QJMotor SRK 400 vs KTM 390 Duke Comparison Review: The Best Fusion Combination Is?

  • Apr 18, 2023
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How does the Chinese naked with an Italian connection fare against the Indo-Austrian firebreather?

If there’s anything that holds true about the world we live in currently, it is that we are no longer restricted by geographical boundaries. This results in cultures fusing together to create unique and distinct flavours. It becomes more and more obvious as you start to take a look at current day fashion, food and even, to a certain extent, motorcycles. Like the two we have on test here. The first one is a tried, tested and oh so delicious combination of Austria and India: the KTM 390 Duke. And going up against it today is sort of a spaghetti manchurian in the form of the QJMotor SRK 400. Which one of these flavour combinations works best in our conditions?

Levels Of Spiciness

Just like slow-cooked haleem, Bajaj and KTM have been working on the 390 Duke recipe for ages. No wonder then that the bike has the incredible spicy kick that one usually gets from an Indian dish. Its bountiful 373cc mill is just so filled with flavours that you always wish to spool the motor to its nearly 10,000rpm rev limiter. 

Comparatively, the SRK 400 comes across as a mildly spicy dish. It doesn’t quite have the zestiness that you would expect from a performance-oriented twin-cylinder mill as it comes alive only at the top portion of its rev range. It is kind of like the kick of black pepper that you feel at the back of your throat. 

Digesting this dish, though, is an easier affair. You aren’t working the gearbox too much in traffic and even then, the gearbox isn’t half as bad – certainly better than the old Benelli TNT 300, with which it shares its roots. You will need to downshift to make quick overtakes on the highway, else you need to plan them well in advance.


QJMotor SRK 400

KTM 390 Duke


2.89 seconds

2.98 seconds


4.44 seconds

4.55 seconds


6.73 seconds

6.83 seconds

30-70kmph in 3rd gear

4.23 seconds

3.78 seconds

40-80kmph in 4th gear

4.90 seconds

5.06 seconds

So, as far as usable performance goes, it is definitely slower than the Duke as the SRK takes a fair bit longer to execute quick overtakes. Even while setting off rapidly, it isn’t dramatically quicker than the Duke. The 15kg weight disadvantage instantly negates any inherent advantage a twin-cylinder motor might provide. 

Fuel efficiency

QJMotor SRK400





Get ready for the first SRK reference of the story. Much like the actor in the second half of his superhit film, Devdas, this SRK 400 too is a big-time guzzler. The parallel-twin motor is working quite a bit to keep the bike moving in the city, and even though its highway score is better, we have received better figures from the other KTM 390s that we’ve tested so far.

More importantly, the SRK 400 isn’t quite as polished as you’d expect from a twin-cylinder engine. The buzz from the motor is so obvious and pulsating at low revs and only begins to subside slightly at speeds of 110-120kmph. Yes, we know KTMs aren’t the best when it comes to refinement but the owner has done over 8500km on his bike and surprisingly, the tingles aren’t quite as apparent.

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Levels Of Finesse 

There’s a stark difference between the two when it comes to going around curves. The KTM is sharp, focused and always on the edge, making sure the rider stays alert so that you can enjoy every sensation thoroughly. The other one continues with its lax attitude. It doesn’t mind being ridden fast but the comfy setup inadvertently starts telling you that the hustle isn’t worth it. Instead of going gung-ho like SRK in Pathaan, it would benefit you from being the SRK in romantic movies like DDLJ, K3G, Mohabbatein and so on, because it is in those movies where he truly earned his stardom. So, similarly, keep things chill on the SRK 400 and take the corners lovingly. 

 Even the way you sit on the SRK 400 brings out the relaxed persona of the sporty naked. It is low, gets a narrower bar and has slightly forward-set footpegs. This makes sure that you don’t end up returning home tired after a long day of work. 

Not that the KTM is tiring. It is just a bit extra in every regard. Extra seat height, extra leverage, extra demand from your legs because the pegs are further back and extra commitment in bumper to bumper traffic. So, to start off with, it will be a little bit of a wild child. But once you get the hang of it, boy nothing else will matter.

The KTM also feels the more sorted machine when it comes to riding over bad stretches of roads. There is an inherent sense of confidence when you are hustling the bike. Even though it remains taut as ever, the suspension allows for adequate bump absorption when you slow down the pace. In that regard, you’d find the ride on the SRK400 a bit confusing. At slow speeds, it feels crashy and as you pick up the pace, the rear starts to get wallowy. So much so that you end up bottoming out the components easily. 


QJMotor SRK400





Another area where the KTM comes top trumps is slowing down rapidly, which for this mental thing requires some seriously good firepower. The small twin front discs of the SRK 400 just simply don’t have the same braking prowess as the KTM’s large single. In fact, if you grab a handful of the lever, it feels wooden and dead, leaving you with this vagueness that isn’t entirely fun at 100kmph or so. Thankfully, ABS calibration isn’t a big pain point like other bikes we’ve tested from the Adishwar Auto umbrella.

Now, the owner of the KTM was one of the unlucky dudes who got their 390 Dukes with MRF tyres during the whole tyre import shortage in late 2020. So, we were hesitant on riding the bike to its full potential because these MRFs felt insufficient on the KTM 200s. Even then, the SRK just doesn’t stick to the ground and hence, the Maxxis tyres don’t feel quite as great.

Levels Of Style

There’s no doubt the SRK is a stylish motorcycle. With its sharp Kawasaki Z1000-like face, it isn’t surprising that it grabs a lot of eyeballs. We’ve had people doing a double take more than once and once you open the taps, the melodious symphony bellowed from the twin-pot mill is just on another level.

Sadly, the feature set doesn’t match its striking looks. LED illumination all around is a boon, and works brilliantly well. But just a simple negative LCD dash with bare minimum data is actually not what we hope for when you’re shelling out in excess of four lakh rupees. 

In that regard, the Duke’s design is now easily recognisable, and yet connects well with the sporty buyer. And even the features list of the KTM is considerably more functional than the SRK’s. 

Levels That We Will Love

Which fusion is best suited for India? Obviously the one that is made in our country. The Austrians might have put their brains into it but it is the folk at Chakan who made it come to life with a tadka and no wonder lots of people in the office own one. 

But is the Italian-Chinese combo bad? Not exactly. There are areas on the SRK that both could work on to make it better. Performance, refinement, brakes, handling and features. Ultimately though, even if they improve the experience dramatically, there is no way they would be able to offer the experience at a lower price than what these guys have managed. It's like a gourmet pizza – something that exists, but isn't worth it. 

So, as exotic as it might sound, in the end the desi spicy combo is what satiates our palate. 

QJ Motor SRK 400 Video Review

QJ Motor SRK 400
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