How Different Will The New KTM RC 390 Be From Its Predecessor?

Here are the major changes we expect to find on the upcoming Austrian supersport

It’s finally upon us. After years of teasers, spy shots and speculations, the 2021 KTM RC 390 is ready to break cover. Our sources say the bike could be launched this month, once the lockdown is eased. So, what major changes can we expect on the next-gen Austrian supersport? Here’s what we think:

Flared Design
The RC series will undergo a massive design overhaul. Gone are the old RC 390's twin LED projectors and in their stead, arrive the same triple-stacked pronged LED lights from the 390 Duke. Polarising audiences even further, the front LED turn indicators will be integrated into the face, giving it a bloated look. One of the primary reasons why KTM has opted for the Duke’s headlight could be cost-cutting.

The multi-panel fairing is smaller than before with an exposed underbelly section. The tank also looks larger and bulky. And just like the Duke and Adventure, the RC 390 will also get a bolted-on subframe. This has brought about a revision to the tail section as KTM finally bids adieu to the race cowl-like pillion seat.

Lighter And Perhaps A More Manageable Setup
The new subframe will not only bring aesthetic changes, but also ergonomic revisions. For starters, the seat height might just be a tad lower. Even if that’s not possible, the rider will have more space to move around in the saddle. The clip-on bars remain low and wide, though. The footpeg positioning may also see a minor change.

KTM seems to be putting a bit more emphasis on weight saving for the new bike. So it should be lighter than the current BS6 model, possibly as light as the old BS4 version. KTM is trying to achieve this by shaving off precious grams from the wheels, disc, headlight assembly, and dash.

More Oomph
The 373cc single-cylinder heart is one of the most mental motors we have come across. The way it puts down 43PS and 37Nm is enough to revitalise all your senses. While the BS6 emission norms have stifled a bit of its hooliganism, we guess KTM may revise the tuning once again to bring it back. One of the factors in this change could be the revised exhaust routing with a brand-new end can.

New Electronic Aids
The RC 390 already had ride-by-wire and dual-channel ABS in its kitty. With this update, KTM might just add a bi-directional quickshifter and traction control. In our experience with the 390 Adventure and the 390 Duke, the quickshifter failed to live up to its name, operating as a clutchless shifting aid. The system failed to provide seamless gear shift at revs higher than 8000rpm, which is exactly when you want the system to work. Also, the traction control system on the 390 Adventure was finicky and quite rudimentary. While these aids will give you bragging rights, we aren’t particularly excited to find them on the RC 390.

Better Foundations
No, KTM will not bring adjustability to the suspension just yet. What you can expect is more pliant components to take on Indian roads. The new front brake disc could be paired with sintered brake pads to bolster the RC’s braking performance.

These are some of the changes we expect on the next-gen RC 390, however, there are still a lot of details that will be revealed only when the bike actually goes on sale, which should happen soon enough.

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2021 KTM RC 390

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