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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The price difference between the two should be minimal but the route taken to get there could not be more different.

The CBR500R uses a Parallel Twin which cracks out 46 hp and 31 lb-ft of twist. While the KTM with its single thumper makes 42 hp and 25 lb-fts. Now keep in mind this is comparing a 471cc Twin against a 375cc single. However it should be accepted that the KTM will be feather weight compared to the CBR500R. Based on the Duke the KTM and the Honda should sport similar 0-100kmh times, however also going from Duke 390 the CBR500R has a higher top speed of 185 kmh.

Where the two really begin to diverge is when you consider intended use. The KTM seems to be more track friendly and short distance focused, while CBR500R with its heft and relaxed ergonomics should be popular with a more touring crowd. Not to mention the added displacement of the CBR500R should have the Honda settling in more comfortably at prolonged triple digit cruising speeds.

The handles should be worlds apart as well. The KTM should be razor sharp as a result of its light weight and supersport derived ergonomics. Plus the KTM offers ABS standard while the CBR does not...

 

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It looks like the CBR500R still has a forward leaning riding position. Is it really that much different from the seating position of the KTM Duke 390.

As long as the acceleration is the same does it really matter what the top speed is? Unless you plan on going out to the track, you will never get up to the top speed anyway, at least not without breaking the law.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ergos are a huge factor. Supersport ergos are on par with race bikes, while typical sport ergos are more touring oriented.




and compare the RC's position with the KTM Cup bike..

 

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they are both nice motorcycles but one is more performance focused (KTM)

I would be interested in which one is actually quicker

Who has the numbers?!
 

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I hadn't noticed how much you have to lean forward with the riding position for the KTM Duke 390. That must make it not as comfortable to ride around town casually or on longer trips. Like you were saying, it is more track focused.

I was surprised that a 390 would be so track focused. Its really not that powerful for a track bike.
 

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never seen the red bull color scheme mixed in with KTM's, not that I see it, i have to admit it looks amazing
You guys dont watch at lot of MotoGP over there do you? Jack Miller is riding for the Ajo team this year (above pic) and I cant wait for the season start, its going to be a big year for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
unfortunately our coverage of WSBK and MotoGP actualyl doesn't exist. Ok exageration, but its awful in comparison with the rest of the world. Most our our coverage is MotoX based.

I'm not sure if the rider on the RC390 above is hunched over more simply for a more dramatic picture or if thats really how you should ride the RC....
 

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they are leaned in no doubt

you can have your body upright if you wish

but i would say the lean angle is more aggressive on the RC
 

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i dont see anything wrong with the review

it doesnt even really review anything. its just a few specs thrown up and they compare some very general info that we all know already.
 

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I have had a 2013 CBR500R (ABS) for half a year, I am currently riding a Duke 690 and have test ridden a Duke 390.

I do not agree with many points listed on the opening post. Here is my overall comparison between these two bikes:


1. Engine stats: While the Honda has slightly more oomph, the CBR is about 40kg heavier than the Duke, (or about 30KG heavier than RC390). That is a substantial weight difference. Despite that, both bikes have similar accelaration (to me anyway) and fuel consumption. I regularly do 400km+ per tank on the CBR500R with combined mileage, while the Duke might require more frequent re-fueling due to a much smaller tank. The RC390 is going to have a 9.5 or 10 liter tank, which will likely limit its range to about 250km.

2. Suspension: The front forks on the CBR is BAD. It has those rubbish 'progressive' springs and is apparently weighted according to an average Thai worker who assembled this bike, which I assume must be around 20KG. I thought that was the worst suspension one could possibly have on a bike at this price range, until I sat on the Duke 390: If these WP forks can get any softer, they will start lactating. Aside from the sticking issue, my weight alone (around 100kg) took out about 3/4s of the suspension travel. It is severely under sprang and under damped. I can't really comment on the rear shock because the front is just too bad to give a fair opinion about the overall suspension feel. With that said, if you are fortunate enough to have a better BMI than me, the suspension might not be that bad. But for anyone over 75KG I would recommend rebuilding the forks to suit your weight if you are planning on keeping either bikes for a while (I did this on my CBR500R).

3. Cornering: The Duke is more flick-able but less stable in the corner. It is possibly to do with the poor damping as well as the weight distribution - having such a light bike puts more emphasis on the rider's body positioning. The RC390 is going to have a steeper rake which may improve tip-in even more, I can't wait to ride one! Surprisingly, the CBR500R is a very capable cornering beast. You cannot feel that it is almost a 200kg bike just by the way it eats corners. It is very stable and the tip-in is much better than other mid-weight bikes (I had a ER6N and FZ6N). My friend who rides a Daytona 675 reckons the CBR is a better cornering bike, which is no small feat for an entry level sports bike. However please keep in mind that my CBR had aftermarket front suspension components installed.

4. City traffic: I haven't done much City commuting on the Duke 390 so I can only compare this with my Duke 690. The 690 can get quite hot in stop-start traffic. It is however very maneuverable and felt almost like a bicycle due to its seating position. I understand the 390 is slightly lighter and have a lower seat so it should only be better at navigating around traffic jams. However it is more difficult to filter the traffic on the 690 because of its wide bars and high posture - my handle/mirror requires attention to avoid collision with car mirrors. The 390 is a bit lower and I'm not sure if the bars are narrower, but the mirror still cannot be folded easily so it is not ideal for traffic filtering. The CBR offers fold-able mirrors like other sportsbikes, but it is much narrower than an inline-4 so it is very adept at filtering traffic. The turning circle is bigger on the CBR so it is less agile in that sense. Personally I travel 40km of peak hour traffic in Melbourne including freeway (just a car park really) and CBD traffic I miss my CBR very much - the Duke is just a bit too hasslesome especially after I installed Barkbusters. The RC390 might be the perfect traffic bike if the mirrors can be folded (most likely can).

5. Ergo: The Duke and the CBR both have up-right seating postures out of the box. Even though the CBR looked like a sports bike, the handle bar is elevated a good inch above the top of the triple and the pegs get scratched very often. I changed my rear-sets and clip-ons on the CBR to get a more aggressive stance as well as helping with ground clearance while cornering and it is much better - I guess that is going to be similar to the RC. The Duke has slightly less leg room and the RC390 is looking to be a bit more aggressive than the Duke so it might have even less leg room-could be a concern for tall riders but I am just speculating here. In any case the RC will still have better ergo than Ninja 300 - that thing is designed for paraplegics. I found both to be fairly comfortable to ride, although I have not done long-distance day trips on the Duke 390 so I cannot comment on the saddle comfort. I hope the RC390 won't get the ridiculous seats like the RC8 - thin, hard and wide at the wrong place.

6. Transmission: The CBR's gear box isn't on par with its big brothers (the 600 or the blade). It is not crisp and the fact that you need one to two 8mm rods to transfer the energy from your left foot to the gear box (depends if you have stock or aftermarket rear-sets), there can be a bit of delay in gear shifting, but we are talking milliseconds here. Still, at least I have never had a false neutral on the CBR. The same cannot be said of KTM gear boxes. From 1290 SDR to 390 Duke it seems KTM cannot hire a gearbox engineer outside their dirt-bike department. The RC390 will likely have an identical 6-speed gearbox like the Duke, so don't expect much improvements.

7. Throttle response: The CBR has a very slow throttle response. It does smooth out power delivery but it starts frustrating you once your skill level is up to a certain point. I am not sure if that is deliberate but it is one of the major short comings about this bike.

8. Power delivery: The CBR is very smooth, almost felt like an electric engine (sounded like one too). It has a lot of low-down torque, at least on par if not better than the Duke 390. The gem about this inline twin is its counter balancer. At 4-5000 rpm the engine almost produces no vibration at all. The LC4 on the Duke is much improved compare to the old days, but you are constantly reminded that it is only a single cylinder. To me personally this is not a deal breaker, but CBR definitely feels more refined.

9. Exhaust: Not a big fan on the stock Duke 390, I'd personally get a full Akra or something cheaper to bring out the grunt. The CBR is almost silent. I changed the slip-on even before the first service just because it is becoming a safety issue when cagers cannot hear me coming. It also weighs a lot and looks humungous. It is worth noting that the side-hanging exhaust on the CBR impairs clearance on right hand turns. I found scratches on the bottom bit of my two-brother slip-on which is already smaller than the OEM silencer. The 390s won't have this issue and is probably cheaper to fix in the event of a stack.

10. Looks: This is subjective. I like the elegant lines of the CBR, the RC's aggressive lines are also very appealing. However KTM has once again made a, how can I put it, controversial headlight design. I understand they want to make it small and light. But surely they can design a face without the influence of agent orange!? I hope the bike won't look as bad in real life, or someone better come up with a good aftermarket face lift kit.

11. Overall build quality: Both are well built bikes for a budget Learner bike. The fit and finish on CBR is of very high quality. The Duke, being a naked bike, does not have as many panels or plastic to compare with, so it will be interesting to see how the RC390 stacks up.

Hopefully there are enough information to help you decide which bike to go for. Both are very capable at what they do. Both are similar in performance and both have very soft springs and dampings. It depends on what you need them for and your physical size. If your commuting involves a lot of highway or filtering, then I would recommend the CBR. The RC in my opinion is more of a weekend bike - lighter, fun but probably not as comfortable as the CBR and I am quite concerned about having such a small tank - especially if you decide to change to a shorter gearing.
 

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I agree with pretty much everything except for the 675 comparison (year model?). Mine $hits over every other bike I have ever ridden. Up the range I can get a 88km/h average easliy (could go faster but its posted 60km/h), theres no way the Honda could hold a candle to it.....Ive had a fair few try ;)
 
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