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Thread: KTM 390 Duke and RC - tell me a story

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    KTM 390 Duke and RC - tell me a story

    So Im looking to downsize more. In the past I have dismissed the little KTMs, however I notice the updated 2017/ 2018 Duke spec they've done some stuff like bigger tank, bigger front brake and updated instrumentation ( i hated the old one) and after some quick homework over the weekend its caught my attention as a possibility with high seat and neutral riding position, general lightness and chuckability. It also has lots of little KTM goodies you can add on as you go

    Straight line speed and BHP is not priority here, i just want a fun blat bike that can be coaxed along occasionally in the twisties if needed to. Not after "soul"



    Never had a KTM although looked at a few 640's a few years back, so PSB'ers please tell me your KTM 390 story opinions etc.. My main questions are ridability for an R class rider, having had larger bikes, hows the motor standup over k's, build quality overall and resale value
    I cant help it if your perceptions don't match my reality



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    *Shuffles notes
    *clears throat
    "I'm glad you fucking asked"

    I've had my 2014 Duke 390 since mid-2015, Happy to try cover off your questions / any more you may have.

    Firstly, rideability for an R class rider? Well I moved up through 50cc to 125cc to 250cc to 500cc to 1000cc, and THEN bought the Duke 390 as a commuter, and I got lots more than I bargained for. It is a bloody hoot to ride, and has taught me a tonne more about riding and actually finding the limits. The downside (I guess?) is you have to bloody wring it's little neck a lot when you want to actually go fast. It can be said that is is more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow, and that's true to an extent, but this little bike has hard a hard life haha. I'd like to think I don't just recklessly thrash it, but it's been to the track a few times and yeah, you can give just about anything out there on the street a damn good run for their money, except I guess highway where shes a bit breathless over 130 ish. It's super nimble, and the power it has is easy to get to given it's a single. I've embarrassed bikes in all shapes and sizes, and it'll murder most cars from a dead stop to over 100kph (it's particularly easy to launch and laucnh fast), which is really where 90+% of the magic happens on the road.

    Motor standing up over k's? About to clock 22,000 on the odo, had it since 1,100 - earlier models like this seem to be somewhat of a lottery for if you have head gasket issues, but given the k's and what it's been through, I'm confident I got a good one, shouldn't be an issue with 2017+. I am religious about maintenance however, it's had the 15,000 major done a bit early, and gets oil changes generally between 2000-3000kms travelled. Chain started getting kinked links around the 20k kms mark (was a very average chain imo) so now it's got new chain and sprockets too. Starts up first tick whens shes cold, but it's it's quite cold like say sub 10 degrees it's a little finnicky and can stall, best to leave it 30 or so seconds before trying to roll away. Also when it's REALLY hot like 38-40+ it has stalled out on me a handful of times when you first crack the throttle to pull away from lights, like it just coughs instead of firing and its out, and the motor doesn't like starting when it's warm. Overall though extremely minor issues I would call quirks.

    Build quality is decent, but not to the standard of my Z1000. a few crappily painted spots of the frame/engine, part of the airbox (oil crankcase overflow) cracked (thank you sikaflex), and some plastic bits just aren't lined up absolutely 100%. Overall however you take a step back from the bike and it looks trick as IMO, especially for the price. Again I think a 2017+ model would present even better and have less issues.

    Honestly you get a lot of bike for the money. I paid ~$6k for it 1 year old with the 1,100kms, I'd say it's worth what, $3250-4000 ish now? I've done a lot of mods to mine (happy to list/elaborate). It's been almost 3 years and I'm starting to seriously think about moving it on for a new commuter, but most of that is simply the desire for a new bike cos every time I get back on it paints a silly grin on my face.

    Any more questions, ask away. I'm sure to have forgotten/missed some things so I'll add them as I remember.
    Quote Originally Posted by boeman View Post
    Well it wouldn't have been fair to have a beard, a hot young missus AND a nice bike, now would it?

    I mean fuck, im not a selfish cunt.
    Likes Sonik, =Maz=, wheel_of_steell, nos, Heretic and 1 others liked this post

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    Member Sonik's Avatar
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    ^^^ fairly well covers it. I talked Mrs. Sonik into buying one and I love stealing it

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    According to my research the 2017 RC model has a new head, same part number as the old one though...I imagine its the same motor in the Duke.
    The changes are meant to alleviate the overheating and warping that plagued the racers who owned them...not that street riders seemed to suffer the same head-warp that showed up on track.

    Take one for a ride...they are VERY nimble and surprise a few of the bigger bikes both on track and in the hills. Obviously the thrills are in the corners and not so much on the straight but they are fun to ride.
    All I've got and more for #294...RIP Chris Adley
    #158...RIP James Thompson

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryanoceros View Post
    Wooohoo !! Fucking 10/10 ride. Cheers for that Aari, you really conditioned my sphincter
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    Quote Originally Posted by =Maz= View Post
    According to my research the 2017 RC model has a new head, same part number as the old one though...I imagine its the same motor in the Duke.
    The changes are meant to alleviate the overheating and warping that plagued the racers who owned them...not that street riders seemed to suffer the same head-warp that showed up on track.

    Take one for a ride...they are VERY nimble and surprise a few of the bigger bikes both on track and in the hills. Obviously the thrills are in the corners and not so much on the straight but they are fun to ride.
    I bet the gasket is different....as is the head tension spec...

    Should be a 70 deg V twin config......585cc short stroke....'lambs'....... yeh nah.
    " Imagination is the seed of life..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchie View Post
    *Shuffles notes
    *clears throat
    "I'm glad you fucking asked"

    I've had my 2014 Duke 390 since mid-2015, Happy to try cover off your questions / any more you may have.

    Firstly, rideability for an R class rider? Well I moved up through 50cc to 125cc to 250cc to 500cc to 1000cc, and THEN bought the Duke 390 as a commuter, and I got lots more than I bargained for. It is a bloody hoot to ride, and has taught me a tonne more about riding and actually finding the limits. The downside (I guess?) is you have to bloody wring it's little neck a lot when you want to actually go fast. It can be said that is is more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow, and that's true to an extent, but this little bike has hard a hard life haha. I'd like to think I don't just recklessly thrash it, but it's been to the track a few times and yeah, you can give just about anything out there on the street a damn good run for their money, except I guess highway where shes a bit breathless over 130 ish. It's super nimble, and the power it has is easy to get to given it's a single. I've embarrassed bikes in all shapes and sizes, and it'll murder most cars from a dead stop to over 100kph (it's particularly easy to launch and laucnh fast), which is really where 90+% of the magic happens on the road.

    Motor standing up over k's? About to clock 22,000 on the odo, had it since 1,100 - earlier models like this seem to be somewhat of a lottery for if you have head gasket issues, but given the k's and what it's been through, I'm confident I got a good one, shouldn't be an issue with 2017+. I am religious about maintenance however, it's had the 15,000 major done a bit early, and gets oil changes generally between 2000-3000kms travelled. Chain started getting kinked links around the 20k kms mark (was a very average chain imo) so now it's got new chain and sprockets too. Starts up first tick whens shes cold, but it's it's quite cold like say sub 10 degrees it's a little finnicky and can stall, best to leave it 30 or so seconds before trying to roll away. Also when it's REALLY hot like 38-40+ it has stalled out on me a handful of times when you first crack the throttle to pull away from lights, like it just coughs instead of firing and its out, and the motor doesn't like starting when it's warm. Overall though extremely minor issues I would call quirks.

    Build quality is decent, but not to the standard of my Z1000. a few crappily painted spots of the frame/engine, part of the airbox (oil crankcase overflow) cracked (thank you sikaflex), and some plastic bits just aren't lined up absolutely 100%. Overall however you take a step back from the bike and it looks trick as IMO, especially for the price. Again I think a 2017+ model would present even better and have less issues.

    Honestly you get a lot of bike for the money. I paid ~$6k for it 1 year old with the 1,100kms, I'd say it's worth what, $3250-4000 ish now? I've done a lot of mods to mine (happy to list/elaborate). It's been almost 3 years and I'm starting to seriously think about moving it on for a new commuter, but most of that is simply the desire for a new bike cos every time I get back on it paints a silly grin on my face.

    Any more questions, ask away. I'm sure to have forgotten/missed some things so I'll add them as I remember.
    Thanks frenchie nice reply. You mention you have done some updates, what did you do? what was the biggest bang for buck. I notice the new ones are fly by wire.
    I cant help it if your perceptions don't match my reality



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    Quote Originally Posted by Heretic View Post
    Thanks frenchie nice reply. You mention you have done some updates, what did you do? what was the biggest bang for buck.
    No worries mate. I have the modding bug, so not much I've done was really value for money.. and if you want it to go faster, the gains are minimal but do add up. Here's pretty much a full list of what I've done;

    Radiator guard
    Touring windshield
    DIY Tail tidy
    Custom mirrors
    crash bars and knobs fitted
    Airbox mod
    DNA R-KT1SM11-01 Air filter
    gutted cat stock slip on
    Powertronic piggyback ECU
    Dyno Tune @ Corse motorcycles 42.1hp
    +2 aluminium rear sprocket
    pickup spools
    2015 77 degree throttle tube (stock is 88)
    Anodised bits
    CLSA H4 LED
    Nautilus Stebel horn
    Powerparts graphics kit
    Renthal Fatbar

    The 'power' mods have definitely added up to make the bike feel more responsive and loud, especially the quicker action throttle and gearing change. I love the Renthal fatbar, its very flat and low and makes the bike feel more sumo. For commuting the LED H4 headlight and Nautilus Stebel horn are extremely welcome additions when you need to be seen etc.

    I guess I'd recommend doing something with the exhaust, the airbox mod is quick and free, and I absolutely love the loud horn for getting my point across when it's needed, it was about $45. The rest is mostly personal taste and a lot of styling changesand other various upgrades have already happened with a 2017 model.
    Quote Originally Posted by boeman View Post
    Well it wouldn't have been fair to have a beard, a hot young missus AND a nice bike, now would it?

    I mean fuck, im not a selfish cunt.

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    yuk, get a vitpilen :-)

    "Fuck Network 10, I hope the entire board of directors die in a house fire. "

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hillz View Post
    yuk, get a vitpilen :-)
    oh. thats just great....... the only thing in that picture that is arguably more ugly and fucked up than the actual Vit-pilen-shiten itself is the operators choice of helmet

    #ohnothatsnotformenosireebob
    I cant help it if your perceptions don't match my reality


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    I had a 2015 RC390 and they are definitely a hoot to ride. I modded a few things after the first 3000km:
    • Andreani cartridge kit (stock forks were like riding a pogo stick)

    • Open airbox

    • Power commander


    The airbox mod and power commander transformed the mid range. Haven't ridden the new ones but if I hadn't sold it, I would have put a quick action throttle on it.

    Had a couple of warranty issues:
    • Clutch bushing seized after a hard launch

    • Airbox cracked

    • Black bolts lost their coating


    KTM revised the clutch bushing design and added oil channels. They didn't change the part number though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcleotg View Post
    I had a 2015 RC390 and they are definitely a hoot to ride. I modded a few things after the first 3000km:
    [LIST]
    Andreani cartridge kit (stock forks were like riding a pogo stick)
    Where did you buy this and how much?
    Quote Originally Posted by boeman View Post
    Well it wouldn't have been fair to have a beard, a hot young missus AND a nice bike, now would it?

    I mean fuck, im not a selfish cunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchie View Post
    Where did you buy this and how much?
    I picked them up from Hardracing when they had a special. I think they were about $700 delivered. Night and day difference. I could actually feel what the front end was doing.

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    Member frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcleotg View Post
    I picked them up from Hardracing when they had a special. I think they were about $700 delivered. Night and day difference. I could actually feel what the front end was doing.
    Nice thanks for that. At that price which I'm sure is good for what you get, I just don't see myself spending it. My dukes a commuter and it does that just fine as it. Spending $700 on a bike worth $3500 odd to get it to be better at nailing high speed corners... I dunno. If it was $200 I'd do it in a heartbeat.

    Any other cheaper solutions to improving the front forks?
    Quote Originally Posted by boeman View Post
    Well it wouldn't have been fair to have a beard, a hot young missus AND a nice bike, now would it?

    I mean fuck, im not a selfish cunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchie View Post
    Nice thanks for that. At that price which I'm sure is good for what you get, I just don't see myself spending it. My dukes a commuter and it does that just fine as it. Spending $700 on a bike worth $3500 odd to get it to be better at nailing high speed corners... I dunno. If it was $200 I'd do it in a heartbeat.

    Any other cheaper solutions to improving the front forks?
    Yeah, I completely understand. I wanted it to be an awesome burb basher.

    If you change the fork oil and springs to your weight, it makes a pretty big difference. The stock springs are progressive and not great. There's good info on the RC390 forum as a lot of the club racers can't put cartridge kits in.

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    Member frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcleotg View Post
    Yeah, I completely understand. I wanted it to be an awesome burb basher.

    If you change the fork oil and springs to your weight, it makes a pretty big difference. The stock springs are progressive and not great. There's good info on the RC390 forum as a lot of the club racers can't put cartridge kits in.
    Nice, now that I remember it I think I caught =Maz= at a RAC track day and he talked about that too, can you point me to where you got your spings?
    Quote Originally Posted by boeman View Post
    Well it wouldn't have been fair to have a beard, a hot young missus AND a nice bike, now would it?

    I mean fuck, im not a selfish cunt.
    Likes =Maz= liked this post

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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchie View Post
    Nice, now that I remember it I think I caught =Maz= at a RAC track day and he talked about that too, can you point me to where you got your spings?
    Apologies, I never tried swapping springs I just went straight for the cartridge kit. The cartridge kit came with the correct springs for my weight. My comment just came from my readings on the RC390 forum. If I remember correctly I think most on the RC390 forum used Race Tech springs. Should be a ~$200 upgrade.

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    Member frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcleotg View Post
    Apologies, I never tried swapping springs I just went straight for the cartridge kit. The cartridge kit came with the correct springs for my weight. My comment just came from my readings on the RC390 forum. If I remember correctly I think most on the RC390 forum used Race Tech springs. Should be a ~$200 upgrade.
    Haha sorry for the misunderstanding, that question of springs only was directed to Maz, I understand you got the full cartridge kit only. Cheers for your info!
    Quote Originally Posted by boeman View Post
    Well it wouldn't have been fair to have a beard, a hot young missus AND a nice bike, now would it?

    I mean fuck, im not a selfish cunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchie View Post
    Haha sorry for the misunderstanding, that question of springs only was directed to Maz, I understand you got the full cartridge kit only. Cheers for your info!
    Derp
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    Hello.
    I got k-tech(sp?) Springs for about $200 a set which improved things but also created problems when the oil levels were not correct...not even close, which was very disappointing considering the money we spent and the delays we endured.
    The bigger improvement came from getting the forks and shock rebuilt through MDH Tuning. Mark worked with what I had and improved the factory internals, which are very basic, with real old school knowledge and elbow grease... I'd highly recommend giving him a call and asking what he did.
    Sorry I can't be of more assistance.
    All I've got and more for #294...RIP Chris Adley
    #158...RIP James Thompson

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryanoceros View Post
    Wooohoo !! Fucking 10/10 ride. Cheers for that Aari, you really conditioned my sphincter
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    Quote Originally Posted by =Maz= View Post
    Hello.
    I got k-tech(sp?) Springs for about $200 a set which improved things but also created problems when the oil levels were not correct...not even close, which was very disappointing considering the money we spent and the delays we endured.
    The bigger improvement came from getting the forks and shock rebuilt through MDH Tuning. Mark worked with what I had and improved the factory internals, which are very basic, with real old school knowledge and elbow grease... I'd highly recommend giving him a call and asking what he did.
    Sorry I can't be of more assistance.
    Much appreciated
    Quote Originally Posted by boeman View Post
    Well it wouldn't have been fair to have a beard, a hot young missus AND a nice bike, now would it?

    I mean fuck, im not a selfish cunt.
    Likes =Maz= liked this post

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