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KTM RC390 (2014-on) Review

Published: 17 September 2014

Updated: 11 September 2019

Savvy sports single is lithe, light and fun

KTM RC390  (2014-on)

Savvy sports single is lithe, light and fun

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

This is a bike for A2 licence holders to be excited about. Inspired by KTM’s Moto3 machine, you could say the RC 390 is the modern day RD350LC.

With its punchy single-cylinder engine, steel trellis frame, ali swingarm and fat, sticky tyres, it has easy ton-up performance, lets you rail through corners like Jack Miller and is built with lots of racy touches. But it has a slightly ‘built down to a price’ feel about it.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Despite very soft suspension the RC390 handles incredibly well when you push it, offering excellent cornering stability and grip from its Metzeler M5 Sportec tyres. Its soft set-up makes it easy for the inexperienced to get on with it straight away and it’s roomy enough for taller riders, although the seat will give you bum ache after a while. Despite looking racy, the radial caliper front brake set-up is weak and could do with higher-performance pads.

Engine 4 out of 5

Lifted from the 390 Duke, the RC’s liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, six-speed, single-cylinder 373.2cc motor produces 43bhp and features a forged ali piston, a Nikasil cylinder liner and balance shaft. The lump weighs just 36kg. It has a grumbling Moto 3 soundtrack, loads of easy to manage power and easily gallops past 100mph. But we experienced some missed gears on the launch test bikes.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

KTM have given a lot of thought to the finish of the plastics, engine, and chassis, which gives the RC390 a ‘big bike’ feel in places, but in others the machine feels built to a price. We’ve heard reports of these Indian-built machines suffering quality and reliability issues, but KTM dealers are quick to react and rectify them.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Five grand is a lot for a bike you’re only likely to keep for the two years you have an A2 licence, but it’s exciting, funky and has the performance to teach new riders the fine art of cornering like a hard-charging Moto3 racer. 

Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The RC 390 has a four-piston radial front caliper and 300mm disc set-up, an LCD dash display, KTM superbike/Moto 3 styling, ABS, underslung exhaust, chunky forged ali yokes and a unique moulded seat hump-shaped pillion seat.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2014
Year discontinued -
New price £4,999
Used price £2,500 to £5,300
Warranty term 2 years unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £43
Annual service cost -
Max power 44 bhp
Max torque 26 ft-lb
Top speed 105 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 82 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Engine size 373cc
Engine type 4v, single
Frame type Steel trellis and ali swingarm
Fuel capacity 10 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 147kg
Front suspension 43mm non-adjustable WP forks.
Rear suspension Single WP shock adjustable for preload.
Front brake 300mm disc with four-piston radial calipers. ABS
Rear brake 230mm single disc with single-piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 110/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 150/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2014 - September riding launch in Italy, arrives in dealers in October (2015 model)

Other versions

Owners' Reviews

1 owner has reviewed their KTM RC390 (2014-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 RC390 (2014-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Mental Performance for an under 500 cc!

28 July 2015 by Jesse Daniel Antony

Mental performance for under sub 600 cc motorcycle! The engine could've been a little more refined, torque comes in lumps, not a very smooth / linear feel as, say the Ninja 300. Very uncomfortable saddle for touring! Superb for the track! Brakes need some getting used to, not as sharp as you would expect a 300 mm rotor to be! Tires - Excellent for track + wet conditions (METZLER SPORTEC M5). A little too soft for everyday street riding, very low mileage (mine are about to almost die now). Front suspension is bang on! Just so perfect! Inverted 43mm telescopes The rear suspension is way too soft and bouncy. Putting in on the highest pre-load setting makes it just acceptable, but the damping could've been a lot better actually. The 82 MPG figure that MCN has given is not true. The highest MPG so far is 76 (while using not more than 25% of the throttle at all times), Done over 6000 miles so far - Avg mpg is 60 to 70 MPG.

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

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