Lightweight hooligans: KTM add a touch of exotica to the A2 class with fully redesigned 390 and 125 Duke

2024 KTM 390 Duke burnout
2024 KTM 390 Duke burnout

KTM have kicked off their 2024 new model reveals with a ground-up redesign of the 390 Duke A2-compatible model and 125 Duke learner-legal naked, featuring new engines, chassis parts, electronics, as well as a styling refresh.

Designed and developed at KTM’s HQ in Mattighofen, Austria, the bikes are then built in India by automotive giants Bajaj. The firm also assemble the new Triumph Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X singles and BMW’s G310 range is also produced in the country by TVS (the current owners of Norton).

“The main focus of the other brands seems to be more pricing than performance. The KTM was always a ‘ready to race’ machine, a premium motorcycle at the top of the range – with the most power and best power to weight across categories,” Product Manager Agustin Augustinoy told MCN.

2024 KTM 390 Duke spinning its rear wheel

Sticking with the A2-compliant 390 for now, the largest of the single cylinder Dukes promises more power, larger engine capacity, and more advanced electronics than the 2017 390 Duke in order to appeal to the sportiest of A2-restricted riders.

At the thumping heart of the new machine is a 398.7cc motor (up from 373cc) meeting more stringent Euro5+ regulations and featuring a longer stroke of 64mm (an increase of 4mm). Power now sits at a claimed 44.4bhp @ 8500rpm, with peak torque of 28.8lb.ft @ 7000rpm.

“The bike is completely new. Almost none of the parts that we used to use in the previous generation are in the new generation of bike,” Augustinoy continued. “The [fully-faired] KTM RC390 is still in the second generation, so the [Duke] engine is completely different and more compact, lighter weight, has a different thermal management – it’s a completely new platform.”

2024 KTM 390 Duke front

Feeding the mini beast is a redesigned metal fuel tank, flanked by jagged broad shoulders inspired by the largest KTM 1290 Super Duke R super-naked and finished with large Duke 390 lettering. The deep orange paint is also inspired by the mid-noughties 990 Super Duke V-twin and adds to the bike’s appeal.

A glance down from there also reveals a new two-piece chassis, with a steel trellis main frame and aluminium subframe. Claimed to improve stiffness for better riding feel, the triple clamp has been changed with the intention of greater stability on the move.

At the rear of the bike, the swingarm is new, with the old straighter design making way for a curved look that contours around a revised rear shock that now mounts off-centre to the right.

2024 KTM 390 Duke donut

The new shock position allows for a redesigned exhaust and airbox, with the standard can now exiting below the right side of the swingarm rather than as a side-mounted end can as before.

Shorter riders will be thankful for the lower 820mm seat height (down from 830mm), that can be dropped further to 800mm and should make the bike less intimidating for a wider range of pilots.

“Of course, we keep an eye out [on the competition], and we compare our bikes during development, and we try to always be better than the competition,” the 390 Duke boss added. “That’s one of the reasons that we wanted a lower seat height, and make it more accessible for riders that are not so tall.

2024 KTM 390 Duke right side

“This is a bike that you can use every day, so the easier it is to ride the better, but also keeping our ‘ready to race’ [ethos].”

Further aiding new riders is a full suite of electronics, which include cornering ABS, traction control, plus multiple riding modes including a softer setting for rain.

These new tech goodies go far further than simply improving safety, with riders also able to deactivate the rear ABS with Supermoto mode which stays activated even after you’ve switched the bike off and on again at the ignition.

2024 KTM 390 Duke stunt riding

The lean sensitive traction control can also be fully switched off, and there’s the option to select a ‘Track’ setting for the fresh five inch TFT dash which includes a lap timer for the track.

And there more in terms of electronics, with an optional up/down quickshifter available, and launch control as standard. This holds the revs at 7000rpm when pinned to the stop for a faster launch from the traffic lights and the holeshot amongst your mates.

The updates don’t end there though, with the 390 now suspended by 43mm WP Apex open-cartridge forks with five clicks of compression and rebound adjustment. Meanwhile, the rear WP Apex shock promises 150mm of travel and adjustment for both preload and rebound damping.

Small yet mighty KTM 125 Duke

2024 KTM 125 Duke stoppie

Alongside the 390 the KTM 125 Duke has also been updated with similar changes, sporting the same grown-up looks and updated chassis parts, but suspended on slightly more basic springs.

Distinguished from the 390 by its narrower shoulders, the smallest Duke keeps the same updated LED headlight set up and side-profile inspired by the firm’s largest 1290 V-twin super-nakeds.

Rolling on all-weather Michelin Road 5 tyres, the 14.8bhp SOHC single will also receive Supermoto ABS as standard but misses out on the cornering traction and launch control, as well as optional riding modes. It can still be equipped with the quickshifter and blipper.

2024 KTM 125 Duke

The 125 comes with a pleasingly low 800mm seat height (20mm lower than the 390) as standard and retains the same five-inch bonded glass TFT display, updated switchgear, and mobile connectivity as the 390.

Elsewhere, the 125 receives 43mm WP Apex front forks with 150mm of travel but no adjustability. Likewise, at the rear, there’s an off-centre mounted WP Apex shock absorber like the 390, but is only tool-adjustable for preload.