Should you buy KTM 390 Duke or wait for the RC390?
The long wait is over. The KTM 390 Duke is officially here and has been priced at an incredible Rs 1.8 Lakh ex-Delhi. There were rumours and 'inside' news floating around our office for months with some estimates over ? 2.5 Lakhs and other optimistic calculations going as low as ? 1.6 Lakhs. Why so much excitement in the office? Well, aside from the fact that Shumi thinks that the 390 is a really well put-together package and a good improvement on the already manic 200, there are at least three of us in the OVERDRIVE office that are planning to buy one.
The 2013 KTM 390 Duke at the launch event in Pune
Too much knowledge is always a problem and knowing that there are already plans in place for a new faired 'RC' version for release next year bring up the first question. Should we take the plunge right away or wait to see what the future brings? So let's look at the question in detail and see if we can make sense of it all.
Faired Vs un-faired the package
A faired motorcycle generally requires a more committed riding position but will reward you with better abilities around the track. Lower mounted clip-on bars and higher foot pegs set further back put more weight on your wrists but also give you better feel for the front end through corners. If you visit the track frequently, then this motorcycle will feel most at home there. Your skills will need to keep up with the RC version though, or else the three 390 Duke riders on your tail may just get past.
The 390 Duke on the other hand offers a more comfortable upright riding position that should allow longer stints in the saddle without your back calls time. The wider bars will allow you to easily flick through traffic while the taut chassis will still reward you with great cornering ability. In fact, even the 200 Duke gives the current crop of faired sports bikes a run for their money on the track.
Perception and desirability
The faired RC version in all likelihood is going to be more popular with the big-bike looks that the fairing lends to the motorcycle. It may also boast a higher top speed with the improved aerodynamics of the fairing accounting for a few more kilometers per hour over the naked bike. This, we feel, will appeal more to the average Joe who is interested more in the pose value of the faired version and the looks it will receive in parking lots. It will be more expensive, but this will add to the exclusivity factor as the faired version will probably sell in smaller numbers than the naked. Additionally, the 390 Duke is not easily distinguishable from the 200 Duke, which is becoming a more familiar silhouette on the roads today. A fully-faired KTM sportbike will certainly stand apart from the Duke brothers.
All said and done, the answer to us is very simple. A fun naked sports bike with oodles of performance to boot at a lower-than-expected price is a gift horse we won't stare in the mouth. The decision to wait a year for the RC version is one that we can easily defer as at the moment with the information we have and taking into consideration all the pros and cons, the KTM 390 Duke is simply the more practical bike to own. In fact, buying the 390 Duke at the introductory price will leave it with a reasonable re-sale value once the RC version hits the markets.
Starts Rs 2,52,928
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