Is The KTM 390 Duke Good For Tall Riders?

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Motorcycles typically are designed to fit riders who are of average height and weight. That raises the question: Is the 390 Duke good for tall riders?

Riding a motorcycle that is small and feels cramped can make your back and knees sore due to your body position. Your wrists and shoulders also might get sore from reaching down to the handlebars that are much too low for someone who is taller than most people. That could take the fun out of riding a relatively small and cramped bike.

Despite having a relatively small displacement and being a light motorcycle, the KTM Duke 390 is a great motorcycle for tall riders. A saddle height that exceeds 34inches makes it much easier for people who are 6 feet and taller to ride the 390 and enjoy the experience.

KTM is one of the world’s best builders of motocross bikes and dual-sport motorcycles. Dirt bikes generally fit tall riders very well. So does the 390 Duke.

As a lifelong rider of dirt bikes and road bikes, it is easy to see why the KTM 390 Duke is a good mount for tall riders. The following will help you to see why, too.

In this article...


Riding Position Readily Supports Tall People

Unlike sports bikes, the KTM 390 Duke has a mostly upright riding position with your body tilted slightly forward. The riding position enables you to stretch your your legs more than you would on bikes with shorter and more cramped riding positions. And your legs and knees are not bent at odd angles that cause discomfort during even short rides.

The handlebars rise up to meet your hands and help to keep the weight of your body off of your wrists. A small flyscreen mounted on top of the headlight helps to block air as well as bugs from hitting you in the chest. The forward-leaning riding position and

Ample Room for Knees

Riding on a bike that is too small often means splaying your knees out at an uncomfortable angle to make room for the gas tank. The Duke 390 does not do that. It has a very well-designed fuel tank that is ergonomic, light, and holds 3.56 gallons of gas.

The fuel tank on many bikes can be a big problem for tall riders. That is not the case with the 390 Duke. KTM designed the fuel tank to provide a more ergonomic fit for riders.

The fuel tank becomes wider as it goes higher and creates a natural spot for your knees to rest while riding. It has indentations on the right and left sides where your knees can tuck in safely.

The fuel tank’s shape enables you to keep your knees and legs more relaxed in a natural position. When your knees are tucked in next to the fuel tank, they do not cause your legs to catch air while you are riding. So you can ride longer and faster without tiring out sooner.

Flyscreen Reduces Parachute Effect

Tall riders can benefits greatly from the flyscreen that comes with the KTM 390 Duke. The flyscreen is positioned on top of the headlight nacelle and forms a small wind deflector.

Any amount of wind that is deflected away from the flyscreen and headlight will not blast you in the chest. Many tall riders are very familiar with the parachute effect that occurs when the windblast hits you squarely in the chest.

The windblast can blow you around along with the bike. It puts more strain on your shoulders and lower back. And it can cause a lot of discomforts and even pain during long rides.

The handlebars are low but do not require tall riders to hunch over to reach them. But you can add risers to increase the height of the handlebars or lower them to your riding preference. The beautiful thing about handlebars is that they are inexpensive and very easy to upgrade to fit you better. The same goes for handlebar risers.

Cast Aluminum Wheels Improve Ground Clearance

A good bike for tall riders should have relatively tall wheels to give more ground clearance and legroom. The KTM 390 Duke has a pair of 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels that help to ensure that tall riders will have a good amount of legroom.

The wheels are light and tall but do not add a lot of weight to the bike. They give you 7.3 inches of ground clearance and a wheelbase that measures more than 54 inches.

The 390 Duke’s 43mm WP forks are beefy and can adjust the front end to better match your height. The fork gives the bike 5.6 inches of travel while a single WP shock absorber with preload adjustment delivers 5.9 inches of travel in the rear.

The Duke 390 has single-disc brakes front and rear. A four-piston radially mounted brake caliper in front, and a single-piston floating caliper in the back give you plenty of stopping power on such a light road bike.

You will not need a lot of leverage to get the Duke 390 to stop. But leverage is something most tall riders have on their bikes. So your stopping power could be even greater.

Light Weight Reduces Body Strain

The KTM 390 Duke has been around for several years and benefits from several years of incremental improvements. The current model has a wet weight of just 338 pounds, which makes it very light compared to most road bikes.

The motorcycle’s 54-inches wheelbase enables you to make tight turns and pop wheelies with ease. But popping wheelies is not lawful or safe riding. A final chain drive helps to keep the costs low and enables you to adjust the gearing to your preference.

A light bike that can stay up to speed on the freeway with power on tap for passing slow vehicles is a true marvel. And the KTM Duke 390 is nothing short of marvelous.

It also helps that KTM is a premier builder of some of the best-regarded motocross bikes made on the planet. Dirt bikes are especially friendly for tall riders. So is the Duke 390.

Good Power and Easy Shifting

The 338-pound Duke 390 produces good power for a bike its size. You get up to 44 horsepower at the crank at 9,000 RPMs and 26 pound-feet of torque at 7,000.

Its 374cc liquid-cooled single has an 89mm bore and 60 mm stroke with a 12.6:1 compression ratio. A 6-speed transmission and slipper clutch gives you excellent shifting and enable the Duke 390 to go up to 110 mph. A chain final drive sends the power to the rear wheel.

The single-cylinder powerplant produces reasonably good torque without having to run into the very high RPM range that many small-displacement bikes often need for useful power. So vibration is not an issue on the 390 like it would be on many competing bikes.

A powder-coated steel trellis frame and subframe help to prevent engine flex, and wet-sump lubrication keep the engine running cool. You can use the included 5.2-inch, full-color TFT display to provide you with accurate speed ratings. You can adjust the displace for lighter and darker conditions.

The aftermarket likely could help you to dial in the 390 Duke for your size and riding preferences. And it is a great starter bike that has real-world value to longtime riders. You can use it as a daily commuter and even convert it for weekend track duties.

The KTM Duke 390 is a great bike for tall riders of all ages and types of riding experiences.