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Spied: KTM out testing a bigger 390 Duke

Published: 07 May 2019

KTM are testing an updated 390 Duke which appears to be physically larger to suit a wider range of riders. Small capacity bikes are big business, not just in Europe but around the world.

Unlike years gone by when little bikes were favoured by new riders, many older riders are now turning their attentions to the lower capacity machines. In doing so people are finding things a little, well, small, so KTM have done some supersizing.

The biggest change visible to the bike is a new frame. The current model uses a sort of steel twin spar but with extra bars for support. The new frame is a more classic steel trellis (not a million miles away from a Ducati Monster) with a new subframe to match. Both are clearly bulked up, the subframe especially with much larger looking seats.

The engine now ‘hangs’ a little more on two alloy spars, although externally it appears mostly unchanged. The exhaust is now routed low down with a much larger catalytic converter under the swingarm, just like on the bigger brother 790 Duke. Not only does this look neat, it helps to lower the centre of gravity, as well as keeping on top of emissions regulations.

Up top there’s a new tank but it’s clearly just a patchwork of metal, with no proper bodywork around it. Similarly there’s a new swingarm but it’s machined from billet, suggesting this is still early in the prototyping phase. The triple clamps are also machined and, although we can’t be certain, they appear to be grasping fatter forks, suggesting the front end is being beefed up.

Given how rough the bike looks we’re not expecting to see this on the shop floor too soon. It’s much more likely KTM will release their upcoming 390 Adventure first, with the Duke to follow closely behind.

What we can learn from the KTM 390 Duke spy shot

  • The engine looks unchanged but it’s possible they’ve given it a makeover, either with more power or for fewer vibes
  • The two new seats, as well as the bigger subframe, suggest the bike will be much better suited to full-sized people
  • The pillion pegs and hangers are still to be decided, suggesting the bike is still in the development phase
  • The current Duke already has a TFT dash and Bluetooth, so we doubt the new bike will change much there
  • Given the state of this bike, we’re not expecting a finished model to appear until 2020 to go on sale early 2021

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