ktm rc390 review

KTM RC390 user review: 10,000 kms experience!

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!

Comfort Levels:

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.

47 thoughts on “KTM RC390 user review: 10,000 kms experience!”

  1. Nicely written.. 10000kms in 4 months for a non-tourer track focused bike must be some kind of record. Happy riding!!

  2. I bought this bike in last dec nd since d day I have bought it I Am Facing a bucket full of probs since i but it after just its first service my bike started showing problem of stalling nd i guess i just went 6 time to the service center in Jalndhar ( Lovely Autos) nd every time i went to pick my bike bike they alwz said we have solved the prob but it was not saughted out atlast i had to register a complaint againt them on online ktm site after i got very good assistance by two Guys nd one of them camed from delhi nd solved my bikes prob nd so at last i was happy after long time since today now again my bike started showing new set of problems i.r like just in the morning when in started my bike for the first time in that day it showed High Coolant Temprature nd i was surprised that its been 10 hours i rided it nd what the hell is it showing me infact i was not able to start d engine self was not working nd 2nd it shoped showin me that in which gear i am driving it nd 3rd the gear shift Indicator is not working
    nd i really think sometime that i should’nt have bought this bike so called RC390 nd then dealers says we cant replace ur bike after being in warrenty
    so plz if any one of uh can help he do tell me a sol that what should i do

    1. Fuck that sounds horrible man. I have no idea why you are facing these issues, but looks like an electrical problem to me. The only people who can help you are at KTM SVCs, and all you can do is keep bugging them until it is solved.

    2. Dear Mr. Rahul, can i use this bike for my daily travel of 8 km in busy road without any problem? What about fuel efficiency in city? Will it get heated due to slow speed. I am not racer.

      1. Yes firstly heating is in every KTM bike…but its bearable..n as for its efficiency if ur option is 390 series than its 18 to 20 which is really bad …i think .
        If ur option is for 200 series than they are well 35 to 40(in highway 40 -42) so if u r a city daily commuter than u should option for duke 200. I too personally use my brothers duke . N as for Duke 390 its heat is more than 200 n most important its tyre are high profile sport Metzilers..n it wears out…so its too much costly affair.. If want regular fun n handy in use its only KTM duke 200…which i personally recommend.
        So i gess my knowledge helped u Sir…
        Keep riding , be safe n enjoy.

  3. nicely written, but avoid the swearing man. nothing cool about it, cz your review is cool already !
    You dint mention the heat emitted from the engine, which seems to be a prob for many KTM owners, owing to the single cyl, that too a high compression one.
    they also say the brakes up front lack initial bite.
    can you mention something about this too??

      1. Appologise my friend. I differ in the breaks department. It has saved me quite a few times from hitting a pedestrian who came to the road all of a sudden and also from crashing because of the panic hard breaking once on my D390. It can be because of the combination of break, abs and metz tyre, However, it did it beautifully.

        PS :- Please dont take it in wrong sense , just shared my experience 🙂


        1. It’s all relative mate, the brakes on the KTMs are surely better than Pulsars and Karizmas and shit, but when compared to Ninjas or other big bikes, they suck a lot, even against R3 etc.

          1. Sorry brother … I felt the breaks on my D390 is better than Ninja 300 .. not sure about the 650’s and Honda’s or R3 …. 🙂

          2. KTM brakes can be very deceptive. On one bike they are awesome, on another they suck.

          3. That’s because of the Brake Pads. I changed the brake pads to EBC Double-H and it bites like a Shark… ABS also works perfectly.
            Costs around Rs. 3500/-

  4. “Rip her and she will rip you two holes to shit out of, absolutely screamer of a bike.”
    Amazing description of the bike .. 🙂
    very true indeed.

      1. No frnd its not built for City Use. I say it Cuz i have owned it.
        Let me describe it frnd…
        First its sporty stance…which is the major problem.. When ur riding thru city traffic its like braking n accelerating everytime n the most ur braking and accelerating in sport position…so the major Pain is in back. N ur butt will start to aching… So its a Track bike n not City bike. U can go for Duke if u want same power. N my small brother owns it…n we actually change it in some occasion… For my office i use duke…when i want to go for highway i use my RC 390.
        So frnd i gess u hav got the difference ….
        Keep riding, be safe n enjoy.

  5. Can I use RC 390 for my daily office drive of 8 KM? Suggest any good bike for my requirement considering safety,fuel efficiency.

    1. Of course you can. I take my RC 390 on short 3-4 stretches all the time. Get 20-25kmpl too.

  6. Hey Akhil,

    Very well defined 🙂 I did compare this bike with a Ninja 300 and a Yam 325. RC 390 beats them hands down, i m a bulletier – love the stability but RC gives a kick like no one else .. n yes, bro u have a great sense of humor. Ride safe.


      1. Rt i have also described the reason for it…Prasad…u can go thru if u want too. Its descripted above.
        Keep riding, be safe n enjoy.

  7. problems like engine overheating(high coolant temperature) just by riding few kms.
    the vibrations faced when high speeding
    its uncomfortable rider seat
    the oil leaks from the cranks after a certain amount of time due to cheap silicon used instead of quality rubbers.

    Please guide all the rc lovers correctly. cheers

  8. Bro i need your help@akhil.
    I’m having avenger 220 street. But it has some kinda problem. 6 months before i bought it after that in just 1000kms it’s clutch plates were burnt. I thought maybe some problem so got it replaced.. But from thn on every 1000-1500kms it getting burnt.. I hav rode 6000kms till now and replaced clutch plates thrice. Got it serviced and replaced at two service centres. I told them everything. That problem isn’t getting solved. I want to fix this problem anyhow. .because in December last I’m planning a huge trip. From uttar Pradesh to kanyakumari.. Please help me. In sorting out problem. Or what i shall do. I know i drive very safe and their is no problem in driving style.. There is some other problem cox of which it’s getting burnt.

    1. The only reason for clutch plates to get burnt so quickly would be that you ride the clutch, you use it excessively. The easiest way to find out would be to fix a camera so it look at your left hand. Upload the video to youtube and send me the link.

      The fact that you’ve taken it to multiple service centres and the issue is still not resolved rules out every other reason I can think of.

      I know it’s hard to admit that the issue might be with your riding style, but give it a try.

      1. Bro I’m sure about it. That’s it’s not coz of my driving style.. They were also blaming me. Now see bro on every 1000 kms it get burnt. Why it’s fixed and if it’s coz of my driving style but i had once gone for manali trip. And still before going to trip i replaced it and you know bro on highways we don’t use much clutch. When i crossed Chandigarh about 1k kms it got burnt. I’m totally fucked bro. It’s too costly and on every 1k getting burnt. I used full precautions using least clutch still.

          1. Yes bro. Spendor apache passion etc. No problem in any bike. And i use clutch at min. Or where it’s very necessary.
            They told there are 2-3 reason why clutch plates et burned excessive clutch use. Oil not reaching clutch plates. And something else.. But there is some other problem in my bike and it’s from starting.. I bought it for some casual city use and specially for long tours but due to every 1k kms clutch problem. I need to think a lot before going on trip :/

          2. That is very strange, and not something that I’ve seen commonly happening. I’m sorry but I don’t think I would be able to tell you what’s wrong then, this seems like a mechanical issue, and I’m rather bad with technical knowledge.

            I’ll try asking my friends to see if they know what could be the reason for this.

  9. Mr.Akilesh the detail u have given is really helpfull 2 every1 out here n lots.
    But while goin thru ur post i found some mistakes..
    Firstly u have mentioned in terrain s master bout a word as “Pagani” , Which iz totally wrong. Pagani iz not a Bike Manufacturer u may search it…its not at all present in bike world. Now i am not here to show were ur wrong but 2 correct u….n i guess u wanted 2 say “Panigale” ie. Ducati Panigale. N additional information Pagani is a car Manufacturer n not bike. K pal.
    Now who i am 2 say…rt i a am crazy badass bike Lover…n i own a RC 390.
    So do i know the problems very well now u have said bout the Drag race u were extremely rt rc wins coz of its aerodynamics…
    One major problem u missed is its not at all built for CITY USE. Its sporty position takes all the fun..n when ur stuck in big crawling traffic it jst painful. Accelerating n braking in traffic its damn painfull..now i am a Punekar…living in Banner ..i know the punes trafic..its Dammn Heavy.
    N ur rt bout the seat its..really stiff. So its not for Long rides. But its magic starts at Curvy roads were u accelerate n jst lean on apex…its jst amazing Felling..every KTM owner has experienced it.

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