The manufacturer, KTM, is known for assembling nimble entry-level sports machines. Coming from them, the label “a sports bike in its purest form” makes a statement and generates high expectations. The machine is indeed sufficiently equipped to be listed alongside the top variants in the lower displacement class for performance as well as design. Since its introduction, this particular bike has been involved in pro-racing more than any of its KTM counterparts, and rightly so.
Engine and performance
The KTM RC390 features a 373 cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine, and weighs a total of 147 kg (dry). The bike achieves 43 BHP at 8900rpm and 25 ft-lb torque at 8500 rpm during its peak. The difference between this variant and its predecessor, the Duke 390 ABS, is that it is the sports version of the Duke, which was already pretty much a beast. It is priced at around Rs. 2.2 lacs. As far as affordable sports bikes go, these figures are impressive. It sports an unparalleled acceleration in its class, accomplishing 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds and performs well while rounding and clearing corners, which is manifest of a well-balanced body. The bike contains more weight in the front than its competitors which boosts the handling and control levels. The chassis is light and complements the bike’s agility. The 6-speed transmission is smooth, allowing for easy quick shifts in gear. As far as control and chassis are concerned, there have been no complaints. The bike also has ABS.
There are a couple of negative points to take away too though. There have been reports suggesting that there is excess vibration coming from the engine. Also, the monoshock suspension features an inverted fork which is not adjustable and is a tad too soft. This implies that if one is planning on seriously racing the RC390, some suspension tuning will be required for a flawless experience.
Design and quality
This bike is made to turn heads. The design is both muscular and detailed. A full-faired body, a curvy fuel tank and well-incorporated twin exhausts give this machine the look and feel of a proper sports bike. The wheelbase has been reduced in comparison to the Duke which allows for higher ground clearance (178.5mm). KTM have installed a triple clamp which has been mounted on clip-on bars to improve the structure’s soft dynamics. As far as build quality is concerned, there has been little compromise. A con is that the seat has a lean padding and makes for a rather hard surface to sit on.
The RC390 is definitely a good ride and brings with it the best acceleration within its class and commendable handling. It is a well-crafted animal in terms of design. If the customer is after a very satisfying racing experience at a reasonable price, this is the machine to purchase. However, it is not recommended for long rides due to the lack of comfort offered.