• 2017 KTM RC 390

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The Orange King is back to rule the roads.

There is hardly any fault regarding the overall packaging of KTM with their RC and its approach towards performance-oriented segments of motorcycles. But, KTM believes in remaining at the top of the podium. Which is why KTM has given their RC series yet another update for 2017, which now has better visual cues and better mechanical equipment, thus making it compliant to Euro-4 and BS-IV norms.

The brand launched the RC editions of the Duke series in 2014 and gave it full fairings and different riding dynamics to their Duke counterparts. It handled much sharper and gave the rider better confidence due to the more sporty riding position than the upright in the Duke.

KTM is having a ball in the Indian two-wheeler industry with all its products smashing the competition right out of the ballpark. They have been the epitome of thrill and fun being experienced on two wheels, especially for the young riders entering the arena.

  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-1
  • Displacement:
    373.2 cc
  • Top Speed:
    115 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    INR 225000
  • Price:
  • Overall:
    8.3/10
"KTM believes in remaining at the top of the podium. Which is why KTM has given their RC series yet another update for 2017"

STYLING

left right

Since the beginning of time for this RC, it was attested an outcast because of its unusual styling and odd engine displacement. But we all know how that story ended. With KTM managing to create a niche that never existed in the market and stealing all the limelight away from the 250cc and the 300s’, they gave us a lighter and more powerful hooligan.

KTM’s Moto3 gig led to the designing of the RC 390 which was all done up at the HQ in Mattighofen, Austria. But for our joy, it is all built in India by Bajaj and the built quality is up to standards. The KTM RC 390 has always remained to be one wild looking motorcycle, which is a kind of love-it-or-hate-it kind of package and is a bit too extreme for a section of people.

KTM has decided to retain the design of the previous generation motorcycle, with some very mild changes which are hard to notice at first glance. For 2017, things get even better. The update gets a new UV resistant paint scheme and livery that looks more mature than the outgoing one. The fairings get new rubber mounts to eliminate vibrations. The alloy wheel is slightly wider and the orange trellis frame now extends all the way up to the rear seat. The ABS indicator changes position and the instrument console has added features.

At the front, the RC 390 comes with the same wild looking aggressive front fairing which incorporates dual projector headlamps and daytime running LEDs below them. The fairing also comes fitted with a windshield optimised to provide great wind protection for the driver’s chest and arms. However, the rear view mirrors get a new wider design, which is much more ergonomic than before. They continue to come integrated with the turn indicators like in the previous model.

Bodywork, footrests and pedals have been completely redesigned and give the RC not only a super sports look but also allow higher slopes to be able to master even better curves. The RC 390 continues to sport the orange Trellis frame and alloy wheels, side fairing, fuel tank and the rear side body panels as the previous model. The new model does ditch the underbelly exhaust for a more conventional side mounted exhaust pipe, which looks like an aftermarket unit.

The high mounted tailpiece, vertical LED tail lamp as well as extended long rear mudguard continue to grace the rear profile of the RC 390. The KTM engineers have managed to churn up their wands and have integrated the PVC pillion seat into the bodywork lines. With this, the bike resembles a single-seater but the soft foam can actually function as a pillion seat. Very cool.

The all-digital instrument panel has a few subtle changes with respect to indicator positions but still includes the engaged gear, fuel gauge and service reminder information. Also, the RPM alert indicator gives the rider precise gear shift opportunity.

Overall Dimension

Make Model 2017 KTM RC 390 Yamaha YZF-R3 Kawasaki Ninja 300
Length 2145mm 2091mm 2014mm
Width 760mm 719mm 715mm
Height 830mm 1135mm 1110mm
Wheelbase 1340mm 1379mm 1405mm
Seat height 820mm 780mm 785mm
Wet weight 170kg 167kg 175kg

POWERTRAIN

The mechanical front is where you see all crackers bursting. The RC 390 was always known for its absolutely mad performance and power delivery, and thankfully, there is no change on this front.

The motor still produces 44 bhp @ 9,000 and 36 Nm of torque @ 7,000 rpm from its 373.2cc single-cylinder, liquid cooled engine. The engine still is matched with the same 6-speed gearbox as before, with short ratios to make the bottom end as well as top-end performance much more thrilling. The forged piston, Nikasil-cylinder-coating, balancer shaft and forced feed lubrication all give in for that 44 barking horses.

This rev loving engine now gets state-of-the-art tech and a few segment firsts that can make other contenders sweat in their pants. A new ride-by-wire system ensured optimum throttle response and smoother acceleration. The motorcycle is now also equipped with new anti-hopping clutch/slipper clutch that prevents rear wheel stamping during sharp braking or accelerations.

"The mechanical front is where you see all crackers bursting"

There is an Evaporative Emission Control System ‘EVAP’ system that prevents fuel evaporation, a new Bosch fuel pump and a new CAN BUS system from the Moto3 WSBK with love. A brand new side mounted exhaust unit replaces the underbelly configurations to meet Euro-lV and BS IV norms. This new exhaust sports a stainless steel underfloor pre-silencer and a rear aluminium absorption silencer that contains the catalytic converter.

Engine Specification

Make Model 2017 KTM RC 390 Yamaha YZF-R3 Kawasaki Ninja 300
Capacity cc 373.2 321 296
Bore/ Stroke mm 89/60 68/44.1 62/49
Output 44 bhp @ 9,000 rpm 41.4 Bhp @ 10750 rpm 39 bhp @ 11,000 rpm
Torque 36 Nm @ 7,000 rpm 29.6 Nm @ 9000 rpm 27 Nm @ 10,000 rpm
Type single cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves parallel twin engine, liquid-cooled, DOHC
Clutch type Wet- Multiplate with slipper Multi-plate wet slipper multi-plate wet
Transmission 6-speed 6-speed 6-speed

RIDE AND HANDLING

Getting to the juicy part of the motorcycle, this bike is meant for getting your knees rub against the tarmac. The main trellis frame remains the same while the front tucks in for that sharper steering angle of 660. The higher centre of gravity allows the rider to go from an upright riding to a ‘leant over kissing the apex’ in a jiffy.

The bike gets adjustable brake and clutch levers, giving a far more superior control for the rider and boost his accuracy levels. The pillion seat is now even more comfortable with 12 mm thicker cushion. A steel fuel tank is contoured to perfectly match the supersport style and provide the rider with a tucked in confident feel.

Like the overall design language and engine, the rest of the mechanical hardware of the RC 390 too has been lifted off from the previous generation RC 390. At the front, the RC 390 comes fitted with 43mm inverted hydraulic telescopic forks, while at the rear, it comes with a fully adjustable hydraulic mono shock with rear aluminium swingarm, both of which are sourced from WP.

In development with Brembo, KTM has developed a powerful and excellently adjustable brake system. This means that the driver always has his RC fully under control. The pads are now sintered and at the front, the bike gets a 320 mm disc instead of the 300 mm previously used and a 230 mm unit at the rear. The ABS is made by Bosch and is switchable. Meaty 17” Metzeler tyres sport on the orange alloys.

Chassis Specifications

Make Model 2017 KTM RC 390 Yamaha YZF-R3 Kawasaki Ninja 300
Suspesion / Front 43mm WP upside-down; 150mm travel 41mm KYB telescopic fork; 130 mm travel 37mm hydraulic telescopic fork; 119 mm
Suspension / Rear WP monoshcok; 150 mm travel KYB single shock; 124 mm travel Uni-Trak 5-way adjustable preload; 132
Brakes / Front 320mm Disc 4-piston radial fixed calliper Bosch two-channel ABS 290mm petal-type disc with 2-piston hydraulic caliper, ABS 298mm hydraulic disc
Brakes / Rear 230 mm Single-piston floating calliper 220mm hydraulic disc 220mm petal-type disc with 2-piston hydraulic caliper, ABS
Tyres / Front 110/70 R17 110/70 R17 110/70 R17
Tyres / Rear 150/60 R17 140/70 R17 140/70 R17

PRICE

The pricing of this updated RC 390 stands at ₹2.25 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Deliveries will commence only in February 2017.

You will get two colour options on the 390. The all new black livery with orange and white hues is the sought after one. You will also get an all-orange theme which may or may not make it to the Indian line-up.

"Goes from an upright riding to a ‘leant over kissing the apex’ in a jiffy"

COMPETITION

Like before, the RC 390 will continue to lock its horns with the Yamaha R3 and the Kawasaki Ninja 300, which though are priced much above the RC 390, exists in the same cubic capacity bracket of 300-400cc.

Yamaha YZF-R3

Yamaha might be the first manufacturer who has borrowed their design elements from a lower power segment bike. Yes, I am talking about the YZF R25. It gets attributed with the twin headlamp tucked under the neatly sculpted windscreen. To give the big bike feeling, the tank carries the edgy design and subtle knee recess.

The R3’s power mill is a 321cc, 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves engine with fuel injection and returns 41.4 bhp at 10750 rpm with 29.6 Nm at 9000 rpm. A 6-speed constant mesh gearbox delivers power to the rear wheel through a chain. This motorcycle also has electronic fuel injected engine which will send the exact amount of oil to the engine making sure that the motorcycle receives the right amount of power and without any wastage of oil.

Kawasaki Ninja 300

The Kawasaki on the other hand completely replaced the Ninja 250 and got itself remodelled to keep up to date with modern sports bikes. Inspired by the ZX-10R, the front houses a twin headlamp unit and the short front fender adds flavour to its front design.

The Ninja runs with a 296cc parallel twin engine and produces 39bhp of power at 11,000 rpm and 27 Nm of torque at 10,000 rpm. It is paired to a 6-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch, a segment first. The engine has been tuned for excellent readability and offers ample low and mid-range performance. The engine weight has been reduced using sleeveless cylinders, lighter pistons and redesigned head, crankcase and oil pan. The lesser known performer.

VERDICT

With these updates, it looks like KTM is bang on its path to regain the top spots at the leader boards. The KTM RC 390 is turning out to be a cracker of a machine with tech features that are yet to be seen in other competitors. This should definitely be making the Japanese trio sweat their pants and run around helter-skelter back to their drawing boards.

A new generation of RC series is expected to debut at EICMA in Italy later this year. Until then, we have these updates to play with. And we couldn’t feel any less happy.

  • Leave it
    • Fuel tank capacity
    • Pillion ride

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