KTM RC390 First Impressions

After putting a few hundred miles on the Vagabond Motorsports project 2015 KTM RC 390, we'd like to share our first impression much like we did for the Yamaha R3.  These two bikes make for an interesting comparison but first, some comments on the RC390:

  • Chassis is sorted.  Suspension feels well damped and OEM tires are sticky so it's fun to rail turns
  • Engine packs some solid torque and still pulls strong up top, but it feels high strung and surges at low speeds.  It can definitely lift the front wheel!
  • Gearbox ratios are great and the bike doesn't feel strung out at all on the freeway
  • Brake lever feel is firm but not a ton of stopping power. Not a fan of the ABS
  • Seat is tall and HARD.  Not sure if it's breaking in or my butt is getting used to it, but it's getting better. Surprisingly uncomfortable at first.
  • The bike runs very hot with the catalyst tucked in the center of the frame roasting the shock and surrounding brake lines and ABS harness.  Fan turns on pretty frequently at low speed
  • Backlit switch gear is a nice touch, but the gauge cluster is hard to read and navigate
  • Mirrors are more useful than most sportbikes around
  • Looks a lot cooler than it sounds 

Not a great beginner bike due to the ergonomics and poor low speed fueling.  I get the feel the bike wakes up with a full exhaust and maybe a ECU reflash. We'll do a comparison with the new Yamaha YZF-R3 shortly, but suffice to say they have different target audiences.