chaseontwowheels

beginner bike

First Ride - 2018 KTM Duke 390

First RideChaseontwowheels5 Comments

Body Position

FirstRide_3bar.png

Throttle Response

FirstRide_7bar.png

Handling

FirstRide_6bar.png

Ease of Use

FirstRide_7bar.png

Perceived Weight

FirstRide_6bar.png

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.

 


Check out the video on YouTube!

Similar Bikes


 

Bike provided by:

First Ride - 2017 KTM RC 390

First RideChaseontwowheels2 Comments

Body Position

FirstRide_3bar.png

Throttle Response

FirstRide_6bar.png

Handling

FirstRide_5bar.png

Ease of Use

FirstRide_3bar.png

Perceived Weight

FirstRide_8bar.png

The KTM RC 390 is a race bike at its core. If you are looking for a “beginner” bike and you also might want to do a track day, there is no other bike you should be looking at. This thing is basically a super sport bike packaged with a single cylinder 373 cc engine. While 43hp and 26 ft lbs of torque doesn't seem like much, it still boasts a top speed of 104 mph and posted a 14.02 second quarter mile. Compared to other lower cc bikes, the seating position is very aggressive. The ride by wire throttle delivers torque in a smooth yet snappy manner. ABS does come as a standard, but can be toggled off to be "ready to race". A slipper clutch is also equipped on this bike and eliminates rear wheel chatter when downshifting too rapidly.

The bike feels aerodynamic and stable even at highway speeds. Most smaller bikes can feel turbulent when dealing with high speed winds. The RC390's windscreen and riding position makes highway rides very comfortable. Around town the low end torque is what makes this bike an absolute joy to ride. In curves, this bike is the perfect balance between very flickable, and yet stable. Coming in with a wet weight of 340 pounds, it can easily be thrown back and forth quickly while still maintaining a planted feel.

 

I’d recommend this bike for the person who wants a sportier beginner bike experience. Or someone who likes technical routes around town, and runs the mountain roads aggressively on the weekends. Truly, the greatest part about this bike is that it has so much to offer, even for an experienced rider. It is a motorcycle that can be fully utilized on the street, unlike most 600cc and up bikes which will never even come close to using 50% of their potential on the street. You can push this bike to use all of its potential and have a damn fun time doing it. It’s not the fastest bike out there by a long shot, which forces you to be a better rider. To ride that perfect line, to have that precise corner entry speed, and to know exactly when to get back onto the throttle as soon as possible. It’s a bike that demands that you hone your riding techniques.

 

Yes, it’s a “beginner bike,” but definitely has room for a higher skill ceiling than other starter bikes. Riding the RC390 was a blast and it’s officially become my favorite beginner bike.
 


Check out the video on YouTube!

Similar Bikes


 

Bike provided by: