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Friday, September 12, 2014

KTM RC 390/200 - Launch Retrospective

9th September 2014: the most awaited day for any two wheeler racing aficionados in India because this was the day when Austrian Two Wheeler manufacturer ‘KTM’ along with ‘Bajaj’ launched two precious jewels into the Indian market. I was fortunate enough to have attended and witnessed this event on behalf of ‘ThrottleQuest’.  All thanks to Mr. Sajal Chakraborty for entrusting me with this responsibility. We were invited to the Regency Ball room at Hyatt Regency Pune for the launch event.

I am going to pen down my thoughts leaning more on the RC 390 since the RC 200 is structured the same Vs its bigger sibling except for engine specs.

Both these motorcycles have adopted engine design from their bigger ancestor brothers, which are single cylinder 4-strokes and liquid cooled engines. The frame has been modified to increase the steering head angle (from 65 to 66.5) which has helped to improve flick-ability and stability. Wheelbase has been reduced and ground clearance has been increased so you should feel the stability and are more confident while leaning. The RC 390 is the only 2nd fully faired motorcycle equipped with ABS after Honda's offering in the form of the CBR 250R in India in the sub middle-weight space. The RC 390 runs on German made Metzeler Sportech M5 tires, same as on the Duke 390 whereas the RC 200 runs on MRF same as on the Duke 200. I have been a fan of the underbelly exhaust design which not only reduces weight, but I think will help maintain the CG (center of gravity) dead center providing extra stability. Making it more evident that this will be a popular track day bike is the fact that KTM has equipped the RC 390 with a 10 liter fuel tank Vs the 11 on the Duke 390.

KTM has pushed the envelope with styling by giving both these motorcycles a fairing that looks more spectacular than anyone on offer within the same segment in India especially the twin-projector head lamps. Integrated blinkers add more beauty to the motorcycle. You will either like these are not like the design element at all. Nothing in between!

The pillion seat has been styled keeping in mind track day comfort almost superbike like in nature. KTM has definitely put in a lot of thought and have designed this to look a part of the frame rather than a seat. Parts are not only designed well but also the fit n finish and quality of parts is world class. Handle bars are so ergonomically designed and I feel as soon a rider grabs them he/she will immediately settle into a perfect riding position. Very inviting I must say!

On the occasion Mr. Rajiv Bajaj Said, “We are not thinking how the graph is changing, what the GDP is going to be, all that kind of economical stuff, our focus is making the best motorcycle possible and everything else will happen nicely when you make the best motorcycle. We keep it as simple as that.”

Stefan Pierer responded to the query of Super Duke introduction in India, “For sure, currently we have no plan to bring it into India. Its, I would say the Super Duke is 180 PS & 185 Kg vehicle which based on Indian road condition, won't recommend. But may be in the long future super duke is also there in India.”

Answering the question of pricing Mr. Amit Nandi, Sr. Vice President Bajaj Pro-biking said, “Price of these bikes can be increased as happened in case of Dukes, but it may not happen in very next week.”

I would suggest to the aspirant buyers to book your favorite RC as soon as possible and get “READY TO RACE”.

Text by: Mr. Ashish Pareek
Image Courtesy: Mr. Sachin S Kable
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Item Reviewed: KTM RC 390/200 - Launch Retrospective Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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