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: £2,900 to £4,000 See all KTM 390 DUKEs for sale

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The current market seems littered with new, learner-friendly bikes, which are A2 licence compatible as manufacturers try to get new riders on board. The new 390 Duke may not have the touring ability of BMW’s G650GS or the sporty appearance of Kawasaki’s Ninja 300, but I think it should win the fun stakes and for most young riders that’s where it matters. It’s light, nimble and exciting, which is impressive considering it only has 44bhp.

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

It may be built in India, but the Duke seems to be well finished. Every bike is quality checked in Austria before being shipped to dealers.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

At just over £4,000 you are getting a lot of bike for your cash.

Equipment 3 out of 5

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

Owners' Reviews

6 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 3.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.3 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.

4 out of 5

An eager new puppy!

20 April 2014 by Cripes

Remember the last time you had a new puppy? Well this bike is that puppy. Full of boundless energy and a few whoopsies along the way. The 375cc thumper powerplant is like that new puppy on a leash, snatchy at low speeds but in its element once you... Read more can get it out onto open roads. The brakes are fitted with ABS and bring things to a halt predictably. The suspension has very little travel so Britain's potholed roads can give you a buckeroo ride - best seek out those smoother country 'A' roads. There's a nice dash that gives comprehensive information including fuel consumption and a gear indicator. Prince Philip would certainly guess where it's made, as the cheap plastics and rough finishing are very evident, but the upside is a great value bike - until you get locked into the KTM system, needing expensive valve adjustments and OEM parts. It's been a monster hit in India, where enthusiastic owners articulately discuss the minutest details of this epic bike - and that's where you'll find a refreshingly different angle to bike ownership away from the UK obsession with adventure or sports bikes. Be in no doubt, this is an amazing bike, brimming with character and fizz. If you're bored with the horsepower race and think bikes are getting too big then this is just the bike to titivate you!

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
4 out of 5
-
Read all 6 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2013
Year discontinued -
New price £4,499
Used price £2,900 to £4,000
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £39
Annual service cost £430
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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