2015 KTM 390 Duke First-Ride Video Review

Kevin Duke
by Kevin Duke
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An oversized value in a compact package

2015 ktm 390 duke first ride video review
Photos by Kevin Duke
Video by KTM and Kevin Duke; Edited by Jay McNally/McNally Multimedia

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.

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.

Read our KTM 390 Duke First Ride Review

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 DukeHonda CB300FHonda CB500FKawasaki Ninja 300Suzuki DRZ400SM
Engine Capacity373.3cc286cc471cc296cc398cc
Engine TypeLiquid-cooled, DOHC, single-cylinder, four-stroke, 4 valves per cylinderLiquid-cooled, DOHC, single-cylinder, four-stroke, 4 valves per cylinderLiquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel-Twin, four-stroke, 4 valves per cylinderLiquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel-Twin, four-stroke, 4 valves per cylinderLiquid-cooled, DOHC, single-cylinder, four-stroke, 4 valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke89.0mm x 60.0mm76.0mm x 63.0mm67.0mm x 66.8mm62.0mm x 49.0mm90.0mm x 62.6mm
Compression Ratio12.5:110.7:110.7:110.6:111.3:1
Horsepower43 (claimed)26 (est)433434.7
Torque25.8 (claimed)17.8 (est)291825.9
Fuel SystemElectronic Fuel InjectionPGM-Fi, 38mm throttle bodyPGM-FI, two 34mm throttle bodiesElectronic Fuel InjectionSingle Mikuni BSR36 carburettor
Final DriveChainChainChainChainChain
FrameSteel trellisSteelSteelSteelSteel
Front SuspensionWP 43mm inverted fork. 5.9 in travel37mm conventional fork. 4.65 in. travel41mm fork; 4.3 in. travel37mm conventional fork. 4.7 in travelShowa inverted fork. Adjustable for rebound and compression
Rear SuspensionWP shock. Preload adjustable. 5.9 in travelPro-link single shock, preload adjustable, 4.07 in travelPro-Link single shock. Preload adjustable. 4.7 in travelSingle shock. Preload adjustable. 5.2 in travelShowa monoshock. Fully adjustable with high- and low-speed compression adjustment
Front BrakesSingle 300mm disc. 4-piston, radial-mount caliperSingle 296mm disc. Twin-piston caliperSingle 320mm wave disc. Two-piston caliperSingle 290mm wave disc. Two-piston caliperSingle 300mm disc. Two-piston caliper
Rear BrakesSingle 230mm disc. Single-piston caliperSingle 220mm disc. Single-piston caliperSingle 240mm wave disc. Single-piston caliperSingle 220mm wave disc. Two-piston caliperSingle 245mm disc. Single-piston caliper
Front Tire110/70-17110/70-17120/70-17110/70-17120/70-17 tube
Rear Tire150/60-17140/70-17160/60-17140/70-17140/70-17 tube
Seat Height31.5 in30.7 in30.9 in30.9 in35.0 in
Wheelbase53.8 in54.3 in55.5 in55.3 in57.5 in
Rake/Trail25.0 deg/3.9 in25.3 deg/3.9 in25.5 deg/4.1 in27.0 deg/3.7 inNA
Curb Weight345 (claimed)351 (claimed)418 (claimed)379.3 (claimed)321 (claimed)
Fuel Capacity2.9 gal3.4 gal4.1 gal4.5 gal2.6 gal
Kevin Duke
Kevin Duke

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5 of 15 comments
  • Mahatma Mahatma on Mar 20, 2015

    An archaic question:How does it stock up against the VFR 400/FZR 400?

    • See 1 previous
    • Mahatma Mahatma on Mar 21, 2015

      I'll prepare the jump over the pond from norway;)

      Just curious in case you had tested them.Thanks for reply:)

  • Simon Latham Simon Latham on Aug 09, 2015

    no mention of slipper clutch which was added to 2015 version

    • Kevin Duke Kevin Duke on Aug 10, 2015

      Click the link after the second paragraph for the full review of the bike which includes that info.