KTM Malaysia organized the KTM 250 Duke and KTM 390 Duke Media Ride
The route ran through city traffic, Karak Highway and up Bukit Tinggi
The new Dukes are more refined and even more fun to ride than before
Hot on the heels of the KTM 250 Duke and KTM 390 Duke official last night (click here for the news), KTM Malaysia had organized a special program for the motoring media today (27th September 2017).
Known as the KTM 250 Duke & KTM 390 Duke Media Ride, members of the media were given the privilege to test ride both the new models for day.
The Media Ride began from the eCity Hotel, just after a heavy rain squal.
Inspected up close, the new 250 Duke and 390 Duke are much more refined with good build quality, fit, finish and feel. Gone are the ill-fitting panels and seemingly wayward welds on the frame. Gone too are the aluminium engine hangers of old – the engine is now attached directly to the frame. The paintjob is also even throughout.
The spec sheet quoted an increase of 30mm in the seat height. Some of us were concerned how it would affect average Malaysian who are shorter in stature compared to their Caucasian counterparts. But the rear spring sags downwards like a dirtbike as soon as we got on and most of us, including me who is only 167cm tall could place one foot flat on the ground or have both feet reaching terra firma comfortably.
The redesigned seat was also comfortable and doesn’t feel like a piece of plywood painted black. It was comfy, wide and long.
The rider’s triangle – relationship of the seat to the footpegs and handlebar – has been revised for a much more comfortable reach. The handlebars are closer to the rider and set at just the correct height, without being too sporty or too upright. The footpegs were also placed high enough without being too rear set. The handlebar is narrower, like a naked sportbike’s instead of being wide like a motocrosser’s.
KTM Malaysia had prepared seven 250 Dukes and eight 390 Dukes. I started out on the 250 Duke when we left the hotel. We surprised as soon as we thumbed the starter button. Gone is the “loose piston” sound, replaced with a smooth throb (although muted).
The Duke 250’s instrument panel had been carried over from the previous models, thus finding the information I sought took only a quick glance.
We headed to Bukit Tinggi, via the Karak Highway. We opened up as soon as we hit the NKVE. the 250 pulled smoothly through its rev range. There was a little vibration as expected from a single-cylinder motorcycle, but it was definitely much smoother this time around.
There was also an appealing “vroom” from the new exhaust and airbox below the tank.
We were expecting the 250 Duke to lack the grunt to punch through traffic, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that it could actually hold its own. The engine started to lose its breath at around 125 km/h but still pulled to 137 km/h in my hands, ( I was being careful as it was a new bike and I didn’t want to hurt it) but another journo had hit a tad over 140 km/h.
While that doesn’t sound a lot, bear in mind that it’s a one-cylinder engine and the speedometer is super accurate, plus the fact that these bikes have not being broken in.
The 250 Duke’s handling was predictably agile as it cut through the heavy traffic.
I switched over the 390 Duke at BHP Gombak. Facing me immediately was the new TFT-display and control buttons on the left handlebar. They reflected those on the 1290 Super Duke R.
The engine fired up to a soft rumble, you knew there’s was something more substantial in there, compared to the 250 Duke.
Right from the off, the 390 Duke had a big torque, belying its 373cc. I kid you not, it felt like a bigger engine.
Out on Karak Highway, the 390 Duke’s engine pulled hard for its size and cleanly through its RPM range. But what was more enjoyable was how that torque and power was put to work around corners. Whereas you’d normally downshift for more push off a corner, you could usually select a higher gear and just leave it there, making it especially fun when charging up Bukit Tinggi.
It has to be said that KTM had chosen the best location to highlight the characters of both bikes by choosing Bukit Tinggi. The feeder road is only one lane up and down, and the corners are sharp with many decreasing ones.
Both Dukes flicked through them so keenly there were many occasions when I realized that I didn’t countersteer.
The suspension doesn’t throw you around like potato chips in a bag now and they certainly didn’t wobble or pump up and down in corners.
The 390 Duke’s front brake was mighty impressive too. A one-fingered pull was usually enough for most occasions.
Needless to say, we came away very impressed with the new Dukes. Stay tuned for the full review soon!
New KTM 250 Duke and KTM 390 Duke have been launched tonight
The KTM 250 Duke is priced from RM 21,730 (incl. 6% GST)
The KTM 390 Duke is priced from RM 28,800 (incl. 6% GST)
One City USJ, 26th September 2017 – The KTM 250 Duke and KTM 390 Duke has been launched to a great reception tonight.
The launched of the KTM 200 Duke in 2012 caused a sensation short of a revolution in the small capacity naked sportbike market. For it marked the introduction of a motorcycle that performance in terms of speed (for a 200cc bike), handling and braking, wrapped in a frame and bodywork that was different from anything before it.
The KTM 390 Duke was launched soon after to even more resounding success, followed by the KTM 250 Duke, which had racier features such as a slipper clutch.
Since then, KTM’s rivals have launched models to rival the Duke’s success, prompting KTM to refresh the smaller Dukes.
KTM Malaysia had launched the new 1290 Super Duke R earlier this year, then when pictures of the new baby Dukes started circulating on the internet.
Instead of following the same template across the range, KTM has taken the step to give both the 250 and 390 new looks for their own identities. Yet, the styling of both models still unmistakenly within the Duke’s family’s looks.
KTM 250 DUKE
The new 250 Duke has received what KTM calls, “… more than just an aggressive makeover.”
KTM has given the new KTM 250 Duke a newly designed headlamp, reminiscent of the 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R.
The new styling also brings along a bigger fuel tank (now 13.4 litres up from 11.1 litres), redesigned seats for sporty yet comfortable for long rides whether solo or with a passenger.
The Austrian manufacturer’s lay to claim has always been READY TO RACE, hence performance is always high on the list.
The 248.8cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve, single-cylinder engine packs a healthy 30 bhp, which is sent through a 6-speed gearbox with a slip-and-assist clutch for smoother corner entries. Spent gasses exit through a new exhaust system.
The forks are upsided-down WP (of course), but now features open-cartridges. The advantages are lighter weight and ease of maintenance due to fewer parts.
The frame and bolt-on sub-frame are also new.
Its lightweight steel trellis frame has been updated. The wheelbase is 10mm shorter for more agility, while the rider’s seat is now 30mm taller at 830 mm.
WP single shock, adjustable for preload, 150 mm travel
Single 300 mm disc, single-piston radially mounted caliper
Single 230 mm disc, single-piston floating caliper
Bosch MB9.1 Two channel
FRAME & DIMENSIONS
Two-sided, cast aluminium
KTM 390 DUKE
The new KTM 390 Duke has similarly been updated, but the changes are more extensive.
It’s overall appearance has taken on its top sibling’s – the 2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke R – appearance. The headlamp takes its inspiration directly from the latter complete with split LED day running light and headlamp. The fuel tank and its flanks have also been updated for a fiercer look.
The new 390 Duke also features a multi-function, multi-colour TFT instrument cluster similar to the 1290 Super Duke R’s. The display adjusts its brightness automatically depending on ambient lighting. It also features Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone and is now controllable from the handlebar switches.
But it’s underneath all these new panels that matters the most.
The new model now features a Ride-by-Wire throttle, for smoother throttle response. The 390cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valve, single-cylinder engine has been upgraded to produce an impressive 44 bhp and 37 Nm of torque.
Additionally, a slip-and-assist clutch is featured in the new 390 Duke, compared to the previous model. The slip function eliminates rear tyre chatter in the event of aggressive downshifting, while the assist function helps to lighten clutch lever pull, besides performing as a self-servo function to apply more pressure on the plates when accelerating to ensure power is fully transmitted to the transmission.
The engine and chassis components are then attached to the new frame and bolt-on subframe.
With the increase in go, KTM didn’t forgo the stop department either. The new bike now features a larger, 320mm front brake disc with a Bosch ABS system providing a safety net.