We kept seeing this little puppy show up on one magazine cover or article after another – along with some similarly sized Japanese bikes.  So we figured it was time to give it a more serious look.

In one shoot out after another, the 390RC seemed to mostly outbrake and outgun it’s closest competition.

Based on the Duke 390, the RC390 leads the way for KTM’s single-cylinder thumpers made up of 125, 200 and 373cc models. The 390’s liquid-cooled, dohc, fuel-injected counter-balanced four-stroke serves as a stressed member of the RC’s tubular steel-trellis frame. With a 23.5 degree rake, 3.5 inches of trail and a 52.8-inch wheelbase, the little 390 is built to handle the twisties. With a sub-400 lb. weight, and a claimed 44 hp, it’s able to hit a ton with some revs to spare. Brembo brakes provide the stopping power.

While being branded as a starter bike, mostly due to its size and cost – just under $5k – we wouldn’t be embarrassed to have this in or out of the garage. These small versions of the one liter sport and super bikes are proving their mettle and putting a smile on the previous naysayers who thought bigger was better.