New here. Is the 390 Duke for me? - KTM Duke 390 Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 06-18-2019, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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New here. Is the 390 Duke for me?

First, thanks to everyone who posts here, I’ve gleaned a lot of information thus so far but I’m still left with some questions about getting into either the Duke 390 or I’m also digging the Husqvarna Svartpilen 401.

This will be my first real motorcycle. I went through the course and earned my motorcycle endorsement on my license. My past 2 wheel riding experiences have been on a couple of scooters that I used to own; neither of them over 200cc nor highway capable. My main uses will be a 10mile round trip commute to and from work, riding around in town and an occasional 2 to 3 time per month trip to see family that live an hour and a half away so the bike needs to be up to the task of highway and interstate speeds and capabilities.

I’m also not sure how much difference it makes but I’m a bit heavier than your average 2 wheeler at 6’0” and 255 pounds.

I’m capable of affording a lot more expensive bike than the duke 390, even able to just purchase it outright but anything more expensive than that I’d just finance it. I also have the mentality that dropping $10-$15K on a bike makes my frugal self kick in and its hard to justify a bigger, more expensive bike than the little Duke or the Svartpilen.

My main questions are concerning the abilities of the 390 Duke at highway/freeway speeds. How is the roll on power at higher speeds such as in the 60-70mph range. What about passing power? Let’s say I want to drive 70-75mph but need to pass the car in front of me that is going only 65mph? Does the 390 Duke have the guts to pass other vehicles in a reasonable amount of time while already traveling at those higher speeds?

I’m not looking to go fast, as in pushing way above posted speed limits are not my thing. I know the little Duke has what it takes to be quick enough in the 0-60mph range but I need to be sure it can pass others or get me quickly out of a potentially bad situation if I need it to when the speeds of surrounding traffic are also going at freeway speeds.

I’ve considered other, more powerful bikes like one of the larger Dukes or the Triumph Street Triple but besides the higher price tag, I worry it might be too much bike for me as a first motorcycle.

Can y’all share your honest opinions and answer my questions given your first hand experience? A simple test drive would help me but none of the dealerships in my region allow test drives.
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post #2 of 26 Old 06-18-2019, 05:49 PM
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No issues at all with acceleration at 65. It will pull handily to 90 where it will run out of steam in terms of acceleration. The power is all at the top end of the rev range which is where youíll be at that point.
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post #3 of 26 Old 06-18-2019, 06:32 PM
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I have a 2016 390 Duke and a 2018 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401. They are almost the same bike. I like the look of the Husky and it may be a little faster on the top end... but 2X as much money. I get more comments on the Duke then the Husky, I think most people don't know what to say about the Svartpilen... a different type of style.


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post #4 of 26 Old 06-18-2019, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. Yeah the little Svartpilen is definitely different for sure. My local dealer has one and I’m a bit torn between it and one of the 390 Dukes that they have available. I’d rather just go with whatever model will be more comfortable. I also like the larger fuel tank on the 390 and the color tft dash.

The devil sitting on my shoulder has my eyes feasting on the 790 Duke as well.
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post #5 of 26 Old 06-19-2019, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by seanribeye View Post
Thanks for the replies. Yeah the little Svartpilen is definitely different for sure. My local dealer has one and Iím a bit torn between it and one of the 390 Dukes that they have available. Iíd rather just go with whatever model will be more comfortable. I also like the larger fuel tank on the 390 and the color tft dash.

The devil sitting on my shoulder has my eyes feasting on the 790 Duke as well.

Welcome! Im 5 foot 8 and 200 lbs - the duke will get your butt up to speed but it will be at its limit once you are there
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post #6 of 26 Old 06-19-2019, 11:28 AM
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Welcome, Sean! I'm very close to your size, at 6'1" 235lbs. I bought my 390 Duke as a fun, short-run commuter. It fits that role beautifully. I, honestly, haven't ridden a better bike for the job. The 390 is ridiculously light and nimble. Sure, guys our size will suffer a bit of Circus Bear Syndrome. But really, in the saddle, the bike fits me extremely well.

My concern is your intended highway usage. Personally, I consider 400 class bikes the minimum necessary for highway riding. And, then, only in short, "have to", circumstances. As a big guy, I don't like the stability of the 390 at high, sustaining speeds. And, I certainly wouldn't recommend it to a beginner. If I was gonna do that much interstate work, I'd want something with more mass/motor/wind protection. Think MT-07 or 600 sportbike, at least.
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post #7 of 26 Old 06-19-2019, 12:22 PM
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My concern is your intended highway usage. Personally, I consider 400 class bikes the minimum necessary for highway riding. And, then, only in short, "have to", circumstances. As a big guy, I don't like the stability of the 390 at high, sustaining speeds. And, I certainly wouldn't recommend it to a beginner. If I was gonna do that much interstate work, I'd want something with more mass/motor/wind protection. Think MT-07 or 600 sportbike, at least.

I missed the hour and a half journey. Personally Iíd choose at least a 600 for that too. But it depends how often it happens compared to the commute and also what your commute consists of. My bigger bikes are over powered for my 11 mile urban commute where the Duke is just perfect.

Iíd avoid something like an MT-07, a 690 or 790 Duke as a new rider. Way too easy to just get a bit too carried away on those and get into situations your reflexes arenít yet trained for.
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post #8 of 26 Old 06-19-2019, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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I live at two separate residences depending if I’m in one city and making a very short drive to my job during the week or if I’m back “home” which I travel to on the weekends, but it’s an hour and a half away from my job.. My job in one city is a very short commute from the little apartment that I rent when I’m in town during the week; maybe 5 miles. I drive the hour and a half back home on the weekends to see family before I have to be back in the city by Monday morning for my job.

I will be driving my pickup back “home” most of the time but wanted a bike that could pull double duty if I wanted to do the long drive home on it instead. I also want the bike to get out every now and then for short 2 hour trips in either direction to visit other cities and just to be out enjoying the weather and the ride on two wheels.

I thought the 390 Duke may be perfect for those types of riding. After all I’ve seen and read that it can do 100mph so shouldn’t it also be comfortable cruising along at freeway speeds of 70-75mph? I also like the low price of getting this bike brand new as well as the very good possibility of great fuel mileage since that is very important to me.

I just don’t want to make a $6,000 mistake. Sure I bet it’s great for my short job commute and riding here in town, but the open roads outside the city call to me as well. The bike I want has to be up to performing all the above and do it well. I can’t have it redlining or close to for the longer high speed trips because it won’t be fun for me and the bike will not like it as well.
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post #9 of 26 Old 06-19-2019, 06:16 PM
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It's a great bike and no issues cruising at 70+. On normal roads it's great, but I find I get buffeted around more than is fun on the freeway, I think it's the turbulent air from all the other traffic. Same speed and more on a single lane road and it's fine.

But if you just want to do that longer trip occasionally, perhaps when the sun shines, then I think you could live with it, perhaps take a more twisty route which is where the bike really is at home.

I've ridden the 690 & 790. I've avoided temptation to upgrade as they simply beg to be ridden the wrong side of the limit. Both of them could easily overwhelm an inexperienced rider IMO.

If you can't test one could you pick up a used one, try it for a couple of months and upgrade to new if you like it?
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post #10 of 26 Old 06-19-2019, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by seanribeye View Post
...Iím not looking to go fast, as in pushing way above posted speed limits are not my thing...

Iíve considered other, more powerful bikes like one of the larger Dukes or the Triumph Street Triple but besides the higher price tag, I worry it might be too much bike for me as a first motorcycle.

Can yíall share your honest opinions and answer my questions given your first hand experience? A simple test drive would help me but none of the dealerships in my region allow test drives.
You "seem" like a mature person. If that's the case, you "should" be fine on a bigger bike. Riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous, but if the operator respects the machine and the laws, there's no such thing as "too much bike".


That being said, for someone your size I agree with the others that a 600 would be great for all of your needs and there are plenty of "tame" 600ish options on the market. Just look for bikes in the "sport" category as opposed to "super sport" (ex. Ninja 650, XSR700, SV650, CB650, etc.)
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