KTM 390 Duke
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.
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.
Honorable Mention: Yamaha FZ-07
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.