2022 KTM RC 390 Unleashed

The key focus for the new RC 390 has been weight saving, especially in the unsprung mass department

  • Currently, the EU spec model has been showcased.
  • It gets a revised frame, adjustable suspension, and lighter wheels.
  • India launch is likely to take place in early-2022.

After numerous spy shots and teasing, KTM has taken the wraps off the 2022 RC 390. The model year should give you a big hint regarding the bike’s arrival, as it is unlikely to be launched this year. KTM’s press statement says the bike will reach dealers globally by March 2022. Hence, India launch could take place in early 2022, quite similar to how the launch of the 390 Adventure took place a couple of years ago.

Let’s get the obvious bit out of the way. The new RC 390 has a rather striking face, though it will definitely split opinions. Although we find it hard to believe, KTM says that it is inspired from its RC16 MotoGP machine. Anyway, the LED headlamp is similar to the 390 Duke, except it is just a two-level unit and not a three-level one. The face gets a rather large plastic shroud with integrated LED turn indicators.

If you overlook the face, the RC does feel properly sporty and sticks true to KTM’s Ready To Race motto. The fairing remains sharp with lots of edges. What you might miss out on the first glance, though, is the improved ventilation system. The vents are now larger, and thanks to the side-mounted radiator fan, the engine cooling should be better than before.

What we absolutely adore about the new RC 390, though, is the exposed steel trellis frame, the bolted-on subframe and the race-inspired split seat. KTM has ditched the gorgeous (and stealth-looking) race cowl pillion seat for something a bit more traditional. This, however, has made the new RC a bit more pillion-friendly. Plus, the rider seat seems roomier with the larger 13.7-litre fuel tank, which should make it easier to straddle the bike.

KTM has improved the breathing of the 373cc single-cylinder mill. Though it makes the same 43.5PS, it puts out 37Nm now, 1Nm more than the outgoing model. Besides, the entire exhaust system has been rerouted, with a new stainless steel header pipe and an aluminium muffler, saving weight and producing a more evocative soundtrack for your track hooning. We are a bit confused with the placing of the wire mesh at the end of the exhaust. Yes, it has a rather aggressive upswept design and is cylindrical, not prismatic. But what purpose the wire mesh serves is something we would likely find out during the first ride of the bike.

And speaking of which, it also gets the Quickshifter+ riding aid from the 390 Duke and 390 Adventure, but to be honest, the aid never really worked as intended on the other two bikes. Also, the electronic suite of the RC 390 comes with a Bosch 9.1MP Cornering ABS and lean-sensitive cornering MTC (the first for any supersport in this segment). It isn't surprising to find these two aids on the RC 390. Afterall, the 390 Adventure gets these two features. However, what will be interesting to find out is whether these aids actually improve the riding experience or become a bit of a hindrance, like it is on the Adventure. 

Not only does the new KTM RC 390 have a lighter chassis (1.5kg lighter), it is sprung by a compression- and rebound-adjustable WP Apex USD fork and a WP Apex preload- and rebound-adjustable monoshock. That said, the India-spec RC 390 will not get these components. Just like on the India-spec 390 Adventure, the suspension will be non-adjustable, to save costs.

Nevertheless, Indian track day enthusiasts will be able to revel in the fact that the new 5-spoke alloy wheels are 3.4kg lighter. Plus, with an additional 960gm of weight saving, courtesy the new braking hardware, the RC 390’s turn-ins are going to be even sharper. And if you are a sliding enthusiast, there’s always Supermoto ABS to bank on. What remains to be seen is whether KTM India manages to offer the grippy Metzelers once again on the RC. 

Pricing is going to be key for KTM to make sure the 2022 RC 390 becomes a hit like it did nearly a decade ago. The current model retails at Rs 2.77 lakh. With more price revisions likely in store for the year, we think that the new model could come in at a shade under Rs 3 lakh. For that moolah, the RC 390 will be quite pricey, especially since the TVS Apache RR 310 with its BTO model now offers the same kit at approx Rs 2.80 lakh.

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2022 KTM RC 390

Rs. 2.70 Lakh Onwards

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