Spied new RC390 moves on the A2 game in a big way for KTM

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KTM are working on a new RC390 that’s safer, more stylish and far more hi-tech. The current machine is no slouch but it’s lagging behind the competition and is even out-classed by KTM’s 390 Duke. Now though, the RC is going to be something really special.

Visually the bike has had a complete refresh, with the divisive headlights of old gone in favour of a large, clear mask with new LED lights behind. The fairing has been adapted with new lines although the two-part set up remains.

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The tail unit is new, too, and sits on a new steel trellis subframe, which bolts onto the mainframe where the old one was welded together.

A front view of the KTM RC390 being tested

Behind the fairing lies a whole host of new electronics, which is where the big changes come. Just like the 390 Adventure, the lights are now LEDs, while the old-school dash has been replaced with a full-colour TFT.

From here riders will be able to access the electronics, which we assume will have been updated to include riding modes, traction control and cornering ABS just like the Adventure.

Not only will the TFT dash allow you to access performance and safety functions, the dash will also unlock Bluetooth connectivity functions at last.

There are more performance features lurking – including new suspension, which appears to be adjustable for the first time, proper clip-on handlebars, new wheels and a new exhaust system.

It’s possible the engine has received a mild update to maintain Euro5 compatibility but given the Duke and Adventure models have both stuck at 373cc, we imagine the RC will stay the same too.

There’s nothing official from KTM at the moment, however given the impending Euro5 deadline we imagine the bike will be released in the coming months, arriving in dealerships in spring 2021.

KTM RC390 in detail:

  • Hey handsome The squinting eyes of the old model put some people off – a more traditional design should appeal to a wider audience
  • Weight watchers New wheels look lighter than those on the old model, likely to offset any weight gains from added features
  • Flash gear New electronics will help, especially if it gains the quickshifter and dedicated modes from the Adventure models
  • Bigger isn't better It’s possible KTM will increase engine size but we’d expect power to stay around 43bhp
  • How much? A2-legal bikes are in a competitive market but we’d expect a slight creep up to £5499

Bigger and better KTM RC390 spied in testing

First published on 12 December 2018 by Jordan Gibbons

KTM RC390 spied in the early stages of development

Spy shots show KTM are testing a new RC390 that should bring it bang up to date and put it on par with the 390 Duke.

KTM updated the RC390 (for Euro4) fairly recently, but it was all a bit of a disappointment. Where the 390 Duke (which shares the same engine) received loads of updates, the RC was only given a ride-by-wire throttle and a bellypan. For 2020 though, it is getting a whole lot more.


The biggest change externally is the all-new bodywork with a huge one-piece clear screen, something that is becoming a KTM hallmark. Behind that hides a new LED headlight plus a full-colour TFT dash: as seen already on the 390 Duke.

The screen looks to be much larger than on previous models, which should mean improved wind protection. There also appear to be larger fairings and a slightly bigger tank. All of those changes should make the whole machine a bit roomier for taller riders who have found the current RC390 cramped.

A frontal view of the KTM RC390

The subframe trellis appears to have been altered too but as this is such an early prototype, that may not be what we see on the final production model.

MCN also expects the RC to receive the updated WP suspension for an improved ride, new brakes and a more powerful motor.

The updates should make it Euro5-friendly (coming in 2020) and the revamped RC should also get the more refined gearbox from the Duke. With some strong competition in this part of the market from Kawasaki (Ninja 400), Yamaha (new Yamaha R3) and Honda (new CBR500R), KTM look set to strike back with this revamped RC390.

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Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.