Courtesy of the folks at Zigwheels, details about the KTM 390 Duke (previously of KTM 350 Duke & KTM 375 Duke fame) continue to emerge ahead of the EICMA show in Milan, including what is expected to be the official designation of the small-displacement motorcycle. Coming in a 375cc single-cylinder format, KTM continues its misleading numbering scheme for motorcycles with a “390” designation, though we think you will forgive the Austrian brand, as its American-bound mini-Duke is said to come with 45hp and a 331 lbs curb-weight.
For those keeping score, that means that the KTM 390 Duke will have more power than the Kawasaki Ninja 300, and weigh less than the Honda CBR250R, making it a very formidable package in the small-displacement market. To be made in India by Bajaj (a major stakeholder in KTM’s public stock), the Indian company is expected to make its own version of the model, similar to what it has done with the Pulsar 200NS, which is based off the KTM 200 Duke.
A separate machine from the small-displacement v-twin project that KTM is currently working on as well, the KTM 390 Duke is expected to come to North America for the 2013 model year, with a full-fairing Moto3-inspired model making an appearance in 2014. With plenty of pep in its step, the KTM 390 Duke is set to be a class leader when it debuts, though it will be subject to two very important dimensions when it comes to market: price and dealer support.
With the Kawasaki Ninja 300 priced at $4,799, and the Honda CBR250R now at $4,199 for the 2013 model year (up $100 from last year), KTM will have to keep the price tag of the KTM 390 Duke within a reasonable distance of those two machines. Perhaps more important in the North American market will be getting KTM’s dirt-oriented dealership base to finally get on-board with the company’s street-going motorcycles.
Fighting a fight that is not that dissimilar to the one that saw the demise of Buell Motorcycles, KTM dealers by-in-large are focused around the Austrian’s brands core: its dirt bikes. Already a difficult brand to find in many locales, would-be buyers of the KTM 390 Duke could very well walk into a KTM dealership, only to find the model not on the showroom floor.
As KTM continues to push further into the on-road markets, in order to be successful, the brand needs to realize that it needs to develop more than just good motorcycle for the road, but also build a strong dealer support structure for its street bikes.