Duke 250 vs Duke 390 2017 Comparison Review

Published on: Feb 28, 2017
KTM Duke 390 2017 vs Duke 250 Comparison:

"Interestingly, the Duke 250 has a longer stroke than the 390, in spite of having a 124 cc smaller engine size! The 250 is still oversquare, i.e. the bore is still bigger than the stroke, just that it's is not as hyper oversquare as the Duke 390"

Pricing & Features Comparison:
The KTM Duke 250 retails for 1.92 Lakh Rs. on road Delhi, which is 28,000 Rs. cheaper than the Duke 200, costing 2.2 Lakh Rs. Both bikes are equipped with rear disc brakes and a slipper clutch. The Duke 390 of course gets ABS, which is absent in the 250. It also gets LED headlamps and the Full-color TFT Instrument Cluster, that is missing from the 250.

Performance & Tractability Comparison:
Interestingly, the Duke 250 has a longer stroke than the 390, in spite of having a 124 cc smaller engine size. The 250 is still oversquare, i.e. the bore is still bigger than the stroke, just that it's is not as hyper oversquare as the Duke 390.

As and when, single cylinder engines grow in size, they become increasingly lazy in terms of building the revs. This problem can be tackled by either increasing the number of cylinders, or by increasing the bore and reducing the stroke. Having learnt their lessons from the crazy, single-cylinder Duke 690, KTM decided to go with the second option.

The result was insane levels of performance, with the least degree of complexity. Less complexity makes it over a lakh Rs. cheaper than twin cylinder 250s like the Ninja, R3 & TNT 300 and yet undeniably quicker and faster than them. To put things into perspective, consider the fact that the Duke 390 does 0-100 in just over 5 seconds, which is just as quick if not quicker than a Porsche Boxster!

But then it's not a bike that can be ridden carelessly. If you forget to downshift after slowing down for a corner, it snatches voilently, although the addition of a slipper clutch and ride-by-wire, has seen a noticeable improvement in this regards. Lugging it along town at low revs feels like a punishment and it tends to heat up quite rapidly during city commutes, resulting in grilled leg situations.

The Duke 250 on the other hand, is easily the the best Duke to ride around town. It has excellent tractability at low revs and a muscular mid-range giving it good all-round capabilities, be it while puttering around town, touring on the highways or hunting apexes around a mountain road. it does not have the raw thrust of the 390, but its powerband is much more accessible and controllable than the 390. Its deeper, more guttural exhaust note is also just as pleasing to the ears as the high pitched wail of the 390.

Power-to-Weight Ratio (PS/ton): Duke 390 - 270, Duke 250 – 186 (difference 45%)
Torque-to-Weight Ratio (Nm/ton): Duke 390 - 230, Duke 250 – 149 (difference 54%)

Power (PS@rpm): Duke 390 – 43.5@9000, Duke 250 – 30@9000
Torque (Nm@rpm): Duke 390 – 37@7000, Duke 250 – 24@7500
Kerb Weight (kg): Duke 390 – 161, Duke 250 – 161

Displacement (cc): Duke 390 – 373, Duke 250 – 249
Gearbox: Duke 390 – 6 speed, Duke 250 – 6 speed

Reliability & After Sales Service Comparison:
Truth be told, KTM has so far had a quite disappointing track record for Reliability and Service Support in our country. Although it dies fare better compared to other exotic bike makers from Europe, like Ducati and Aprilia! In most cases the issues are just minor niggles and not really deal-breakers. However, the Service centres are mostly run by the same folks who own the local Bajaj dealership, which leaves a lot to be desired about the quality of workmanship and ability to diagnose the fault. What makes it worse is that device and repair cost is also on the higher side, making the premium customers of the brand feeling a bit shortchanged.

Fuel Efficiency Comparison:
In our back-to-back tests, the Duke 250 was almost 8-10 kmpl more efficient than the 390.

Estimated Mileage (kmpl): Duke 390 – 27, Duke 250 - 38

Fuel Cost (for 60,000 km): Duke 390 – 1.70 Lakh, Duke 250 – 1.20 Lakh

Resale & Cost of Ownership Comparison:
5 year old Duke 390s retail for around 1.2 Lakh Rs. in the used bike market today. The Duke 250 is expected to hold marginally lesser resale value than that, 5 to 7 years down the line, while the 390 is also expected to depreciate slightly faster, since it will become more commonplace in the coming years. Overall the Duke 250 works out to be a notable 60,000 Rs. lighter on the pocket than the 390, in terms of Overall Ownership Cost.

Resale Value (after 5 to 7 years):
Duke 390 – 1.1 Lakh Rs.
Duke 250 – 95,000 Rs.

Total Cost of Ownership: (Price + Fuel Cost - Resale Value)
Duke 390 – 2.80 Lakh
Duke 250 – 2.20 Lakh

Handling & Ride Quality Comparison:
Both bikes share the exact same cycle-parts, including the frame, suspension etc. However, there are a few crucial differences. Firstly, the 390 gets the insanely sticky Metzeler tyres, while the 250 gets the MRF Revs. Secondly the 390 is setup, slightly stiffer than the 250. Both these factors combined make the 390 more grippier and sharper around the bends. The 390 also gets bigger brakes and of course the ABS, which makes it safer and inspires more confidence under hard braking.

Wheelbase (mm): Duke 390 – 1357+15, Duke 250 – 1357+15.5

Ground Clearance (mm): Duke 390 – 185, Duke 250 - 185

Tyre Size:
Front: Duke 200 – 110/70R17, Duke 250 – 110/70R17
Rear: Duke 200 – 150/60R17, Duke 250 – 150/60R17

Comfort & Ergonomics Comparison:
There is absolutely no difference between the riding position of both these bikes. Overall, the riding position is slightly forward set and those wide handle-bars, give the rider a commanding feeling over the bike. However, the aforementioned difference in ride-quality makes the Duke 250 slightly more fatigue free over broken roads. The 390 compensates by offering a better view from the rider's seat

Seat height (mm): Duke 390 – 810, Duke 250 - 830

It all boils down to personal choice, when it comes to choosing between these two bikes. If you are the kind of a rider, who cares about any kind of absolute numbers, like lap times or quarter mile drag times, someone who needs his bike to compensate for the lack of riding skills on track meets, or even Sunday morning group rides. Or someone who simply needs some one-up-manship, over his friends at the pub. Then the 390 is the bike for you.

But, if you care more about how you feel while riding the bike, than just street cred or dry numbers. If you care more about which bike 'feels' faster. If you care about which bike has a more telepathic throttle control. If you care more about which bike sounds sweeter. If you care more about which bike feels right deep inside, which appeals to your coccyx. The Duke 200 is the one for you. Yes! you heard that right. The 200 is still the best of three Dukes. But the 250 is the second best, a very very close second, to the 200. We know, that most number hungry, bean counters, will never agree with, or even understand our verdict, but it is what it is, period.

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