2017 KTM 390 Duke First Look Review From EICMA

That’s the 390 Duke?! KTM updated the 2017 bike to look just like its big brother!


2017 KTM 390 Duke
Look closely, that’s not a 1290. Not only does the 2017 390 Duke look significantly better, it’s packed with performance upgrades.Photo: KTM

KTM singlehandedly elevated the reputation of small bikes when it introduced the RC390 and Duke 390 in 2015. A little over a year later, KTM is set to shake things up yet again with a massively reworked Duke 390.

2017 390 Duke front
Angular and menacing, from the new vertically split LED headlight on back to the exposed bolt-on subframe. The RC390 looks nasty, and we love it.Photo: KTM

Just take a look at the thing. Does that look like an entry level bike to you? No, it looks just like the newly updated 1290 Super Duke R, which is a distinctly premium and outrageously powerful machine. That's the same LED-headlight design as on the 1290, and the tank shrouds, radiator shrouds, and new, white, exposed bolt-on subframe are modeled after the 1290 as well. The RC390's 373cc engine can't hold a candle to the 1290's monster mill, but it's a potent little powerplant and it's ditched throttle cables in favor of ride-by-wire throttle control for 2017.

2017 390 Duke dash and gauge
With dimensions like that the Duke’s TFT dash will make an iPhone 6 Plus blush. The switch cluster inboard the left grip is new, with more buttons to navigate the RC’s expanded menu system.Photo: KTM

The bike also has an oversize color TFT dash, the first of its kind on a bike in this category. There are also reach-adjustable levers, a reshaped, 1-inch taller seat, and a bigger front-brake disc (pulled from the RC390) for surer stops. And the list goes on. A new exhaust system mounts the muffler along the bike’s right flank instead of under the engine, tank capacity is up 0.6 gallons to a reasonable 3.5 gallons, and the inverted WP fork is supposedly reworked, hopefully with better damping.

2017 KTM brakes
That’s a 320mm brake disc, up 20mm from the previous Duke. It’s squeezed by the same four-piston, radial-mount caliper, made by Brembo’s Indian subsidiary Bybre. The brake line is braided-steel brake line, and ABS comes standard.Photo: KTM

So, most everything of the Duke appears better than before. Except for one line at the bottom of the new bike’s specs: weight. The bike’s claimed dry weight (without gas) has risen from a 306 pounds dry to 329 pounds. Unfortunately, with the additional of that LED headlight, TFT dash, bigger front rotor, adjustable levers, separate subframe, and other new and appealing parts, the price may have risen a bit too. Pricing and availability info haven’t been released yet, so we’ll just have to wait to see how much the bike costs and find out when we can ride it.

Rear shot of KTM 390 Duke
The Duke’s higher seat means it will fit taller riders better than before, while a presumably higher price tag will make it less accessible to the masses. Is KTM trying to push the 390 Duke towards an older, more affluent consumer? It kind of seems that way.Photo: KTM