KTM’s RC390 is the most fun entry level sportbike under 400cc you can find

The KTM RC 390 looks like the smaller version of the KTM 1190 RC8 R superbike we tested a year ago in Sepang International Circuit (SiC).


The concept of RC 390 is KTM’s entry-level sport bike. The RC390 gets stiffer and more upright front and rear ends and a resulting shorter wheelbase to sharpen up handling compared to the Duke 390, in which we raced it in the Duke Battle last year, in which our test rider got in the final battle in Sepang to race against top riders, but this time we got to test the RC 390 in a track day organized by CA Cycle Advance (Kajang) an authorised KTM dealer, in collaboration with KTM Malaysia CKD.DSC_0755 (Medium)

We raced the standard RC390 with actual RC390 owners who had modified their RC 390 with at least an exhaust slip-on. How did our rider do in the mock up race? 3rd in the podium, considering he launched of the starting grid last in the mock up race. We collected a cool pewter trophy courtesy of CA Cycle Advance. Actually this RC 390 will give you a RACER feel once you get on the bike and when you press the engine on button, on the LCD meter you will get the “Ready To Race” on the meter start-up.

The RC series gets the racy clip-on handlebars and, of course, all those cool fairings similar to the big brother RC8. The engine is 373cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder with six-speed manual transmission. The result is the sportiest looking sport bike in the entry-level class.

 KTM RC 390 Corners!

The KTM RC 390 corners better than anything in the class, as the front WP suspension is 43mm upside down fork (USD) and WP rear suspension will give the rider the “feel” on track or even when your just sliding on your knee sliders. Its agile and nimble, with better torque, you can gas the throttle without any problem out of the corners. DSC_8409 (Medium)

Sunday 6.30am, 26th July, we pack our racing suits to go for the ultimate track test in the Sepang Go-Cart Circuit, we were so excited! Reached SIC Cart tack, we even registered 1s,, after registration went straight to KTM truck and pick out the RC390, after getting the RC, we asked CA guys to dismantle the front mirror (that the only thing plus the rear mudguard plate holder we dislike about the RC series) but never the less the RC390 stands out, and took out the passenger foot peg

We took the RC 390 for a 15minutes practise session, to get us familiar with the bike and the track. In the  practise sessions, we just hang off the side of the seat and keep steering, twisting the torquey throttle as I approached the apex and powering out with ease seemingly no matter where you are on the track. Pop-pop-pop goes the fuel-injected four-stroke DOHC counterbalanced single-cylinder. Unlike competitors in the class, that poppity-pop-pop sound doesn’t smooth out quite as much on the KTM when you hit higher revs. And you will hit them — all the way up to the bike’s 10,000-rpm redline. In general, it likes to stay above 9,000 rpm when underway, but it doesn’t complain at lower revs. In fact, you can engage the clutch and start off just above idle and do it smoothly and without any hesitation from the engine. The 43 peak hp is listed at 9,500 rpm and peak torque of 23 lb-ft comes at 7,250. So it pays to rev it. Top speed is over 160 km/h. Let’s say, in theory, a rider could easily tuck behind the windscreen and hit 175 km/h on the open road. It could be higher if not for the restriction on the standard RC390.


The bike had a lot more performance than we were able to wring out of it. The gauges are on a nice LCD screen that includes gear position, coolant temp, fuel gauge and a tach, along with a bright red shift-up light. The LCD is tough to read, though, particularly the horizontal tachometer. You can’t see the little 4, 5 or 6 on the tach readout, but in a race, you wont pay attention.DSC_6216 (Medium) DSC_7977 (Medium)

The seat height is the highest of the bikes in the class at 82 cm — no problem for me although, I do tip toe, but shorter riders should make sure it’s a comfortable fit. The seat was also pretty firm, firmest in the class, but it didn’t wear us out. I like the rear seat design like a race single seater, but it’s a hard gel like SEAT. This innovation in the back seat is first of its kind I seen on a sports bike. KTM guys say the foot peg been raised up but I still scrape the pegs in turn 5 of the go-cart track and the last high-speed bend before the start-finish line. Recommended to change to KTM PowerPart racing foot peg for track junkies or serious track riders.

The KTM RC 390 weighs just 154kg.

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We even got a cute umbrella gal at the start-finish line for the mock up race.

Do I want it? I have Tracked it, Raced it, and tested it on the streets, for sure I want one in my garage!!!!!……… If my wife lets me have another bike!

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The KTM may have a slight advantage in the fun department. It has the biggest, most powerful engine and the lowest weight, and may be the best-handling. You decide the latter. While you could outgrow the competition quickly as you got the hang of motorcycling, you could conceivably hang onto this thing a lot longer, maybe forever, and still have a fun time.

At RM27,500, it costs a little more than the competition but you get more power. The RC 390 is good choice if you want a fast zappy ride to KL city on Friday afternoon traffic. You will be happy with sport-bike fun. We recommend the KTM RC 390, for fun or serious track action!