Kawasaki and Honda are about to have their domination of the small-capacity market challenged by the race-inspired KTM RC 390 sportsbike.
With the success of the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and Honda ‘s just-released CBR300R, the KTM is bound to be a success given its leading power-to-weight ratio and high level of equipment. And if the Duke 390 naked bike’s competitive pricing is any indication, it will be a very tempting offer.
“The new bike should be available as early as November here in Australia,” says KTM marketing manager Greg Chambers. “Looking at the other high sales performers in the LAMS segment we believe the RC 390 will outsell the 390 Duke.”
The RC 390 is inspired by their racing bike which won the Moto3 an, after visiting their motorsport facility in Austria a couple of years ago, I can attest to the vigour with which they develop these racing machines.
Much of the look and DNA of the racing bike has been brought over to the production model which is now racing in a German junior series. The front and rear are almost identical and it has a reasonably high windscreen for a sportsbike. Up front are LED daytime running lights, twin headlights and integrated indicators for a very sleek look.
The RC 390 is powered by a single-cylinder 373cc DOHC engine with four valves and electronic fuel injection. Output is 32kW and 35Nm giving it the best power-to-weight ratio in its class.
It has a trellis frame, alloy swingarm, WP monoshock, the same 43mm upside down forks as in the RC8 superbike, the widest rear tyre in its class and 300/230mm discs with switchable ABS standard.
If you think they have gone all out with the mechanicals, check out the instruments which would also be the most comprehensive in their class. Apart from all the usual info, there is a gear indicator, running time display, adjustable shift indicator, fuel consumption and range. It’s the level of info you would expect on a larger bike.
The RC 390 also comes with a comprehensive range of accessories including racing gear such as Akropovic exhaust, rear sets and a racing seat.
In the popular and highly competitive entry-level category, the KTM RC 390 is bound to challenge for the top step of the sales podium.