It’s 2017 and that can only mean one thing for KTM enthusiasts in India – the wait for the new 390 Duke is close to an end. If reports are to be believed, India will become one of the first markets to get the new, upgraded machine when it launches around the wee end of the first quarter – time to drop whatever you’re doing, step outside, do a little side step and a slide, toe stand (if you’re a Michael Jackson fan) and in general just jump in joy and yell and scream and shout in glee!
Now we know that there are a number of current KTM 390 Duke owners who are looking at upgrading their soon-to-be older generation Dukes for the incoming model and why not? The new one is fresher looking, has LED headlamps, dual channel ABS, TFT instrument panel with smartphone connectivity, ride-by-wire, a conventional side-mounted exhaust and most importantly, a bigger, 13.4 litre fuel tank for that extra range! Also, it is said that all this will come in at only a marginal increase in cost over the current generation 390 Duke.
So it is safe to assume that there will be two scenarios in play some time soon – A. There will be a ton of used KTM 200 and 390 Dukes on sale in the market and B. There will be many current Duke owners (who can’t afford the new one for whatever reason) that will be looking at some sort of consolation with their own bikes. For both these situations here’s the perfect solution. We’ve picked out some of the best modified KTM Dukes from around the world to offer up some inspiration. Why? Well, it’s simple.
We all know that the Dukes are not only great value for money, but they have some really good performance in them too. If you can’t go in for the new generation machine, what better way than to spruce up and personalise your older generation machine! Do it yourself, or hit up one of the many custom design houses flourishing all over India, but one thing’s for certain – there’s no room for stock. Check these out and let us know which one’s your favourite!
Faaster Wheels ‘Marla’
This Blistering Blue (not Barnacles) bratstyled cafe racer is just what the doctor ordered. The base bike for Marla by Faaster Wheels is actually the Duke’s cousin – an RC 390 – but then once you strip the fairing off there isn’t too much of a difference between both the machines and since this article is all about inspiration for your own custom job, its inclusion is totally legit. It helps that the leather-clad wheelie-maniac in the pictures, Varad More is also the owner so he very distinctly knew what he wanted from his machine.
The striking shade of blue that you see, is a wrap job by masters of the trade WrapMeUp using a self-adhesive vinyl from Hexis. Starting off with an RC and stripping the bodywork means that Marla is 20kg lighter than the donor machine. Apart from the fairing, this was achieved by replacing the over-1kg rear sprocket with a bigger lightweight aluminium piece with 47 teeth that weighs in at just 486 grams! There’s a lightweight 786 gram Aerovoltz battery, a slipper clutch off the current 390 Duke and a PowerTRONIC plug-in performance ECU for more revs – all of that culminating in not only a super fast machine but also one that just wants to keep lifting its front wheels at every twist of the throttle!
The stark contrast between the blue metallic wrap job and the orange trellis in itself is so striking. The flat-plate headlamp unit and the thick belly pan which is essentially the lower half of the RC fairing adds even more raw visual aggression to Marla. In essence what Faaster Wheels has achieved here, is a streetfighter that harks back to the very way that streetfighters came into being – stripping full faired motorccycles and adding performance – who needs aerodynamics anyway.
Autologue Design ‘Chappie’
If you think you’ve seen this guy before, you’re right – remember the 2015 Neill Blomkamp directed Hollywood movie called Chappie? Pune-based Autologue Design’s rendition of the 390 Duke is based on the AI android from the movie that is capable of emotion and of downloading human consciousness (watch the movie and hit me up with questions later) and what a stellar job this build is! All the way from the design of individual components to fitting them in with the motorcycle and the super-awesome ‘paint job’, Autologue’s Chappie is truly one of the best character-based mod jobs we’ve ever seen.
This baby has been catching the attention of custom bike builders and enthusiasts all over the world and as far as unique custom jobs go, it doesn’t get any better than Chappie! If you want to see more, head over to Autologue Design’s Facebook page, or check out this lovely little (and rather emotional) film that Chappie featured in with motorcycling enthusiast and model Priyanka Kochhar (Bikewithgirl) – directed and shot by Ashwin Shukla.
Garage 57 ‘Silver Arrow’
This one comes in from one of the 390 Duke’s biggest markets – Colombia. Handcrafted by Garage 57 – a design house that is gaining popularity all over the world thanks to the genius of brother Esteban and Gustavo Pasquale, Silver Arrow was commissioned by apparel brand BOSI to grab attention at trade fairs and window displays alike. The resulting motorcycle looks nowhere close to a stock KTM Duke, yet retains the super-slick streetbike character (while adding very super motard-ish stance) and sits at an intersection of old school charm and modern technology.
The bodywork is all hand-bashed aluminium to keep the weight low and its street legal finish comes in by very neatly hiding the tail lamp and indicators in the one-piece rear end. The front rim has been downsized by half an inch and the alloy rims replaced with spoked units. The only visual KTM bit left in there is the headlamp sitting on a bracket that pays tribute to the trellis frame chassis. The exhaust is another great visual treat that is easy to miss – hand built from stainless steel and ending in very helicopter-style dual megaphone slip-ons.
Studio Motor ‘Duke Racer’
Classic cafe racer styling is what defines this black and white beauty from Studio Motor in Jakarta, Indonesia. The original bodywork is neatly replaced by a custom job that harks back to old British race machines. The tail replacement seems to have been the major job here with a completely custom sub frame made from a 1-inch seamless pipe and covered up with a minimalist tail section to match the width of the stock rear tyre. There are aftermarket head and tail lamps and a Rizoma clip-on handlebar with bar-end mirrors to further accentuate the cafe racer stance.
Rounding all that up is the pristine black paintjob with white overlays and millimetre-perfect pin striping – it all really brings the entire design to life. The stock engine breathes through a custom side-mounted exhaust that looks the part. While this particular build is based off a KTM 200 Duke from 2012, it’s easily achievable on a 390 as well (for obvious reasons) and will in fact fit in line with the bigger bike’s performance even more!
Studio Motor ‘Stout’
Here’s another one from Jakarta-based Studio Motor who also built the Duke Racer featured above. Unlike that one though, the ‘Stout’ is a pure and pure Scrambler built off modern technology. Based on a 2014 KTM 200 Duke, this one is more classic in its visual direction that modern, but blends so wonderfully well with the mechanical underlay of the Duke that we couldn’t help but keep zooming in to the pictures!
The fuel tank takes inspiration from classic BMW motorcycles and is combined with a very retro ribbed seat in brown leather. The silver finish tank gets highlighted by touches of orange and white and the old-school scrambler look is finished off with aftermarket chrome head and taillights as well that quintessential high-mounted scrambler exhaust and rear mud-guard combination. For those who haven’t noticed, the number plate was moved to the left side as well. Overall a simple mod job that has turned out superiorly!
Yuls Customs 390 Duke
Australian craftsmen of anodized aluminium and stainless steel for the Marine industry, Yuls Customs also has a great eye for motorcycles as this simple scrambler build for a customer clearly shows. Without being sexist, but to amplify the builder’s grasp of what is required by custom machines, we have to state that this motorcycle was built for a woman and adapted to suit her body type and specific needs. The result is a very old-school look coupled with all the bits that the owner liked in a stock Duke.
We’re hugely impressed with the shape of the tank that started out as a Honda unit but then got chopped and shut to suit the trellis frame, adding more capacity in the process. Then there’s that slick and almost-floating tail section covered in a neat diamond-pattern tan leather. The rake of the tail was further dropped to suit the height of its rider and the exhaust ends in a high-mounted stainless steel pipe. If you ask me, the only thing I’d change on this custom job is the headlamp – but that’s just personal opinion!
Bendita Macchina 390 Duke
The final entry on our list of inspiring custom 390 Dukes comes all the way from another major South American destination for small capacity KTMs – Brazil. Bendita Macchina is based in Sau Paulo and have managed to create a custom motorcycle that riles up a retro streetbike charm while managing to make otherwise unattractive (for the big bike crowd) small capacity machines more desirable. Simply looking at this machine throws me back into a nostalgic frenzy of Japanese naked street bikes with their grey-silver bodywork and blackened engines.
The entire build is simple, tasteful and minimal to the point of being superiorly attractive as well. To keep things linked to the donor KTM 390 Duke, apart from the mechanical obviousness of it all is the orange monoshock at the rear that really stands out against the duller bodywork and black engine. The straight-pipe exhaust is finished in black as well, as is the headlamp. Looking at this job from Bendita Macchina just proves that sometimes simplicity is just so gorgeous!
There you go – that should be inspiration enough to turn your KTM Dukes into some unique machines. There’s opportunity here and while we agree that the 2017 KTM 390 Duke will be quite a sight on the road, nothing beats a custom machine with modern, reliable technology underneath! Get creative folks!