Leaked Online: 2014 KTM RC390 — First Photos and Details

News -


2014 KTM RC390

Full specs, details and photos of the highly-anticipated 2014 KTM RC390 have leaked, two weeks ahead of its scheduled unveiling at EICMA. The tiny sportbike weighs just 324 lbs (without fuel) and makes 43 bhp from its 373.2cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder motor.

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be more excited about a small, light, legit sportbike that doesn’t sacrifice component quality in pursuit of an affordable price tag. Looking at the complete breakdown of this bike, that’s exactly what I see here. This is finally the light, simple, affordable, but still honest-to-god sporty bike enthusiasts have been waiting for.

2014 KTM RC390
2014 KTM RC390

Clockwise from top left:

1. KTM says: “The brand new bodywork, footrests and pedals not only provide a unique supersport look but also help the RC to master extreme cornering by allowing a greater leaning angle.

We say: Separating the color into vertical and horizontal planes is sleek and futuristic. The RC390 doesn’t look like RC8-lite, it looks better.

2. KTM says: “Equally lightweight as stable, the 17 in. orange painted cast light alloy wheels are fitted with grippy Metzeler tires – 110 mm wide at the front and an impressive 150 mm at the rear. The tires impress with tremendous grip in both wet and dry conditions, as well as providing supreme durability.”

We say: Radial performance tires on a lightweight performance bike, this thing is going to kick butt!

3. KTM says: “Fitting perfectly into the pure racing look the number plate holder rounds KTM’s high performance bike off.”

We say: Looks like that plate holder bolts right off.

4. KTM says: “Brand new twin headlight opens a new direction for KTM style and perfectly matches with the racing supersport look of the RC.”

We say: That is a futuristic, purposeful face. The more we see of it, the more we want to own an RC390.

5. KTM says: “The brand new forged aluminum triple clamps are eye-catchers and together with the clip on handlebars guarantee a pure supersport racing feeling.”

We say: Forged triple clamps?! No budget nastiness here.

6. KTM Says: “ABS is equipped as standard on every RC 390, ensuring maximum safe on any road condition. When taking the RC to the race track ABS is of course disengageable.”

We say: We love ABS brakes and, being able to switch them off for the track? Win, win. And just look at that swingarm!

7. KTM says: “The compact underbelly, three-chamber silencer is positioned close to the bike’s overall center of gravity. This aids the centralization of mass and prevents accidental contact with the rider’s and passenger’s legs.”

We say: Well, at least you can’t see it behind the fairing.

8. KTM says: “As a special feature the RC incorporates blinkers into mirrors structure, which not just looks very sporty but also contributes to the perfect aerodynamics.”

We say: Subtle and effective. Nicely done.

2014 KTM RC390
2014 KTM RC390


9. KTM says: “The state-of-the-art, liquid cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke 375 ccm engine with twin overhead camshafts, four valves and electronic fuel injection, already equipped in the Duke 390 provides outstanding power and thanks to the balancer shaft, delivers the highest level of smoothness. Because of the KTM-typical compact design with stacked transmission shafts the engine has an unbelievable low weight of 36 kg. Combine that with technical details like a forged piston, Nikasil-cylinder-coating and forced feed lubrication with power-promoting body-evacuation and you get an engine which provides a remarkable 44 hp. The engine is equipped with an electric starter powered by a 12V/6Ah battery.”

We say: Forged pistons, Nikasil liners, four-valves-per-cylinder, twin overhead cams? This ain’t no budget motor.

10. KTM says: “With a power/weight ratio of 0,2kW/kg RC390 is right at the limit of the new A2 driver´s license, making the new KTM RC390 the sportiest option for A2 riders.”

We say: KTM did a great job of building a bike to A2-specs without dumbing it down.

11. KTM says: “In order to make no compromises in terms of supersport look the KTM engineers integrated the pillion seat into the bodywork lines so that it looks like a real racing bike tail, but ensuring excellent comfort for the passenger.”

We say: The entire top of the seat is a nice-looking, heavily contoured pillion pad. Its thick, rubber-like material mimics the look of plastic bodywork. An epic solution for monoposto looks with biposto functionality.

12. KTM says: “KTM developed in cooperation with Brembo a powerful and easy to control brake-system which allows the rider to be always in control of the RC. A four piston radially bolted caliper in combination with a single brake disk (300mm diameter) in the front and a single piston floating caliper with a single brake disk (230 mm diameter) for the rear wheel guarantee excellent braking response even under the most extreme conditions.”

We say: We’re used to seeing a little more bling on KTM brake discs, but these Indian Brembo clones should still get the job done.

2014 KTM RC390 specs
2014 KTM RC390 specs


Light, short, sharp and relatively high-spec, the only remaining question is going to be the price. Would you buy an RC390 for $6,000 to $7,000?

Related Links:
Kawasaki’s Competition: Kawasaki Ninja 300 Review
Honda’s Competition: Honda CBR500R Review
What else is coming next year? 2013 EICMA Preview

  • Theodore P Smart

    those clutzy Canadian webmasters… well done, eh?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Don’t believe stuff you read elsewhere, most motorcycle content on the Internet is an extremely poor mix of plagiarism, repetition and ill-informed nonsense. This leak came straight from Austria.

      • Theodore P Smart

        You’re probably correct — Canadian moto-manufacturer sites NEVER list HP numbers

  • APG7

    This looks amazing. I’d totally spend that much on one.

  • kaze919

    Thats honda CBR500 money no?

    I’d go with this persionally.

    • http://protomech.wordpress.com/ protomech

      Yep. CBR500R ABS is $6500.

      This looks pretty awesome. ~154 kg with fuel vs 192 kg for the CBR500R, similar power, better components.

  • Jeremy

    Finally a high spec sensibly-sized sport bike option. Can’t wait.

  • Sasha K-S

    Wow. Do want. Would be wonderful to complement my higher displacement sport touring bike.

  • Nishant Sukharia

    Perfect bike for guys like me who look for an economical yet sporty bike, especially in India.
    Can’t wait for this one !!! First the Duke 390 & now this. KTM sure is on fire.


      Me too, Can’t thank Bajaj enough for bringing KTM to India!

  • Michael

    sign me up

  • Bret Prins

    $6000? Yah that’s pretty much a no brainer!

  • ryd

    How soon can I put a down payment? I was going to get the cbr500, the the 390 duke, then even thought about the new cbr300. But this, this my friends is a win.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      If you’re in America, you might have to wait a couple of years. KTM USA is anything but organized or efficient and they don’t really care about you.

      • Braden

        No kidding. Desperately wanted a new Duke 690 for the past few months. Nearest dealer was four hours away but I was willing to deal with that. Wouldn’t discuss price, hesitant to provide test ride, and couldn’t give a firm time on when they would get another in stock. Eventually gave up entirely and got something else.

        • Jonathan Berndt

          oh ye of little faith. the wait is worth it!

          • Braden

            I bet! On paper it sounds amazing, and the reviews were spot on for what I was looking for in a bike. The aggressive and borderline malicious response of indifference was what killed it for me. It didn’t help when I called my local offroad sales only KTM dealer to ask a few questions about parts availability and they acted like I started questioning them about religion.

            • Reid

              I’m really sorry you had such a negative experience with your closest KTM dealer, Braden. My nearest place (all of 25 minutes away) couldn’t have been more helpful and had the best price by far, and I was looking at a trip to Orlando, which is a good 6 or 7 hours’ drive from the Florida Panhandle to get there. Like Jonathan said, the bike is utterly fantastic though. It is far and away one of the great unsung heroes on sale today, even if availability and the price make it more than slightly non-competitive with other more easy-to-find bikes out there.

      • ryd

        GREAT! Now I’ll NEVER have a bike I actually really want as bad as this one :(

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          It’s supposed to. But as for when and how much, it’s anybody’s guess.

          • Justin

            I imagine the RC390 will be a global bike for KTM, released ASAP in most global markets, in Europe, India, SE Asia, south america….whether or not they will see America’s obsession with engine size as a stumbling block to US sales is another question…

      • SteveNextDoor

        So Ewan and Charley aren’t the only ones getting snubbed by KTM it would seem.

  • pdad13

    Best looking KTM in a long time. Seems like they did a tremendous job on this bike. If the asking price is reasonable, I could see myself adding one to the garage.

    And about the pillion seat, I’ve often wondered why this wasn’t done before. My assumption is that the manufacturers want you to drop some extra dough on a seat cowl and color matching would be difficult, unless the bikes were styled with a black tail. Kudos to KTM for doing this. A small thing but telling, too.

  • ben kester

    Just give me the duke already! I like this too btw

  • Thomas Høj Jørgensen


  • Justin McClintock

    Honestly, I’m more of a Duke kinda person. That said, this thing is very impressive. If that $6K-$7K number is right, it’ll sell, and well. I hope it does.

  • ThinkingInImages

    Yes, I’d buy a RC390 in that price range. It’s not quite in the same category as any other motorcycle under 500cc. I think we may have to redefine “supersport” to mean high power to weight ratio and high overall performance. I would categorize the small CBR’s and Ninja’s as “sport”.

    • Mugget

      That’s what supersport has always meant…

      KTM only refer to the RC390 as “supersport” in the looks and feel (much moreso in the looks department). You can still have the look & feel without the overall performance. I don’t think anyone is going to confuse it’s performance with that of a 600cc supersports bike.

  • runnermatt

    Awesome bike, with all those specs I would expect a price closer to $9k or $10k. Looks awesome. I love the headlight and the exposed orange frame. Something else that isn’t normally seen is the single front brake mounted on the left side of the front wheel, instead of the normal right side. By mounting it on the left it means you can see the gorgeous wheel when the bike is parked and on its side stand. (Something that has kinda always bothered me is that a bike will come with beautiful wheels that you can’t see because the brake disks are covering them up. Kinda makes one ask, “Why bother making the wheels look good?”)

    • Nishant Sukharia

      couldn’t agree with you more

  • Dustin

    I’d buy this tomorrow if it was available in the US. Perhaps in 2016 :/

  • TheSeaward

    All my pleading emails are starting to pay off. Send it over now please. I’d definitely pay $7000 for this. Hopefully they realize the audience for this and offer good track-oriented parts to go with it.

  • karlInSanDiego

    I’m not convinced a single is the best motor for this formula. A motor’s rhythm, vibes, sonic changes as you rev it, and of course the torque, are all central to the character. Mess that up and you get the cheap feeling power delivery of the 1st gen Ninja 250. Who’s test ridden this engine, and what is it comparable to?

    • kaze919

      Hasn’t KTM been making singles for a long time? I think they’ll have nailed it by now.

      • karlInSanDiego

        Sorry, I’m not questioning if a company known for dirtbikes and Dakar bikes has built a good engine. I’m questioning how a junior supersport lookalike will feel with a dirtbike thumper engine. Descriptors like “forced feed lubrication” and “complete with electric starter” make it sound like this a low tech motor that will feel agricultural and let the rest of the bike down in feel and racer rep aura. Although they could mean electric start in lieu of an external electric starter or rollers, or the true 50′s GP experience of push starting. I think that line is to brag that you won’t have to kick start this iteration of the engine, which is more than offputting on a 2013 race rep. Anyway, eventually folks who review these bikes will ride it and it shouldn’t take long for them to state that either a twin or triple is much better suited to the race feel of the chassis, or they’ll remark that they can’t believe the Norton Manx was the last great single cylinder race bike.

        • Reid

          If this 373cc LC4 is anything like its big brother then prospective buyers have nothing to worry about. It only feels “agricultural” in the best way possible – that is, they pull like a freaking tractor and sound mean as a snake with the right pipes.

        • ThinkingInImages

          A single is what makes it unique and is one of the main attractions for me. There’s no excess to this motorcycle. It’s purely form follows function.

    • Mugget

      There are entire race series based around this exact formula – literally they take a 450cc 4T dirt bike and convert it into a sportsbike with new geometry, 17″ wheels and fairings.

      That makes for a very appealing track bike (low running & maintenance costs), or cheap racing if that is more your speed. Those type of bikes lap very close to 600/1000s (within 2 seconds or less IIRC).

  • Stuki

    Nice. 110/150s radials are available all over in great tires, unlike the CBR,ZX competition.

    No slipper clutch, on a high compression single that will be downshifted hard on the brakes with all weight on the front….

    If the suspension is good, for 6-7000 it seems as a nobrainer. <53 inch wheelbase, yet still a normal height seat and size, should mean flickabilly, without having ergos solely for pro jockeys. And race fleets everywhere pretty soon, contested by regular guys.

  • Caleb

    It’s nice compared to the current competition. If only somebody would build a bike similar to the 4 cyl 250/400′s of the 1990′s (CBR250RR, ZXR250, RVF400). Fully adjustable suspension front and rear, twin disks up front, 20krpm redline, sporty ergos and virtually unmatched handling capabilities.

    I’m sure they would sell like wildfire considering how high the demand is in countries where there are restrictions for new riders, despite being ‘clapped out’ 20 yr old machines. I think a lot of people would be willing to pay the premium price for a new one. My 1993 ZXR makes the ninja250/300 and especially the CBR look silly at track days. Way better power, breaking and handling, not to mention just a lot more fun. It’s actually a real sportbike. It will be interesting to see how the RC390 stacks up.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Such a bike would cost MORE than a new 600 supersport. Costs don’t go down due to smaller holes and lower sales volume would lead to higher pricing for the consumer.

      • Caleb

        I understand what you’re saying. In Australia cbr250rr’s are still very much in demand and sell for almost as much as a ’05-06 600 supersport if they’re in good nick. RVF400′s in good condition sell for more than most 600′s over a few years old.
        Here we have 3 years of restricted licensing so many are people quite happy to fork out top dollar for them, as they see them as a long term purchase which holds its value really well. It would make no sense in the US, but many other countries have restriction periods too, and let’s not forget the market for small bikes in Asia. There’s definitely potential.

      • Denis Wood

        I have been waiting, hoping like most people on this forum that this was not just another concept. Finally it did make it into production & I couldn’t be happier. I love the bike but is it just me who thinks they could have done a better job on the headlights? Maybe it’s not so much the headlights, more so the way the headlight bracket sticks out at the front. Has anybody else noticed that? Don’t get me wrong, It’s not enough to stop me from buying one I just think they could have done better.

    • Piglet2010

      I wish I could buy something such as this at my Honda dealer: http://www.pistoncar.com/images/honda-cbr400rr-04.jpg

      Especially since it is not ugly like the current Transformers inspired bikes.

  • Reid

    This is really, really incredible, just as I knew it would be. I lucked out in such a big way by having a Victory/KTM shop be the nearest dealer within 60 miles. This bike ALMOST makes me wish I’d gotten some podunk standby bike instead of getting the Duke, but I did want more of a standard-type bike rather than a full-on sport machine. However, for riders who want that kind of a scoot I’m sure this will be the absolute ticket at $6k-$7k. Maybe one day down the road I’ll have one of these as a second bike :)

    The only thing that kind of bugs me is that KTM has, in a way, worked themselves into a hole with this bike. They don’t have a medium-capacity engine to slot between the RC390 and the RC8. The 690cc LC4 is a fine engine and lightyears ahead of any other single on the market, but it will still be eaten alive by any three or four-cylinder bike with a capacity of 600cc or more. Beyond that, the RC390 selling for between $6k and $7k makes it a standout among performance bikes due to its low weight, good looks, good fuel economy, robust engine, etc. – but a hypothetical RC690 would probably be pushing $10k. I practically stole my Duke at $9k and change after taxes and I’m not too much of a fanboy to admit that it’s really too expensive for what you get in terms of outright performance (if the Duke hadn’t been the exact bike I wanted AND the nearest dealership of any kind to me). There’s only so much you can do with one cylinder, afterall. Still, this RC390 will demolish everything other than 600cc supersport machines. I predict it will, for all intents and purposes, make the sport-bike-look-alikes of the world (Honda CB500R, CB250R, Kawasaki Ninja 650 and Ninja 300) entirely irrelevant in spit of the increased cost.

    • Piglet2010

      A hypothetical RC7 with a 724cc twin would be super-sport legal and competitive on the track.

    • Mugget

      True, only so much you can do with one cylinder. But there’s still advantages – much less maintenance, easier on tyres (lower running cost), lighter weight… there are people who’ve built the 690 into sportbikes/track bikes and I don’t think any of them regret it (if they do, they’re hiding it really well)!

      But you’ve got to wonder if an RC690 is really viable… I mean they’re already a fairly niche sort of bike (all KTMs that is). It takes a certain kind of person to recognize the fun potential of such a bike. Unlike the Super Duke 1290 which is pretty much guaranteed wild fun every time you do something as simple as twist the throttle.

      • Reid

        I think an RC690 would be a great bike to ride, it’s just that the 690 Duke is already close to $9k before taxes and I don’t think there are too many people who would pay $10k plus for a bike with a single cylinder that will be destroyed on the track and on the street by multi-cylinder machines with less or nearly equal displacement that nevertheless cost the same amount, if not less.

  • chad west

    I would buy one but my question is how much would the insurance be. Would it be more because its European? Plus im preatty sure here in NYC it would be gone a month. But seeing one on the street will kill me if i dont get it

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      If you’re in New York, and don’t have a garage, keep yours at one of the garage shares like Works Engineering on N14th in Brooklyn. That’s what we did.

      • chad west

        Thank i didnt think of that. Now i gotta find one in queens

        • ThinkingInImages

          Wes: you were in NYC?

          Chad, it wouldn’t be gone in a month. After it got backed over, nobody would want it.

          • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

            I lived in Brooklyn until two years ago. Williamsburg, then Carroll Gardens.

  • http://garrett-nelson.tumblr.com/ Garrett Nelson

    This is going to make of an awesome track bike. I probably won’t fit on one because I’m a giant, but I’d love to try. The guys on ninja 250′s always look like they’re having a blast on track. It’s going to be cool to have more options in that market, especially one thats a bit higher speck then the ninja 250.

  • tobykeller

    According to our local dealer they’re making a 200cc version too, though that one is likely Asia-only

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      125 and 200 versions, as per the Duke. The 125 is predominantly for learners in Europe and the 200 is for southeast asia and other developing markets. We won’t be seeing either here.

  • Aakash

    I’d be interested in buying ANY KTM if they didn’t look like a magnet thats just stepped out of a parts junkyard.

  • Dave Day

    I WAS very excited bout this. Then it hit me that this has less power than my SV650 and I certainly don’t want less power when doing track days. Also, I don’t think WERA or CCS has a class that this bike would be competitive in. I’d love to see a 690 version.

  • Gonfern

    id like a 690 version of this as well. looks killer.

    • Mugget

      Hopefully they’re getting closer to this! It makes sense, much lower maintenance on 1 cylinder compared to 4, less weight… still good performance. I never heard anyone call the 690 boring!

  • BobbiJane

    Why can’t Ducati do something like this?!! I’d kill to have a baby Ducati ;(