KTM Duke 390: Reliable or not? Emotions aside, can you pls advise? - KTM Duke 390 Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 07-18-2015, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Question KTM Duke 390: Reliable or not? Emotions aside, can you pls advise?

Hi guys, Im about to buy the KTM Duke 390 here in Argentina.
Ive discussed form of payment, chose color (bk) and now the ball is on my side, I have to anwser the dealer if Im in or not.
Why am I hesitating?
Well, Ive read here and in Argie forums that the bike has the fan shroud problem (simple but quite disappointing thing!).
This makes me wonder how on earth can KTM Bajaj overlook such a thing...
Then, there are users telling me that the bike stalls or the engine dies all of a sudden... that they need to re start the bike...ECU thing? throttle body? electric failure?
Lastly, this bike IS pricy in Argentina... as every other here mind you...
For you to have an idea, it costs us... USD9.5-10 grand! ER6N Kawasaki the next "step" in size (here) costs us...USD14-15 grand
That will not change, however, if I will "bury" my savings in a bike, I want to know in advance that...it will not fail!

Lemon cases apart, this is the question for you, please give me your best honest straight & cold answer:

Is this bike reliable or are we looking at a budget (for NA, not us) "with issues" AustrIndian bike with nice features, nimble and good performance?


Else, how would you rate this bike in terms of reliability?


Many thanks and please Im not implying anything against the bike, in fact, I love its looks, power and speed fit my needs, plus inverted forks and ABS make sense for me.

Lastly, if reliability is in fact a question mark, I begin to wonder if I should make an effort and go with the ER6N Kawasaki instead. Not that nimble, good looking, etc (and ABS version is not here) but I know for a fact that Kawasaki will not fail.

Last edited by Ivan Bole; 07-18-2015 at 10:25 AM. Reason: amended price figures added "with issues"
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post #2 of 45 Old 07-18-2015, 10:30 AM
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usually tier supplied parts can be an issue for ANY manufacturer. This was the case with the fan. easy fix. otherwise seems to be pretty reliable, mines ticking like a clock.

why not a late model used bike? has to be a lot cheaper and usually all the bugs are sorted?
just my .02
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post #3 of 45 Old 07-18-2015, 10:52 AM
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Ivan, I find your concerns perfectly understandable since there have been issues with these bikes, some seemingly unique in different parts of the world. As with any new model introduction, there are occasionally issues that pop up. I'm a bit appalled at the price of the Duke in your region, frankly, and I'm not sure I'd spend that kind of money for this bike. I'd likely spend that kind of cash on a bike with proven longevity and better dealer/manufacturer support. At $5000 USD the Duke delivers outstanding value, but at double that price I'd pass. Unlike many owners I have multiple bikes so if one goes bad I still have something to ride. In your shoes I'd likely get a Honda or Yamaha model that's been in your region for a while, but that's just me being practical. I'm also not a fan of buying used anything, bike, car or other, so I'd stick with "new".

Hope this helps

Pete
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post #4 of 45 Old 07-18-2015, 12:20 PM
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I've got the lemon bike of the first badge of bikes assembled in Colombia. That being said, I must also admit that according to local forums I was the only one in Colombia with so many problems.

Putting my bad experiences aside and trying to be as unbiased as I possibly can. I'd say, coming from an Honda CBR250R, that as far as reliability is concerned the KTM Duke 390 is no where closer to the CBR. When you buy this bike you need to understand that it is an indian built bike from an austrian brand. What does it mean? it means you'll find bajaj produced parts all over the bike and some other that are not on pair with their bigger siblings. Does it make the Duke a crappy bike? NO. It is still the funniest bike I've ever owned and the best bang for the buck in his segment in Colombia. The problem with Argentina, probably even worse in Argentina, and Colombia is that we get imported bikes at a higher cost compared to the rest of the world (Here the cost is about USD 5800). Bear in mind this bike costs about USD 3.000 in India and that's the key point here: You need to think you get "a lot" for something whose production costs were below USD 3.000 no matter how many money they ask for it in each country.

You can go to the local forum in "Moteros Colombia" and see it for yourself. Also, you can PM me so I can answer your questions in spanish even though I see you have a terrific english.
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post #5 of 45 Old 07-18-2015, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mejetski2000 View Post
Ivan, I find your concerns perfectly understandable since there have been issues with these bikes, some seemingly unique in different parts of the world. As with any new model introduction, there are occasionally issues that pop up. I'm a bit appalled at the price of the Duke in your region, frankly, and I'm not sure I'd spend that kind of money for this bike. I'd likely spend that kind of cash on a bike with proven longevity and better dealer/manufacturer support. At $5000 USD the Duke delivers outstanding value, but at double that price I'd pass. Unlike many owners I have multiple bikes so if one goes bad I still have something to ride. In your shoes I'd likely get a Honda or Yamaha model that's been in your region for a while, but that's just me being practical. I'm also not a fan of buying used anything, bike, car or other, so I'd stick with "new".

Hope this helps

Pete
+1 As straight and honest an answer as you'll get Ivan.
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post #6 of 45 Old 07-18-2015, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all guys, your answers and insights are indeed helpful.
It is really confusing at times because some excellent or at least very decent parts (inverted forks WP suspension, bosch ABS, Bybre brakes, the KTM single itself) coexist with cheap or not so decent ones (fan shroud, monoshock paint, levers, screws, some -not all- finishings).
Pete, great answer, thanx!
Now Bender, you have a very very good point out there... for USD3,000 they are doing a **** of a job... and thank you for the compliment, I will PM and we can use our native Spanish of course!

Last edited by Ivan Bole; 07-18-2015 at 03:15 PM. Reason: included Pete!
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post #7 of 45 Old 07-18-2015, 03:41 PM
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Ivan, Since the 390 Duke and RC were only introduced to the North American market in March-April 2015, none of us NA owners can as yet have a long-term perspective on the bike's reliability. Our colleagues in India, Asia, Australia and Europe would have longer experience with the bike and would be better placed to comment on reliability.

The only real problem with reliability that has shown up in the NA bikes is of course the notorious fan issue. Bajaj has a supplier who provided a quantity of defective parts that were fitted to bikes destined for NA and shipped. Fan failures have been widespread. But the fix is easy, inexpensive and leaves the bike with a better-than- OE fan. The fan issue should not be a deterrent, if you like the bike. But problems with a supply chain vendor are common in the motor vehicle industry - look at the Japanese airbag vendor, for example, whose defective products are now resulting in hundreds of thousands of cars from Japanese, American and European manufacturers being recalled in the US. Certainly KTM will rectify the fan issue before long, but at the moment it is a problem and owners need to be pro-active.

The other issue that has appeared in NA, but has also been experienced in a number of 390's worldwide, is stalling. This does not appear to be a very widespread issue, only seeming to affect a small percentage of the bikes. In the last few days we had a report that the problem had been dramatically cured with a new software program provided by KTM. So that issue also may be on the way to resolution.

Personally, since I bought my Duke in early April of this year, I have had NO problems with it. It has been flawless. I did change out the OE fan for a SPAL, but just for peace of mind and reliability because I was concerned about the OE fan. It did not fail, however. I am pleased with the bike and would say it has lived up to my expectations well thus far. For the price, the Duke offers a lot of positives: outstanding, extremely nimble handling; very good ABS brakes (once upgraded with quality brake pads); competent suspension; a lively motor with remarkable power for the size; excellent tires; racy good looks; and a plethora of aftermarket parts available for upgrades. The fan issue aside, the 2015 390's incorporate quite a number of small, incremental improvements (including the slipper clutch) over previous model years. Excluding the fan issue - for which there is a definitive fix - I would say the reliability of NA 390's has thus far proven good. But it is really too early to tell regarding the long-term prospects.
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post #8 of 45 Old 07-18-2015, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Diploman, thanks for your thoughtful reply to my querie!
In Argentina this bike has been around for even less, even if they assemble the bike here it only came out around June, the reason being some outrageous and incredibly nonsensical taxes that delayed the launch of the bike and in the end raised the price 30% (Hadnt they renewed that tax on motorcycles, the price would have been slightly above USD7,000, not cheap, but better than the current 9-10k...)
But thats news from a far away land, hahahah
Back to the bike, Im glad to hear what you have been able to see so far, understanding that the bike has been around for a very short time in both USA and Argentina.
If I may, could you further clarify about the "quality brake pads" you mention? I assume youve changed the stock pads right? If thats in another post please hint me were can I read it.
Thank you!

Last edited by Ivan Bole; 07-18-2015 at 04:37 PM. Reason: ommited text and some typpos
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post #9 of 45 Old 07-18-2015, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diploman View Post
Ivan, Since the 390 Duke and RC were only introduced to the North American market in March-April 2015, none of us NA owners can as yet have a long-term perspective on the bike's reliability. Our colleagues in India, Asia, Australia and Europe would have longer experience with the bike and would be better placed to comment on reliability.

The only real problem with reliability that has shown up in the NA bikes is of course the notorious fan issue. Bajaj has a supplier who provided a quantity of defective parts that were fitted to bikes destined for NA and shipped. Fan failures have been widespread. But the fix is easy, inexpensive and leaves the bike with a better-than- OE fan. The fan issue should not be a deterrent, if you like the bike. But problems with a supply chain vendor are common in the motor vehicle industry - look at the Japanese airbag vendor, for example, whose defective products are now resulting in hundreds of thousands of cars from Japanese, American and European manufacturers being recalled in the US. Certainly KTM will rectify the fan issue before long, but at the moment it is a problem and owners need to be pro-active.

The other issue that has appeared in NA, but has also been experienced in a number of 390's worldwide, is stalling. This does not appear to be a very widespread issue, only seeming to affect a small percentage of the bikes. In the last few days we had a report that the problem had been dramatically cured with a new software program provided by KTM. So that issue also may be on the way to resolution.

Personally, since I bought my Duke in early April of this year, I have had NO problems with it. It has been flawless. I did change out the OE fan for a SPAL, but just for peace of mind and reliability because I was concerned about the OE fan. It did not fail, however. I am pleased with the bike and would say it has lived up to my expectations well thus far. For the price, the Duke offers a lot of positives: outstanding, extremely nimble handling; very good ABS brakes (once upgraded with quality brake pads); competent suspension; a lively motor with remarkable power for the size; excellent tires; racy good looks; and a plethora of aftermarket parts available for upgrades. The fan issue aside, the 2015 390's incorporate quite a number of small, incremental improvements (including the slipper clutch) over previous model years. Excluding the fan issue - for which there is a definitive fix - I would say the reliability of NA 390's has thus far proven good. But it is really too early to tell regarding the long-term prospects.
+1 Will. My biggest question mark at this point is engine longevity, since as Will pointed out the bike is very new in our region, but his observation regarding the Indian market is spot-on. Nobody has more saddle time than they have, maybe hit the regional forums and see what their take is on the 390.
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post #10 of 45 Old 07-18-2015, 06:33 PM
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Ivan, Go to the search function on this forum and enter "Brake Pad Upgrade". That thread describes how the Duke's front brake was improved by fitting EBC FA 606HH pads. (I later also fitted EBC FA 213 HH pads to the rear brake.) The OE pads that came with the bike were just OK; average, nothing special, but they worked. The EBC pads are much better. Others have upgraded the Duke's brakes with SBS or Brembo pads.
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