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2015 KTM RC 390 Preview


by Pascal Bastien ,

KTM introduces the all-new 2015 RC 390, the product of several years of development and racing in Moto3. The company wants to attract new customers while satisfying seasoned riders who crave lightweight, exciting machines.

Building low-displacement road bikes has been one of the priorities of KTM engineers and designers since the idea of the RC 125 and RC 200 first came about. The new RC 390 proves it with racy styling, a full trellis frame, and top-grade components supplied by KTM partners.

The front fairing, which incorporates turn signals into the mirror structure, looks pretty sleek. You could say the same thing about the thin, upward-pointing tail that resembles the 1190 RC8 R. The orange-painted frame is visually similar to the lightweight and approved 690 Duke steel trellis frame, but has been modified to better fit supersport ergonomics and dynamics. There's also the same DOHC single-cylinder.

KTM RC390 2015
Photo: KTM

Quality components
The 2015 KTM RC 390 weighs just 147kg. The sculpted aluminum swingarm is no stranger to this light weight, and it gives the tail a sharper look at the same time. Additional credit goes to the Indian-built, 375cc engine, which tips the scales at just 37kg. You get 44 hp at 9,500 rpm thanks to technical details like a forged piston, advanced Keihin fuel-injection system, Nikasil-coated cylinder, and anti-friction camshafts that allow high-revving operation.

In the suspension department, the KTM RC 390 uses familiar WP components, including a 43mm upside-down fork instead of a traditional telescopic fork -- a segment first in Canada. The brakes feature a 300mm disc with a radially mounted, 4-piston calliper up front, a 230mm disc with a floating, single-piston calliper in the rear, and ABS that can be deactivated by the rider. The RC 390's geometry is sportier than the 390 Duke sold in Europe: The tighter steering head angle of 23.5 degrees (-1.5) results in a shorter trail, shorter wheelbase (-26mm), and increased ground clearance.

A genuine R model
Similar to the RC8 R, the instrument panel consists of a single digital display. In addition to the usual info, you'll find engine temperature, a fuel gauge and consumption indicator, clock, and gear indicator. Designers integrated the pillion seat into the bodywork lines so that it looks like a real racing bike tail, (just remove the passenger footpegs for total effect). Grab handles are built in underneath, too.

As always, KTM does nothing like the competition: The bold new 2015 RC 390 asserts itself with unique styling and an outstanding engine-chassis combo. Pricing will also make it a compelling alternative to firmly established Japanese rivals.

Note that the 390 Duke based on the same platform will finally be available in Canada, an announcement that will delight the naked bike enthusiasts.