HOW THE DUKE 390 CHANGED MOTORCYCLING IN INDIA
THE KTM DUKE 390 CHANGED THE DEFINITION OF AFFORDABLE SPORTSBIKES.
The year was 2013 and if you are a young guy in his 20s like me, you saw a bright orange motorcycle zoom past you and immediately you were like "damn what is that"
that was a brand new KTM duke 390 and it was just released to the Indian market.
The bike changed the whole meaning of affordable power, it's closest rival in terms of performance was the ninja 300 which costed a hefty 3 lakhs ex showroom while the duke was significantly cheaper at 2 lakhs ex showroom, in terms of price the duke 390's rival was the Honda CBR 250 which was nowhere to the duke in terms of performance and features
but perhaps the most important achievement of this bike is that bridged the gap between the 250cc to 650cc segment of sports bikes, not everyone who wanted to upgrade from their 250cc entry level bike to a big and powerful 650cc.
The KTM was the perfect option, it was light, agile and powerful , in the right hands it could keep up with most 650's
but one thing it never was and never will be is a beginner bike. It offered 42 PS of power while just weighing 139 kilos dry, that kind of power to weight ratio was unheard for a bike made in India.
The bright orange paint scheme, the rev happy engine and the attractive pricing appealed it to the younger demographic that were just getting into the world of motorcycling. This led to unfortunate fatalities and accidents which gave the duke an infamous reputation of being dangerous as it wasn't a beginner friendly motorcycle
But for all it's imperfections the KTM duke 390 will have a special place in my heart cause of the absolute hooligan that it was and owning one was a realistic dream for middle class motorcycle enthusiasts.