2022 KTM 390 Duke - Performance, Price, and Photos

It’s a raw but honest ride for budding young fiery-eyed pegdraggers

KTM gives its lower-midrange naked, the 390 Duke, a new-for-’21 colorway with lots of that KTM mojo in the spikey accents. The 44-horsepower engine falls right at the top of the A2 range for our cousins across the pond with a good power-to-weight ratio and light build. A couple of safety systems come stock to make for a rather raw but honest ride, which is really what you want in a transitional trainer bike.

2022 KTM 390 Duke Performance and Capability

2022 KTM 390 Duke - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Ever a proponent for the use of thumpers, KTM powers the 390 Duke with a 373 cc, one-lung engine. Bigly oversquare, it runs with an 89 mm bore and 60 mm stroke, and has a sizzlin’ hot 12.6-to-1 compression ratio that’ll prefer premium fuel to be sure, but such is the price you pay for the performance you get.

The KTM 390 Duke produces 44 horsepower and 27.2 pound-feet of torque. Such numbers place it near the upper edge of the A2 envelope, just the thing for budding young fiery-eyed pegdraggers.

Liquid cooling lends it some stamina, though test pilots report a bit of fade right near the end of a long track day. This is a much harder scenario than you can possibly visit upon it on public roads so the fade may not be apparent to the normal rider.

The forced-cooling fan prevents overheating in stop-n-go traffic. A 46 mm throttle body feeds the little beastlet. Like its Super Duke sibling, it runs dual over-head cams with long-wearing carbon-coated followers to actuate the quartet of poppets.

Power flows through a slipper-type clutch that adds a measure of insurance for the rear contact patch. It then passes through a close-ratio transmission that ensures solid holeshots and blistering acceleration after an apex.

A chain-type final drive puts the power to the pavement with an overall drive ratio that turns in a KTM 390 Duke top speed of 103.7 mph (167 km/h). Perhaps this is a good time to mention its secondary purpose, that of a race bike proper if you have access to a track with a small-displacement scene.

Engine & Drivetrain
Engine: Liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine
Bore x Stroke: 89 mm x 60 mm
Displacement: 373 cc
Power: 43 hp (32 kW)
Lubrication: Wet sump
EMS: Bosch EMS with RBW
Starter: Electric starter
Chain: 520 X-Ring
Clutch: Wet multi-disc clutch, mechanically actuated
Transmission: 6-speed

Design

2022 KTM 390 Duke - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Anyone familiar with the brand will recognize the genetic markers of the 390 Duke. The front fender comes well ventilated to minimize drag, As is typical for this kind of bike, the fender uprights double as spoilers for the front forks.

An angular housing carries a bifurcated headlight complete with DRL rails and an aggressive angle of attack in profile. The LED lightbar front blinkers wind up mounted above the headlight and just in front of the color TFT screen, well out of harm’s way. Seriously, if you bash those lights, you’ve got much bigger problems. The TFT display automatically adjusts its colors and lighting to suit the ambient-light conditions.

A short-rise handlebar strikes a balance that leaves room for leaning forward while being able to sit upright in the saddle. Adjustable clutch and brake levers let you dial in for preference and comfort.

The sculpted seat rests 32.6 inches off the deck. It meets a narrow waist to enable the lateral body English and help shorter riders reach the ground.

A stock p-pad and fold-up footpegs let you share the fun with a friend right off the showroom floor. Out back, a plate holder joins the rear turn signals on the mudguard while the taillight rides in the tip of the tail.

A swingarm-mount hugger completes the fling coverage over the rear hoop. Overall, a very aggressive machine that’s bound to be loads of fun, perhaps a little too much fun for green riders.

Chassis

2022 KTM 390 Duke - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Tubular members on the 390 Duke make up the Trellis frame and bolt-on subframe. The steering head establishes a 25-degree rake angle and short, 3.7-inch trail for agility. Lightweight wheels contribute little inertia to the mix to preserve this nimble handling nature.

Upside-down WP forks float the front end on fixed variables and a generous 5.59 inches of travel. The rear, coil-over monoshock turns in a 5.9-inch stroke with adjustable spring preload as the only suspension tweak.

The frame uses the engine as a stressed member to complete the structure and save weight by eliminating a large chunk of framing from the downtube/cradle area. Symmetrical 17-inch wheels round out the rolling chassis in a light Y-spoke design with a 110 mm tire ahead of a fat 150 mm hoop out back.

At 330 pounds (150 kg) dry, this isn’t what you’d call a lot of bike to keep under control. In light of that, the single 320 mm front brake disc and four-bore caliper are plenty to do the job.

A 230 mm disc brings up the rear with stock Bosch 9.1 MP ABS all around. It comes with a switchable SuperMoto mode that lets you lock up the rear wheel and only protects the front contact patch.

Chassis & Suspension
Frame: Steel trellis frame, powder coated
Front suspension: WP APEX 43
Rear suspension: WP APEX - Monoshock
Steering head angle: 65°
Front brake: 320 mm disc
Rear brake: 230 mm disc
ABS: Bosch 9.1MP Two Channel ABS (Supermoto ABS)

2022 KTM 390 Duke Price and Availability

The KTM 390 Duke costs $5,799. It rolls in a fetching gray and black with KTM Orange trim and wheels or white with black trims. Among the optional features is the Quickshifter+ that lets you shift both up and down the range, an almost must-have for racers. If you’re looking for a KTM 390 Duke for sale, they’re in showrooms now.

Pricing
Colors: Gray, White
Price: $5,799

Competitors

2019 - 2021 Honda CB300R - Performance, Price, and Photos
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It was tempting to grab the Ninja 400, but I want to see how Honda stacks up. I grabbed the CB300R from Honda’s Neo-Sports Café lineup.

Honda CB300R

Like the KTM, it’s a fairly naked machine with only the radiator shrouds and belly pan to conceal the underpinnings. Honda manages to look just as aggressive, just in an understated fashion.

Suspension is likewise similar in that the inverted forks have fixed damping, but travel falls off at only 4.65 inches and 5.2 inches at the front and rear, respectively to cede a small advantage to the Duke.

ABS is stock on the Honda, and it looks like the lean-sensitive variety, but it has no answer to KTM’s SuperMoto Mode ABS. Power comes from a 286 cc thumper to the tune of 30.7 horses and 20.2 pounds o’ grunt against 44/27.2 to fall short yet again.

2019 - 2021 Honda CB300R - Performance, Price, and Photos
- image 777213

As with everything, this lower performance and relative lack of electronic rider aids come with a trade-off. The $4,949 sticker leaves an attractive amount of money on the table. That’s only if you can live with the lowered output.

He Said

“KTM sure does like its KTM-ness with its spikey features and ample orange paint, but this is no showpiece, the performance envelope points to a capable machine that punches well above its weight. I maintain it may actually be too powerful for the less-developed skillsets, so I urge caution at the right wrist until you feel comfortable with that kind of return.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I rode the previous gen of 390 Duke and found it a good entry-level bike as well as a fun ride for folks of any skill level. There was virtually no vibration, which was a complaint on previous versions. They tapped this engine for the Vitpilen, so you can count on a lively ride.”

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
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