broad and unfair brush you’re painting us with.

          • Jon Jones

            Yikes, sorry! I really meant the motorbike press in GENERAL, not you and this site. And I do appreciate your pics of those egregious, third-world welds.

            Still friends?

          • Kevin Duke

            As long as you say something about how clever I am with words or how attractive I am in pictures… 😉

          • Jon Jones

            Your exquisite prose does induce tears of joy and wonder.

            And those chiseled features of yours…just hawt!

          • Kevin Duke

            Okay, you’re forgiven now!

          • DickRuble

            Your smile, with a full face helmet on.

          • John B.

            Well since you broached the subject. Your wardrobe color coordination (esp. the matching shoelaces and sunglasses) was fantastic in this piece. Perhaps, you should lose your luggage and shop the OEM store more often!

          • Kevin Duke

            We did a long-term-test on the previous 390 and had no issues with it. What are you discovering on the 390s you see?

          • Jon Jones

            Driveability issues mainly, such as stalling when coming to a stop. The 690s are worse. The V-twins are also somewhat troublesome and no fun to work on.

            Don’t get me wrong here. KTMs are a blast to ride and definitely catered to enthusiasts. But they do have issues as the forums will attest. They’re pricey, yet buggy. And KTM could work on being more friendly and accommodating to its dealers. They’re spread way too thin since acquiring Husqvarna.

            And again, bear in mind that the bike KTM issued to you for long-term testing was likely given more attention than the bikes consumers will buy off the showroom floor. I did a bit of moto-journalism myself years ago. Our test Kawasaki EX250 carbureted far better than they usually do. It was clearly apparent that the fuel screws had been “adjusted”. No big deal, but see my point?

          • Kevin Duke

            Thanks for sharing your experience, Jon. Okay, so for the 390s in particular, driveability issues were the only common problem? If so, you’ll be happy with the new RbW throttle, as the bike always started quickly and never stalled.

          • Jon Jones

            Good to hear. They are a popular model and I’d like to own one myself. They just look terrific. And I’ve always loved singles.

          • Matt Forero

            Hmm, I haven’t run into any stalling on my 690. False neutrals from 5->6 inducing a freeway rev-bomb at 80+mph? A few times. And the rear brake pedal was was about two inches two high from the factory (works great after adjustment). I don’t think I would trade my ’14 Duke for any other bike right now except for a ’17 model.

          • Jon Jones

            Very good!. I also lust after a 690, issues or not.

            Must acquire money without resorting to crime…

          • Why are you moaning about quality? These are same old rants and we KTM owners are bored of hearing this time and again. I own KTM RC390 in India 7k miles done and the bike has been pushed to the limits several times in canyons. Not a single issue so far. The best bike I have ever owned. So stop generalising. Simply stick to Japanese which are definitely more reliable than KTM but not nearly as fun and exciting to ride as KTMs.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I have a 2015 1190 R with 20,000 miles. No problems.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Dick, Bajaj is not a contractor. Bajaj owns 52% of KTM.

      • DickRuble

        If true, that sucks.

        • Jason

          Why?

      • Vaibhavsharmacantuserealname

        15%

        • Sayyed Bashir

          It is actually 48%. KTM – Wikipedia: “KTM AG is presently owned by CROSS KraftFahrZeug Holding GmbH (51,28 %) and Bajaj Auto Limited International Holdings B.V. (47,99 %).”

    • spiff

      The 390 is a big deal in India. They need to cater to that market. The US market is just gravey for this model.

      • Kevin Duke

        For the record, it’s the Dukes smaller than the 390 (125, 200) that are the big sellers in India and Asia. The 390 is a large, expensive bike in many of those markets.

        • spiff

          One night I jumped down the Youtube “rabbit hole” and found myself watching numerous first ride/reviews out of India. It is a huge market, and if you watch the videos the Dukes are perfect for the environment. The conditions though are rough. Those riders talk about breaking wheels on bad roads etc. Reviewers focus on a lot of stuff we don’t consider. The videos I was watching were the new 250 and the revamped 390. I agree with you, KTM wants to be a premium brand there as well.

  • john phyyt

    Looks good with a 5 ft 8 in rider on board.. Yet R6 looks like a mini bike.. Kudos to KTM.

  • Ulysses Araujo

    Seems a nice bike… But in my country (Brazil) the current model is priced 2/3rds of an FZ-07. Guess I’d take a yammy in K.R. yellow.

  • derbybrit1

    Nice style, performance, and price package, but that 22 extra pounds is unacceptable.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Ha, ha. So a dry weight of only 328 lbs is unacceptable (because of a 22 lb increase caused by Euro 4 regulations)?

    • mikstr

      welcome to the wonderful world of Euro4…

  • TrevG

    I wonder if and when these will be in the USA?

    • Kevin Duke

      Sometime in May, says KTM.

      • TrevG

        Thanks. I haven’t ridden in like 18 yrs and was thinking this looked like a fun commuter.

  • Craig Hoffman

    Enduro version please, not ADV, enduro. Sigh…

    • DickRuble

      Did you see those welds? Are you sure you want an enduro built by Bajaj?

      • Dale

        Hey Dick..what do you not like about the Duke…I heard it handles really well…more fun to ride than an fz-07. Is it mostly the build quality and reliability? P.S. I rode the fz-07 and to me it wasn’t that much fun or anything special.

        • DickRuble

          It’s not a 690R, and it’s not made in Austria. That, and the consequences of that, is what I don’t like about it.

          • Kevin Duke

            Regarding the 690’s country of origin, be careful about stating alternative facts as facts.

          • DickRuble

            What? Where are they made?

          • Kevin Duke

            Every KTM except for the sub-400cc Singles are made in Austria.

          • Craig Hoffman

            The DRZ400, WR250R, CRF250, KLX250 gang need some dual sporting competition. A 390 in such guise would be affordable, cool, and just plain blow the lid off that sleepy class.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I am not sure Dick likes any bike.

      • Kevin Duke

        Welds don’t need to be pretty to be strong.

      • This guy is moaning about Bajaj. Lol. Have you even seen the quality levels on this bike?

  • gjw1992

    Sounds like a good first real bike. And as a great second bike for just running around, even alternative to a scooter.

    And probably the closest there is to the 350 2-strokes of 30-odd years ago – like the rd350lc.

    • spiff

      What about hanging one on the back of a camper. Only problem is a street Legal duel sport makes more sense there.

      • pennswoodsed

        This has very nearly same travel as Versys 300 .So put trials tires on it.

  • mugwump

    I may have asked this before, I apologize; does the Cup suspension fit this bike?

    • Kevin Duke

      KTM says the fork fits for sure; checking on the shock but probably. However, they are pricey: $1800; $1320.

      • Kevin Duke

        Yep, now confirmed the shock will fit the Duke.

        • mugwump

          Ouch. Thank you. I’ve spent way too much money trickier g out suspension on “cheap” bikes before. Sadly it’s almost cheaper buying a Street Triple cause in the end no one is going to appreciate the money you’ve put into one of these bike when you try to sell it.

  • Dale

    What about the on off throttle response and the throttle response in general?

    • Kevin Duke

      Smoother than previous and no response issues.

  • Matt Forero

    I love these freakin bikes. Can’t wait for for M-Gymkhana SoCal to get the 2017s in!

  • John B.

    It seems most motorcycles are built to meet a target retail price. This forces OEM’s to make compromises to keep costs in line. In many cases, these compromises occur in workmanship (e.g., welds, fit and finish) and/or parts the consumer cannot see (e.g., clamps, seals, wiring, seat padding). Since, press launches involve new or nearly new motorcycles, and even long term press evaluations seldom last more than a few months, I surmise it’s sometimes difficult for the press to identify these compromises.

    For example, the Aprilia Tuono Factory, has premium components such as Brembo brakes, Ohlins suspension and damper, and Bosch cornering ABS, but in forums owners complain about things like cooling system clamps and tubes, excessive heat, suboptimal ergos, and subpar fueling. Obviously, the Tuono provides a fantastic bang for the buck, which absent some competitive advantage requires compromises. Nevertheless, clamps and tubes that last only a couple years would be annoying.

    Certain small watch manufacturers in Switzerland (e.g., Parmigiani Fleurier https://www.parmigiani.com/en/) make watches where every component is the highest quality, and a certified horologist assembles each example. Of course, these watches cost as much or more than most motorcycles…. and weddings.

    Is there any motorcycle (brand and model) where the OEM spares no expense and every component is the highest quality? Is there a market for a super-high quality motorcycle?

    • Old MOron

      LOL, I believe that Keanu Reeves contraption claims to spare no expense.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I think the examples you presented (cooling system clamps and tubes, excessive heat, suboptimal ergos, and subpar fueling) are not indicative of cost cutting but design issues. Factories don’t find out these problems until the bikes are out in the real world. A custom made bike like the Confederate would not have quality problems but it could still have design issues which you won’t find out until you buy the bike. There is nothing in this world that doesn’t have issues.

      • Johnny Blue

        How hard is it to find issues like excessive heating? It’s enough to take the bike only once for a 15 minutes ride in heavy traffic. The same for the fueling issues, but those I think are more related to the emissions regulations than anything else.
        Ergonomics is a bit subjective though as you can’t make a one size bike fits all riders. I have no issues riding a sports bike from dawn to dusk, but others might complain after two hours.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Excessive heating issues only show up at the height of summer in a hot and humid climate in stop and go traffic which may be hard to duplicate in Italy. Even if they get a few reports of excessive heating from their multi-brand dealerships in the U.S. they probably think it is an anomaly and don’t do anything about it. That is one problem with being part of a multi-brand dealership: there is not enough technical feedback to the factory. Italian bikes are fun and exotic but even the multi-brand dealers that carry them are few and far between, and the sales and service people are not as knowledgeable about each of the brands they carry. They will always try to steer you toward the highest margin brand they have, to maximize their commission. I know Triumph is very popular in the U.S. The BMW dealership in this area also sells Triumph and Ducati motorcycles and Vespa and Piaggio scooters. What do they try to sell you when you walk in? A BMW. The guy I bought my 2007 Suzuki Bandit from bought a brand new 2017 Triumph Bonneville from them in January. Now one of his exhausts has a burned color while the other one is still shiny. He is worried that one of the two parallel cylinders may be running too hot. So much for Triumph quality. The 10 year old Bandit he sold me with 47,000 miles on it still has all four exhausts the same color and runs like a dream.

          • Johnny Blue

            We’ll have to agree to disagree. It’s easy to spot heating issues with a motorcycle engine even during the prototyping, It’s not like someone says let’s built a new motorcycle and then in a week it hits the showrooms. It takes months, or perhaps years for a redesigned engine to get to production and they’re supposed to be thoroughly tested. You can spot heating issues even in the arctic if you want to. Just heat up a room and put the thing to run on a dyno.

  • Jaime Berrones

    I agree with the guy that say false neutrals in a 690 and others things like vibes but no matter where KTM made its motorcycles, nobodoy can deny that this company is setting the bar up in what it does, i gave KTM the chance to surprise me and it does. if you like fun motorcycles they are made for you https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e2a09dae8f87f7af65251d40806df2e45933d9382e4318e510388d748a6cd9be.jpg

    • Matt Forero

      I spent over 10 hours on my 690 Duke this past weekend between MGymkhana, The Snake, and highway cruising and the vibes are completely manageable. Maybe it’s my Acerbis handguards and now that I think about it, heated grips that add some mass but my hands have yet to go numb once. My 2014 Bonneville would make my fingers numb after 45 minutes. The 690 has a much lower frequency vibe that I don’t find uncomfortable. It’s so damn fun to ride, too. Nice pic BTW.

    • DickRuble

      That horizon line is tilting quite a bit. You straighten the picture and all of a sudden the guy barely leans.

      • Born to Ride

        Track day photographers want to produce images that guys actually wanna buy. Tilting the image is one very good way to do that. Otherwise you end up with something that is less than inspiring. Compare this pic of me on my monster to his and despite the increased lean angle, his picture looks more exciting. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/681b3ecfbe974b05b318d8441eaf44999bdcb12b36b1b468ee758be910ed7364.jpg

        • DickRuble

          The (extreme) tilting of the picture makes it look simply stupid.. sorry. Even a little tilting is enough to make viewers uncomfortable. I know from years of photography and having to correct even slightly tilted horizons.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Your picture looks better.

  • John B.

    I showed the photo of the welds to a friend in my coffee group who owns a machine shop and is a welder by trade. He said the welds were great except the one on the bottom right wasn’t perfect. He said the aesthetics of the weld have more to do with the differences between Mig welding for steel and Tig welding for aluminum. Tig welds are much smaller and more neat. In short, the quality of the welds was not an issue for him.

    • Kevin Duke

      Thanks for the investigation, John! For the record, I never claimed the welds weren’t strong, just that they weren’t pretty.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I am sure DickRuble is ignoring your post.

      • John B.

        al-Hamdu lillah!

  • Motorman72

    Just a couple of quick questions.

    1) Was there any mention of MPG, I was thinking that the TBW would improve that, and

    2) Is the Akrapovic exhaust street legal/CARB compliant? I would assume for emissions it would be since the cat is up near the cylinder.

    • Kevin Duke

      Oddly, not mention of fuel economy, but I would imagine the RbW could improve it a bit. Yep, the Akra can will be compliant here, as the cat isn’t part of the muffler. No MSRP has been set for it yet, but a price in the upper $600 range is guesstimated.

      • Motorman72

        Did they mention when we will get them here in the US? Summer? Fall?

        • Kevin Duke

          “Sometime in May” was the closest I could get confirmed.

          • Motorman72

            Thanks. You guys always do such a great job! I check in at Motorcycle.com pretty much everyday!

          • Kevin Duke

            We’re grateful for your loyalty and don’t take it for granted! That’s why we bust our butts to keep cranking out great content for your education and entertainment.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Sean Alexander literally bust his butt on the 1290 Super Adventure R in Peru to create great content for our enjoyment.

  • David Gasser

    Just waiting delivery from AOMC (http://www.ktm-parts.com/) to join the fun!

    • Sayyed Bashir

      You bought the 390 Duke?

      • David Gasser

        Yes, put money down. The dealership said delivery in April, but I am not holding my breath.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Probably May. Congratulations! You’ll have fun. I just bought my third bike: a 2007 Suzuki Bandit 1250S in excellent condition for only $2500. I already have a 2007 Harley Softail Custom and a 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R.

          • David Gasser

            Can’t have enough motorcycles! Lol.

  • Kaleb C

    Does anyone know the approximate date of sale for the 390 Duke at KTM dealers across the United States?

    • Kevin Duke

      KTM says “sometime in May.”

  • KPC

    I really like this bike. But with the threat to stop the importation of bikes under 500cc into the USA, I’d suggest KTM install a 510cc lump in this frame. They already have to “restrict” this engine by 2 hp to meet A2 license regs in Europe. I’d love to see a 55 RWHP / 350lbs wet Duke 510. with that power to weight ratio, it would give the current crop of 650 – 700’s fits on a twisty road. What about the 690? I don’t see the 690 and 790 twin coexisting in the KTM line-up for long. They could make the 690 a Husky-only engine. Its a good engine it just needs a new home.
    What do you think??

    • spiff

      This bike is made in India, not Europe.

      I think the 690 will be in off road KTMs and the Huskies.

      • KPC

        Not sure what the country of origin has to do with my point…
        You maybe right about the 690 moving to enduro/off-road duty.

        • Kevin Duke

          The proposed import tariffs would apply only to motorcycles produced in Europe, so the 390 Duke isn’t threatened. But I dig the idea of 55 rwhp and 350 lbs! As for the 690 engine, it’s only a year old, so I think it’ll be around for several more years in a variety of models, including, as Spiff theorized, an ADV and a Husky or two.

          • KPC

            OK, I get it now. I still think a Duke 510 is the way to go. They just updated the frame, so I bet they could drop a 510cc engine right in.

          • spiff

            I just sold my old bike, but it was 300 pounds and 69 to the wheel. My goodness is a nice way of describing it.

        • spiff

          I am really interested what Husky will become. If they are the less traditional version of KTM it could get interesting.

  • Kevin Smith

    5,200 for this Indian built junk? No thx

    • Kevin Duke

      Which $5200 bike is better?

  • StreetHawk

    Any info on the valve adjustment intervals ? I Know the Yamaha R3 as competition is up there. This sort of information is what’s missing in the online world of reviews and becomes relevant at service time.