My Yamaha Tricity (125cc) has been my commuter bike since June 2016. It's a bike that gets me from Point A to Point B in the safest possible manner especially in the rain or wet weather conditions. While it's a good bike, it's missing one major thing... that's power!!! The Tricity can only go 100km/hr max... while speed wasn't the issue, the torque was, as it struggles to pick-up fast enough to do any serious overtaking... heck, I don't even dare to overtake a tipper truck that's going at 70km/hr...
Since getting my Class 2A earlier this month, I started to scout for a second bike that will allow me to improve my skills in handling a more powerful (and manual) bike - in case I'm going for Class 2. There are not that many Class 2A (sub-400cc) bikes in Singapore but I managed to shortlist a few, namely, Honda CB 400X, Yamaha MT-03 and the KTM Duke 390. Yup... naked/street bikes. After last year's accident with the Honda CBR 150R, I don't think I have what it takes to ride a sport bike.
Sadly, I got my licence when our wonderful government introduced the tiered ARF (Additional Registration Fee) and the subsequent COE biddings went through the roof with the most recent hitting $7483! Yup, the tax is more expensive than the bike. Prices for 2nd-hand bikes also went up so things were not looking good for me...
Long story short, I went down to KTM dealer, Dirtwheel on 9 March, they were clearing their last batch of 2016 bikes and was offered a big discount for a new 2016 KTM Duke 390 (the new version will arrive later in 2017). I couldn't refuse the offer and put down a deposit after testing a demo bike. The bike was delivered a week later, albeit using the first round of March COE as they couldn't get me the latest one...
Here are my initial thoughts after riding about 250 km:
Riding position: Upright. I'm 180cm. Both feet flat on the ground at rest. A bit forward seating and definitely feels aggresive.
Seat: Quite hard. Less comfy that the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS. May change to the ergo seat.
Mirrors: Surprisingly good despite the forward seating.
Dashscreen: A lot of info. The fonts are a bit small/thin but I got used to it after a while.
Gearbox: Shifting up from Gear 1 to 4 is ok. 4 to 6 is quite vague. No issue with downshifting though I stalled a few times when I didn't shift down from 3 to 2 as the bike was going below 25km/hr.
Engine: Woohoo!!! 43hp baby! And the torque... I easily became a traffic light champion... lol... even at 6th gear, 110km/hr at 7000 rpm (didn't go beyond that as I'm still running in the bike), the vibration was tolerable at high speeds.
Windblast: The tiny windscreen didn't do anything... avoid going beyond 120km/hr for too long as it's hard on the body. I wonder if the $57 add-on screen helps...
Tires: The pair of Diablo Rosso II felt really good! Now I know what good tires feel like... hope it'll do well in wet conditions.
Brakes: A bit too weak to my liking. ABS works well though.
Exhaust: Dat-Dat-Dat-Dat-Dat-Dat-Dat... lol... so loud at neutral... great sound at high speeds and accelerating... downshifting is really fun when the bike goes pom-pom-pom, like it's exploding or something... such a show-off!
Mileage: 20-30km/litre... Travelled 195km when the fuel warning light appeared. I then refueled to about 7.5 litres so had 3.5 litres or 60-90 km left... wished it had a larger tank...
Heat: Damn... this bike runs hot! I always wear pants when riding so it's not that bad...
Storage: The rear seat houses a small set of basic tools... that's it. As I hate carrying a backpack, I went over to Regina Specialist to buy a Kappa K-Venture 42 for half the price of the Givi version. While the top-box does spoil the looks of the Duke, I do need additional storage for my helmet and raincoat. Anyway, the Kappa aluminium box looks bad-ass so all is not lost!
Check out my boring ride video. Stay tuned for more updates!
This may sound shallow but if I spend a lot of money on something, I want the whole buying experience to be a good one. This is where KTM doesn't fail to impress. Just check out the folder! OK, it does't come with the SNRD sunglasses which I fell in love with after getting the Duke. I will cover the SNRD at the end of this section. Getting back to the folder... boy, it's actually a lot more impressive than my car's folder. Kinda strange that it came with two user manuals - one in English and the other in Austrian(?). Then there's the usual service manual, spare key + duplicate code, a plastic pouch, a parts/accessories catalogue, and apparels catalogue. Yup... KTM sure wants the owner to spend more money on their orangie stuff!
I went to Motoworld for some window shopping and came across a collection of SNRD eyewear, a brand that I've never heard before. Made in Korea, the eyewear are designed with the Asian face/nose in mind and it fit my squarish face perfectly! The Jelly Bean series have vibrant colours and I was instantly attracted to the Mandarin orange, which goes well with my orange KTM! It's rather pricey at $159 but the quality and finish were excellent. The lenses and frames are inter-changeable too. Two Thumbs up for SNRD (whatever that means)!