Predator on a Kill Run
Riding through some nasty and prestigious races around the world like Dakar and Derbies, KTM has proven its rigidity and strength to endure all the dirt and glory a dirt track can throw at a bike. The tubular space frame, made from chrome molybdenum steel at the front, gives the bike a rather sporty demeanor, and does all the magic. Ever since Duke’s’ inception back in May 15, 2012, at Soaltee Mode, one thing is clear: this baby means business, and the type of business where it’s taking the edge off riding mainstream bikes, and penetrating through the tarmac in flash mode, defying physics, like it’s a predator on a kill run.
KTM Duke 390 is a nimble bike. It looks smaller, feels smaller, with 11 kg less than the 200, but rest assured that it can deliver some serious punch in its mid-range. The moment you open throttle around third gear, believe me when I say this, it runs deceptively fast. You won’t know how fast you are going until you glance at the speedo; that too takes a lot of planning since you are riding on a street and teleporting way faster! It’s not uncommon for a sport to geometrically accelerate but this bike outperorms its class, and hence it requires a whole lot of focus from you while riding. It’s not like on a regular 200/250 cc motorcycle that when you open throttle it spikes 10 km/h. On a 390, it goes by 30 km/h and more when you constantly push its throttles. 0-60 in just 2.6 sec, 0-100, 5.6 sec, and that’s not all; with the top speed of more than 175 km/h, it flies and goes so high that to drop down, you either need the road, or the fuel, to end!
The Duke 390 is derived off the huge success of its predecessor KTM Duke 200. Comparing between its predecessor and current 390, they look alike, yet the specs sheet is somewhat like comparing two brothers’ report cards. Shoot me for this, but the feel on the bike, for instance, felt like being on a super sport, and the demeanor might be that of our very own Duke 200, and is capable of sweeping you off your feet for the first time. This 139 kg of beast is, quite frankly, lighter, given the power this bike holds, but with the package of higher BHP and torque, it packs a whole lot of punch inspiring a huge, huge smile on your face. Of course, there are Metzeler tyres and Myaans, those are some mean things on the roads, no matter how unimportant you might think tires are. Holding onto stuff like Spiderman, this baby surprises you with its grip on the roads.
Witness a Beast
It’s not every day when you witness a wildcat. Given the single cylinder engine, this is a power behemoth in fluorescent orange, and that too with 44 ps of raw power - raw power bearing 373.2 cc of displacement, raw power that is just so extreme that it makes you hold on for your dear life. You feel like your legs are embracing a big snare drum on a band drill as the thud thud pounding engine revs off the 4-stroke SI single cylinder, making it the wackiest part riding the 390.
Of course, power comes with responsibility, and how better would a bike like this run without the dedicated ABS? With the Bosch 9M ABS, which kicks in sooner here, can make you nudge at the speed, and make your braking move more elaborate. With tires like these, and the ABS, it sure is a pain in the ass for the stunt folks out there, but don’t worry, it can be turned off. (Phew!) Of course, it comes with the caution that riding without the ABS on can be brutal.
A Game Changer
Having said all that, there are some issues with the 390. The seats are still stiffer like the 200s, and hence somewhat dampening the overall ride quality and outright comfort of the bike. But, with the price and the monstrous speed and agility of the bike, three is a lot more to gain than pay. You can always get the better-padded seats and leathers at a local repair shop. The bike is definitely a game changer in the current biking scenario of Nepal. It is the most brutal road gulping and adrenaline booster machine there is, so certain discomforts can suck it. Making a short trip on it is rather difficult, given the power delivery and speed maniac thrill. I, for one, could not stick to the test ride track and enjoyed a few extra kilometers (I sincerely hope that the people at the showroom did not notice the delay). This bike is the new threshold to meet in relation to power and agility.
P.S. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry, so for those of you who pillion ride and use cell phones at the same time, this bike’s immense pull can be brutal to your back and your phones. Also, pillion riding in this bike is only suggested if your girlfriend is a supermodel and is a size zero, else it’s quite hard not to get glued to the rider at all times. Dudes, please don’t ride with your close friends, may lead to intimacy!