Duke 390 vs Continental GT: Who’s the King?

By | December 6, 2013

Duke 390 vs Continental GTRoyal Enfield recently lifted the curtains off their fastest, meanest creation, the Continental GT. The bike tries to bring back nostalgia, with Cafe Racer looks and retro styling. It sports a 535cc engine, clip on handlebars and the promise of genuine performance parts in the future. But is it anything as good as the undisputed champion of Indian bike scene, the KTM Duke 390?

It has been a few months since the KTM hooligan hit us in the guts, and even after a price hike of 7,000 bucks the bike still is extremely well priced. It has an insane amount of power, pull-your-eyes-out-of-them-sockets looks and extreme flickability. I own one of these monsters, so I speak from experience!

Since they both fall in the around 2 lac price segment, it’s a genuine question to ask: Which one is better? Who’s the King? Today we take an in-depth look on this question, who wins the Duke 390 vs Continental GT battle? 

Duke 390 vs Continental GT: Performance

Let’s get right down to it, shall we? Let’s take a look at the performance figures for these bikes:

PropertyDuke 390Continental GT
Engine Capacity375cc535cc
Power44bhp29bhp
Torque35Nm44Nm
Weight154Kg184Kg
Power to weight ratio300150
0-100Kmph5secs11secs
Top Speed175Kmph140Kmph
Redline10,500RPM5,700RPM

So, errrr, well, nothing much to see here. The Duke 390 pretty much kicks Conti’s ass in every area, except the torque, which is expected. Royal Enfield “proudly” proclaims their bikes are not about performance, but pure biking experience. Well I would trade performance for some mythical experience everyday, but that’s the way they roll and people seem to love it.

royal enfield continental gtDuke 390 vs Continental GT: Features

Both of these offerings are feature rich and awesome for the price bracket. There are some things that one offers but the other doesn’t:

PropertyDuke 390Continental GT
ABSAvailableNot available
Single seat optionNot availableAvailable
Bar mounted mirrorsNot availableAvailable
TiresMetzeler, 120 front, 150 rearPirelli, 100 front, 130 rear
BrakesByBre, 300 front, 230 rearBrembo, 300 front, 240 rear
Official power partsNot avabilableTo be available
Fuel tank11 liters13.5 liters

The most important feature and the one that’s missing in the Conti is the ABS. The Duke 390 gives it as standard, which is just crazy good. There are many cosmetic improvements that are offered with the Conti, but personally I don’t mind that much. Looks are overrated anyway.

Duke 390 vs Continental GT: Living with it

Both of these bikes are expected to return sub-30Kmpl mileage figures, and that’s OK. This means they will cost almost as much as a car to run, but carry only 2 people, mostly one. As far as maintenance is concerned, the Continental GT will surely be costlier in the long run, given the tendency of Royal Enfields to be high maintenance machines.

The Continental GT gives you an optional pillion seat, but the bike looks ghastly with it, just ugly. So mostly, you would be riding it alone. The worst part would come on those long rides, where you will HAVE to put in that fugly pillion seat to accommodate your Viaterra Claw.

For the Duke 390, the downside is its heating problem. I take it to office everyday, but my legs get a bit of cooking done on the way. It does get heated quite quickly in rush hour traffic.

Overall, I think it will be easier to live with the Duke than the Conti, because of its maneuverability and pure fun.

Duke 390 vs Continental GT: Verdict Continental GT pillion

I already own the Duke, so my choice is pretty clear. I have never been a big fan of Royal Enfields, and the Continental GT doesn’t change it much. The bike isn’t much fun to drive either, from what I have heard, with a very short powerband and overpowering vibrations. For the Duke 390 vs Continental GT contest, the Duke wins hands down.

In my opinion, the Royal Enfield Continental GT is purely for Royal Enfield enthusiasts. It holds no edge over the Duke 390 in any way, but will surely be an eye-grabber. But then if you ride only for grabbing eyes, you need to get your priorities in life straight.

RiderZone recommends the Duke 390, and not just because we have one.

Image Source: MotorBeam.com

  • Rajath KR

    Dear Akhil,
    What a narrow minded way to present a review. By far the saddest review/comparison that i have come across.
    You use the word ‘driving’ for bikes and I’m not being picky on purpose but just trying to scale down your level of ignorance before I actually begin.

    Coming to your review itself, you just tried to put across a comparison article when you have not even been astride the other aspect of this article.
    You should have just spoken about the duke alone.
    It’s still completely fine with being bold in reviews and choosing one bike over the other, but that’s only after you’ve got enough knowledge about both the sides of the coin.
    This is not a rant from a GT rider, but this response is from a riding enthusiast’s stand point where the ground rule is respect and understanding before you go out and give bold opinions.

    Hope you learn to work around your shortcomings in writing comparison articles.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Thanks man.

  • Adrian Brandon Rynjah

    Hey @akhilkalsh:disqus i know ur a bike expert so i wanna ask, the duke 390 has 35 nm of torque but the RE Conti GT has 44 nm of torque, what advantage does the GT have over the duke 390 and what does 44 nm of torque on the GT do? please reply ur the only person that can answer this and make it simple so a layman like me can understand. Thanks.

  • Moses

    Hi Akhil your writing is energetic and lovable. Never mind the bikes and their performances, your riding on the words at the highest possible efficiency. 😀
    Good Luck and nice content bro.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      🙂

  • Nikhil S

    Just gives me a feeling like you had made up your mind even before you saw the GT!!! And riding experience is something that’s not mythical at all.. Since you said that turned me off and thought of not reading any further because you just concluded in your introduction. I am sure you know its okay to relax and enjoy a ride at 60 kmph. Surely our roads and traffic don’t give that kind of liberty to reach 100 in 5.5s and touch 175 kmph everyday. So practically even on a KTM you’d be around 100 to 110. Result aside, I came here to see a proper comparison (it definitely cannot be apple to an apple just because its the same price bracket), something more in-depth, the bike’s respective strengths and not a sheet with numbers and a random review which was over even before it started… Sorry but it was sad as a reader!!!

    • Akhil Kalsh

      I know.

  • Ishan

    Stability and durability wise RE’s are better is what my father believes. Could you give me a reason for that so that I book the KTM right away. I’m in love with the KTM

    • Hey Ishan, anything that weighs around 150 kg is stable enough for our highways. The Duke weighs in at 140 something kg, and add the rider to that you get 200+ kgs. This is perfect for keeping the handling light.

      Dukes are far more reliable than any RE. I’ve ridden mine for more than 35000 kms without a single spot of bother!

  • Christofer

    The rear tire of the Duke 390 is a 150 section one. Isn’t it. It is given as 160 in the table

  • Reeto

    Hey Akhil nice comparo. My vote too goes to the Duke 390, the Continental GT is pure eye candy but it doesn’t hold a candle to the Duke. My guess is in the 90-120 kmph speed range, the Duke will return better kmpl figures than the GT. RE might have got everything right with the GT barring the performance figures, which are at best dismal for a Cafe Racer.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      I would guess the same about mileage Reeto, the my Duke returns over 30kmpl if speeds are around 90kmph.

      I don’t like the Cafe Racer at all, it is anything BUT a Cafe Racer! Just because you look like something doesn’t mean you are.

  • Pingback: Duke 390 vs CBR 250R: Which one should you buy? | RiderZone()

  • No doubt. I go for Duke 390. Interesting comparison. Thank you for sharing.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Glad you liked it! 390 would be the better choice, unless you are a sucker for Royal Enfields.

      • shakti barot

        Nicely said Akhil,
        I am riding Pulsars since 2005 and I am very happy with the brand my last bike is Pulsar 200 DTSi which I liked the most. was looking to buy new bike RE enthusiasts were teasing me for owning a Plastic Bike and suggested me to scrap plastic bike and buy the full metallic RE so At First I thought that RE’s might have something good and that’s why people are buying it and its in so much demands that people have to wait for 3 months to get one (I thank God for the 3 months Waiting period which was like a warning and time to do a course correction) so I started the test rides of all other bikes and did the comparisons of all bikes with RE and the Fun Part is that almost all powerful bikes are better than RE’s Even Discover 150 was better than RE. Finally Found the Right bike KTM Duke 390 ABS so I cancelled RE TB 500 and Bought KTM Duke 390… KTM is truly Awesome bike and I am enjoying it.
        RE’s are simply outdated junks and I hate them for N Number of reasons.
        Museum is the place where RE should be kept as a part of the WWII History…
        Thank You Akhil for your comparisons…

        • Akhil Kalsh

          Glad my comparison saved you from a Bullet 🙂