Our 2013 390 Duke is in top form
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.