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Next-gen KTM 390 Duke spotted testing in Germany
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Next-gen KTM 390 Duke spotted testing in Germany

Sudipto Chaudhury

India’s modern-day giant killer: The KTM 390 Duke

Bajaj-KTM launched the first generation of the KTM 390 Duke in India in November 2012. Immediately, it set enthusiasts’ minds ablaze with a killer combination of power to weight, to price. It filled a vacuum in the performance riders’ portfolio that had been missing since the venerable Yamaha RD 350.

Then in 2017, the next iteration of the 390 Duke came in with a long list of changes. From the front, the headlight looked distinct, its six LED elements arranged in two rows flanking the heat sink. Next, it had a slightly larger tank capacity, at 13.5 usable litres (as opposed to its predecessor’s 10.5). Structurally, it got a split-trellis frame, where the rear sub-frame was a separate unit which was bolted on to the main trellis frame. It also received a much-needed tuning change, which gave it some more refinement. Lastly, it got never-before-seen inclusions, like throttle-by-wire and a full-TFT instrument cluster.

Future-ready?

And now, motorcycle news website Ride Apart has given us a sneak peek at the latest iteration of the 390 Duke. The bike in question was on test by KTM riders in Germany. On the surface, the test mule resembles its predecessor. This is due to the similar looking headlight, instrument screen and switchgear. However, look closer and there are many changes.  The frame now looks sleeker, with a higher number of trellis elements. Next, the exhaust, which used to be routed around the cylinder and exited from the right of the monoshock now seems to go in a conventional space below the engine and frame. This also causes it to eschew a front cowl. The swingarm, too, seems sleeker. This may no doubt lead to some weight saving that might make the next-gen 390 Duke an even sharper and more enthusiastic performer. Lastly, the taillights of the new 390 test bike were mounted on the rear number plate holder. This is a similar location to the 790 Duke, which will hit our shores soon.

With inputs from rideapart.com