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I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

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    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review


    Well, I never thought I'd have another street bike, but here we are. I've been oggling this bike since it came out. I only had room for one bike in Boston. I balked a bit at the price of a fully set up track version of the RC390. Control riding for TTD, having the 675 was a huge plus. Plus, I felt like I had "graduated" to getting a middleweight around the track safely while "using all the power" and was going to damn well enjoy it. So those are all the reasons I never got an RC390.

    Fast forward to now. Probably sound like a broken record, but for those of you that don't know me personally, or didn't follow my van build thread, I took a job in San Francisco and moved a little under 2 weeks go. I had planned on getting a scooter, but once I tested out my commute on public transport I HAD to fast forward the process. If you were to drive it, its 5.5 miles. Via busses, its more like 8 miles and even at 6am it takes over an hour. Closer to 1.5 hours on the way home in rush hour. I also learned that the parking garage next to my office is $6 a day for motorcycles and I get $200 a month in transit credit from work. All that being said, I went to the local dealership that carries scoots and KTMs to get a lay of the land and the rules.

    In Boston, if you had a 50cc scooter you owned the place. No registration, no insurance, park on the sidewalk, treat it like a bicycle. The internet said that wasn't the case in SF. Then again, the internet doesn't say you can do it in Boston either, but you can. Also pointing out that parking a motorcycle in Boston sucks. After chatting at the shop, you can't cheat the scooter rules in SF like you can in Boston. First off, you kinda need something bigger than a 50 cause of the hills, even more so if you want to take a passenger. Whether or not you have a 50 or anything bigger, you need a motorcycle license, license plate, and insurance in SF. However, my time here has proven that parking motorcycles in SF is much easier as there is moto parking everywhere. You can also legally filter through at traffic lights.

    It was decided, I was getting an RC390. It would be my little commute cruiser and I could also keep my track habit in check, with some pretty amazing tracks all within 2 hours of the city. I emailed all the dealerships for their best price OTD, told them straight up I was asking everyone in the area and going with the best price. I got all the responses. Most were MSRP of $5,500 which was a touch over $7k OTD. K and B Motorsports in Petaluma gave me a price of $5,300 out the door for a 2018. I went and picked it up the next day. Wrote a check for $5,300 and walked out with a registered motorcycle with temporary tags (official plates would be mailed to me). They also cut me 25% off on parts and free install, so I had them add in the pretty trick KTM wheel lock that attaches to the front brake and stays on the bike. You just slide a pin in and out of it. I also had them add on the KTM and California approved Akroprovic slip on. I bought a cover with alarm on Amazon.

    This thing CANNOT BE TOUCHED in the city. Its basically an oversized scooter. I can flat foot it. Its light. Point to point, I cut the google maps suggested time in close to half.

    Power wise, my only comparison is my old CRF450 I raced at Loudon. I estimated that thing did close to 50hp. This bike is about 42 and a little bit heavier. Definitely doesn't have the same feeling my CRF did, which I miss a bit and I'm a bit sad about it to be honest. That said, it is BEYOND adequate for scooting around the city.

    On the highway, eh. It cruises at 75 pretty well, but the shift light is off and on at that speed.

    What is bugging me is that the engine has been cutting when I try to get back on the gas after coasting. Its kind of dangerous because it usually occurs when cruising into a red light with the clutch in, the light turns green before I stop, and I go to give it gas again to take off and it dies. If I come to a complete stop it does not die when I hit the gas. Any thoughts?

    It runs pretty hot in the city, but never into the red. The fans are on a lot and seem to do their job.

    I probably won't do much joy riding on it and keep it limited to mostly commuting and track days. That said, I'll need to stretch its legs eventually and will chime back in after I do. Not thrilled that it has Metzler tires, but a set of Rosso Corsas will last a lifetime on it.

    Will also chime in once I get it on the track.

    Overall impression, its a super great city bike and I'm hoping it rails the twisties. I expect big things on the track as the 2018 has a bigger front rotor, a slipper clutch, moved the exhaust to a sidemount (the original side exit was causing clearance issues) and I guess they worked out the geometry a bit since the original 2014s.

    It also turns heads like a mofo. Its very sexy.



    Thats all. I'm excited and will report back after some more testing.

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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 01-19-19 at 10:21 PM.
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    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    The tubular frame style has grown on me a bit. That is a good looking bike. The Akrapovic seals the deal.

    Snowstorm tonight, I'm a bit jealous.

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    Lifer
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Nice review. I've always been interested in those little 390's but never tried one.
    Do you gave any other small bore bike experience to compare it too? I love my little gsxr 400 but it sounds like it may be slightly better than the 390 on the highway. I can cruise at 75 all day with no issue. Top speed is 120 or so. It's a very comfy bike too.

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    I’m interested in seeing how you like it on the track. It doesn’t have adjustable suspension, right?
    Although being a real cyclist, you’re probably way closer to the weight spec than I am.
    I eyed the duke quite longingly for some time. I’ll definitely be keeping up with your ownership experience.

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    Member Mgiossi's Avatar
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Really like those bikes. Its another "do everything" bike. I would love to throw one around the track some day just to see what it could do. I imagine that frame is far stiffer then my spaghetti monster sv. Congratulations jay keep us up to date on how it does!

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Thanks folks. Ripped this thing out last night through the city, met with some friends, etc. Its so much fun up and down these hills!

    There is one important thing I forgot to note in my original post. Ergonomically speaking, it is very comfortable in stock trim. As aggressive as it looks, the bars are actually not too low and the seat is not too high. Some friends suggested the duke instead of the RC for street comfort. I entertained it for a bit, but I knew deep down I wouldn't be as happy with a Duke. However, this is actually a much more neutral position than I originally expected. I do want to caveat that I spend most of my time hunched over on a bicycles with a seat that is significantly higher than the handlebars, so YMMV with this one. Its less aggressive than my Daytona was, that's for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by boosten lebaron View Post
    Nice review. I've always been interested in those little 390's but never tried one.
    Do you gave any other small bore bike experience to compare it too? I love my little gsxr 400 but it sounds like it may be slightly better than the 390 on the highway. I can cruise at 75 all day with no issue. Top speed is 120 or so. It's a very comfy bike too.
    My only other little bike experience is with my CRF racer. It maxed out at 106 on the front straight at Loudon and got there before the start/finish line. I haven't pushed this little bike yet over 85. I originally noted that the shift light was flashing on/off around the 75mph mark which made me a little uncomfortable on a little single cylinder street bike. However, I was flipping through the manual this morning and learned that the shift light is automatically set for the first 1,000km at 6,500 RPMs in all gears. After 1,000km it turns off in 6th gear and you can adjust it for all other gears. This definitely puts me at ease. I just blew up my Triumph from it over revving...downtown NYST over wheelie hill. Talk about a pucker moment.

    My guess is that my first impression wasn't perfectly accurate and that the RC cruises better than I expected. Will update after some miles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chippertheripper View Post
    I’m interested in seeing how you like it on the track. It doesn’t have adjustable suspension, right?
    Although being a real cyclist, you’re probably way closer to the weight spec than I am.
    I eyed the duke quite longingly for some time. I’ll definitely be keeping up with your ownership experience.
    Only thing you can adjust is the rear preload, which is a progressive spring. I'm weighing in around 160 right now, which seems to be the sweet spot from most factories. I'd love to say I can give you a real opinion of the suspension from the road, but you're right, I won't be able to do it until I get it on the track. My guess is that won't be for at least a few months. However, aftermarket for this bike is CHEAP. Cartridge kits and rear shocks are under $1k brand new for either end. $1500 will get you a really solid set-up front and rear set-up.

    I foresee that type of stuff in the future, but probably not until when (if?) I move back to Boston and this bike becomes a dedicated track bike. While I'm keeping this on the street, practicality and riding two-up are important.

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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 01-20-19 at 01:58 PM.
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    A riding buddy has the duke version as a summer commuter and loves it... claims up to 80mpg, great ergos and a ton of a fun with just the right amount of power.

    I almost moved to Silicon Valley late in 2017 and imagined unloading all my bikes in favor of some kind of Supermoto style commuter that could hit canyons & go for a bit of range, and also go for a trackday (was thinking 701 Enduro with SM wheels as a perfect kit). Lane splitting in CA is just the way bikes were meant to be ridden in over trafficked, tight areas like LA and SF.

    Really interesting to hear your dealer price responses, and goes to show you what the most populated riding community year round can demand with the $7k responses. My track friend landed an '18 RC390 model for $4600 OTD (no tax/registration tho) for track only purposes this past season so it seems comparable to your deal.

    I'm in the midst of 450 Supermoto building, but I am also considering a 300 displacement bike but am favoring the '19 R3.

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    So sick, Always thought these were such cool bikes for the money, Keep us posted on maintenance/reliability as you rack up some miles

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    What was the issue with the top end?


    [QUOTE=JettaJayGLS I originally noted that the shift light was flashingI just blew up my Triumph from it over revving...downtown NYST over wheelie hill. Talk about a pucker moment.

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    Last edited by Teamdineen; 01-21-19 at 10:59 AM.

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Zolden View Post
    A riding buddy has the duke version as a summer commuter and loves it... claims up to 80mpg, great ergos and a ton of a fun with just the right amount of power.
    the duke version is something i'd be interested in...i have seen a few low mileage 2016 duke 390s on CL around here that are very tempting

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    I just wanna say I’m happy to see you live your best life bro

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    indeed..

    I was in CA for a motorbike vaca a couple years ago. Rode from Diego up to Yellowstone and back. Up the west side of the Sierras through Sequoia and back down the east through Death Valley. Epic trip. I believe you owe it to yourself to sample a little motorbike traveling while out there. I hear things are equally amazeballs if you head north out of San Fran. I was on a rented Triumph Tiger 800. This was my first experience splitting and filtering. I could not get over how natural it felt almost immediately. A street bike is a must for that part of the world.

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    The bike should not be cutting out on you - I would ask the dealership. Maybe, the ECU needs a refresh. Gorgeous looking bike. I like the smaller bikes a lot. SF is very bike friendly with parking everywhere as you mentioned. I have been a number of times and always rent from Dubbelju - great guy and nice selection.

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by dankatz View Post
    Maybe, the ECU needs a refresh.
    +1 Do you not need a flash for that pipe?

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    It'a a fun bike and is great for lane-splitting! I'm going to miss mine when it goes, it's funny how the CC's keep getting smaller for me...

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by tsorfas View Post
    I just wanna say I’m happy to see you live your best life bro


    Right back at you! If you're ever in this area you need to shoot me a note.

    Quote Originally Posted by Teamdineen View Post
    What was the issue with the top end?
    It likely started as a bent valve, it also seemed to blow the head gasket because the oil was all watery. Driving it back to the pits was enough to score just about everything. Could be fixed, but easier for a new motor. Neil owns it now. Once its up and running him and Tom are gonna have some SUPER well set up, matching 675s.

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    indeed..

    I was in CA for a motorbike vaca a couple years ago. Rode from Diego up to Yellowstone and back. Up the west side of the Sierras through Sequoia and back down the east through Death Valley. Epic trip. I believe you owe it to yourself to sample a little motorbike traveling while out there. I hear things are equally amazeballs if you head north out of San Fran. I was on a rented Triumph Tiger 800. This was my first experience splitting and filtering. I could not get over how natural it felt almost immediately. A street bike is a must for that part of the world.
    It is amazing out here. I saw a ton of it during my van trip. I know I will stretch the legs of this little bike at some point, but having the Van and a bunch of bicycles a bit more of my thing on the road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dankatz View Post
    The bike should not be cutting out on you - I would ask the dealership. Maybe, the ECU needs a refresh. Gorgeous looking bike. I like the smaller bikes a lot. SF is very bike friendly with parking everywhere as you mentioned. I have been a number of times and always rent from Dubbelju - great guy and nice selection.
    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    +1 Do you not need a flash for that pipe?
    I'm unsure, its just a slip on. I'm going to put a few more miles on it and see if it improves. If not, this is exactly why I bought the KTM approved version...still covered under warranty.

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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 01-21-19 at 08:56 PM.
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    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Winter has ended in SF and it is all sunshine from here on out. It was raining just about everyday I've been here otherwise. Drove it to work today for the first time....my commute dropped from 1 hour plus to 20 minutes. Amazing.

    However, first issue has arose: doesn't come with a helmet lock. Sato makes one, which I just ordered.

    SATO RACING | Helmet Lock - KTM RC125 / RC390 ('15- )

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Had a "ah, that was just a tremor" experience yet?
    I found it fairly NOPE, NOPE worthy!

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    Had a "ah, that was just a tremor" experience yet?
    I found it fairly NOPE, NOPE worthy!
    There was a 3.7 in Berkeley last week, but I didn't notice anything. That might be too far to notice for all I know, I suppose I should touch up on my seismology.

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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    So rad, enjoy!!

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    Still salty StrayNut's Avatar
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Dang, I got all excited for a moment (not that I'm thinking of replacing what I have now, but it's not going to last forever and it would be nice to have a bike that does both street and track well). But Wikipedia says seat height is 32" which might be beyond where I can touch both feet to the ground... how tall are you, and is the seat area kinda narrow or kinda wide? Will definitely be interested to hear how it does in the twisties.

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    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by StrayNut View Post
    Dang, I got all excited for a moment (not that I'm thinking of replacing what I have now, but it's not going to last forever and it would be nice to have a bike that does both street and track well). But Wikipedia says seat height is 32" which might be beyond where I can touch both feet to the ground... how tall are you, and is the seat area kinda narrow or kinda wide? Will definitely be interested to hear how it does in the twisties.
    I’m 5’8” and I can EASILY flat foot it. I wear a 30 inch inseam. The seat is quite narrow, but 32 inches just seams off base. I can run a tape measure tonight for you.

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    Lifer zxme's Avatar
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    Nice. Iím looking into the Duke myself

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    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    I'm going to attempt to give a suspension review based on my mostly city driving. Take it for what its worth.

    I'll start this by restating there is no adjustment to dampening, front or rear. You can adjust rear preload, cannot touch the front preload. I have not measured sag. I am 160 pounds.

    Front

    I am pretty confident in my ability to gauge front end suspension feel. I spent a lot of time adjusting this on my track bikes and did so with a scientific aproach (meaning, hypothesizing, testing, interpreting results, and repeating).

    Low Speed Dampening
    This is the highlight. It feels amazing. I've been braking hard trying to see if I can trigger the ABS (which I haven't yet). The front dives incredibly predictably and very smooth, and returns in an equally predictable manner. I'd rate both the compression and rebound on the quicker side for a street bike, which is a good thing for track riding.

    High Speed Dampening
    This is pretty slow. Probably standard for a street bike but slow for a track bike. It takes a bit to settle back to normal over bumps, but it does a great job smoothing them out. I wouldn't want to hit a bump leaned over if I was anywhere close to the limit.

    Rear

    I'm not as confident about judging this. I usually adjusted this on the track just based on wheel spin and how bumpy it is. I honestly never messed too much with the rear. The biggest improvement I got in the past was by getting the right spring and changing from a non-linear to a linear linkage. I did very little playing with the clickers. The RC390 has a progressive rear spring as any street bike should with the intention of carrying passengers. I believe the linkage is linear, but I honestly don't know.

    Low Speed Dampening
    Similar to the front, it feels good. Pretty quick, but this bike also doesn't have a lot of power to squish the rear. Using the rear brake doesn't dip the rear all that much either. Again, good for the track and I don't think the high speed movement matters very much for the street.

    High Speed Dampening
    This is the biggest fault. The rear seems to rebound incredibly slow. I actually can get wheel spin with this little motor when hitting a recess in the road. It compresses equally as slow. Bumps are smooth, but that is at the cost of a lot of suspension travel. Great if your just sitting your ass on the seat, a waste if you are actively riding the bike (ie, unweighting and weighting with your legs).


    So in general, I feel the high speed dampening is great for track riding and the low speed dampening is great for street riding. This seems like a really good compromise for such a sporty little bike. I think this thing will rip on a smooth track in which you rely on low speed rebound and suffer on something bumpy. Loudon would be tough.

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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 01-30-19 at 02:12 AM.
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    Re: I actually own a street bike again: RC390 Review

    The good news is, if you do turn it into a track bike later, there are good (if expensive) solutions.

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