Jun 28, 2013

9 At 1.8 Lakhs, does the KTM 390 Duke change the Indian Motorcycle Scenario?

KTM 390 Duke launched in India at a shocking price.. but is it really a game changer?

A few years back (prior to 2007 to be precise) if someone told you that a motorcycle under the hallowed KTM Marque will be officially available in India for sale, chances of you becoming the laughing stock were very real.

Only if KTM could launch a Moto 3 inspired model or an Adventure Tourer inspired model in India..

Now imagine even thinking that a KTM model under the “Duke” family, producing a peak power of 43.5 Ps, Kerb weight of 154 Kgs, Metzeler Tyres, with ABS as standard (and with upside down forks, Liquid cooled, fuel injected engine… i.e the usual Duke goodies) would be selling in India at less than 50% of its price in Europe..!! Crazy thought right?

Yes sir, KTM (Bajaj) has shocked the motorcycle market by launching the 390 Duke at an ex-showroom (Delhi) price tag of Rs. 1.8 Lakhs. For the record, the current nearest competitor (in India) to the 390 Duke in terms of pricing, the Honda CBR250R makes just 26 Ps of power, weighs heavier and is a couple of thousands dearer (the ABS variant).

But is the KTM 390 Duke the proverbial “Game Changer” ?

There is no dispute that the KTM 390 Duke will indeed deliver the most bang for the Indian Buck when it comes to putting the number of horses on the tarmac. Considering the generous levels of equipment that the 390 Duke comes kitted with, it certainly sounds like a “Desi” Mid Summer’s Night Dream come true for a motorcycle enthusiast fortunate enough to be born in India.

One can also say that the KTM 390 Duke makes the competition (especially Honda with its CBR250R) look overpriced. And that the 390 Duke will make the competition rethink their product and pricing strategies (really?).

But the “390 Duke” a game changer? I have a slightly different take on it.

The KTM 200 Duke was a brave decision / experiment from KTM/Bajaj in India. It was the model that kick started (actually modern bikes don’t have kick starters any more) a brave new segment of Off Road / Supermoto inspired minimalistic street motorcycles in India. With many young (and young at heart) bikers joining the Orange brigade, one can say that the 200 Duke can be considered as a game changer.

Because of its pricing, the 390 Duke might get some additional sales from competition viz. Honda CBR250R, RE Thunderbird 500/Classic 500 etc. Anyway I don’t see a large exodus from these models. The 390 Duke might even cannibalize some of its younger sibling the 200 Duke’s sales. But I don’t see a big spike just because the 390 is here. More so since externally (apart from the paint job) the 390 Duke is identical to the 200 Duke and also the sales numbers for motorcycles priced above 1.5 lakhs might be growing but is still not that significant in India yet.

Now only if KTM could launch a Moto 3 inspired (light weight, minimalistic and with authentic track riding position, like its Moto 3 race bike) model or an Adventure Tourer inspired model in India. And if these models make other companies follow its “game”, in that case I would call those models as game changers.

Anyway let me cut the “Gyan” and thank my stars to be born an Indian at the right place and at the right time.

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This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


drowning me said...

I only wish they should have increased the fuel tank capacity. With 10 litre tank, and 375cc engine I guess the bike will go a puny sub 300 km on a tankfull.

Koley Nilesh said...

Bajaj is on a roll here. They've always implied on selling VFM machines compared to it's competitors. Now I wonder how much the pulsar 375 would cost :D ( maybe close to duke 200's pricing) anyway nice to see your article payeng I am confused between Bajaj pulsar 135ls vs Gs150r. My ride would be mostly within cities with some weekend trips out I am strongly considering P135 need your views about both :).

Anonymous said...

You're a hater!!!

Payeng said...


if you are on the taller/heavier side the GS150R would suit you better. Else the P135 should be ok.

If you can wait for sometime, it would be better as Mr. Bajaj said that a new Pulsar less than 200 cc would be launched this year

Koley Nilesh said...

Thank you for your reply Payeng :), I hope the " less than 200 cc pulsar " is around 135 to 150 cc :)

Anonymous said...

@payeng is there any news abt sub200 pulsar? is it p-150 or p-180?..pulsar 150 should be updated with 4-valve engine becoz even discover 125 st luks better p150 engine in refinement and stability

Payeng said...

No confirmation of the exact details of the Sub 200 Pulsar..

The current Pulsar 150/180/220 has been around for sometime, its time for an upgrade of these first gen Pulsars

Arya said...

Hello Payeng,
Presently i'm confused between 200 and 390.
there is an exact 60k difference between them.
this is my first bike and i'm a beginner.
which bike would you suggest is better for me.
your suggestion is very much valuable for me.
planning to get either bike by the end of this month.

Payeng said...


at 60K premium you get much more. Additional Power/Torque, ABS and Great Tyres.

Go for the 390 I'll say

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