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KTM 390 Duke: Road Test
It's something worth investing in. Also the 10 litres of usable fuel tank capacity can play hindrance if the 390 Duke is ridden at higher speeds above 130-140km/h as the efficiency drops to around 24kmpl reducing the tank range to 240km/h. But stay slotted in top gear at 5500rpm and she will easily cruise at 100-105km/h while returning a healthy fuel efficiency figure of about 30kmpl. This sensitive single pot will react instantly to the liberal use of the right wrist but if ridden with little more caution, she sure can surprise the rider with its fuel efficiency while giving back enough thrills at the same time.
Honestly though, these minor glitches are more or less application specific, meaning what one really wants to do with his or her motorcycle than what she does, or does not. For someone looking for a fast yet practical machine that is high on riding experience, good looking and affordable at the same time, well truly, there is nothing quite like the KTM 390 Duke in the present Indian market.
For its introductory price tag of Rs. 1.98 lakh (on-road, Pune) it directly rivals the Honda CBR250R ABS, which is a good machine by itself and fairly quick for a quarter-litre machine, but as they say, there is no replacement for displacement! And that's not all. The advanced BOSCH ABS on the 390 is finer, smoother and has much less judder.
Further helped by the sticky Metzeler M5 Sportec Interact rubber on both ends, the ABS unit rewards back the rider with a very confident inspiring braking feel. One can truly slam hard on the brakes without experiencing any kind of unsettling behaviour from the motorcycle. To put things in perspective, in our 60-0km/h braking test, the 390 Duke came to a halt from 60km/h in just 17.25 metres and 2.04 seconds while in the 80-0km/h test she recorded a figure of 29.86 metres and 3.07 seconds. While the figures are no less than impressive, the highlight is the composed and relaxed manner in which the entire braking mechanism works to bring the motorcycle to a steady quick halt. And on road conditions like ours where uncertainty rules and chaos breeds, such technologies surely go a long way in saving lives. And such tech featuring as standard equipment than optional only goes onto say that KTM means business and they are here to stay.
And stay they will as the world's second biggest two-wheeler market is just about opening up to high capacity performance motorcycles, a segment wherein KTM has already clinched the top spot in all of Europe. That said, in a market as dense and volatile as ours, many motorcycles come and go. Some go unnoticed, some leave a trail back like the aged Hero Karizma, but only a handful of them truly leave a mark of their own like the Yamaha two-strokers, the RX100 and the iconic RD350.
It's been a while since something that could withhold such legacy came about in our dynamic market to give the performance bike segment the much-needed shot in the arm. The KTM 390 Duke could be that very machine. It has the goods, it delivers them all brilliantly well, and thanks to the masterminds at Bajaj Auto, it doesn't ask one to empty his wallet. Partnering Bajaj Auto, the Austrian bike maker has come out all guns blazing in the Indian motorcycle space but predominantly it has raised an important question aimed at its rivals, Ready to Race?
Related : KTM 390 Duke: First Ride
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