The 373.2cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine is versatile enough to power multiple kinds of bikes
KTM disrupted the Indian two-wheeler market when it launched the explosively powerful yet attractively priced KTM 390 Duke. It was soon followed by the track-taming RC 390. Over the years, the Austrian brand has made a few changes to the engine but its performance-oriented genes have remained unfazed. Here’s how this heart powers motorcycles of various genres:
KTM 390 Duke
The KTM 390 Duke was the first motorcycle to pack the 373.2cc engine. The engine had one of the most aggressive power deliveries in the first-gen model launched back in 2013, making it an ideal corner-carving tool for enthusiasts. Over the years, KTM gave better features, a bi-directional quickshifter, ride-by-wire throttle, and most importantly, a BS6-compliant heart.
While it’s true that the latest iteration has certainly mellowed down a bit from the first-gen model but still remains the most powerful naked in its segment. Moreover, KTM has also made the motorcycle much more wholesome with modern technologies such as an all-LED lighting, switchable ABS, and TFT console with smartphone connectivity.
KTM RC 390
The best way to exploit the 390 Duke’s engine was to plonk it in a supersport, and that’s exactly what KTM did, by launching the RC 390 in 2014. The Duke’s chassis was tweaked, and this coupled with the low-set clip-ons, rear-set footpegs and sportier seat made the RC 390 an excellent machine to learn the nuances of track riding.
Now with the launch of its latest iteration, the supersport is a lot more practical with improved power delivery. With the latest update, the bike comes along with a whole range of electronics like Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC), Quickshifter, lean-angle sensitive ABS with Supermoto mode, and a TFT display that has bluetooth connectivity. That said, the Rs 3,13,922 (ex-showroom Delhi) price tag that it carries can be hard to fathom. That aside, the bike is still a hoot to ride.
KTM 390 Adventure
Ever since the launch of the Royal Enfield Himalayan, the Indian two-wheeler market had been warming up to the idea of small-capacity adventure tourers. KTM took its own sweet time to develop the 390 Adventure and finally launched the bike in 2020. It gets a much more commanding riding stance. That coupled with long-travel suspension and a bigger fuel tank make it an apt machine to munch miles effortlessly.
That said, the bike isn’t as off-road friendly as we would’ve liked. The motor hasn’t been tuned to be trail-friendly, and even the sprocket sizes are the same as the 390 Duke. The factors coupled with the fact that it gets alloys make it a tad tricky to control in the trails.
Bajaj Dominar 400
At the Bajaj Dominar 400’s heart is the KTM 390 Duke’s 373cc engine. That said, it’s been extensively reworked in order to suit the Dominar 400’s ‘power cruiser’ tag. The bike’s update in 2019 gave it an upgrade in terms of performance as well as underpinnings, bringing it closer to the 390 Duke than ever. The bike now makes 40PS and 35Nm, making it only 3.5PS and 2Nm less than the 390 Duke.
Honourable Mention: Husky Twins