Finally! The good news comes thanks to MotorBeam.com that KTM RC 390, the faired sister of explosively popular Duke 390, will be launched on 9th of September 2014. Bookings have begun as we speak, which means that the previous rumors of bookings being open were nothing but shit. Surprisingly, the RC 200 will be launched sometime later, unlike the Duke 200, which was launched before the Duke 390.
KTM RC 390 shares the same engine as the Duke 390, so plenty of power available on tap! For those who forgot, the 373.2 cc single cylinder, fuel injected engine produces 43.5 bhp of power and 35 Nm torque. The 6-speed gearbox isn’t the epitome of smoothness, but it gets the job done. ABS will come as standard, which is a much welcome feature. Also welcome feature are the super awesome Metzeler tires, which will be carried on from the Duke as well.
Basically all the good things from the Duke look like they will be carried over, including the extremely informative instrument cluster, raspy exhaust, and LED indicators. The biggest win for the RC 390 over the Duke 390 will be the dual projector headlights with Daytime Running Lights, which will make those night rides so much more safe and fun.
Because of the fully-faired setup of the RC, we can expect a top speed in excess of 185 kmph. My Duke 390 has touched 176 kmph on the speedo once, so a 10 kmph increase on that would be fairly normal. Acceleration will not be affected much, neither will the fuel economy, which at 28 kmpl isn’t something to write home about.
The Bad News
KTM RC 390 will have an even smaller fuel tank as compared to the Duke 390. If rumors are to be believed, the fuel tank capacity will be further reduced to 10 liters from the 11 found in the Duke. This is just stupid! For long distance touring, the Duke needs to be pulled in for fuel stops an annoyingly large number of times, and this is going to get only worse with the RC 390.
The second piece of bad news is that the suspension travel on the RC has been further reduced as compared to the Duke. So if you thought the Duke had hard suspension, you’ll be in for a treat! This will further reduce the touring usability for the RC, since less suspension travel means more stress on the rims, which are already creating lots of trouble for Duke 390 owners.
To further add fuel to the not-good-for-touring fire, the clip-on handlebars and forward biased seating position will not be very friendly to your back and wrists. Yamaha R15 users may feel at home on the RC, but people like me who are used to rather relaxed sitting positions may find it to be a disaster. The rider seat looks really small, and the pillion one is virtually absent. So forget about carrying your girlfriend to the mall, ain’t gonna happen.
Looks like KTM is pitting the RC 390 as a pure track machine, which, if you think about it, doesn’t have much appeal in India. We have 3 tracks in total, which require a lot of moolah to be booked and raced upon. From a general user standpoint, it looks like the RC is going to be a rather useless product. However, KTM hosts racing cups for the RC bikes abroad, and such events in India would definitely be welcome.
The RC 390 will be priced at a premium of about 35,000 over the Duke 390. At around 2.5 lacs (ex-showroom, Mumbai), it will be a good price to pay for such an exceptional machine! With no other competition being there in this price range for the time being, I am certain we’ll see a lot of RCs going around the block. Hopefully, the Yamaha R25 and Honda CBR300R would be launched soon, and give this orange beast something to cry about. As always, Kawasaki stays aloof with their Ninja 300 being priced about a lac more than the RC.
We’ll only know for sure how the bike really is once we get to ride it, and only time will tell if the known issues with Duke 390 have been fixed in the RC series. As of now, I am happy that the bike is finally being launched after a painfully long period of testing. Fun times are coming!