KTM RC 390: 5 Things That Make It The BEST In Its Class

KTM RC 390: 5 Things That Make It The BEST In Its Class

Featured Stories by Team Drivio | 12 Mar 2024

The RC 390’s 373cc rev-happy engine is what induces the most smiles when you ride it

  • In terms of looks, while the RC 390 might be a bit polarising, there is nothing else quite like it
  • When you see its hardware, the RC 390 feels sophisticated and is very happy out on a race track
  • Now with its new TFT screen, the RC 390 has never been more feature-loaded

Think of 400cc sports bikes, and the first bike that many would definitely consider is the KTM RC 390. In its latest guise, the bike has never been better. But why is it so good? Why is it the bike that springs to mind when we think about this segment? Here, we delve deep into five reasons that make the KTM RC 390 the absolute best bike in this 400cc sports bike segment. Remember, it takes on the likes of TVS Apache RR 310, Aprilia RS 457, Bajaj Dominar, etc.

1) Looks

While the outgoing RC never lacked in terms of headlights, this updated version now features an LED headlight, likely to perform admirably in illuminating dimly lit surroundings, akin to the RC 200's setup.

Now, turning our attention to the refreshed aesthetics adorning this updated RC, the tale echoes what we've previously discussed regarding its smaller counterparts: the bike's physical presence is far more appealing in reality than in images. Particularly noteworthy on the 390 model is the introduction of a striking blue colour scheme, exclusive to this RC variant, which complements the vibrant orange accents exquisitely.

The satin/matte finish on the blue panels adds to its visual allure. While the bike exudes a robust and well-constructed aura overall, there's room for refinement in certain areas; the switchgear, for instance, lacks a premium feel, exhibiting a somewhat clicky operation, and some panel gaps could be neater.

Love it or loathe it, there are undeniable advantages to this revamped appearance – KTM asserts that it offers improved aerodynamic efficiency compared to its predecessor, with fewer fasteners required for the body panels. The windscreen appears to offer better coverage when in a full tuck position, and we even managed to reach the limiter in 6th gear, hitting 175kph.

2) Features

Derived from its fellow 390 models, the new RC boasts a Bluetooth-enabled TFT display, continuing a familiar narrative. The interface operates seamlessly, offering sufficient brightness and a well-organised layout. Once your phone is paired, you can access features such as music playback control, phone call notifications, and optional turn-by-turn navigation, albeit at an additional cost.

3) Engine

Enhancements for the RC 390 are primarily centred around a larger airbox, resulting in a marginal increase in torque, now rated at 37Nm compared to the previous 36Nm. Power output remains unchanged at 43.5hp, maintaining the RC's stature as the most potent motorcycle in its class. However, in terms of overall character, significant strides have been made since its inception.

The engine now exhibits a more refined persona – notably tractable and linear, devoid of any pronounced flat spots or powerband irregularities. Throttle response is notably smoother, with vibrations seemingly better managed, although a definitive assessment of vibration levels will be reserved until we've had the opportunity to put the new RC through its paces on public roads.

4) Hardware

The newfound comfort and approachability of this updated model become apparent the moment you swing a leg over it. While retaining its sporty essence, the seating position is noticeably less aggressive, alleviating strain on the back, neck, and wrists. For those seeking a more intense riding experience, KTM offers the option of lowering the clip-on handlebars by approximately 14mm to achieve a more aggressive stance.

5) Price

At Rs 3.18 lakh, ex-showroom India, the KTM RC 390 is available in a couple of colour schemes and that makes it quite a value-for-money bike. Now, when you compare it to the likes of the TVS Apache RR 310, the KTM RC 390 might come off as being slightly pricey, but to be fair, the KTM also packs a hell of a lot more performance than the TVS. Hence comparing it to the RR 310 just would not make sense. 

Hence, we need to compare it to the likes of the Aprilia RS 457 and even the Yamaha R3. Sure, those are twin-cylinder motorcycles that are bound to be more expensive. But you gotta consider the fact that the RC 390 makes almost the same amount of power as those two. 

So now that you compare those two, you realise that the RC 390 is the best value for money of the lot. Yes, while the RS 457 packs a lot of value for its Rs 4.10 lakh price too, but the RC 390 is the absolute best. So when it comes to bang for the buck, things do not get a whole lot better than the KTM RC 390 in this segment. And in its latest guise, the bike is a lot more friendly than before, meaning more riders will be able to get on it. All of that without losing out on the excitement.