MotoGP – Interview with Herve Poncharal, Tech 3 team manager in MotoGP – Economic crisis: a worrying but not dramatic situation

KTM RC 390 in an individual test


Content of

Amazing: KTM describes the new KTM RC 390 as the flagship of its model range. A lower mid-range bike as a top performer? How the hell do the Austrians think of it?

Modest 373 cubic centimeters displacement, moderate 44 HP peak power, meager 35 Nm torque: As a sports driver, one likes to smile at such values. Of course, KTM sees it very differently. “After the huge success of the small Duke models and the presentation of the RC 125 a few months ago, the KTM RC 390 is another step on our expansion course, ”a spokesman rejoices.

KTM RC 390 in an individual test


RC 390 extremely popular, ”the KTM man knows. “They enjoy as much prestige there as a superbike with us. From a global perspective, it is definitely a flagship. But we also expect high demand in Europe, because the 390 is tailor-made for holders of the A2 driving license. It is also fun for experienced pilots. ”That is a perfect keyword, so let’s go for the little racer!


The bike weighs in at a total of 147 kg.

The first stage leads through the mountains near the Italian Modena. But cool temperatures, fog and rain urge caution – also because of the not very transparent first tires Metzeler Sportec M5 Interact. After all, the pilot has the KTM RC 390 under control thanks to the sporty but comfortable seating position. The lively, wonderfully elastic single cylinder also pleases. From 6500 rpm it gets a second boost and turns cheerfully into the five-digit range.

Spurred on by this, the pilot of the KTM RC 390 likes to pull hard on the cable. To fully open the shower, however, is a bit difficult because of the long stroke on the throttle. In addition, the drive does not like speeds below 3000 rpm and looks grumpy there. But the sympathetic bubbling sound, the smooth throttle response and the lively single-cylinder stroke more than make up for these characteristics. KTM took over the tangy stew one-on-one from the 390 Duke presented last year.

The KTM RC 390 takes all kinds of bows by storm

On the other side of the pass, dry roads are waiting, attack! It is refreshing to see how easily the KTM RC 390 hisses through the jumble of curves. Immediately memories of the storm and stress times of one’s own youth are awakened. But it is not because of the tester’s increased pounds that the shock absorber mercilessly punctures deep waves with hard edges and misuses the spine as a damping element. Despite the progressive design, the spring evidently turned out to be too soft, and the damping also offers little counter to the ups and downs. After all, the directly hinged monoshock works quite well on less furrowed ground. The pleasantly firm fork with sufficient punch reserves can also convince there. The only mediocre appealing part bumps a little insensitively over coarser bumps.

On the angled “Autodromo di Modena” race track, the little grinder has to show what he can do away from public roads. After all, the boys and girls are racing in the ADAC Junior Cup with a souped-up RC 390. As usual, the KTM RC 390 takes the bows in the storm and stabs precisely into the corners. However, it could provide a little more feedback from the front in attack mode, since the limit is difficult to feel. In addition, the rear wheel sometimes suddenly rattles to the side when it is leaning, which is certainly due to the too lax tuning of the strut. With hard anchoring, the RC could also offer a little more reserves, which an experiment shows.

Flagship or not

In the event of emergency braking from around 125 km / h (speedometer), the 300 millimeter brake disc together with the organic pads overheat over the last 10 to 15 meters, which is noticeable through fading. “Unfortunately, it is not easy to mount the 320 mm disc and the sintered metal linings of the cup version on the road machine,” says a KTM engineer. “The ABS is not adapted to the higher braking power.” With standard components, however, the system of the KTM RC 390 works great, it regulates late, reliably and at short intervals.

In principle, the KTM RC 390 is also based on the 390 Duke when it comes to the chassis. Only a modified geometry with a steeper steering head angle, shorter wheelbase and less caster as well as a different rear frame distinguish it from its bare relative. The spring elements are also coordinated differently. Like all street models with a small displacement, the Indian partner Bajaj (pronounced: Badschadsch) also produces the RC 390. The finish could of course be a little finer for Central European standards. Cheap-looking screws, open bores without blind plugs on the top of the swingarm ends and partly carelessly crumbled tubes, especially at the rear of the frame, are surprising for a bike that costs 5595 euros. Nevertheless, the brisk sweeper will find numerous fans not only overseas, but also here – flagship or not.

Technical data KTM RC 390


Exhaust with a typical single-cylinder blubber sound is wonderfully integrated into the fairing.

Single-cylinder engine, four valves / cylinder, 32 kW (44 HP) at 9500 rpm *, 35 Nm at 7250 rpm *, 373 cm³, bore / stroke: 89.0 / 60.0 mm, compression: 12.9: 1, Ignition / injection system , 46 mm throttle valve, mechanically operated multi-plate oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, chain.

landing gear
Steel tubular space frame, steering head angle: 66.5 degrees, caster: 88 mm, wheelbase: 1340 mm, inner fork tube Ø: 43 mm, spring travel from / h .: 125/150 mm.

Wheels and brakes
Light alloy cast wheels, 3.00 x 17 / 4.00 x 17, front tires: 110/70 ZR 17, rear: 150/60 ZR 17, 300 mm single disc brake with four-piston fixed calliper at the front, 230 mm single disc with single-piston floating caliper at the rear, SECTION.

Weight (dry): 147 kg *
Tank capacity: 10.0 liters of super
Base price: 5595 Euro (plus ancillary costs) *

* Manufacturer information



Progressive winding spring on the strut. The whole setup turned out very smooth.

KTM goes global. The RC 390 is certainly an important step on this path. The 390 Duke impressively proves that the concept of small displacement in coolly packaged bikes can also be successful in this country. Despite their
Weaknesses, the RC is a sympathetic sweeper in everyday life, which even gives drivers who are used to performance a lot of fun after a little getting used to – all a matter of attitude!

Related articles

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *