I never thought I belonged to the biker breed, never understood why one of my friend is constantly on a ride to some place or another on his RE. Whenever I wanted to visit a place. I would take my car, turn up the music and just zip to the place, everything was effortless, and sometimes boring. Then I thought why not buy a bike and make things a bit interesting? With a back-breaking loan and a friend chipping in for the down payment, I was sorted.
In the month of September, I took a test drive of the RC390 at KTM Bund Garden, Pune and booked the bike. After months of reading about this bike, and constantly watching the same KTM RC390 video, I had made up my mind to buy an RC390 regardless of a 373 CC bike being my first ever! Talk about a fucking jump-start to the biking life.
I have just finished my first milestone on the RC390. The bike was delivered to me on December 2nd 2014 and it’s been roughly 4 months that I have been riding the bike. It has completed 10,000 kms and I guess it’s time we take a look at some of the pros and cons of being an RC owner.
KTM RC390 user review – Terrains mastered:
Everybody knows this bike is completely race oriented, but I never got a chance to test it out on a track yet due to work commitments. The bike has done twisting roads of Amby Valley, Mumbai and Pune for 5 weekends continuous (since I lived in Mumbai and worked in Pune). It has even managed to do well on the dusty roads in Dudhani and did some off-roading in unknown parts of Gujarat as well. All in all, the RC390 is meant for the road, but is quite willing for some dirt fun as well.
Even a blind man can feel the sexy curves of this bike, it’s not your everyday styling. If you love the unique designs of Pagani then you can surely comprehend what KTM has done with this bike. With its super sexy tank, devil eyes and the DRL’s, the bike has a face if you ask me. Superbly designed rear seat as well which makes it look like a cowl . Makes heads turn everywhere! You never feel out-of-place on this bike even when you are parked next to a litre class machine. Full marks in the design department!
My newspaper boy has more cushioning on his cycle’s seat than I have on the RC. The maximum distance I have been on this bike is 450 kms in a day, given the fact that I am beginner in this world of biking. Commuting everyday on this bike from Mulund to Powai (10 kms) is a breeze, I have never felt discomfort on it even with the aggressive riding position. I am 6 ft. tall and I never had any issues with my legs feeling cramped.
The biggest discomfort is when you have fucking pillion that too a heavy one, all the weight is transferred on to your palms, which absolutely kills the fun of riding this bike and fucks up your wrists as well. I would any day admit that the riders seat needs more cushioning and a pillion will only be comfortable if she has a supermodel’s butt.
Rip her and she will rip you two holes to shit out of, absolutely screamer of a bike. The buildup of the revs is amazing and so is the throttle note along with the buildup of the revs. Though the engine used on the Duke and the RC is the same, their feel and performance is varied, the Duke is always in a hurry and will rush at you like a Pit Bull, and on the other hand the RC will be gentle on you and then try to kill you eventually.
In a drag between Duke and the RC, the RC managed to finish ahead of the duke only because of its aerodynamic design; the duke rider had to bear a lot of wind blast post 140 KPH. Since this is a single cylinder, expect vibrations when you rev hard and post 7,000 rpm you can sense vibrations in the fairing as well. Though people talk about huge amount of vibrations on the KTM’s, I think it’s quite bearable. If me being a first time biker don’t seem to have any problems, the rest of pros out there can stop being a pussy. To put it in simple words, this bike is different from the Duke but is as big as a screamer on our roads as any bike can get.
Handling and Stability:
All new bikers need to have that trust and faith in the bike and this machine has plenty of both. The ABS and the Metzeler tires are exceptional. For the first time when I rode this bike to Mumbai from Pune, I was riding with one of my friends on a Duke 390 and other one on his Desert Storm. Both were able to rip hard and pull away.
I on the other hand had a very difficult time taking the apex or even leaning into the turn. Gradually I learnt all the basics, though I am still no bloody God of cornering. The brakes have saved my life on more than one occasion and I always have that sense of security with the ABS switched on. Coming to the tires, they are expensive, have a very short life, but stick to the road like glue, and never budge at all. Every crack on the road, every small pebble out there, the tire gives you the feedback for it. Metzelers are known to be safe even at 240 kmph, and the RC can hardly do 190, talk about overdone.
Cost of Ownership:
Till now I have done two free services, which aren’t really free apart from the labor charges. Both the times the bill did not exceed Rs. 2700, so I would say the RC is easy on the pocket as well. Since my bike has done more than 10,000 kms, I have a genuine need of new tyres now and I am thinking of trying the Michelin Pilot Street Radials. They are cheaper and have the same characteristics of the Metzies. The fuel economy of this bike hovers around 18-20 kmpl depending on how much you twist the throttle. If you are expecting an average of 25 kmpl while ripping the bike apart, then it’s as good as asking a pole dancer to be your wife.
All in all I would conclude by saying that I love what KTM has given to me. As a working class guy, I genuinely can’t afford a Ninja 300, but the RC fits the bill completely. It’s value for money without compromising on safety, something that no one else can match!
This is a KTM RC390 user review submitted by Siddhesh Shivraj.