First Ride - 2018 KTM Duke 390

First RideChaseontwowheels5 Comments

Body Position


Throttle Response




Ease of Use


Perceived Weight


The 2018 KTM Duke 390 was one of the most enlightening first rides ever. With KTM promoting this as a starter bike (A2 license approved) this thing surprisingly packs a punch. This 4-stroke, liquid cooled, single cylinder makes use of all 373cc’s. Pumping out an amazing 44 HP and 27 ft-lbs of torque with a curb weight of only 359 lbs. The gearing is very short thanks to the 45 tooth rear sprocket, but this makes gears 1-3 feel super punchy and acceleration around the city very fun. Once on the highway though, a twist of the wrist doesn't yield the same results. It will hold highway speeds but don't expect any massive bursts of acceleration in 6th gear. As with any naked bike prepare to have some extreme wind blast at higher speeds.

The ergonomics on this bike were very comfortable. My legs felt like they were in a forward attack position but my back was straight and could easily reach the bars. Both the clutch and brake levers are adjustable to match comfort needs. The seat height is 32.68 inches and being 5 ft. 10 in. tall I could easily reach the ground. The bike was relatively vibration free, a big plus for a single cylinder engine. KTM has somehow packed this bike full of premium features while still keeping the price reasonable. Slipper clutch is very smooth when aggressively downshifting. Throttle by wire allows for precise and responsive throttle control. Bosch 9mp two-channel ABS is also included. ABS can be turned off or placed into “supermoto mode” which turns off ABS only on the rear. Allowing for some sweet supermoto stepping out into turns while still maintaining maximum front braking. Front brake rotor is a single 320mm disk and the rear is equipped with a single 230mm disc.

 Suspension is composed of 43mm WP front forks and a WP mono shock with adjustable preload on the rear. The TFT display is a big plus in my book. It was very easy to see even in full sunlight. Navigating the menu is very user friendly, using the four buttons on the left side of the handlebars. A led headlight also comes standard which gives this bike an even more aggressive look from the front with the added safety benefit of being shockingly bright. Overall I was very impressed with this bike. It is a very aggressive and sporty looking naked bike that was very enjoyable to ride. I would recommend this bike for someone who does a lot of city commuting or wants to enjoy some spirited mountain road riding. It performed decently on the highway but I would recommend an aftermarket windscreen if you plan on extended highway rides.


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