Lightweight Rippers: 2019 KTM 390 Duke vs. 2019 Kawasaki Z400

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By Troy Siahaan

KTM has changed the way we look at small-displacement naked bikes with the 390 Duke. No longer is it just a learning tool for new or inexperienced riders, but now, no matter who you are, if you can’t find a way to have an ear-to-ear grin riding the baby Duke, you probably don’t have a pulse. If it’s not clear by now, we love the 390 Duke around here – its 373cc Single is anything but boring, it handles surprisingly well, and its looks are sharp enough to convince you to park it where everyone can see.

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Fortunately, KTM aren’t the only ones playing in the small-displacement, naked bike field. BMW also has a contender with the G310R, but when we put it up against the KTM it simply fell short. For starters, its 313cc Single just couldn’t keep up, its smaller engine producing 31.5 horses compared to the Duke’s 39.1 hp. Its 19.3 lb-ft also couldn’t compete with the Duke’s 23.6 lb-ft. We found the BMW a little more comfortable commuting and while doing more mundane things, but once the roads got fun, the KTM displayed its dominance.

On paper, the Kawasaki Z400 has the right ingredients to give our beloved KTM 390 Duke a run for its money.

A Rival From Japan

Enter now the Kawasaki Z400. Making its debut earlier this year, Johnny-Boy Burns got to shake one out for a First Ride Review, where he liked it a lot – but didn’t love it. The engine makes enough grunt to challenge the KTM, and it both handles and stops well enough. Plus it’s cheap, coming in at $4,799 with ABS. Not exactly a glowing review, but not …read more

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