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Hi all, I am new to this forum. Can anybody help me in deciding whether to go for the KTM 390 duke as a first bike or not? I know that it is powerful and light, but I just love it! I have previously ridden bikes like the Kawasaki Ninja 300, Yamaha R3 and Honda CBR250 and am a fairly sane rider. Use will be mostly for my daily commute to office and the occasional spirited highway runs. Any help/advice would be appreciated.
KTM takes it nomenclature very seriously, which is overt with the ‘Racing Competition’ title it has bestowed on its latest offering- The RC 200. The taut silhouette wrapped in black panel fairing, exposed orange exoskeleton-trellis-frame and projector headlamps; all indicate the intent with which this bike was spawned, or rather overhauled from its naked counterpart- The Duke200. From the word go, the RC catapults forward with immense zeal instigating its rider to override their basic instincts of survival and sanity in favor of unearthing the maniac demeanor that this bike demands to be ridden. Redlining at each gear is an ecstasy thanks to swift linear power delivery and its smooth precise gearshifts. It invokes an adrenaline rush that caters to every desire a biker fantasizes in his ride. Dapper looks It’s a cynosure, no doubt! The quasi-menacing DRLs and headlamps, neatly integrated turn indicators in RVM stalks, vertical LED taillights and athletic brawn frame make it stand-apart from the crowd. Sheer power The 25.4BHP 199.5CC engine delivers enough punch to conquer the city streets as well as highways. The 6-speed gearbox is slick and its short-throws quickly gather pace for overtaking whenever required. Razor sharp handling The forte of RC200 is in the way it adorns the rider with confidence to push the limits. The beefy rear tire provides ample grip & stability. The balanced chassis, sharper steering angle, short wheelbase and clip-on handlebars with USD front forks enable cutting sharp corners. Feedback from brakes is acceptable but the presence of ABS would have been a cherry on the cake. With such a comprehensive array of amazing features and compelling package then, this bike comes out as a keeper. However, owning it & living with it is somewhat a different story. The commuter bikes are fast-selling products for a reason –Practicality and affordability. As mentioned in the preface, the RC200 is a purpose-built sports/race bike. Hence there is an obvious gap between the requirements for a comfortable stint from point A to B, and those being offered by the KTM RC200. You see, the gorgeous looks and precise handling comes at a price of slight inconvenience. The riding posture is such that the forward lean will take a toll on your back, and your palms will beg for mercy, especially in city riding. Being in the saddle for long hours will get tiring because of a stretched position and hard seat. In contrast, the pillion seat is an epiphany which artistically blends form with function. The soft vulcanized rubber appears as a cowl but actually serves to seat the pillion with relative ease (compared to riders). Also, cleaning this bike is a tedious and tricky affair. The narrow gaps between fairing and plastic, and also the components installed behind trellis frame are hard to reach. The matte black color picks up dust and scratches easily. It would be prudent to get a body-cover or park it in an area where it might be less prone to get dirty or abused. However other than the above mentioned minor hiccups, it’s a breeze to own, maintain and ride on a day-to-day basis. With perhaps a little adjustment to seat cushioning and finding a comfortable riding position with time, these concerns shall take a back-seat in wake of its splendor. The projector headlamps are more than capable of illuminating a street-light devoid road and have enough spread to light up the night. The windscreen effectively shields from windblast at high speeds. The fairing and liquid-cooling ensures that the legs don’t get barbequed from engine heat. Suspension is compliant enough to sail comfortably over small undulations in road. The torque-y engine is always eager to hurl the rider rapidly towards horizon and the massive brake disks ensure that speed is shed safely and promptly. And most of all, it’s the pride of riding a bike that is not just a machine, but a menacing vivacious buddy who is perpetually game for some crazy fun and always READY TO RACE. Ownership parameters: First Service cost: Rs. 1742 (Engine oil change, cleaning & oiling over chain, oil filter) Fuel efficiency: 28-32 kmpl <expected to improve after first service> Ownership experience: 1 month Extra expenses incurred: none