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March 16th, 2017

Today morning I got out of bed at an unexpectedly early hour to catch up with a friend who wouldn’t stop harping about his love for early morning soft light and how it is the best time to shoot. Not that I disagree with him but given a choice between catching sleep or snapping, the dice won’t roll in the latter’s favour. Never mind then. So here we were wandering around the B-roads that ribbon around a nearby lake, but then it was neither the gleaming water body or the surrounding hills in golden shine that enamoured either of us with our cameras. Growing restless, we stopped by a road side shack for some warm chai but even before we got out of the car we saw this guy riding hooning past us on a shiny new orange machine in the fading colours of the “photographer’s golden light”. He must be stopped, thought both us immediately as he was the perfect subject we were waiting to capture in our frames.

2017 KTM 390 Duke 2

It was our first time seeing the new orange machine with bright LED lights and DRLs integrated inside a completely re-designed headlight assembly.

We requested him to stop hooning and asked him his whereabouts. All we could understand that he was related to an a certain KTM Aadivenoo Motors, and had got the shiny new 2017 KTM 390 Duke out of the establishment for the very first time.

He spoke highly of this new machine, telling us that it has better torque, better brakes, better electronics than the 390 Duke that it succeeds. Not just that, he also fiddled around the the new controls to show us the vast array of information that can be at hand on the new TFT display. I guess we kind of drove him to the edge with our relentless questions about the new motorcycle and at one point he just got the motor running and zoomed straight over the crest up ahead, on one wheel. We thought we messed up one promising shoot. Just then we heard the distinctive KTM motor’s music coming again towards us. Without wasting time we pulled out our cameras and got ready to shoot and witness the all-new KTM 390 Duke getting hooned-on like we’ve never seen before.

2017 KTM 390 Duke 3

“She looks quite similar the bigger 1290 Duke”, the guy had said earlier. I could see how easy it’s to relate to that.

2017 KTM 390 Duke Wheelie

A little bit of clutch brings a lot of front end shenanigans, specially with the 10mm shorter wheelbase

2017 KTM 390 Duke Riding

“That’s a bolt-on rear subframe there… Hipsters, are you listening?”

2017 KTM 390 Duke Wheelie 2

“I wish this is how we all commute to work one day.”

2017 KTM 390 Duke 11

Oye! you lads gettin’ the shots or should I do that myself too?

2017 KTM 390 Duke Drifting

“So, Let me tell you about the moustache on my helmet.”

2017 KTM 390 Duke Turning

“Thankfully we have a bigger tank now, this would take care of those pesky fuel stops quite a bit.”

2017 KTM 390 Duke Turning 2

“It’s got better ground clearance too, so no more scraping when I’m doing my kiss-the-mirrors leans”

2017 KTM 390 Duke upclose

“Really, they should stop making smoke grenades. This is good enough.”

2017 KTM 390 Duke Cam Shot

Come on! I don’t have all day dammit… Keep shooting!

2017 KTM 390 Duke Ride

Ok, lets switch riding modes and calm it down a bit.

2017 KTM 390 Duke Rear

Leaving us with words of wisdom, the hooning guy began to leave with this little orange devil. We stayed back for a bit wondering how KTM could pour so much into one machine, yet keep it unbelievably approachable. To us, it all came together that the 2017 KTM 390 Duke is actually the most complete sub 400cc street naked package that’s currently out there, no matter in which part of the world you stay in.

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