Ex-Yamaha R15 owner buys a 2023 KTM Duke 390; Pros & Cons

The decision to not buy the Triumph Speed 400 is a story for another day

BHPian DBS65 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.



I had started my motorcycling journey with a 2011 Yamaha R15. It served my daily commutes and occasional highway rides absolutely well until I had to sell it in 2019. The launch of the 2nd generation TVS Apache RR310 triggered my passion for motorcycling again but I was not able to buy one then. I was always a fan of fully-fired motorcycles until the Triumph Speed 400 grabbed my attention. The brand image and the premium looks won me over but after a test ride, I was still left wanting for more. The decision to not buy the Speed 400 is a story for another day


The new DUKE 390 was launched. The only thing I loved about the images is its Blue avatar. As it is I was hopping from one to the other motorcycle dealerships for test rides and of course, KTM was on my list. The day I saw the new Duke390 in the flesh, it completely shattered my preconceived notions based on photos/videos. It looks hunky and radical, although it is a polarising aspect. But the test ride just blew me away! Nimble, agile, powerful and tech-loaded.Booked it at once and got it delivered on 12 October 2023.


I have bought it from MM Motors in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The owner of the showroom went way out of his way to meet each and every requirement. Excellent PDI, very cooperative and patient. The purchase experience was utterly smooth.

Scratch-prone area on the side fairings

TFT display in broad daylight

Let me immediately dive into the pros and cons of this machine. Please note I am neither a trained rider nor a track-guy so my perspective is purely based on my present riding ability and practicality.

1. Menacing look and attention grabber.
2. Gorgeous TFT display and very informative.
3. Power to weight ratio is terrific.
4. Handles like a dream and a corner just epitomizes its pedigree.
5. More practical pillion seats.
6. Increased ground clearance for the geometry-defying speed breakers and potholes.
7. Switchgear quality is nice and back-lit.
8.800mm seat height comes as a blessing for shorter guys like me.
9. Quick shifter and auto-clipper work just fine above 6000rpm on my machine.
Everything else can be found on the spec sheet.

1. Cleaning this scalpel is comparatively difficult, courtesy of its edgy design.
2. Vibrations on the handlebar are noticeable until 5000rpm and hands feel numb after a 15-20kms ride.
3. I am only 5ft6in tall but surprisingly I felt cramped, I had to compromise the comfort of my knee, feet, or buttocks on a long ride. But for taller guys, there is not enough space to shift on the rider seat. So please check this out before buying.
4. Headlight throw is fine inside the city but insufficient on the highways.
5. I felt the brakes to be just OK. Improved from the previous generations but is not exceptional.
6. Tank panels are very susceptible to scratches even from regular pants.
7. Using the TFT on the fly can be quite distracting, please take care.
8.No user manual is available yet.
9. Bluetooth connectivity with One Plus phones is not possible to date.

If you are looking for an upgrade from your existing 150/250/300cc motorcycles, if you need a fun bike for the streets, effortless highway ride with all the bells and whistles from the equipment department, the new DUKE 390 is an absolute value for the money you will pay. And if you can wait for the second batch, it will be definitely worth it.

KTM seems to have delivered these Dukes in a hurry, completely unacceptable for an established brand. So many heartening experiences of our fellow riders across the country, YouTube is flooded with videos of the same.

The paint job is not finished properly specifically on my unit.

Paint mounds on the intake slots of tank shrouds on both sides

The tank panels are very scratchy prone as pointed out by a fellow BHPian and the only solution is to wait for an after-market tank grip.

During the first service of my bike, the SVC did not have spare gaskets for the engine oil filter cover.

Service technicians are not properly trained or aware of the details of this product.
The first batch of these dukes definitely has some issues but not as exaggerated by some vloggers, boils down to how you treat your dragon.
KTM has not released the owner manual on its app yet for the Duke 390. In this era riders have completed 1000kms without an owner’s manual and the answer KTM India customer support has for this issue is “5 years warranty sir, don’t worry.

PS- This is my first detailed post for Team BHP.Absolutely open to suggestions to improve.Hope I have done OK.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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