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2024 KTM 390 Duke

KTMDUKE mainThere’s no denying that this latest version of KTM’s 390 Duke is a very attractive motorcycle indeed. A statement confirmed by everyone, and I mean everyone, who cast his or her eyes across this bright orange (or Electric Orange says KTM), funky, new lightweight naked bike.

KTMDUKE GROUP01I’ve always been the biggest fan of the 390 Duke and now so more than ever, due to its new styling and a significant update in all areas but, more importantly, it just makes one cheerful to interact with.KTMDUKE GROUP00

So what does the 2024 390 Duke have in common with last year's version, you may ask? Well nothing really, besides it has two wheels and a single-cylinder engine. From the front wheel to the rear, now clothed in top-class Metzeler M5 tyres, it oozes desirability and it’s without doubt the best looking bike in this class by a considerable margin.KTMDUKE GROUP02

But, as ‘they’ say, looks can be deceptive, but not in the case of the 2024 390 Duke. For a start the DOHC, four-valve, liquid-cooled, LC4c engine’s capacity has been increased to 399cc (from 373cc). It also sports a new cylinder head with ‘finger-followers’ to actuate the valves (worthy of a giggle when mentioned in the local pub, perhaps). Even though the engine has a bigger piston it’s a bit lighter (so is the bike at -4kg) and enjoys a new revised Bosch fuel injection. All of this engineering expertise equates to a ‘massive’ increase of around one whole horsepower and two units more of torque. 46hp@8,500rpm and 39Nm @6,500rpm is the end result but it feels more than that, which I’ll get into later.KTMDUKE GROUP03

A newly designed frame cradles this feisty power plant, and the customary KTM steel-trellis frame remains but this time we have a new aluminium sub-frame and a new and stronger curved swing-arm. The 15-litre (2-litres bigger) petrol tank is now made from steel and the offset WP Apex rear shock allows for a bigger air box to sit behind the revised tank. This also lets the new 390 Duke have a lower seat height of 820mm (or a mere 800mm when the seat spacer is removed), maybe to attract people with ‘Hobbit-like’ dimensions? No offence to riders with extra wide feet.KTMDUKE GROUP04

Anyway, ‘ring thieves’ aside, there’s also a new and liberal helping of KTM’s Apex suspension. The chunky 43mm front forks have compression and rebound facilitation, with five clicks for each and preload adjustment, while the fat new rear shock has preload and rebound adjustability. Now that’s a bunch of top-end suspension for the 165kg(dry) 390 to be set up for any type of rider, for either track or road use.  Talking of track…KTMDUKE GROUP05

The 390 Duke has a new Track setting on the new and superb 5-inch TFT screen, which also has Smart phone connectivity for 2024. This changes the display to be rpm dependent and includes Launch Control where the throttle can be held wide open at 7,000rpm for a brisk getaway. It also includes a stopwatch, so you can time yourself going to the shops and back, and I quite enjoyed doing so, or any other journey for that matter.KTMDUKE GROUP07

Of course the new TFT display contains many other options like power modes (Street, Rain, etc), MTC cornering Traction Control, which can be turned off for wheelies and stuff, and you can also turn off the rear ABS for childish, but fun, burnouts. All of these features are operated from the new concave shaped left side switchgear, which is backlit at night, yet another cool feature.KTMDUKE GROUP06

However possibly the best feature of the 390 Duke is the new and attractive styling with the extended side pods mimicking the forthcoming bigger 2024 Dukes (990 and 1390). The 390 also has their LED headlight of sorts with the perimeter array of daytime running lights. A questionable feature to some on all the new 2024 Duke models but I for one like it, do you?

What I really like though is riding the new 390 Duke. I did mention earlier the slight increase in power but it most certainly delivers more midrange drive, very important on small capacity engines. Once above 7,000rpm there’s a discernable hike both audibly and performance-wise on the way to the 10,500rpm rev-limiter.  Keeping the 390 on the ‘boil’ is quite exciting especially using the revised and much improved quick-shifter, acting both up and down the new and again better six-speed gearbox with new internal ratios.KTMDUKE last

Another noticeable improvement is the stability with the new chassis making the 390 Duke feel much more planted on the road, when it used to be a bit ‘loose’ at high speeds. From those high speeds in 2024, where I saw an indicated 170km/h with a bit more in the bank I’d predict, there’s comfort in the more powerful brakes. A right side mounted 320mm disc with radial mounted four-piston calliper takes care of that issue helped by the sticky Metzeler M5s. As for the nimble, agile and hyper-quick steering handling – well that just about sums that up in three words, so no more needs to be said there.KTMDUKE GROUP08

Fun, exciting, extremely good looking, could you ask for more from a lightweight ‘400’? Well no, not really! It does have compact dimensions though so it might not be for a very tall or hefty rider, shall we say. I did find the wide orange seat a bit hard as well for my aging buttocks, my problem not the bike’s. Still, every ride was fun and never slow due to the nature of what the new 390 Duke demands, a naughty little package on all counts. Oh, I forgot, the price. Only 5k more than the previous 390 at R110,000, quite a good deal indeed for what this little beauty has to offer, I’d say.

Images: Little Ant and Fidz.

Go to www.ktm.com for more technical information.

Also visit www.radktm.co.za to book a rapid and exciting test ride.KTMDUKE middle