KTM has raised the A2 licence bar with its new £4599 390 Duke. It’s now one of the most fun to ride, involving and high quality machines in its class. It’s refined, easy to live with, fast, comes with a high level of spec and superb attention to detail. If you plan for this to be your first ‘big’ bike you’re in for a treat.
1 – BIG BIKE QUALITY
It’s the 390’s first major overhaul since its launch in 2013 and KTM have left no stone unturned. From its new 5.2” full colour dash (with optional Bluetooth multimedia function), illuminated switchgear and LED lights, to its superb panel fit and deep paintwork, the Indian-built 390 Duke is every inch the baby 690 Duke R or 1290 Super Duke R. The fuel tank size is up from 11 to 13.4-litres and the 390 Duke also gets a new two-piece seat, handlebars and adjustable levers.
2 – A2 LICENCE BULGING PERFORMANCE
There isn’t much the 390 Duke can’t do in the real world. The 390 Duke’s four-valve 373.cc single-cylinder motor now has ride-by-wire, a side-mount exhaust, replacing the old stubby underslung item and a bigger airbox. It now makes 5.7% more torque at low rpm. Even when it’s time to upgrade to a full licence the KTM will still have the performance to keep you interested.
3 – GROWN-UP HANDLING
KTM says they’ve spend a lot of time developing the new 43mm WP forks and single shock and you can tell. The new suspension gives a more sophisticated ride and support on the brakes and under hard acceleration. Braking is also improved, with the old model’s four-piston radial Bybre (a subsidiary of Brembo) caliper now gnawing a single disc that’s grown from 300 to 320mm.
4 – SUPER NAKED FUN
Weighing just 149kg its 44bhp will let you breeze past the ton, pull naughty wheelies and when you select ‘Supermoto’ ABS mode you can back it into corners, too. The motor is close to silent in traffic, but transforms into a thrapping ‘crosser when you rev it hard.
5 – EASY FREEDOM
It’s nimble through traffic and has a natural new-rider-friendly riding position for riders big and small. New riders will find it simple to get on with and it’s still an impressive machine for the more experienced.
…AND A REASON TO GET A LICENCE IN THE FIRST PLACE: 2017 KTM 125 DUKE.
Like the 390 the new 125 Duke also gets a major makeover. It has the 390’s full colour dash, illuminated switchgear buttons, LED headlight, new exhaust, revised chassis, larger fuel tank, non adjustable WP suspension, four-piston radial caliper (with 300mm discs) fat 17” tyres (Metzeler Sportec M5) and a breathed on (non-ride-by-wire) Euro 4 spec engine that has a wider spread of power.
The new 125 Duke is easy to get on with and will make you grin every time you flick the key and see that colour display flicker into life. It’s the return of the aspirational 125.
Read our full KTM 125 Duke test here.
KTM 390 - The Facts
Engine 373.2cc 4v single
Frame Tubular steel trellis
Seat height 830mm
Suspension WP 43mm forks non adjustable and single rear shock adjustable for preload.
Front brake 320mm disc. Radial four-piston calipers.
Colours Orange, white.
Available End April
Dry weight 149kg
Tank capacity 13.4-litres