Ten years ago the company was on the verge of collapsing, however, with a successful comeback KTM became one of the most popular motorcycle brands worldwide. There is tremendous effort behind this success. Firstly, by boldly opening towards the streetfighter category, and secondly by partnering up with Bajaj (an Indian automotive company), KTM got back in the game.
Duke or Duchess?
After the successful comeback, the KTM 125 Duke proved to be a great bike in its category, mostly in the European market, while the 200cc version was also a tremendous success in the Asian market. In 2015, came the new, stronger, 390cc version, making fans question if the company can once again deliver the same quality result or not? Well, let's see.
The bigger the better
Compared to the 125cc, the 200cc version was only slightly stronger, turning the city into a fun rollercoaster ride, where all roundabouts and turns are just thrilling experiences. Well, even though the chassis is almost perfectly the same as with the smaller versions, but it is stuffed with a 375cc DOHC engine, moving those 330 pounds, well.. "dynamically". The maximum 44 hp comes at 9500 rpm, but the single-cylinder engine comes to life already at 5000.
Safety and comfort
While accelerating the engine reacts quickly to slight movements, however, the usual symptom that after a wheelie or stoppie the engine shuts down is still present. The brakes come from one of the subsidiaries of Brembo (India), while they seem to deliver the same results as the original brake discs labeled with the name of the Italian company. Both brakes deliver maximum stability, without any additional sliding: the Duke slows down while keeping its balance. The suspension also seems to do the job, even if you are traveling with one in the back, in which case, you can still easily keep a solid 75 mph pace (during our test, the maximum speed with a passenger was around 100 mph).
Compact little beast
Even though the KTM Duke 390 proved to be a powerful, compact solution in its category - being at the same size as the 125 and 200 versions -, it still proved to be comfortable if you are not that short and lean type of guy. The speed and performance are very intense, thanks to the size of the bike, it is truly an experience.
Definitely a Duke
In case you are looking for a bike in this category, the 390 Duke can deliver an outstanding experience. This compact bike will now turn those roundabouts into mad rollercoaster rides, and when you hit 9000 rpm, it will surely give you shivers, while making you thinking after each and every corner: "Oh, I could've taken that faster!"
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