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Discussion Starter #1
Potential 390 Duke owner here. I'm being told its a good thing to have a small displacement bike to sharpen track skills.



I've sat on the Z400, Ninja 400, RC390 and the 390 Duke. Out of those, I preferred the 390 Duke. But I'm wondering how well they do on the track compared to other bikes.


Are there lots of mods that need to be done to make them track ready?
 

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Going to depend on the type of track and which areas of your riding you want to sharpen . What sort of level are you coming from ? I'd start with the most suitable tyres first and go from there as the saying goes the sky is the limit . On any of these bikes if you are capable of finding their limit in stock form the next step would probably be suspension followed or preceded by braking . I am of course assuming you would already made them more crash resilient . Whats your regular ride ?
 

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It's great on small tracks, I've bought mine specifically for that.

The only mods I've done prior to starting track days were tires and crash protection. Eventually, I'll probably be changing the suspension. Brakes and engine are both fine, I'll be keeping those stock.

Whether the Duke is the best among the listed bikes depends on what you want to do with it - if you want a pure track bike, better get something with clip-ons and fairings. However, if you intend to carry over the skills from the track to the street, and you ride a more upright bike, it's best to learn or something with similar ergos. IMO the Duke is the best small displacement naked bike for the track (compared to Z400, MT-03), most sporty, with a relatively stiff suspension, hard seat and active body positioning. It might not be the best small displacement bike for getting the fastest lap times. So the question is, are you planning to take part in races/cups or train to become better on the street?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
My normal bike that I ride on the track is a 2019 Speed Triple RS (148hp/460lbs.). The riding coach I've been working with suggested getting a small displacement bike to ride on to build skills for the big bike.

I might try my hand at racing in a lightweight class at some point, but right now its just about having fun and getting better on the track.


The tracks I have access to are a 1.3mi, 1.6mi, 1.7mi and 2.8mi. Seems like it would be a lot of fun on the 1.3mi track, but I don't get on that one as much. Most of my time will probably be on the 2.8mi. My plan is to alternate between the 390 Duke (fun/skill building) and the Speed Triple for going fast.
 

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Makes sense. FWIW I've sold my street-fighter style 2003 GSX-R 750 (with handlebars and no fairings) that I used on track days and got the 2019 Duke 390.

I've beaten my GSX-R best lap time by 5 seconds on my first track day with the Duke.

It's so much easier to ride. It's slower, but it means I get more time to think about what's happening, makes me notice the difference between a good and a better line, asks me to push it more and brake later rather than scaring me. The end result, the laps get more consistent, smooth and quick. It's more manageable, which makes me ride with more confidence and with more thought.

My riding coach said the same thing as yours and I'm glad I listened.

A bonus is that tires longevity can be measured in seasons rather than weekends or days, so the biggest contributor of expenses for track days is less of a problem ;)
 

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For 2017+ model years:
From Ohlins, the shock that fits is KT-801 (KT-301 for older model years, don't get confused): https://www.ohlins.eu/en/products/motorcycle/kt-801--6614/
From Andreani, apparently 105/KT7E is the cartridge kit that fits (again, different than older model years, 105/KT2E):
https://www.andreanigroup.com/products/moto/105|KT7E/?CARTUCCIA+KTM+DUKE+390+2017-+EVO-REGOLABILE+(WP+43)

Can't go wrong with those brands.

Be advised when shopping in general that the 2017+ models are different than the older ones and suspension kits are not guaranteed to fit. For example, Wilbers suspension has a shock for the Duke 390 that's considerably cheaper than Ohlins but they only list it for up to 2016, no idea if it'll fit yours.
 
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