I’m reliving the youth I never had, tearing through traffic with the torn hems of my riding jeans flapping in the breeze and the RC390’s throttle flat to the stop. As a product of Direct Access I passed my test on a CB500 and never looked back, progressing from a Bandit 600 to a Street Triple, GSX-R1000, Ducati 848, Daytona 675R and the Hayabusa I ran last year.
So the prospect of spending a summer with a bike that makes just 44bhp filled me with mixed emotions; would the pint-sized supersport frustrate me on rideouts? Would it anger me during overtakes?
The answer came on my very first ride – it’s a little belter. My very first twist of the throttle was rewarded with genuinely surprising punch, the 375cc single burping forth with enough shove to give decent acceleration. Out on the open road the RC was easily quick enough to keep up with and overtake traffic, and fast enough to attack my favourite B-roads with gusto. Rides have become an exercise in momentum conservation, scything through corners without backing off. It’s a different kind of exhilaration. I’m impressed.
However the little KTM’s not without its faults. There are brilliant little design touches such as like soft foam pillion seat styled to look like a single-seat tail unit, the informative LCD dash and gorgeous underslung exhaust. But they are let down by mirrors that are completely useless, a fuel gauge that doesn’t work (it’s being fixed), and a seat that crucifies butt cheeks.