KTM Duke 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 400: Single cylinder vs Double cylinder drag [Video]

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The KTM Duke 390 is scarily fast, and very affordable too. This combination has made it the king of Indian streets,  when it comes to traffic light GPs. The latest upstart in the high-performance motorcycle segment that’s still within  the reach of enthusiasts is the Kawasaki Ninja 400. The motorcycle was launched in India last year. And here’s a drag  race between the Duke 390 and the Ninja 400. Has the Duke finally met its match? Watch, to find out!

As the video clearly reveals, the Kawasaki Ninja 400 simply demolishes the KTM Duke 390 over multiple runs. What’s  also clear is that the KTM Duke 390’s low end torque gives it that initial push, which makes it keep its nose ahead  of the Ninja 400 for a few seconds before the top-end rush and extra displacement help the Ninja race past the Duke  390.

Now, for some numbers. The KTM Duke 390 clearly starts out with a displacement and power disadvantage. The  motorcycle’s 373cc, single cylinder engine puts out 43 Bhp-35 Nm, which is lower than that of the Kawasaki Ninja 400s 48 Bhp-38 Nm pumped out from a 399cc, parallel twin engine. While the Duke 390 makes its maximum torque at 7,000 rpm, peak torque of the Ninja 400 comes in at 8,000 rpm.

KTM Duke 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 400: Single cylinder vs Double cylinder drag [Video]

While the KTM Duke 390’s engine has the rev limiter kicking in at 10,500 rpm, Kawasaki has allowed the Ninja 400 to  rev right up to 13,000 rpm. This allows the Ninja 400 rider to stay in a single gear for longer, and this is critical  in a drag race as gear shifts – however rapid – do tend to lower times. The Duke 390 has one big advantage in its  arsenal though – kerb weight.

At 154 kilograms dry, it’s nearly 20 kilos lighter than the Ninja 400. In this  particular drag race, the Duke’s combined weight is about 220 kilograms including the rider while that of the Ninja 400 is about 260 kilograms. So, that’s a massive 40 kilo difference that more or less negates the higher power and torque advantage of the Ninja 400.

So what makes the Ninja 400 faster despite being evenly matched?

1. The ability to stay in a single gear for longer thanks to the higher rev limit is simply the factor that seals the  deal, or rather drag, for the Ninja 400, helping it win.

2. Age. The Kawasaki Ninja 400 used in this drag race is brand new. The KTM Duke 390 is 5 years old, and this more or less blunts it performance slightly. The newer Duke 390, with 37 Nm of torque on tap, is likely to run the Ninja 400
much closer.

Which motorcycle is better for the street?

The KTM Duke 390. Yes, the motorcycle is slightly slower than the Ninja 400 when it comes to an outright drag race, and even in terms of the top speed, it’s likely to be slower. However, what really matters on the street is not the ability to rev really high but to stay light and nimble, and shoot through gaps that open up in traffic.

The Duke 390 really excels on this front and the Ninja 400 is more of a high speed highway bike that can do track days. As for pricing, the locally manufactured Duke 390 is priced at Rs. 2.43 lakhs, which is nearly half of the CKD import Ninja 400’s 4.69 lakh rupee price tag. The pricing makes it a no-brainer.