Our 2013 390 Duke is in top form

Evo India - - Contents - Tushar Burman (@tbur­man)

The Tata Sa­fari Storme, Ford EcoSport and TVS Scooty Zest join the fleet, but its time for the TVS Jupiter to head back

IIT'S BEEN JUST OVER A year that I bought my 390 and it's been a blast. The odo is clos­ing in on 12,000km and for the most part, it has been a has­sle-free ex­pe­ri­ence. But then, I'm an RD350 owner, so has­sle-free may mean some­thing en­tirely dif­fer­ent to you. Let's start from the be­gin­ning.

Straight out of the show­room, the bike spewed coolant. This was traced to a faulty non-re­turn valve, and ul­ti­mately, the en­tire ra­di­a­tor was re­placed. No ques­tions asked. It took a while and many kilo­me­tres to di­ag­nose, but once it was, ser­vice qual­ity was sat­is­fac­tory and snappy. There have been spo­radic high coolant tem­per­a­ture warn­ings, but usu­ally in the same place, in stop and go traf­fic. It's some­thing most 390 own­ers have learned to live with. This year, there was also a soft “re­call” of sorts for the front sprocket, which was again sim­ply re­placed rather than cor­rected. In this re­spect, KTM has been like Ap­ple: it's bro­ken? Here's a new one.

Ba­jaj has also been work­ing on iron­ing out the nig­gles in the 390 plat­form. The 2014 model re­port­edly came with 70 mi­nor tweaks, in­clud­ing a dif­fer­ent rear wheel hub. The 2015 model ap­pears to ride even smoother, so I sus­pect tweaks have been made to the en­gine map. Which brings me to the herky-jerky low speed per­for­mance of my Duke: it hasn't changed. Dur­ing the third ser­vice, they did find lots of sed­i­ment in the fuel fil­ter, so fuel qual­ity is one pos­si­bil­ity. I've also no­ticed that us­ing 97 oc­tane fuel (KTM rec­om­mends 95) re­ally smooths out the per­for­mance, but it still isn't per­fect. Con­trast this to the brand new RC 390 and the dif­fer­ence is stark. The faired ver­sion of the 390 is but­tery smooth even after be­ing caned for thou­sands of kilo­me­tres.

My Duke tends to be used by sev­eral peo­ple, since I don't have the time to use it daily. De­spite this, it's a no-non­sense motorcycle with per­for­mance to thrill. It's no sewing ma­chine, and has a character that doesn't suit quite few, but for us in the team, it's a “can I have the keys , please?” sort of ve­hi­cle.

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