Long-Term KTM RC390: Engine Removal With Video!

A two-hour procedure, condensed into 30 seconds.

KTM RC390 project bike engine removal
Great fuel mileage, compactness, good torque, and not needing anyone to help you lift it onto the bench are all benefits of a small-bore single.©Motorcyclist

I know I’m fortunate to get to call riding motorcycles work, but I’ve got to admit that some of my favorite days on the job are when I get to close my laptop, pull on the nitrile gloves, and get busy in the shop.

Last week I spent several glorious hours down in the MC Garage, but this time it was to prepare for a repair, not to bolt on new parts. You see, my long-term RC390 blew its head gasket during a recent race out at Chuckwalla. You can read about the head-gasket issue (and what KTM has to say about it) here, and to read my race report from Chuckwalla, click here. Spoiler: The RC390 kicked butt!

Dropping the engine only took two hours, but we managed to condense it into about 30 seconds in the timelapse video below.

Taking things apart is easy, but I must say, the RC is a pain to work on. It’s got a complicated wiring harness and things like the radiator, exhaust, and tank are all just a little bit harder to dismount than they are on Japanese bikes. Thankfully once I got all the peripheral parts off, the engine was very easy to get out of the frame. The forward hangers come off completely so you can lower the engine straight down. No twisting, rocking, or leaning necessary.

Now, let’s just hope it goes back together as easily!