Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Murrysville, PA, USA. A pleasant, wooded suburb of Pittsburgh.
5150, There have been many previous rumors/reports about future developments/innovations/changes/upgrades to the 390's. Few of them have materialized, particularly in the North American market. A pattern, however, has clearly emerged: Changes, new features or configurations announced in the mtoto press (usually Indian) are typically rolled out in Bajaj's home market, India, which serves as the developmental arena for real-world testing. If a new feature or innovation proves successful in India, then it may be extended to the advanced country markets and elsewhere in one or two years. If the innovation is judged marginal or problematic in India, it will never be seen in other markets. A sensible system. So if you read about a revised 2017 Duke, you should expect it to be introduced in India for at least a year, possibly two, before it appears on the NA market. So do not hold your breath.
Re the particular changes you mentioned:
--Ride-by-wire electronic throttle was announced last year for the 2016 model, but apparently was never implemented, even in the Indian market. Status unclear.
--Your mention of a secondary counterbalancer for the 390 is the first I have heard of such a development. Could you give us a link to the source? For years the Achilles heel of the 690 was its ferocious vibration - truly offputting.
KTM, to their credit, extensively reworked the 690 motor for 2016, including a second counterbalancer that works off a camshaft in the head. This apparently has tamed the 690's vibration to the point that it is no longer an issue. The 2016 Duke 690 has been lavishly praised by the moto press. The 390, in contrast, does produce some vibration, particularly when the engine is made to labor under a heavy load at too low an RPM. A savy 390 rider can tell by sound and vibration when to shift up or down to keep the engine in its sweet spot, the "Happy Zone" I like to call it. When kept in the Happy Zone, the 390's vibrations are so minimal in amplitude that they are hardly noticeable, and certainly not an issue. I would be very surprised if KTM fits a second counterbalancer to the 390 - it is simply not needed. The 690 needed it desperately.
--I'm not sure what you mean by describing a "digital instrument panel" as a novel feature of the 2017 Duke/RC. The 390's have all had fully digital instrument panels since their inception in 2013.
--Increased power from the already-class-leading 373 monocylinder is a possibility, but significant power gains are unlikely. The current engine is producing remarkably high output for its displacement (over 115 HP per liter) and trying to stretch the high-strung motor beyond this level could lead to reliability issues. Small tweaks, perhaps, but more likely status quo, IMO.
There may well be some evolutionary changes to the 390 for MY 2017, but we should not expect to see much of this in the NA market until 2018-19, after they have been tested and validated in India. An enlarged fuel tank and a redesign of the rider and pillion seats would be most welcome here. If you like the 2016 Duke, I suggest you buy one while they are available - the 2017 model that will be marketed in North America is unlikely to be much different.
The 690 Duke has benefitted from years of refinement and a recent redesign which has cured its most serious flaw. If the $9000+ price does not put you off, it is a great bike. But so is the 390, for a very much more inviting price.
"If you don't know where you're going, you might wind up somewhere else."
2015 390 Duke
1980 Moto Guzzi V50 II (becoming a cafe racer)
1984 Moto Guzzi SP 1000