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  • Sachin Sen

2024 KTM Single-Cylinder Dukes: The Super Dukes of the Beginner Class

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

2024 KTM 390 Duke, 250 Duke, and 125 Duke
Sharper, edgier, and supposedly better than before - 2024 KTM single-cylinder Dukes

The 2024 models of the KTM 390 Duke, 250 Duke, and the 125 Duke have been unveiled internationally. We, here in India, are looking forward to the launch of several new motorcycles lately, namely from Hero MotoCorp, TVS, and Royal Enfield as the dates for their respective launches have already been announced. And so, this unveiling of the new smaller Dukes comes as a nice surprise. However, their India launch is yet to be announced, but I believe that should be within a month’s time now.

All-new 2024 KTM 390 Duke

2024 KTM 390 Duke, 250 Duke, and 125 Duke
The 2024 KTM 390 Duke receives maximum updates besides being an all-new motorcycle in itself.

This is such a major departure from the outgoing model that it isn’t really an update, in fact, the 2024 390 Duke is an all-new motorcycle featuring an all-new design, engine, chassis, wheels, brakes, and suspension.

There is literally nothing that is carried over from the outgoing 390 Duke the new model replaces. The new Duke features an all-new LC4c (smaller ‘c’ indicates ‘compact’) single-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, liquid-cooled engine which is said to be lighter than before. It is now 398.7cc (up from 373cc) and produces a slightly higher 44.8 PS of power and 39 NM of torque, featuring an optimised cylinder head.

According to KTM, the new engine improves overall drivability across the entire rev-range for smoother acceleration than before, which is an extremely welcome change compared to the previous 373cc engine. Additionally, the gearbox has also been optimised for improved feel and overall functionality. If the new engine delivers a more tractable feel, it would be a phenomenal improvement as far as I am concerned, because the power has never been the 390’s problem. The new engine is Euro 5.2 compliant (which should mean that it adheres to the OBD2 compliance). This applies to the 250 Duke and the 125 Duke as well.

2024 KTM 390 Duke, 250 Duke, and 125 Duke
More Super Duke-y than ever before - the 2024 KTM 390 Duke

Ride by Wire continues to be the way to operate the throttle, and now there two riding modes - Street and Rain, and then there's a Track mode which changes the display on the new 5-inch TFT screen to prominently highlight the tachometer. The Track mode also provides the launch control.

Besides this, visually the most notable change is the design. The new 390 Duke closely resembles the flagship 1290 Super Duke R. Personally speaking, the 2024 model is visually the most aggressive it has ever been, and it appears to be as impactful in its class as the larger Super Duke is in its segment.

Everything is designed to appear more aggressive and sportier than before. The headlight assembly is sharper with the DRLs now integrated into the panel that surrounds the headlight. The fuel tank extensions are longer and more prominent than before. The tank itself is new along with the completely redesigned tail section.

The styling is as edgy as it can get in the typical KTM style, which is clearly not everyone’s cup of tea. As far as this segment is concerned, the 2024 390 Duke’s design is the loudest yet. And I must also mention exclusively that so far in the pictures and the videos, this is the most premium-looking and upmarket 390 Duke.

Then, there is the entirely new chassis. The frame continues to be steel trellis but it’s new, and for the first time ever in the smaller Duke lineup, the subframe is made of pressurised die-cast aluminium for lightness. The swing-arm is aluminium as well like before, but it’s a different unit with a curved design to accommodate the new exhaust system and the repositioned rear shocker. An additional benefit of the curved design should be the enhanced road grip at the rear.

The front and rear suspensions are also new. At the front, there’s a pair of 43 mm WP Apex open cartridge forks that are adjustable for rebound and compression. At the back, there’s a new WP Apex split piston rear shocker adjustable for rebound and preload. Also, the rear shocker is positioned offset and mounted horizontally (this is done specifically to accommodate the larger airbox).

The five-spoke wheels are also new that are lighter than before, along with the new hubless 320 mm front disc brake. Together, they bring down the unsprung weight to enhance flickability and overall handling dynamics. This will also improve the braking performance because the brake pads will be dealing with the lighter disc and wheels. And exclusively for the 390 Duke, there's cornering ABS. Also, there’s a Supermoto ABS mode (which turns off the ABS at the rear wheel) provided to all the three 2024 Dukes.

2024 KTM 250 Duke

2024 KTM 390 Duke, 250 Duke, and 125 Duke
An all-new SOHC engine that is lighter and comes with Ride by Wire

The 2024 250 Duke is also equally brand new and away from the model it replaces. The 250 Duke, in particular, is a market specific motorcycle unavailable in Europe. But here in India, it forms an important part of KTM’s lineup.

This time though, the changes and differences between the 250 and the 390 Duke are more pronounced. In the outgoing models, the 250 Duke’s engine is merely a scaled down version of the 390 Duke’s unit. This is clearly indicated in the similarity between the head and the gearbox cases of the two engines.

This isn’t the case with the newest Dukes. Mechanically, the 2024 250 Duke has gone from a DOHC head to a SOHC head. With one overhead camshaft less, the new engine is lighter and more compact than before. For any motorcycle engine, reduced weight is critical for performance. Also, the new engine makes slightly more power and torque at 31.2 PS and 25 NM, respectively. And this time, it gets a new Ride by Wire system. Visually too, the 250’s head and gearbox covers are entirely different from the 390’s. So, a new, lighter engine, and more power and torque - perfect!

2024 KTM 390 Duke, 250 Duke, and 125 Duke
All three Dukes get an all-new chassis, including the pressurized die-cast aluminium subframe for lightness.

The bodywork further differentiates between the two motorcycles this time around. While the 250 Duke mostly looks identical to the 390 Duke, the 250’s tank extensions are slimmer and appear very slightly sharper. Also, the 250’s headlight has the typical bodywork surrounding it, unlike the 390’s which has the DRLs integrated into it.

The new frame, subframe, and the curved swing-arm are absolutely the same though. And while the 250 Duke gets a pair of 43 mm WP Apex open cartridge upside-down forks at the front, they are non-adjustable. The rear WP Apex emulsion monoshock is also only preload adjustable, like it usually is.

Another good thing about the new 390, 250, and the 125 Dukes is that, besides sharing the chassis and the swing-arm, the wheels and the braking package is also the same across the three motorcycles - new five-spoke wheels and the hubless 320 mm front disc brake with four-piston radially mounted callipers and a 240 mm rear disc with two-piston callipers. This whole package is lighter than before.

2024 KTM 125 Duke

2024 KTM 390 Duke, 250 Duke, and 125 Duke
Like the 250 Duke, the 125 Duke gets a new SOHC engine with Ride by Wire.

When it comes to the similarities and the differences between the three motorcycles, the 125 Duke and the 250 Duke are more similar. The entire headlight assembly and the fuel tank extensions are completely identical between the motorcycles, while the rest of the design and the overall styling is the same across all three bikes.

Like the 250 Duke, the 125 Duke also gets a new LC4c 125cc engine. It is also a SOHC unit with Ride by Wire, 4-valve, liquid-cooling, and makes 14.9 PS of power and 11.5 NM of torque. This new 125cc engine is also visibly similar to the 250 Duke’s unit, and it is possible that the 125cc engine is a derivative of the 250’s. But right now, I am only speculating given the mechanical and visual similarities between the two engines.

2024 KTM 390 Duke, 250 Duke, and 125 Duke
All three Dukes get new lighter five-spoke wheels along with hubless disc brakes.

On the contrary, previously, the 250’s engine was a derivative of the 390’s unit, and the 125 Duke and the 200 Duke were similar as well. This time, the 390 Duke’s engine is different from the 250 and the 125 Dukes that appear similar. Most likely, if or when the 200 Duke gets launched in India, its engine will be based on the 250/125 Dukes'.

Other than this, the 125 Duke shares the same chassis, wheels, and brakes as the other two Dukes. Its suspension package is exactly the same as the 250 Duke as well.

We are now waiting for these 2024 all-new motorcycles to get launched in India, which should be quite near after this international reveal. We are hoping to ride these bikes as soon as they are here and see how different and better they are than their previous versions.


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