I first came across the news that there was a KTM branch in Nairobi on October 20, 2019. This was via a Facebook post on the popular African Motorcycle Diaries, a group with 30,000+ active members – the post mentioned that Duke 390s were on sale at enticing prices. From the information presented on the group’s Facebook page, I was able to glean the phone number of Mr. George Biju, the branch manager. I engaged in a WhatsApp conversation with him, and he duly supplied me with enough information that enabled me to make a quick decision to purchase the 390.
On the following day, a Sunday, I rode from Garissa (where I had gone days earlier on a family matter) all the way to Nairobi, nearly 400 km, to meet up in person with Mr. Biju. It was a weekend, but he made an effort to see me in person at his office at 2 pm. I saw a few Dukes that were in the showroom, sat on one of them, liked the feel, and decided to make a deposit the following day (October 22). I completed the entire payment for the bike on October 30.
Exactly two weeks after completing the payment for the bike, I picked it up, on November 14. I rode it directly home after picking it up. The 10 kilometers or so ride home really impressed me – the bike performed flawlessly. The following review is based on an ownership of the bike for the last 3,800 km.
My other bike is a 250cc dual-sport motorcycle, locally made in Kenya. I have struggled to ride it on highways. The Duke is the complete opposite on highways – with about 2.6 times more horsepower, the bike is able to comfortably take me as I cruise on the few expressways and highways in Kenya. On Boxing Day (December 26, 2019), I went on a 500 km riding trip with friends from a riding club, who were all riding big displacement BMW motorcycles. I was pleasantly surprised at how competent the Duke was, as it kept in tow with the monster machines.
I have been averaging about 29 kilometers per litre for the last six months. I have taken the bike on two long, out-of-city trips – one lasting 500 km. The bike gives me, on the TFT console, a range of about 380 km when fully fueled. It had had no problem with the fuel quality in Nairobi, which is a great plus for such a quality motorcycle.
The bike is well appointed when it comes to riding through the notoriously congested and poorly surfaced roads in the city of Nairobi. My normal commute is about 20 km in a day – and the Duke performs very well. One of the roads I ride through (Langata Road) is a multi-laned road, but the lanes are narrow, and filtering through traffic is not a breeze. However, on the other road I use in my daily commute (Mbagathi Way, also a dual carriageway), lane filtering is achieved with much ease. The bike picks up power with ease, which gives me a huge reservoir of power to draw on when needed – which is important in a city like Nairobi.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the quality of the braking systems in the bike. With ABS brakes, I have been able to get out of potentially tricky situations while riding in Nairobi. This has been one of the strong points for me, as it means a lot to me, given the abysmal driving culture in Nairobi. Most drivers in the city drive without a care for other road users, and having ABS on my brakes gives me a peace of mind.
Equally important is the expensive-looking multi-colour TFT console. This is easily the thing that attracts most attention from others. The information presented is very crucial - especially the amount of fuel remaining in the tank – which, at 13.5 litres, is enough to make me ride non-stop between Nairobi and Garissa (my rural home city). I have connected my phone to the TFT console, and I am able to see who is calling me directly from the console!
Also worth mentioning is that the Metzeler tyres are very much suited to riding through the pavement in Nairobi. I have seen improved riding grip on the road (compared to my other bike) even when riding through heavy rain (as it happened to me on three different occasions).
I have thoroughly enjoyed an excellent relationship with not only the sales part, but also the service and customer relations. The team there, led by Mr. Biju, had been very stellar in communicating and dealing with me. I have nothing but positive service experience with the team, which has made me go back for chitchats, even when I need no service!