KTM 390 Duke vs Yamaha MT-03: Specifications Compared
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KTM 390 Duke vs Yamaha MT-03: Specifications Compared

Reviews by Team Drivio | Mar 26, 2024

The Yamaha MT-03’s engine is a very rev-happy one, meaning there isn’t a whole lot of poke lower down below the revs 

  • In terms of design, both bikes look sharp, aggressive and slightly polarising 
  • The 390 Duke’s big TFT beats the Yamaha MT-03’s dated-looking console easily
  • Even in terms of safety features, the 390 Duke is loaded when compared to the MT-03

Yamaha has finally delivered the MT-03 after years of our requests. Now that we have a twin-cylinder sub-350cc streetfighter in India, we deemed it fair to compare it against the king of the sub-500cc streetfighter segment, the KTM 390 Duke. The latest iteration of the 390 Duke has further enhanced its reputation. So, which of the two should you opt for? Let's discover that.

KTM 390 Duke vs Yamaha MT-03: Designs

At first glance of the new 390 Duke, its styling origins are unmistakable. The sharp, low-slung headlamp, muscular shoulder line, and compact tail section are direct nods to the 1290 SuperDuke R. The 390 Duke exudes a sense of familiarity while also appearing radical. This is especially evident in the Electronic Orange paint option, which features a vibrant mix of orange and black. Conversely, the Atlantic Blue colour scheme, consisting of blue, orange, and grey, bears a closer resemblance to the 1290.

Beneath the fresh styling, almost every aspect of the 2024 390 Duke is entirely new. Both the frame and aluminium sub-frame have undergone revamps. The wheels now boast fewer spokes and are lighter, while the fuel tank capacity has been increased to 15 litres, up by 2 litres from the previous model. Additionally, the seats have been redesigned for improved cushioning and space. KTM has also introduced new mirrors and tactile switchgear, featuring sticky grips for enhanced usability.

In contrast to the R3, the MT-03 boasts aggressive and sharp design elements throughout. The front, featuring its fierce-looking headlamp unit, evokes images of an Autobot. The combination of the muscular fuel tank with angular shrouds, split seats, and blue wheels gives the MT-03 a highly aspirational appearance. While the tail section of the motorcycle mirrors that of its fully-faired sibling, it appears even better on the MT due to the naked bike styling. Yamaha offers this motorcycle in two colours – Cyan Blue, our preferred choice, and a black paint scheme. However, the latter doesn't complement the bike as well.

KTM 390 Duke vs : Engines

KTM has not only introduced a fresh appeal with the styling but also an entirely new feature set. Firstly, you get the fully adjustable WP Apex suspension setup for the front and rear. Both sides offer five-step adjustability for damping, while the rear also provides a 10-step adjustable preload setting.

Specifications2024 KTM 390 DukeYamaha MT-03
Engine399cc engine321cc parallel-twin liquid-cooled engine
Maximum Power46PS42PS
Maximum Torque39Nm29.7Nm
Transmission6-speed6-speed

Additionally, you get full LED lighting and a brand-new five-inch TFT Bluetooth-enabled display that offers a wealth of information. It includes 'basic' audio and call access features as well as turn-by-turn navigation. However, for 2024, the 390 now boasts three ride modes - Rain, Street, and Track.

While Street and Track modes deliver full power, in Rain mode, the 390 Duke features a gentler throttle response but full ABS intervention. Moreover, the Track mode unveils the most intriguing feature of the 390 Duke - the launch control. With the throttle fully open, the system locks in at 7000rpm, awaiting clutch release. This prevents wheelies, a capability the 2024 390 Duke possesses. The mode also activates the lap timer feature and a different layout on the screen.

KTM 390 Duke vs Yamaha MT-03: Suspension, Tyres & Brakes

In the performance realm, the new 390 Duke seamlessly continues from where the older model left off. The spotlight remains on the 399cc single-cylinder engine, delivering 46bhp and 39Nm, which arrives earlier than before and represents a significant difference over the previous 373cc unit. On the track, approaching the first corner, the 390 Duke immediately feels familiar. Everything operates smoothly without requiring prior acquaintance before unleashing full throttle. 

Specifications2024 KTM 390 DukeYamaha MT-03
Front suspensionInverted ForkInverted Fork
Rear suspensionMonoshockMonoshock
Front tyre110/70-17110/70-17
Rear tyre150/60-17140/70-17
Front brakeDisc Brake298mm Disc
Rear brakeDisc Brake220mm Disc
ABSDual-channelDual-channel 

Despite significantly higher performance available earlier in the rev range, the 390 feels notably more predictable. In comparison to the previous generation model, this iteration has matured - it's not as twitchy or frenetic, yet it's far from subdued. If anything, the new 390 Duke is thoroughly exhilarating. It's engaging, offering ample power and punch to keep a grin on your face throughout the ride. 

As we smoothly shifted through the gears with the 'Quickshifter+', reaching sixth gear on the straight, we saw 170kmph on the display. Furthermore, the braking system feels exceptional, encouraging you to push harder while exhibiting no signs of fade even after 4-5 fast laps.

KTM 390 Duke vs Yamaha MT-03: Dimensions

In the stock suspension setting (three clicks for rebound), the handling felt impressive and sharper. It leans into corners with ease and a telepathic connection.

Dimensions2024 KTM 390 Duke
Wheelbase1354mm
Ground clearance183mm
Kerb weight163kg 
Fuel tank capacity15-litres
Seat height800mm

Despite weighing 4kg less, the bike feels firmly planted through transitions. With ample cornering clearance, higher lean angles are readily achievable. The grip from the Metzeler M5s has always been sufficient, and even when rare rear tyre slips occurred under aggressive throttle input, the traction control kicked in smoothly.

The MT-03 delivers a fantastic and exhilarating ride experience. The roads of Thailand, renowned for their lengthy and fast twists, showcased the bike's light and agile characteristics. Attaining triple-digit speeds on these roads was effortlessly achievable. Throughout the journey, the motorcycle remained composed and devoid of any drama. It exuded confidence in terms of overall balance, whether at low speeds or high. The only notable issue encountered during the ride was with the protruding tank shrouds, making it challenging to grip the bike. However, this may not pose a problem during shorter rides.

Furthermore, the brakes require some improvement as there's minimal feel on the levers, a crucial aspect for a motorcycle capable of high speeds.

Moreover, the absence of a windscreen necessitates more effort when reaching high speeds on the MT-03. As for ride quality, the impeccable roads of Thailand do not provide a comprehensive perspective. With the suspension not being pushed to its limits, a detailed assessment of the MT-03's performance will be conducted during our road test in India.

KTM 390 Duke vs Yamaha MT-03: Price

KTM has priced the 390 Duke at a rather mouth-watering Rs 3.10 lakh. The MT-03, on the other hand, costs a rather exorbitant Rs 4.60 lakh, both prices ex-showroom Delhi. 

Price2024 KTM 390 DukeYamaha MT-03
Ex-showroom DelhiRs 3,10,520 Rs 4,59,900

Verdict

 The 390 Duke represents a significant leap over its predecessor, delivering the brutal performance expected from a 390 Duke while operating with effortless precision. With its low seat height and integrated electronics, it offers forgiveness and accessibility for riders transitioning from the 200 Duke and 250 Duke models. KTM has also refined the ride quality to be more compliant, and the introduction of the fully adjustable suspension setup provides versatility to accommodate various riding scenarios and preferences.

However, taller riders may find the 390 Duke somewhat cramped due to the limited space on the new seat. Utilizing optional spacers can alleviate this issue, providing added room and a heightened sense of comfort. While the new engine delivers brilliant performance, it does exhibit more vibrations compared to its predecessor. Nonetheless, its dramatic character shines through, delivering an entertaining experience both on the track and in everyday riding situations.

The Yamaha MT-03, on the other hand, is too expensive for what little it has to offer. So for now, we think you should definitely go for the 390 Duke over the MT-03.