KTM 390 DUKE (2013-on) Review

Published: 21 March 2014

A2 licence-compliant roadster that's light, nimble and exciting

KTM 390 DUKE  (2013-on)

A2 licence-compliant roadster that's light, nimble and exciting

  • At a glance
  • 373cc  -  44 bhp
  • 55 mpg  -  130 miles range
  • Medium seat height (800mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence
  • New: £4,499
    Used: £2,600 to £4,600 See all KTM 390 DUKEs for sale

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

There's nothing else out there like the KTM Duke. There wasn't when the original, mind-blowing 620 Duke came out in 1995, there isn't now the range has expanded to 125, 390 and 690cc versions. As a machine that's easy to ride yet with plenty of fun on offer, it has virtually no competition. Its limitations over distance or for either carrying luggage or a pillion, however, are clear to see. This one lacks little over the latest version in return for a sizeable saving, so is worth serious consideration.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The brakes and suspension are pretty much the same as the 125 Duke, but with different shims and springs and the 390 benefits from far grippier Metzeler tyres. The ABS-assisted brakes are learner-friendly, the seat height is low (just 800mm) and thin, which means even shorties won’t have a problem touching the floor. It’s light and agile so not intimidating for new riders and it’s not too heavy either. On the downside the Duke isn’t very comfortable and the 11-litre tank won’t deliver much range, but overall it’s excellent.

Engine 4 out of 5

Considering the motor only packs 44bhp (it can be restricted to A2 compliant) it feels a lot more as the bike is so light and lively. First gear is over too quickly in a blur of revs, but keep the throttle pinned and acceleration isn’t half bad. Tuck in small enough and the digital speedo will read an indicated 105mph. There’s a little kick at just below 7000rpm which is the sweet spot, hit this mark and the Duke displays an impressive turn of pace.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Although early examples suffered from overheating and build quality could be iffy (Dukes are built in India and then shipped to Austria for inspection) these problems have been solved.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

At just over £4,000 new you're getting a lot of bike for your cash. Used examples can be had for under £3000.

Equipment 3 out of 5

You get ABS as standard and a fairly basic digital dash.

Owners' Reviews

11 owners have reviewed their KTM 390 DUKE (2013-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KTM 390 DUKE (2013-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3.5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Love it!

23 July 2017 by Aaron

Fantastic Bike, this is a step up from a 2015 125 Duke, so this is considered my first real "big bike", I was looking for an MX5 of the bike world & i think I've found it :-) Ordered mine with hand guards, engine bars & Akrapovic slip on (only just... Read more removed DB Killer & it sounds great).

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
I am 6ft & i find the bike comfy, compared to my previous Duke you are more forward on the bike so a little more over the handle bars, I had a few long rides 1:30-2hr & felt fine.
Engine
5 out of 5
power delivery is great, geared really well, all the power is where you need it for lots of fun, it has a lot of get up & go without having to drop it down but if you do then smiles are going to increase. Ive had no false neutrals, no cutting out & pretty smooth at low speeds.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
1300miles down & no issues to report yet.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
first service was subsidised from my dealer at Jim Aim Racing, it was cheap. keeping a log of fuel economy, I commute daily with a good mixture of roads best I have had is 75mpg & my average is 65mpg based on 10 fill ups, i normally fill up at around 130miles to a tank.
Equipment
4 out of 5
TFT screen has loads of info on it, a little more than i need to be honest, on the main screen you can have your favourites on display all the time, I have these as trip 1, average consumption, battery & fuel range. I have not bothered about the phone connection. Only negative I have on this, the clock tends to run a bit fast & needs adjusting every month or so. An addition I would like is phone/GPS connectivity for sat nav directions, imagine this could be possible with a firmware update.
Buying experience

purchased this through Jim Aim Racing at Braintree, they really looked after me & kept me up to date with the progress of my bike. I ordered mine in white before KTM had even shipped to the UK so had a little wait.

4 out of 5

After 40 years of Hondas, the future is orange.

21 July 2017 by BAZ224

Just needs bit better build quality to get 5th star Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Rules the B-roads and towns. Even with the KTM gel comfort seat upgrade, 1 hour is max riding time before need to get life back into knees and arse. For pillion it's even shorter. My teenage son was in agony after 30 minutes on the back.
Engine
4 out of 5
Bit harsh at around 6K RPM - but it's a single Shame EU regs mean it sound a little 'wimpy' on stock exhaust. K&N airfilter improves not only power but induction sound
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
stalling soon after start up a common issue when first purchased. Cured by ECU update at 1st service.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
My nearest KTM Centre happy to provide almost any demo bike as courtesy bike free of charge during service. So far I've had RC390, Duke 690 and SMC 690 for a day at a time.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Digital dash is the worst feature of this bike. Next to impossible to use any of the functions without recourse to the user manual. (twice a year, when the clocks change, out comes the manual to see how to change the time display). Updates I recommend: KTM Powerparts Gel seat; 11. Optimate battery charger socket wired in; 1. KTM Alarm system; 2. Tank protection sticker kit; 10. Double-bubble screen from MRA (don't waste your money on the official KTM one if you are over 5ft 8in). Other (aesthetic) accessories I invested in: 5. KTM Powerparts 10 to 30 Litre rear bag; Crash bobbins; Engine protection crash bars; Aluminium Handguards; R&G Racing Tail-Tidy; 7 x 5 inch number plate; Rear hugger/chainguard from Pyramid Pyramid also supplied me a free Extenda-Fender for evaluation.
Buying experience

Bought from new in 2014. Only white were available first, but when I learned KTM would be introducing a black version in spring 2014 I ordered one in Feb. However first few production runs went exclusively to USA, so it wasn't until June that I eventually got mine.

5 out of 5

New duke 390 babyduke beast

12 June 2017 by Ktm390

Pros: - everything, price, steering, accessories, look, engine performance, digital display, even the stock exhaust is above average Cons: - reliability might be an issue in the long term but for now its performing perfectly (on 350kms at the... Read more moment) - a small minus is how close the large catalytic converter is to the rear suspension which transfers an awful lot of heat into the shock, can be fixed with a new exhaust slip on system.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
comfortable and front brake is superb with abs and back brake is also great
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
can suck the gas when you open up the throttle but otherwise an excellent commmuter
Equipment
5 out of 5
tft control panel is next level stuff, hopefully we'll see software updates in the future
Buying experience

bought brand new, third one sold in new zealand

4 out of 5

Time machine,takes a 70 year old back to teenage razing.

20 May 2017 by EDDY

Fun,any excuse to take it out.Motorway cruising at 70mph gives 70 mpg.Don't be put off by its small capacity it it is more than capable of reasonably sensible biking in the UK.I have raced Vincents and ridden everything in 54yrs of unbroken... Read more motorcycling and after 10 months and 6000 miles I am not bored with it.The disappointment was the demonstrator I took out fuelled perfectly and would pull 5th at 30mph,my new machine was uneven at low speeds and needed a lower gear in speed limits,after a row with KTM over the difference in the bikes I fitted an Italian fuel unit,it now performs like the demonstrator.I felt that I had been conned at the time!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Original seat hard and the front of the pillion is curved the wrong way so it pushes into your bum.The pro seat is comfortable for 200 mile days.
Engine
5 out of 5
Cannot fault the motor now I have the fuel adjuster fitted.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
The zinc plating on the nuts and bolts is very poor,so have replaced with stainless.Rear chain is rubbish.After a lot miles in the wet with a chain oiler fitted I found the links were seized. I split the chain and found there was no lubricant on the pins that should have been sealed by the o rings.Otherwise it has not missed a beat.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
Was charged 2hrs labour for 1st service.Had not been advised that this was chargeable, so assumed it would be free as in the old days.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Rear tyre lasted 4000 miles, replaced with a michelin 2ct which feels much nicer on cornering and the wear seems to be less.Fitted a Tutoro chain oiler,a Givi tank bag larger size than the official one and it fits perfectly.
Buying experience

Bought from South Wales Dealer,80 mls away.He demanded I had the bike there at 9am for first service which should take 100mins.Eventualy got the bike back at 2.30pm.Big joke when I complained about the uneven fueling especially when I pointed out their demonstrator was perfect.(All bikes vary sir)was the excuse.Had to complain to KTM to get all the paperwork from them.Very unprofessional they didn't even have a desk to site at to do the paperwork,only a high counter with other customers pushing for space.

4 out of 5

03 February 2017 by tasse23

Very fun bike for A2 license Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

10 March 2016 by Tolga Evcimen

It is quite competent for a newbie like me. But know your dreams even if it is going to be your first bike if you are not planning to change it swift. It is a pretty light and small bike. If you are planning on just commuting than it's fine, but... Read more otherwise it's a bummer.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Until 120kmph it is like an arrow. I can go 1.5 hours on it and you start to feel the tiring power of the wind.
Engine
5 out of 5
Never disappointed.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Even though the overall quality is well known on this bike, the plastic belly cap can get noisy sometimes. And it's little bit disturbing.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
I haven't had any accessories. But I like the gauge.
5 out of 5

11 January 2016 by Ay Kay

Awesome Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

09 November 2015 by ol_smokey

Easy to ride and impossible not to have fun on. It's so much fun in the twisties you'll find yourself avoiding every straight road that you can. I'd been off bikes for a few years before test riding a Ducati Scrambler which I liked - low seat,... Read more light weight, good handling and comfortable riding position - but I got fed up with waiting so had a look at other options. Had a test ride on the Duke 390 in less than ideal conditions - greasy, bumpy country lanes but still came back with a grin and not wanting to hand it back. You can commute on it easily the upright riding position giving a good view of the traffic ahead. It's quick away from junctions and the brakes with ABS are strong if lacking a little feel. This bike loves corners, it changes direction easily and quickly whilst never feeling that it will pitch you off. It just breeds confidence and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to new or returning riders for getting back in the groove. The engines very strong for a little 'un and the fuelling is mostly fine except for a little wooliness below 5K, it does like to rev. I haven't had any of the stalling issues that affected some of the earlier bikes. I'm not a big fan of the loud paint and shouty graphics but it's a matter of taste I suupose so you can make your own mind up about that.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Brakes are strong but could do with a little extra feel - uprated pads apparently solve this. I found the suspension fine on smotther roads but a bit bouncy on bumpier ones. I knocked off the preload on the rear shock by 1 and it improved (I'm around 80kg with my gear on).
Engine
4 out of 5
It's a little fluffy below 6k but it gets better from there and really lifts it's skirts from 7k to the limiter. I'd love a bit more low down and also a bit more noise from the standard exhaust - sounds a bit like a generator.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Quality appears OK rather than brilliant but it's obviously built down to a (great) price. Only issue after it's first season was the sidestand bracket nuts loosening off - bit of loctite and 10 mins of spanner time and all is good again. Some of the wiring routing looks a bit untidy - I would definitely avoid using a hose or pressure washer on it.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Only outlay was fuel and chain oil as I got the first service in the purchase price. It's good on fuel especially as you are always wanting to give it a handful exiting the bends. I get about 110-115 miles out of the tank.
Equipment
4 out of 5
The tyres are fantastic, lots of grip and lots of confidence. The standard seat was awful after 1 hour - the KTM Power parts seat is fine for 2 hours at a time, so OK between fuel stops. The mirrors aren't the best but do benefit from taking a bit of time adjusting them into the right position. There's very littl under seat storage, i'll probably replace the pillion with a rear cowl to gain some there. I find it hard to see much of the dash display without purposefully looking down
Buying experience

Got a good deal from the guys at The Rocket Centre in Blackburn as I needed to refresh some of my gear and I wanted the taller screen and powerparts seat. They had the bike ready on time and leant me one of their test bikes whilst mine was in having it's first service. Staff were friendly and helpful.

1 out of 5

Don't Buy this bike

28 August 2015 by Bob R

Don't believe MCN reviews of this bike. My advice is buy a Honda CB 500 or any thing but this KTM. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
When the bike works you can have fun, but in the winter the bike covers you from head to fool in road spray.
Engine
1 out of 5
Dreadful. It stalls when cold and is difficult to restart. Then stalls when warm and leaves you stranded in dangerous positions. Paddling the bike across rush hours lanes when it leaves you stranded in the outside lane is no fun and life threatening!
Build Quality & Reliability
1 out of 5
The plastics are like polythene and the decals fall of. Made in India and it shows. The engine on my bike had an incurable stalling problem.
Value & Running Costs
1 out of 5
The bike seems cheap to service by Redline KTM Loughborough, but the service from the dealer is very poor and similar from KTM themselves. The incurable stalling problem led me into an acrimonious stand off with both. The up shot was Redline KTM bought the bike back, but both were happy to put me back on the road on a dangerous vehicle. I lost money, but I value my life, unlike Redline or KTM.
Equipment
1 out of 5
There is none. It is avery basic bike with no carrying capacity at all. I had headed grips and hand guards fitted. Both worked well in the winter commute.
Buying experience

Appalling. The sales guy when I picked the bike up was very unwelcoming. Told me to get my stuff off the counter and then road my part exchange scooter like a dervish around the car park.The experience did not improve when I had problems. Buy from Sutton Honda or Pidcocks! They both know how to treat customers

4 out of 5

An thrilling welcome to the motorcycle society

03 July 2015 by Javdnhov

Great fun to ride as a first bike. The bike gives me the confidence to search my personal limits as a new rider. I would definitely recommend 'the duchess' for new riders who love going for a Saturday and/or Sunday blast during the weekends, and a... Read more thrilling commute to university during the week.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
The ride is soft and comfortable. Because of the flashy orange paint job, KTM's trademark, this bike attracts quite some attention when cruising through more populated areas (which I, personally, don't mind). The duchess is eager to make you smile during acceleration, but every once in a while she has to be slowed down. This aspect is the only drawback for me in regard to the Duke 390. The brakes don't give me much confidence under high braking pressure, nor do they give me much feedback in the tips of my fingers. Maybe with some more higher grade brake pads the initial bite (and general stopping power) can be improved.
Engine
4 out of 5
It has to be said, the Duke 390 has a beautiful mid-range. When you hit the sweet-spot, located around 7000 - 8000 rpm, the duchess kicks you in the behind and keeps you smiling until it meets the limiter way to soon. In the lower revs the bike makes a addictive gurgling sound but tends to be more jerky and harder to ride smoothly.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Good build quality that gives a genuine big-bike appearance. The bike fires up every morning without a hesitation, ready to race!
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Approximately the cost to run my bike a year (all seasons every day), including insurance, taxes, tires and servicing. Make sure you check your oil-level regularly when driving a Duke 390, they absolutely need a refill of their dinosaur-juice on a regular base.
Equipment
3 out of 5
As a new rider the standard ABS is a great feature. In emergency situations you can't make the mistake of grabbing the brakes and losing the front-end resulting in a costly bill or worse... The duchess has a comfort seat as an accessory, which is worth it's weight in gold in comparison with the standard seat. Nevertheless the standard seat is easier to move around when you obey KTM's motto.
Buying experience

I've bought the Duke 390 with only 3000 km's on the odometer for a good price of €4000.

Read all 11 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2013
Year discontinued -
New price £4,499
Used price £2,600 to £4,600
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £41
Annual service cost £350
Performance
Max power 44 bhp
Max torque 26 ft-lb
Top speed 105 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 55 mpg
Tank range 130 miles
Specification
Engine size 373cc
Engine type Four-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC, 4v single
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 11 litres
Seat height 800mm
Bike weight 139kg
Front suspension WP 43mm inverted forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension WP rear shock, adjustable spring preload
Front brake 1x300mm discs. Four-piston radial caliper. ABS
Rear brake 1x220mm disc, single-piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 110/70ZR17
Rear tyre size 150/60ZR17

History & Versions

Model history

2013: Model introduced

Other versions

The 125 Duke costs £3999

Photo Gallery

  • KTM 390 DUKE  (2013-on)
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