KTM 390 Duke: First Ride
Having already been introduced to the Duke 200 by KTM, many Indian bikers have been waiting with bated breath for the launch of the bigger 390 Duke. But it’s not only the enthusiasts in the country who represent the eager bunch. In fact, its very own maker KTM Sportsmotorcycle AG too is sufficiently inclined to unleash the more ferocious sibling to the world. It is heavily banking on this machine as it prepares to launch the built-in-India motorcycle not just in selective markets, like it did with the younger siblings the 125 and the 200 Duke, but across 80 countries worldwide where it will share dealership space with all other KTM motorcycles. There is a lot riding on the 390 Duke for KTM as the Austrian bike-maker commences its onslaught on the street market after having globally led the charge in the off-road segment for over five decades now. Also Read: KTM 390 Duke launched at Rs 1.80 lakh
The 390 Duke is aimed at plugging the gap between the 200cc and the 600cc segments bringing with it strong performance in a lightweight framework offering form and function for the street. To be sold across all KTM markets, the machine has to deliver on all counts where it offers excitement for the established performance driven markets as well as practicality and affordability for the emerging ones. And by the looks of it, the 390 Duke sure does achieve all of that, with élan. On the outside, the 390 Duke is identical to its younger sibling, the 200, barring minor changes to the graphics on the tank, all-new white paint scheme and the wheels and the steel trellis frame powder coated in trademark KTM orange.
Changes on the 390 are more for purpose than poise. For instance, the bigger Duke now gets bar-end weights on the flat wide handlebars and they do a fairly good job of keeping vibrations from throbbing the rider’s palms. The view from the saddle is unchanged and the info-filled geek-friendly digital console upfront remains identical barring one small yet significant addition – the ABS toggle switch. Located on the lower left side of the digital console, the switch to turn off the Bosch-developed ABS is slyly hidden and cannot be spotted visually but only felt on a press of the finger.
For the stunt crazy lads out there who prefer one wheeling over two, the trick to turn off the ABS is to slot the motorcycle into the neutral gear while the engine is running and to keep the button pressed until the ABS light on the display starts to blink. ABS De-activated!!! And to turn it back on (we think many would want to on such a mental machine), simply switch off the engine and crank it up to get the ABS working again as the ABS indicator light stabilises.