The KTM 390 Duke needs no introduction. If there was to be a cult performance bike made in India in this millennium so far, the 390 Duke has to be it! It made performance motorcycling accessible and affordable in India, and it's got a fantastic fan following, around the world. A combination of phenomenal performance and handling, combined with a price tag, which isn't astronomical, and also being easy on the pocket to maintain, the KTM 390 Duke is fantastic value for money! And now, the 2020 KTM 390 Duke gets updated to meet the Bharat Stage VI (BS6) emission regulations, but it also gets new colours, as well as a standard up/down quickshifter. So, how much has changed? Let's get into it, then.
The engine technically hasn't gone through that many changes or has been changed for the updated 390 Duke to meet the new emission norms. The good news is that it has the exact same output as the BS4 model before - 43 bhp of maximum power at 9,000 rpm, and 37 Nm of peak torque at 7,000 rpm. What KTM has done is adopted a bigger catalytic converter, and that has translated to a slightly compromised ground clearance - down from 175 mm on the outgoing model to 151 mm on the 2020 model. But what the new 390 Duke also gets is a standard, bi-directional quickshifter, which enables clutchless upshifts and downshifts. It's a first-in-segment feature and seen only in much more expensive superbikes.
Also Read: 2020 KTM 200 Duke First Ride Review
What have also changed are the colours. The all-orange bodywork is now replaced by two-new colours - Silver Metallic and Ceramic White, with new graphics and orange wheels. It's given the bike fresh appeal, and other features like ride-by-wire, slipper clutch, dual-channel ABS with Supermoto mode, full-colour TFT display, LED headlights are all retained. And together with the quickshifter and bigger catalytic converter, the 2020 KTM 390 Duke has put on 4 kg of weight, with kerb weight rated at 167 kg. The dimensions of the bike remain the same.
How does it ride?
Absolutely brilliant! The KTM 390 Duke has always been a fantastic package, with a superb blend of performance and handling at an attractive price. Out on the Chakan test track, it's immediately apparent why the 390 Duke remains a very special bike. The ride-by-wire throttle offers smooth and predictable power delivery, and the 373 cc single-cylinder engine has the performance to make every ride extremely rewarding and entertaining. The quickshifter will be welcomed by racetrack junkies, and works quite well when hard on the throttle. But it may not be to everyone's liking and out in the real world, riders may opt to close the throttle, and that's when it feels to lag and jerk.
And show it a set of corners and it's easy to understand just why the KTM 390 Duke is such a hoot to ride! It's got the performance to hit out at motorcycles above its segment, but more than pure horsepower, it's the sum of its personality - performance, handling, size, and ease of riding, which makes the 390 Duke one of the most engaging and entertaining motorcycles to ride, every single time you straddle it. The 2020 model isn't a vast improvement or a lot different than the outgoing model, and for existing owners, I'd say, the addition of the quickshifter isn't such a big deal, if you won't be frequenting the track every now and then, to improve your lap times! But what existing owners of the 390 Duke could be miffed with, is the fact, that the new one looks different, even if it's only new colours, and the outgoing BS4 KTM 390 Duke now resembles, is the new KTM 200 Duke! Oh, well!
The last word
Priced at ₹ 2,52,928 (Ex-showroom, Delhi), the 2020 KTM 390 Duke gets slightly more expensive than the outgoing model, and will cost you just ₹ 4,716 more than the outgoing model. For that price difference, you will of course get new colours, a standard up/down quickshifter, and a cleaner engine. It's a small price to pay for the latest 390 Duke, and in our book, very much well worth it.
Our first ride at Chakan was quite brief, in fact, too short, and it was a hurried affair to ride, shoot and rush back to the airport to catch a flight home. But fact is that I'm still smiling, while writing this, and thinking about my time with the 390 Duke. For under ₹ 3 lakh, it's a hugely engaging and entertaining motorcycle, if adrenaline pumping performance and sharp handling is your kind of thing, and superb value at that!