Shivank gets his first taste of the dynamite KTM 390 duo at the Buddh International Circuit.
I firmly believe that good things come to those who wait. It’s held true for me time and again, and recently it happened once more at the BIC where the KTM track day was held. You see, I’ve waited to get my hands on the new KTM 390 twins for a very, very long time. And, so, when KTM invited us to take part in its track day recently, my wait was finally over – as I got the chance to ride the 390 Duke and RC390 to my heart’s content.
The KTM track day is basically an owners’ event, where the firm invites its customers to join them with their bikes and have a go at the racetrack. The most astonishing thing is that it costs just 1,200 rupees or so for about 60 minutes of track time! Plus, you also get riding gear – a racing suit, gloves and riding boots – at the venue itself. All you need to do is carry a good quality helmet, and that’s it. It’s probably the most affordable track day under the sun.
Sure, you don’t get to ride the bike around the entire circuit – you only ride on the first half of the circuit – but you do get to max out your machine on both the main- and back-straights. And from what I experienced, it’s dangerously fun. Given the nature of both motorcycles, they feel twitchy as you put the power down, but it’s an adrenaline pumping exercise nevertheless. While riding on the back straight, the speedo was constantly above 160km/h. The brakes on both bikes are superb. In fact, I was particularly impressed by the braking performance – unlike their predecessors, the brakes on these bikes don’t feel spongy at all.
RC is more track-focused
The power delivery is brutal on both bikes, but it felt a little more raw on the RC than on the Duke. Also, the RC’s race-focused ergonomics make it more fun around corners. You feel more natural while shifting your body-weight and, therefore, more confident while tipping the bike around turns. Make no mistake, the Duke is an able handler too – it’s just that it’s overshadowed by the RC at the track.
All in all, it was an extraordinary day with the KTM duo. And, after riding both bikes back to back, I kind of understand why these two are so popular among the masses. Which one do I like more? The Duke 390 would be my pick for everyday riding, but to ride on my favourite set of twisting roads, I’d prefer to exploit the track capabilities of the RC390.