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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.