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Thread: KTM DUKE 390 first road bike

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019

    Default KTM DUKE 390 first road bike

    So I am new to road riding, and have almost bought a duke 390 2018 model (happens to have a stealth pipe which apparently costs R5k- my gut says yeah right) but anyways, I digress.

    So I have been around and riding some form of bike (Trials 370 Beta Rev 3 plus some enduro) which has tonnes of torque but no speed (the trials - most of my experience 3y +) (top speed around 60km/h in 6th) but I am as mentioned, a new road rider I am way plus 18yo and in the region of 98kgs and at 1.7m tall. Is the KTM a good starter bike for me, for short commutes (8km one way) only? No highway, no major (80km/h+) roads to contend with. Just winding suburbs and standstill traffic in the mornings (and not much better in the eve)?

    What say ye members and forumers?

  2. #2
    Hooligan Biker
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    BMW S1000XR


    Hey man,

    I started I started on a 390 Duke. It was a great bike. If it is the split headlight model, go for it. If not, stay away.

    The bike is perfect for your application.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019


    Howzit dude. Just to clarify, which is the split headlight model? This one I am going for is the one with the LED headlights and new screen (Google 2018 model).

    I hope it's the one you are referring to?

  4. #4
    Biker Slip_Stream's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Honda NC750x DCT


    At 98kg you not concerned that the bike might not be enough for you? Have you test ridden the bike?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2019


    Yes and given the fact that I am using the bike for urban commute, this does not worry me too much. Better than a 250 or 125 I guess ;)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Triumph Street Triple


    I was all over the place looking for a bike and without as much
    experience as you. I rode a couple of bikes during/between high
    school very naively and not much else and to make matters worse, we
    thought we were pretty hot back then.

    What got this whole thing started...
    A guy I knew a long time ago had one of the limited edition Yamaha
    R1 SPs right when they came out (he was in Ireland) and it was
    really the only bike that ever stood out to me. I saw one here by
    chance and thought I recognised it, that or it was a really close

    There were only 500 outside of the US (my scepticism not being
    unfounded) and this was in fact one of them on closer inspection,
    though not as great a specimen with all the time and history that
    had now passed with this one since the original release in 2006.

    I was smitten none the less and much the same all this time later,
    it's not strange to think about what you can get away with on bikes
    within certain type budgets. It looked good to me innocently and
    maybe a bit egotistically not knowing better.

    Anyway, I did pry myself away from all that in the end. I was
    all-in, just my head and gut weren't together on the whole thing and
    the more I checked, the "worse" that got while I was debating this
    with myself and looking it all over (and over again). I couldn't
    keep picking out just what I wanted to hear, not easy, maybe even

    I did some research, reading, online and just chatting to people
    that know bikes in stores and throughout and a sport bike seemed way
    off for what I wanted (instead of what I was asking for) the more I
    got honest with myself. I just wasn't as ignorant any more when it
    came down to it and I was hopelessly trying to ignore my common
    sense. Even so, the thought still kinda crept up here and there and
    more so as the owner/seller was making the offer more convincing as
    time went on given my initial interest, it was still so tempting.

    I was a bit more open minded in the end. I started looking at
    everything and a bit more casual with that, street/naked bikes with
    the stance, it seemed right, it's what I was drawn to. Something more
    practical like an adventure bike would have made a lot of sense, but
    didn't appeal to me.

    The R1 was not so quickly out of mind, this bike thing did stay with
    me though.

    I started looking at everything from the BMW GS310, Kawasaki Z300,
    Yamaha MT07/09, Honda NC750 and definitely the KTM 390 from there.
    Some were maybe a bit too much here and there for where I'm at with
    my riding, though much better than where I started though in making
    sense of it all.

    The more I looked around, checking lots of reviews (YouTube is great
    for this by the way, have a look for KTM 390 Duke reviews!), the less
    I knew, and the better I felt -bitter sweet.

    They are all just opinions in the end and I've noticed bikers feel
    very strongly about their opinions (! ), though they will still
    give you plenty of perspective and with that experience, maybe some
    new things to consider with all that too.

    Nothing really grabbed me with that though, I just wasn't that into
    anything else and I was mourning. The R1 even had a name, Priscilla,
    like Queen of the Desert, not quite what she looks like, maybe
    even deadly.

    The 390 was real close, it just seemed a little too "boy racer" for
    me with the styling cues on that. I was a big time car guy, so it's
    me, not it, really. I felt really good about the RC390 when I took a
    look at that, but then, what about the 790!? Indecision was gaining
    on me again.

    I took my time and got a bit superstitious with that, "if it's meant
    to be...". I spotted a really great Triumph Street Triple 675 and it
    had kept coming up in many of the reviews I had long since come
    across too. As objective as I could try and be here, it seemed like
    the one to beat in its class with all the many comparisons being
    made to it time and time again.

    It was a little more than anything else in the line-up though and I
    dropped it with that in mind quite early on. I wasn't going to go
    there. I was fortunate enough to come across a great example and the
    experience blew me away with that too, it definitely clicked and
    checked all the boxes for me and even with more time and
    consideration, bridged any gaps I still had in hesitation coming
    right through the whole process from the very beginning.

    It was almost relieving with how easy this was compared to where I'd
    come from up until then. If this wasn't it, I wouldn't know what is.

    It's definitely a bit of a stretch with where I'm at with my riding,
    that all being a compromise. I really would have liked to get into
    biking sooner, other than that, it's been manageable though I
    knowingly worry about the bike too much in my learning.

    I still did some training before finalising and picking it up just to
    be sure I had my head on straight and the training really humbled me.
    It was one of the smartest things I did all of last year with that
    and I'll definitely do plenty more. I can only ever recommend it, no
    matter what.

    Looking back, at best that R1 would have been an ornament at least
    knowing I'd be more comfortable riding an actual bull with my
    trepidation and the kind of crazy self talk I was well into at times.
    At worst, a wreck and who knows what else.

    I've had the triple since early November last year and I'm all the
    more pleased with that the less and less lumpy I get as time goes on.
    I'm not where I want to be, not even close, just very happy to learn.

    So, take your time, give yourself a range to look at (I think a
    reference point can only be a good thing on all this) and stay true
    to yourself. If it doesn't feel good, it isn't and there are plenty
    of options, there's no need to force yourself. And should things
    change, there's always a plan with that.

    KTM 390 Duke reviews.

  7. #7
    Hooligan Biker Harvs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Triumph Street Triple 765 RS


    I can confirm exhausts for the Duke 390 are around that price range (R4-6k+ in 2018, i fitted one when i had my 2015 Duke 390 (single headlight model - STAY AWAY FROM).

    I had the Duke for around 8 months as my first bike (no prior riding experience), sold it as it no longer matched my needs.
    Originally wanted it for the same reasons you listed, but my needs changed, and i wanted to do more breakfast runs and highway riding.
    I knew i was going to change the bike later on, so i got one as cheaply as i could and luckily traded in for around what i purchased.

    Looking at what your current needs and build are, i think it should be okay, but i reckon test ride it and check what your future plans are before you pull a trigger.

    Just my 5 cents.

    Edit - just some additional notes:
    1. Friend of about 90kg and 175cm reckoned the bike was a bit too cramped for him when he test rode my bike, I'm 70kg and 165cm
    2. What others said about training +100

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