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For less than the price difference between a Ducati 1299 Panigale and a Panigale 1299S, you could have one of the most value-packed and fun motorcycles we’ve ever ridden. It’s astonishing how many desirable features are available on the KTM 390 Duke, a stylish and capable motorbike that retails for just $5,299.

2017 KTM 390 Duke Review

Along with its bold and youthful good looks, the 390 Duke is outfitted with several items that aren’t even available on pricier motos. Although it can be thought of as an entry-level bike, a perusal of its parts manifest speaks of a higher-end machine. New for 2017 are TFT instrumentation, LED headlight, and a ride-by-wire throttle that helps yield a bit more power and improved driveability. Then add to it all the higher-end features that have been part of the package since the bike’s debut in 2015, like a chro-moly trellis frame, inverted fork, radial brakes, slipper clutch, aluminum swingarm and standard ABS – all of which make it difficult to argue against the 390 Duke winning our award for value. A comfier seat and adjustable levers for 2017 add to its appeal.

The riding experience is no less impressive, offering stunning agility and more power from its 373cc single-cylinder motor than any other streetbike with fewer than 400cc. It rails tight canyon roads and is also surprisingly tolerable on long stretches of highway. Really, there’s nothing this little funster can’t do, and when it can be had for a smidge more than $5k, its value quotient is as high as it gets.

But you don’t have to just take our word for it, as North American consumers have backed up our impressions by pulling out their wallets. The 390 Duke has been KTM’s best-selling streetbike since it arrived on our shores in 2015, and the 2016 version was KTM’s best-selling streetbike ever in a single year. And with the updates for the 2017 model, it’s an even sweeter deal.

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Well, it finally happened. The Yamaha FZ-07, the Best Value Motorcycle for three years running (2014, 2015, and 2016), was finally dethroned – and it almost didn’t happen. This year’s winner received a perfect 10 for value, as did the FZ-07 in its last solo test. What slotted the FZ-07 into second place was the fact that it remained essentially unchanged for the 2017 model year. Not that the FZ needed changing for change’s sake. The FZ-07 did still manage to clean up in the recent Middleweight Naked Bikes: A 2017 Shootout!.

At $7,199 ($7,499 with ABS), the 07 delivers the one-two combination of a energetic 689cc, 270-degree parallel-Twin mounted in a 403-lb. MO Scale Certified chassis. This package can handle anything you throw at it from daily grind commuting to canyon scraping to soft bag sport-touring. While we had some quibbles about its suspension and handling compared to its peers in the previously mentioned shootout, nothing in its class really has the total package to take on the Yamaha. Yet. The Kawasaki Z650 and the Suzuki SV650 have purchased real estate in the same zip code, and a slight remodel from either might force a response from the FZ if it wants to keep ahead of the Joneses.

All speculation aside, the Yamaha FZ-07 has been the bike to beat in its class since its introduction, and its place on the second step of the podium for this MOBO doesn’t change where it stands when compared to the other middleweight nakeds. The fun-loving Yamaha remains a tremendous value and deserves a MOBO Honorable Mention.

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  • JMDGT

    I like both bikes. They both look like a lot of fun.

    • Gabriel Owens

      We live in the golden age of this sport. Motorcycles are not very popular right now though. If you know what you want and look around for last years model or even 2 or 3 years bsck you can find some amazing deals. I bought my cb1000r for less than 7 grand. Thats a steal. I bought my fjr1300 for less than 12 grand. To me, another steal. Not to mention the ktm 1190s i had for 14.5 and a few years back i got a star 1300deluxe for 12 grand.

  • Gabriel Owens

    When I sit on the Duke 390 i look like a monkey fuckin a football.

  • Sayyed Bashir

    So the KTM 390 Duke wins both the Best Lightweight/Entry-Level Motorcycle and the Best Value Motorcycle of 2017. That makes it four category wins and one honorable mention for KTM so far! World domination couldn’t be too far away.

  • Alexander Pityuk

    Damn, I wish these two bikes had a bit lower seat height for my wife. It would be nice to replace my aging CB400 with one of them.

  • There are so many nice bikes that could be best…its really hard to tell.

  • madskills

    BMW g310 costs $4750 with 3 year/36,000 mile warranty and comes standard with ABS….

    • Kevin Duke

      The 310R is appealing, but it’s still unavailable in the U.S. and isn’t nearly as capable performance-wise.

      • madskills

        I think anytime now they will be available. I think they come with Michelin Pilot tires. You can get different height seats also. My thought is the great warranty for a bike along with the BMW upgrade in parts.

  • Joseph Carper

    the Chinese hawk250 should be the best value at 1400$ brand new you can buy a new one every year.

  • Paul Cypert

    I’ve wanted the duke for years. But since I live 2-3 hours from a ktm dealer I’ll have to stay away a bit longer. Dig into the forums for the little duke and there’s tons of problems from minor to a bit more concerning. If you factor in the trips to service department and the money that will require, the ktm falls behind the Yamaha. Which is sad because I want the ktm to be what it could be.

    I wish Yamaha would hire ktms design team (you can tell the extra quality you get from in being an outside design team).

    • Jon Jones

      Good call. Hopefully they’ll get better. I wouldn’t buy one yet.

      Check out Danny Reyes’s comment and link above.

  • zachromful

    I narrowed it down to the FZ-07, Z650, new SV650 and Duke 390. Had reliablility concerns about the Duke, thought the Z650 engine was a little plain jane (a bit on the small side for me as well), which left the FZ and the SV. The hooligan stuff that attracts so many people was more of a negative for me, and I liked the look of the SV better (despite very crappy looking plastics, especially around the seat). Went to give the dealer my money and they happened to have the SV marked down $500. Got the ABS model for 7,000. Worth a thought…

    • Jon Jones

      Good call! It’ll last forever with minimal maintenance. Such beautifully quiet motors.

  • Daninmontana12

    Wow- there’s just something about the looks- (the stacked looks) of that KTM 390, it reminds me so much of the old ugly Pontiac Aztec! I can’t get that out of my mind!

    • Daninmontana12

      But Yamaha’s FZ-07 is the same way; whussup with that?!

  • Danny Reyes

    Motorcyclistmagazine.com conducted an 18 month test for the 390. They eventually said bye bye. It runs great brand new, but it had alot of issues during its testing phase. Althugh they really loved the bike, it just had just as much repairing issues than being able to ride it. Read the article.
    http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/long-term-ktm-rc390-final-update

    • Jon Jones

      Good link and a good word of caution regarding the 390.

      It would be far better if it were actually made in Austria and cost more.

    • Kevin Duke

      Their bike was ridden almost exclusively on racetracks, hard enough to have won championships. I think we can agree that isn’t typical usage.

      • Paul Cypert

        There’s a lot of similar findings from road users on the ktm forums. From electric gremlins to worse. I’d give the 2017 a year or two to hopefully settle

  • Wally

    Best value, until it starts popping head gaskets…

  • Matt O

    I’ve ridden both, and I like the 390 almost as much as I like the r3 but the fz7 just didn’t click with me. Same thing with the fz9, hard to describe why.