KTM Duke 390
The KTM Duke 390 is a monster of a bike. It's compact and easy to drive, but it has enough torque to be entertaining on the roads and secure on the highway.
The duke's mobility is a significant plus. It features a short length of 53.4 inches, which makes it fun to drive in the bends. Its CW weight of 362 lbs. makes close turns a joy and sluggish maneuvers a breeze. Its single-cylinder engine is a decent 373cc, somewhat larger than the Ninja 300 and the CBR 250, providing greater torque when passing at greater speeds.
With a single-cylinder engine, you'd anticipate more torque at low RPMs, and while the Duke 390 does have some, it really shines in the greater RPM ranges.
The KTM Duke 390 is designed specifically for beginner riders. Its WP Apex suspension sinks into the curves of your favorite winding back road, while the 44 claimed horsepower and 27.3 pound-feet of torque will always get you to and from the office smiling. The bike's capability to start up immediately when the electric starter is pressed is a noteworthy feature.
In cold or hot climates, the 12-volt lead-acid cell does not deplete or degrade at the terminals. Other voltage-powered circuit boards, such as the TFT screen and LED lights, also perform well and do not require constant attention.
The KTM 390 Duke will operate in any situation you can hurl at it because of its dynamic 150 mm spring. The preload is variable, so even if you're riding alone or with a partner, with or without cargo, on the highway, or on the racetrack, you won't face any issue.
The straight handlebars and gripping can withstand the test of time. The seating is comfortable thanks to generous padding. The brake pads are long-lasting and won't show wear and tear for at least a year.
Sharper design, a revised fork, and Brembo brakes were added to the 390 Duke in 2017, bringing it closer to the machine we see now. For 2020, no significant modifications were made. With a starting bid of $5,499, the 390 Duke is available in orange or white.
The 13.4-liter steel gasoline tank is quite practical, but it also provides motorcyclists with optimal knee touch for hitting every turn and an unbelievable maximum range, even while riding as hard as you can all day.
The upside-down WP forks, which use the newest open cartridge innovation, not only outperform predictions when pushed to their limits, but they're also smooth and easy to operate. This renders them ideal for a wide range of riding situations, from casual cruising to pounding around on tight courses and everything else in between.
KTM Duke 790
The KTM Duke 790 combines practically with excitement. The seamless instant power delivery at lower revs is complemented by a medium rpm that carries enough power to produce wheel-lofting pleasure, a perfect combination of delicate clutch activation, spaced-out gear ratios, and clutchless paddle shifts.
Furthermore, the 790 Duke falls into freeway speeds in top gear at 5,000 rpm, with enough power to comfortably surge through vehicles, and only minor engine disturbance is sensed via the electronics above 6,500 rpm.
The 790 boasts a 799cc LC8c engine. It's incredibly compact and offers a decent amount of power. There's no waste thanks to a new tube steel twin backbone frame shrink-wrapped all around the engine. With an 825mm seat, small riders will find it easy to get on the 790 – to get aboard and plant their feet on the floor, thanks to its narrow hips. There's also plenty of room for tall riders. Even after a day of riding, the bar position feels comfortable.
The chassis is controlled, stable, and dependable, and the braking is constantly solid. The 790 can produce 105 hp and 64.2 lb-ft of torque.
The new engine is as smooth and vibration-free as an inline-four, but with a 75-degree crank offset and 435-degree firing gaps, it adds a new twist to the engine. As you rip out of bends and push through the gears, you're accompanied by a loud, rumbling V-twin-like roar. The KTM sputters and grinds like a race bike when you let go of the throttle. The 790 Duke creates a lovely, repetitive noise even with its Euro4 muffler.
Examining the performance closely shows a linear curve that increases power constantly from idle to 300 rpm underneath the 9,500-cruising speed. The rough edges and the hump on the gasoline tank, which is encased in orange plastic panels, contribute to the model's enticing appearance. However, the headlamps and rear mirrors are identical to those on the 390 Duke, which detracts from the premium factor.
The construction quality, fit-and-finish levels, plastics performance, and surface quality are all excellent. The 790 Duke's thick front forks and dual 300mm discs, as well as the 180mm wide rear Maxxis Supermaxx ST tire, make the bike look like a streetfighter. The TFT screen is particularly noteworthy for the wealth of information that it provides despite its small size.
Rain, Street, and Sport are the three ride settings on the 790, which change the engine's total power output and traction control involvement with preset parameters. Track is a fourth setting that enables the rider to customize the throttle response and TC settings and switch off the anti-wheelie function to activate a launch control element. In city-street situations, toggling between throttle response maps on the left handlebars switchgear and deciding on the mild Street option alleviates twitchy throttle changes.
Owing to an IMU, stability control and ABS basic both are lean-angle responsive. When you're turning, the software will react differently depending on how much you're leaning forward. The quick shifter on the 790 Duke allows for effortless upshifts and gear shifts. The slipper clutch is supported by KTM's Motor Slip Regulation (MSR) technology, which serves as an auto blipper to adjust engine power when hammering down through the gear, helping keep the system smoother during forceful downshifts.
KTM's My Ride system, which permits the rider's smartphone to be connected to the dashboard, is the only bit of technology that isn't included on the 790. However, The My Ride Control Unit is available from the Power Parts catalog for those interested. The KTM 890 Duke will succeed the bike in 2021.
Differences between the KTM 390 and 790
Even though both superbikes boast top-notch quality and features, there are significant differences among them. Let's have a look at some of these distinctions to make the choice clearer.
Power and Engine
One of the most important factors to consider when buying a motorcycle is speed. The KTM 790 is the quicker of the two, thanks to a DOHC twin-cylinder 8 valve engine. This allows the motorcycle to achieve a maximum speed of almost 140 mph while generating 64.2-foot lbs. of torque. In comparison, the KTM 390 single-cylinder liquid-cooled straight DOHC engine produces 27.3-foot lbs. of torque which is lesser.
When it comes to fuel tank capacity, the KTM 390 features a 14-liter tank, while the 790 boasts 13.4 fuel tank capacity. The former also has a reserve fuel tank capacity of 2.5 liters, while the 790 does not offer it. The 390 will save you a few dollars thanks to its 82 mpg fuel capacity compared to the 790's 53 mpg.
Next up, we have the engineering and overall layout of these spectacular models by KTM. The KTM 790 offers superb traction and launch control, while the 390 is lacking in this domain. Both the models are well equipped with a quick shifter which kind of balances the entire design.
One important aspect to note is the fact that the KTM 390 offers smartphone connections with full control and check over audio and incoming calls. This is a feature that is highly coveted and makes this motorbike one of its kind.
The 790 is on the higher end of the price spectrum, and you'll know where the extra money goes as soon as you gear up and climb to cruising altitude. While the 390 might not be able to handle perilous terrains, the 790 can handle all the obstacles in its way to provide you with an unparalleled off-roading experience. The 790 also gets a steering damper which is not available in the 390, which makes a huge difference.
The 390 is an ideal lightweight adventure bike that offers some interesting features like the TFT display, ABS, and adjustable suspension, which set it apart from the other models in this category. On the other hand, the 790 is among the best adventure bikes you will find on the market. It's a great option if you're looking to get some serious off-road performance from a middleweight ride. It's not perfect, but its off-road capabilities are excellent, and the bike offers generous comfort on on-road rides.
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley