KTM 390 Duke is a sportsbike!By Team Overdrive
The motorcycle shown at the EICMA, Milan show was a re-stickered visual twin of the 200 Duke with a significantly more powerful engine and a slight gain in weight. But while we are sure that motorcycle will come to India, it may not be the model that will debut the 390 line in India, Pierer has confirmed. When asked if he was coming back to India for the next KTM launch here, he confirmed that the 390 coming would definitely be faired.
When OVERDRIVE met with Pierer at the launch of the 200 Duke in January 2012, he painted a picture for us that had nine Indian-made Dukes in it. He spoke of a supermotard, a faired sports bike as well as the naked street model of the Duke, all of which would be available as a 125, a 200 as well as the (then) undisclosed higher displacement version.
Now however, Pierer mentioned a touring model rather than the supermotard. This makes sense economically because the Supermotard format requires the most work in terms of the the suspension - both the actual spec and its tuning - to create a new model. And given the history of off-road and off-road oriented motorcycles in India today, that is the segment that is the least certain in terms of future outlook. In comparison, a touring model is vastly easier because over the sports bike or the naked it requires only a scaling back of the ferocity of the motorcycle's responses to the throttle and steering inputs, some accommodations for comfort of the rider in terms of a comfortable seat and wind protection and if you're going to do it right, luggage options. Easier to do than redoing the entire suspension of the motorcycle.
But the touring model will come later. What will come first is the faired version of the 390. KTM has released this image of their Moto3 racer before the 2012 MotoGP season began and there was considerable speculation that KTM's small-displacement single-cylinder sportsbike would look like the Moto3 racer. Given how angular the KTM 200 Duke is and how identifiable it has become in India, we would expect that even if the Moto3 motorcycle's design was taken as a starting point, the finished product will look sharper and edgier. If the Yamaha R15 model is to be followed, of course, a mini RC8 should arrive. And we expect that a mini RC8-style sportsbike will actually find many takers, if for nothing else then because it comes closer to our mental idea of a sports bike that the purposeful but less 'fashionable' look of the Moto3 machine.
Under the skin will be the same 375cc, 47PS engine that the Duke 390 boasted on debut at the EICMA show in Milan last month. But given the wind protection and role, we would expect the motorcycle to be geared higher (as in have a higher top speed overall) than the Duke 390. The fairing will add some weight to the naked motorcycle, of course, but we don't expect serious chassis changes outside of a lower ride height, altered ergonomics for a more committed riding position (lower mounted clip-on handlebars, more rearset footpegs and sharply stepped seat).
The speculation so far has centred on a price point between Rs 1.8 and 2.2 lakh ex-showroom and we believe the faired motorcycle will still lie in this range but on the high side. Rs 2.0 lakh ex-showroom is our best guess. We will, of course, find out when the motorcycle is officially launched, we believe the dates will be in May-June 2013.
Read Shumi's opinion about the upcoming 180 Duke
Read all about KTM's future plans for India here
Read Stefan Pierer's complete interview here