New Bikes: KTM 390 Duke

ktm 390 duke backing it in

I used to own a KTM 690 Duke III back before I bought my Harley.

Yeah, I know a Harley isn’t anything like a Duke.  The Duke was a frickin’ huge 650 something CC single-cylinder thump-monster while the Harley is a twin-cylindered thumper of a different kind.  The Harley isn’t as fun during track days.  It doesn’t wheelie as easily.  It’s not nearly as tall in the seat, but it also doesn’t back into every corner with ease like the Duke did.

While the supermoto-cum-street bike was definitely a lot of fun, it just wasn’t as comfy as the Harley during my work commute (40 minutes, all highway), so I dumped it.  And, as you could guess, as soon as I did that, I was wishing I hadn’t, but that’s how life works.  Soon after, KTM announced a new series of Duke bikes starting with a 125cc.  I was curious but more because it was a new Duke.  Then the 200 was announced.  Like the 125, the 200 was not for North American riders.  Then the 390.

Okay, now I’m interested.

love throwing around lightweight bikes, and a small 350cc or something bike with supermoto tendencies is just asking for some track day time.

Since the announcement, I’ve been following KTM’s development blog and was happy to learn that the 390 is slated for a US release.  After that, I started absorbing all the info about this all-new machine.  For instance, the bike is still using an identical frame from the 125 and 200 Duke, but uses a completely new DOHC four-valve engine that took over two years to develop.  The power mill sounds stout too with forged pistons, Nikasil coated cylinders, pressure cast aluminum housings, and DLC-coated aluminum rocker arms.

ktm 390 duke gas tank

Power wise, this little stunter is claimed to push 44 horsepower, probably at the crank, according to the KTM blog.  The bike had to meet Euro licensing requirements, thus the sub 50 HP numbers, but that won’t stop me from getting that rear end out at the track.

Read all about the new Duke on KTM’s blog and stay tuned for a test-ride once we get the chance to do so!

For more info, check out the KTM blog which is following the development before the international release of the new 390 Duke!


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