I recently shared the first service, 1000 kms impressions of my KTM Duke 390. This beauty of a machine keeps surprising me time and again, as I have driven it almost the entire India all the way from Bangalore to Bilaspur!
Since the second service, I have driven it an additional 4500 kms, and it’s almost time for the third one at 11000 kms! I have taken it to every conceivable environment during this time, and had extreme fun all through the way. Here are some random thoughts during this journey of mine.
Duke 390: What terrains can it safely ride on?
During these 5000 kms, I did 2 major rides. The first one was a blistering 2200 km Bombay to Bangalore and back trip, which saw me covering more than 1000 kms in a day for the first time! The second one was my 1200 km Goa ride for the India Bike week, which included some bad roads, the beautiful ghats of Old Goa Highway and the calm beaches of Malvan and Tarkarli.
Through these varied stretches of asphalt and no asphalt, I realized that the Duke 390, which is touted more as a street bike, can take on almost everything you throw in its way. The only nemesis of the rear tire seems to be fine gravel. Whenever there is this loose, gritty, sandy stuff on the road, the rear tire does a lot of samba. But now that I am aware of it, even that is kinda fun! All you need to do is position your rear tire perfect, twist the throttle, and the rear wheel starts spinning, sometimes even in third gear.
I like to try out new places, to see who does a better job. My first service was done at Shreeram KTM, Thane, and was a pleasantly quick experience. So this time I went over to Guru Gobind KTM, Seawoods. This place is an exclusive service center, and only for KTM and Kawasaki bikes. Managed by a young guy named Muzamil, the place is good, although it takes a while to get stuff done.
The mechanic I got my bike fixed-up by is named Sachin, and he was really nice. Taught me how to tighten the chain, what to look out for in long rides, and how to check various fluid levels. Overall, it took me about 3 hours to get the job done, which is a bit higher than usual, but I was happy.
Nothing much. I did feel that the bike pulled slightly to the right at lower speeds, but turns out it was more in my head than the bike.
One demon that raises its head on long rides, is pain in my left hand. The clutch is hard, and riding in city traffic fucks up my left hand quite badly. The pain does go away in about a week, but till the time it is there, it does pinch.
One ugly problem I faced was my key fell down that little rabbit hole below the instrument cluster, left of the key slot! That place is just scary, nothing you do will get your stuff back, unless you take the headlight console apart. Now I always keep a ring on my key, and try to keep a small cloth stuffed down that abyss.
The best mileage figure I’ve achieved till date on my Duke 390 is 31 kmpl. I drove in 6th gear as much as possible, and never went above 80 kmph. Trust me, it was really hard to do this! The Duke 390 doesn’t like to be driven at low speeds, at all. This low mileage leads to a very small range on full tank, about 230 kms, which means I take a lot of fuel stops on long rides.
The fastest I’ve been is 173 kmph, which I did on a calm stretch of road near Belgaum. I had a fully stuffed Viaterra Claw at the back, and a fully stuffed Viaterra Fly upfront, so you can imagine what I could have done with that weight off my bike.
All in all, I am extremely happy with my Duke 390. I take it to office everyday, and every liter of fuel I put in brings exponentially more fun and excitement! It still is the best bike out there around 2 lacs, and I am happy I own this beauty 🙂