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I just want to put down my thoughts about the 390 Duke after 364 days of ownership. I know it has been done before, but that's the nature of forums, and I feel like contributing something, so here it is.

BACKGROUND

The 390 Duke was my 8th streetbike, after a hiatus from riding while my children were young. For context, I've owned everything from dirt bikes/ATVs to a GSX-R 1000, Bandit 1200, VFR 800, and WR250R. Some new, some used. My last bike prior to the 390 was a Vulcan 1700. I have held onto my bikes for anywhere from 6 months to 4 years, and started riding in 2002. I'm an "in-betweener," older than some on this forum and younger than others.

Riding-wise, the past year has been a strange one for me. With the pandemic bringing about much more working from home, that also meant far less traveling for work and far less travel in general. Accordingly, the bike only accumulated just short of 3000 km in the year.

PROS

Handling and Light Weight
-- This is arguably the bike's best quality. It is lightweight and agile/nimble, making it fun for experienced riders and less intimidating for new(er) riders.

Engine -- Peppy/eager, sounds great, versatile. Enough go for highway, and the perfect powerband for in-city riding (combined with a clutch that rounds things out beautifully).

Transmission -- Easily the smoothest-shifting bike I've ever ridden. The 390 spoils the rider.

Aftermarket -- Everything from functional to fast to fancy is available to make the bike exactly what you want it to be (for those who like to modify their bikes). I've only ever modified one car, but have modified/added to nearly every bike, even if it was just luggage.

Value -- Exceptional combination of fun, features, performance and reliability for the price. On paper, it's easily the best value in the segment. It's very good on fuel, inexpensive to run/maintain, and inexpensive to insure.

Tech -- Ride modes, ABS, traction control, bluetooth phone and headset integration, TFT display/bike computer

Reliability -- Only ~3000 km on the bike, but it's nice to be able to say that I had zero quality issues with it.

Appearance/Looks -- It's a great-looking bike. The 390 and 1st- and 2nd-gen 1290s are the best-looking Dukes, in my opinion. It's a head-turner, even in stock form.

Community -- Between forums like this one and the Facebook communities, there is a ton of info out there about these bikes (although most is for pre-2021 bikes). Great resources with varying mixes of user 'types' lol.


CONS

Stigma
-- Around here it's considered a beginner bike and people (including KTM salespeople) just don't consider it to be anything more than that. It's the motorcycle equivalent of a gateway drug. I know that in other parts of the world it's considered a big bike, which I guess has its own problems as well.

Oil Changes -- These are a bit more of a pain on the 2021+ models, due to the re-routed exhaust and added heat protection underneath the bike. Prior to the 390 I had never owned a bike (even fully-faired) that made me loathe oil changes (and that's despite using an Abba stand).

Light Weight (Highway) -- The light weight makes the 390 a perfect bike for city riding, but is a bit of a detriment when dealing with side winds on the highway. Lighter bikes are at a disadvantage when dealing with side winds, and the 390 is no exception there.


MY FAVOURITE MODS

Rear Shock
-- I went with Racing Bros, but other options are available. This was easily the best mod to the bike. It transformed the behaviour of the rear end of the bike. The stock suspension is ok, but not nearly as composed, as would be expected compared to a fully-adjustable rear shock.

Akrapovic Exhaust + Coober Air Box Lid -- Purely for the sound. Gave the bike a sound that matched the appearance and that I could listen to all day.

Evotech Tail Tidy + KTM Power Parts Exhaust Hanger (passenger peg delete) -- The Evotech unit is the nicest tail tidy I've seen, hiding all of the wiring entirely and looking more finished than even the stock tail/fender. Since the bike was used only for solo riding and not for hauling people or gear on the pillion, the rear pegs weren't at all necessary. The exhaust hanger/peg delete helped to clean up the rear of the bike well.

MTP-Racing (Raximo) Bar-End Mirrors -- better field of view and less vibration than the stock mirrors. Appearance is subjective, but I happen to like the way they look paired with the 390 as well.


OVERALL IMPRESSION

The 390 is a fun and easy bike to live with on a day-to-day basis. The handling, transmission and engine make it perfect for city riding, but the engine has the get-up to handle its business on the highway as well. It has a great aftermarket and good community. It's a bike that both beginners and experienced riders can have fun with for different reasons.

The biggest issue (where I live) is its classification as a beginner/entry level bike. Grant it, population density here is very low compared to most places in the world. People and places are very spread out, and people do often ride long distances for whatever it is they need to do (work, regular day-to-day activities, twisty riding areas). When there's a good amount of highway riding on the menu a larger displacement bike is inarguably going to be easier to live with (space, vibration, ease of accelerating/passing on highway, etc). For city-dwelling riders, though, the Duke's 373 cc would turn out to be plenty if they would just give it a try. Salespeople aren't any help, either, as they tend to be very much on board with the "390 is a beginner bike" mentality.

It's a great bike, and one that more people would do well to consider.
 

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I just want to put down my thoughts about the 390 Duke after 364 days of ownership. I know it has been done before, but that's the nature of forums, and I feel like contributing something, so here it is.

BACKGROUND

The 390 Duke was my 8th streetbike, after a hiatus from riding while my children were young. For context, I've owned everything from dirt bikes/ATVs to a GSX-R 1000, Bandit 1200, VFR 800, and WR250R. Some new, some used. My last bike prior to the 390 was a Vulcan 1700. I have held onto my bikes for anywhere from 6 months to 4 years, and started riding in 2002. I'm an "in-betweener," older than some on this forum and younger than others.

Riding-wise, the past year has been a strange one for me. With the pandemic bringing about much more working from home, that also meant far less traveling for work and far less travel in general. Accordingly, the bike only accumulated just short of 3000 km in the year.

PROS

Handling and Light Weight
-- This is arguably the bike's best quality. It is lightweight and agile/nimble, making it fun for experienced riders and less intimidating for new(er) riders.

Engine -- Peppy/eager, sounds great, versatile. Enough go for highway, and the perfect powerband for in-city riding (combined with a clutch that rounds things out beautifully).

Transmission -- Easily the smoothest-shifting bike I've ever ridden. The 390 spoils the rider.

Aftermarket -- Everything from functional to fast to fancy is available to make the bike exactly what you want it to be (for those who like to modify their bikes). I've only ever modified one car, but have modified/added to nearly every bike, even if it was just luggage.

Value -- Exceptional combination of fun, features, performance and reliability for the price. On paper, it's easily the best value in the segment. It's very good on fuel, inexpensive to run/maintain, and inexpensive to insure.

Tech -- Ride modes, ABS, traction control, bluetooth phone and headset integration, TFT display/bike computer

Reliability -- Only ~3000 km on the bike, but it's nice to be able to say that I had zero quality issues with it.

Appearance/Looks -- It's a great-looking bike. The 390 and 1st- and 2nd-gen 1290s are the best-looking Dukes, in my opinion. It's a head-turner, even in stock form.

Community -- Between forums like this one and the Facebook communities, there is a ton of info out there about these bikes (although most is for pre-2021 bikes). Great resources with varying mixes of user 'types' lol.


CONS

Stigma
-- Around here it's considered a beginner bike and people (including KTM salespeople) just don't consider it to be anything more than that. It's the motorcycle equivalent of a gateway drug. I know that in other parts of the world it's considered a big bike, which I guess has its own problems as well.

Oil Changes -- These are a bit more of a pain on the 2021+ models, due to the re-routed exhaust and added heat protection underneath the bike. Prior to the 390 I had never owned a bike (even fully-faired) that made me loathe oil changes (and that's despite using an Abba stand).

Light Weight (Highway) -- The light weight makes the 390 a perfect bike for city riding, but is a bit of a detriment when dealing with side winds on the highway. Lighter bikes are at a disadvantage when dealing with side winds, and the 390 is no exception there.


MY FAVOURITE MODS

Rear Shock
-- I went with Racing Bros, but other options are available. This was easily the best mod to the bike. It transformed the behaviour of the rear end of the bike. The stock suspension is ok, but not nearly as composed, as would be expected compared to a fully-adjustable rear shock.

Akrapovic Exhaust + Coober Air Box Lid -- Purely for the sound. Gave the bike a sound that matched the appearance and that I could listen to all day.

Evotech Tail Tidy + KTM Power Parts Exhaust Hanger (passenger peg delete) -- The Evotech unit is the nicest tail tidy I've seen, hiding all of the wiring entirely and looking more finished than even the stock tail/fender. Since the bike was used only for solo riding and not for hauling people or gear on the pillion, the rear pegs weren't at all necessary. The exhaust hanger/peg delete helped to clean up the rear of the bike well.

MTP-Racing (Raximo) Bar-End Mirrors -- better field of view and less vibration than the stock mirrors. Appearance is subjective, but I happen to like the way they look paired with the 390 as well.


OVERALL IMPRESSION

The 390 is a fun and easy bike to live with on a day-to-day basis. The handling, transmission and engine make it perfect for city riding, but the engine has the get-up to handle it's business on the highway as well. It has a great aftermarket and good community. It's a bike that both beginners and experienced riders can have fun with for different reasons.

The biggest issue (where I live) is its classification as a beginner/entry level bike. Grant it, population density here is very low compared to most places in the world, people and places are very spread out, and people do often ride long distances for whatever it is they need to do (work, regular day-to-day activities, twisty riding areas). When there's a good amount of highway riding being on the menu a larger displacement bike is inarguably going to be easier to live with (space, vibration, ease of accelerating/passing on highway, etc). For city-dwelling riders, though, the Duke's 373 cc would turn out to be plenty if they would just give it a try. Salespeople aren't any help, either, as they tend to be very much on board with the "390 is a beginner bike" mentality.

It's a great bike, and one that more people would do well to consider.
GREAT review. Well written and on point !

Wishing you many more trouble free miles Sir 😎
 
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