Living With KTM Duke 390 BS-IV (2017)


Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
303
Likes
520
Location
Coimbatore
Vega and Studds have more than decent helmets that can be used as a daily. I have been using a Studds as a daily and it has taken abuse better than my previous MT.
 
Thread Starter #32
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
108
Likes
175
Location
Kerala
It's been a while since I updated anything about my 390 in this thread because it was mostly uneventful.
The chain slider of the bike had disintegrated for some time now. Ordered it online from mysparemarket. Rs.350 including shipping.
Installed it from a local shop.

There is still a knocking sound from the rear when the bike is ridden over bad roads. Need to check swingarm bushes.

WhatsApp Image 2023-08-17 at 23.48.38.jpeg
 
Thread Starter #34
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
108
Likes
175
Location
Kerala
There is still a knocking sound from the rear when the bike is ridden over bad roads. Need to check swingarm bushes.
Well, I was feeling unnatural since life with this bike has been uneventful and reliable. And in true KTM fashion, I realized that the knocking kind of sound was coming from the rear mono-shock.
With 23000 KM and 6 years of usage, the monoshock is shot. My 11-year FZS still has the original mono shock it came with,
Maybe it is a one-off case?
I don't think so.
Here is another Duke 390 surprisingly from the same year and has run the same 23000 KM reporting the same issue.
Another one from YouTube which looks like the same year bike.
So, this is not a one-off issue and definitely a cause of the low quality of the manufacturing process and poor quality check.
Events like these make me never want to buy a non Jap bike ever else in my life again.
Lesson learned in life - If you need a vehicle that needs your attention every time and shows a tantrum every now and then, buy a non Jap vehicle.
If you need something that's dependable and runs like a clock with basic routine maintenance, just buy a Jap vehicle.

Our 21-year-old Alto and 11-year-old Yamaha FZS are enough for me to come in to this conclusion.

New shock costs Rs.5350 from mysparemarket.
If it's possible I wish to install the adjustable Adv. 390 shock or even the 2024 Duke 390 shock. So, for the time being, I am thinking of rebuilding the existing shock absorber.
A friend had rebuilt his Duke 250 mono-shock from a shop here and it's good.
 
Thread Starter #36
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
108
Likes
175
Location
Kerala
One of the reasons for shock failure is the proximity with the exhaust.
Yes, one of many bad enginnering designs of the 390 that doesn't make any sense.
Some other weak design points.
  • One screw cannot be removed/reinstalled from the air filter box.
  • Useless headlight.
  • Air intake temperature sensor kept close to the exhaust.
  • Air intake holes are near the mud guard!
  • Unusable engine oil level glass.
  • The adjustable clutch lever won't disengage the clutch fully if adjusted.
  • Poor quality gaskets and seals which cause leaks.
  • Poor quality of rubber parts which starts to disintegrate.
  • Rear brake fluid gets so hot due to the exhaust.
  • Engine life of only about 50000 km due to a high stress design.
 

deville_56

Honoured Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2009
Messages
2,969
Likes
4,806
Location
Trivandrum
Agree to most of the points. Gone for it despite personally knowing many first lot 200s failing thinking they might improve over time. Just Bajaj things.
 
Thread Starter #38
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
108
Likes
175
Location
Kerala
Engine oil update.

The Shell Advance Ultra has been going well with the bike.
Oil consumption is still there, but not as much as the Motul 7100. Done around 1000 km from the previous oil change. I has to use the remaining 300ml to top up. The oil level after top up is slightly above the max mark. So, I guess the actual drop was something like 250ml.
There are no leaks or white smoke from the exhaust.
Previously with 7100, I had to top up 200ml in 600km.

Something else that I noticed with th Shell Advance Ultra is that the oil has darkened considerably. I mean, it's pitch dark when seen through the glass window.

IMG-20230909-WA0000.jpg

I have previously only used 7100 and 300v. None of these oils used to blacken as much as the Shell did even after 4000 km.
Is it cleaning the engine carbon deposits which the Motul didn't clean? Or is it just degrading quicker?
There is no reason for any sludge deposit in this engine because I have never run without an oil change over 3000 km.

Since the oil consumption issue is not resolved, I'm thinking about using a thicker oil. This is a classic solution which works. XW60 oils have been used by a few abroad and reported positive results. But this grade is not available in India. The best bet I have is 20W50, which is the recommended oil grade for Duke 200.
But, this makes me think. Why did KTM specifically recommended 15W50 for the 250 and 390 while they were already using 20W50 for the 200. Wouldn't it have been easier for them to have just one oil grade for all the bikes?
From my past experiences with using slight deviations from the recommended oil grade, I have not noticed any issues.
This also makes me remind of what happened with Maruti Suzuki. They used to recommend 5W30 for K12 engines. Later they changed it to 0W20 and then to 0W16. But the ASC fills 5W30 most of the time. And with these ASC, it's not like we can confirm they filled what they billed us for or not.

Oil consumption is normal is newer engines today.

BMW for example, has said that some of their engines can consume up to 1 quart of oil for every 750-1000 miles driven and that it’s normal.
That's 1L per 1200km is normal!
The Duke 390 engine is a highly stressed unit and with a compression ratio of 12.8:1, it runs so hot. I guess the oil would get sucked past the cylinder walls and rings when ridden hard.
 
Thread Starter #39
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
108
Likes
175
Location
Kerala
Update on oil, Shell Advance Ultra 15W50.
There is a correction from before. I had stated that there is 250ml drop. In fact, after topping up, I realised that it is over the max mark and I had to vaccum about 250ml out of it. This means, there is virtually no oil consumption or maybe a very negligible amount after 1800km.
I'm really happy with its performance and looking forward to use the same for the next oil change.
Meanwhile, I have found 2 more documented incidents on how Motul 7100 disappearing.

Duke 390 Consumes too much oil.

Adventure 390 incident 1

Adventure 390 incident 2

In all these incidents above, there is no white smoke or visible oil leak, the oil just disappear.
I learnt from different articles that the temperature inside the combustion chamber can go close to 800-1000 degree Celcius or more which causes oil to evaporate.
Screenshot_2023-09-21-23-29-35-848_com.brave.browser.jpg


As you can see from the above article, it is possible for the oil to 'burn' without having to seeping out through the piston rings or valve seals.
Something else I noticed from the SAU is that it got so brownish dark even before 2000km.
Screenshot_2023-09-21-23-32-00-480_com.brave.browser.jpg

I guess the SAU has better cleaning properties.
Screenshot_2023-09-23-18-11-40-093_com.android.chrome-edit.jpg

Something else I came across is that the Motul 7100 can also cause clutch related issues in some bikes. My 390's first set of clutch plates were changed at around 10000km. At about 22000, I felt the clutch plates slipping above 6000 RPM, I have documented it in this thread. However, after switching to the SAU, I have not faced any clutch slipping in my bike.

It's sad that KTM/Bajaj is not ready to acknowledge the oil consumption of Motul 7100 which is putting so many bikes at the risk of engine damage. I still remember that initially when Duke 200 was launched, it used Bajaj DTSI oil. Since there were a lot of complaints regarding the performance of this oil, they released a circular and moved to using Motul 7100.
 
Thread Starter #40
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
108
Likes
175
Location
Kerala
FuelX update
IMG_20230927_093612.jpg

Speed was between 60 and 80 most of the time. Mostly in 4,5,6 gears.
From my previous rides without FuelX with similar speeds on the same route, I used to get 29kmpl speedo indicated. So, there is a chance that FuelX might have improved the mileage.
Tires
Ceat Zoom rad x1 tires also held up exceptionally. I had a few corners with sand where I briefly lost traction(including front tyre) but the tires managed to grip on.
Oil
The Shell Advance Ultra oil also performed really well.
Coolant
The bike is up for a coolant change as it has been 2.5 years since last coolant change. It's currently running on Motul motocool which is a OAT based coolant with a high boling point of 235 deg C(same as EngineIce). Currently Motul is facing a shortage of this coolant and it's not available in Amazon/Flipkart. On enquiry, they told me it should be available next month.
Tried finding a replacement but only other available OAT option is Castrol Radicool SFO Premix. But it has a low boiling point of 108 deg C. Therefore, I decided to wait for Motocool.
 
Last edited:
Thread Starter #42
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
108
Likes
175
Location
Kerala
Hi,
Since you are owning Duke for some time, It would be very helpful if you could post your comments about the New Gen 3 Duke 390.
KTM's timeline in India.
  • 2012: Duke 200 launched
  • 2013: Duke 390 launched
  • 2014: RC390 & RC200 launched
  • 2015: Duke 390 updated with slipper clutch
  • 2016: RC390 updated with slipper clutch
  • 2017: 2nd Gen Duke 390 & 250 launched
  • 2018: 2nd gen RC390 launched, Duke updated.
  • 2019: Duke 790 launched.
  • 2020: Adventure 390 and 250, Husqvarna 250 & 390 models launched.
  • 2021: 3rd gen RC200 launched.
  • 2022: 3rd gen RC390 launched.
  • 2023: Adventure 390X, 3rd gen Duke launched.
KTMs are not the most reliable bikes out there. But they are the most price: fun bikes out there.
I guess it's the same for all European bikes. You need to take extra care of the bike compared to Japanese bikes.
Parts are relatively cheap and easy to obtain. The 390 engine generally lasts close to 50,000 KM on average.
An engine rebuild costs under 50K.
Now, coming to the question itself, no one can say anything for sure about the Gen3 390. Since it's a major upgrade with a brand-new engine, I would stay away from getting it for the first year.
The bike itself looks well-designed. Some may not like the styling as it looks so bulky. But, it's a personal preference. I liked it.
The engine looks good from the specs they have released. The compression ratio is still not released and I believe it would be lesser.
They increased the capacity to 399CC and kept the power close to the old models. So, the engine should be a less stressed unit, making it more reliable.
Brake and wheel upgrades along with adjustable suspension on the front and rear are awesome.

Going by the history, KTM always messes up on something and they will fix it the next year. First owners are always guinea pigs for testing.
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2022
Messages
21
Likes
42
Location
India
Tried finding a replacement but only other available OAT option is Castrol Radicool SFO Premix. But it has a low boiling point of 108 deg C. Therefore, I decided to wait for Motocool.
I use Glysantin G30, mainly because its whats in my car and I love the purple/pink color. Turns out thats OAT too.

Coolant doesnt make much difference in my experience. I used to run Redline WaterWetter+DI water before, I havent seen any change in temps between the two.
 
Thread Starter #44
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
108
Likes
175
Location
Kerala
I use Glysantin G30, mainly because its whats in my car and I love the purple/pink color. Turns out thats OAT too.

Coolant doesnt make much difference in my experience. I used to run Redline WaterWetter+DI water before, I havent seen any change in temps between the two.
I have seen a 10-degree Celcius difference while using the Motul Motocool vs the stock green coolant.
This log is from a ride after the coolant change, the temperature was hovering under 90.
View attachment 302692
Some updates on the oil burning.
Source1
Source2
As per discussions from another forum, KTM had made changes to the piston kit mid 2020 during the COVID time due to supply chain issues or cost reduction.
This was the same time, 390s were sold with MRF tires.
The old piston kit had the part number, 36JP0031 which cost about 13000.
The updated kit part number is 36JY0251, costing about 8000.
The cheaper piston was apparently not forged and was a cast one. It is also suspected not to have a Nikasil coating. KTM used to proudly advertise that 390 had a forged piston on the official website before. it is removed now.
There were changes made to the piston rings as well. This seems to be the major cause for the oil consumption in 390 engines sold from 2020-2023.
As per a KTM expert, KTM later reverted to forged piston starting from 2023.
He also mentioned that the non-forged piston (like the one used in Dominar) would never be able to run for long in BS3 or BS4 390 engines.
Therefore, newer 390 owners facing oil consumption are requested to look into this.
Now, if this was in any other country, it would have been a class action lawsuit, but since we are in India, we are supposed to suck it up and bear the expenses to fix it ourselves.

Maintenance update
Bled the brakes since the braking felt faded. Used Shell DOT 4 fluid this time. Bought from Amazon. Rs. 200.
WhatsApp Image 2023-10-09 at 11.05.59 PM.jpeg


Also cleaned the front brake caliper pistons.
Before
WhatsApp Image 2023-10-09 at 11.07.07 PM.jpeg


After
WhatsApp Image 2023-10-09 at 11.07.20 PM.jpeg


Sintered Brembo brake pad after 3000km.
WhatsApp Image 2023-10-09 at 11.07.30 PM.jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2023-10-09 at 11.18.20 PM.jpeg


I removed the seat to verify if the water drainage for the petrol tank was blocked. This is very essential since the blockage can cause the water to enter the petrol tank.
In my case, it was not clogged but the tube was improperly kept below the tank by KTM ASC which made it to bend and crack. Thankfully, the tube broke at the place which it was bent allowing the water to drain.
Replaced it with another rubber tube and properly routed it to the front. Forgot to click pics.

Underside of the tank from years of dirt accumulation.
WhatsApp Image 2023-10-09 at 11.05.01 PM.jpeg


After cleaning.
WhatsApp Image 2023-10-09 at 11.05.15 PM.jpeg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 16, 2023
Messages
1
Likes
1
Location
Coimbatore
I have seen a 10-degree Celcius difference while using the Motul Motocool vs the stock green coolant.


Some updates on the oil burning.
Source1
Source2
As per discussions from another forum, KTM had made changes to the piston kit mid 2020 during the COVID time due to supply chain issues or cost reduction.
This was the same time, 390s were sold with MRF tires.
The old piston kit had the part number, 36JP0031 which cost about 13000.
The updated kit part number is 36JY0251, costing about 8000.
The cheaper piston was apparently not forged and was a cast one. It is also suspected not to have a Nikasil coating. KTM used to proudly advertise that 390 had a forged piston on the official website before. it is removed now.
There were changes made to the piston rings as well. This seems to be the major cause for the oil consumption in 390 engines sold from 2020-2023.
As per a KTM expert, KTM later reverted to forged piston starting from 2023.
He also mentioned that the non-forged piston (like the one used in Dominar) would never be able to run for long in BS3 or BS4 390 engines.
Therefore, newer 390 owners facing oil consumption are requested to look into this.
Now, if this was in any other country, it would have been a class action lawsuit, but since we are in India, we are supposed to suck it up and bear the expenses to fix it ourselves.

Maintenance update
Bled the brakes since the braking felt faded. Used Shell DOT 4 fluid this time. Bought from Amazon. Rs. 200.
View attachment 314432

Also cleaned the front brake caliper pistons.
Before
View attachment 314433

After
View attachment 314434

Sintered Brembo brake pad after 3000km.
View attachment 314437
View attachment 314438

I removed the seat to verify if the water drainage for the petrol tank was blocked. This is very essential since the blockage can cause the water to enter the petrol tank.
In my case, it was not clogged but the tube was improperly kept below the tank by KTM ASC which made it to bend and crack. Thankfully, the tube broke at the place which it was bent allowing the water to drain.
Replaced it with another rubber tube and properly routed it to the front. Forgot to click pics.

Underside of the tank from years of dirt accumulation.
View attachment 314435

After cleaning.
View attachment 314436
Hi @sacbiker ,
I am facing a problem with my 2019 390 in the. Front brakes. I strongly believe you can help me. Please let me know how to contact you. Thanks
 

Top Bottom