Buy or Hold: Yamaha MT-03 Or KTM 390 Duke

Modified On Apr 8, 2023 04:01 PM By Ishan Lee for KTM 390 Duke (2017-2023)

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Should you buy KTM 390 Duke, the segment’s undisputed champion, now, or wait for the twin-cylinder Yamaha MT-03??

The 390 Duke has been KTM’s silver bullet, single-handedly allowing the Austrian bikemaker to dominate the sub-400cc sport bike market in India. For over a decade the 390 Duke has gone unrivaled by a natural competitor. But with the Yamaha MT-03 now in the picture, the question arises: should you buy the 390 Duke or wait for the new MT-03?

Let’s look at some known facts and figures first: 


KTM 390 Duke

Yamaha MT-03


373.27cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder

321cc, liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder











171kg (kerb)

169kg (kerb)

Although you get fewer CCs with the Yamaha MT-03 when compared to the KTM’s larger 373.2cc motor, the power output is nearly the same. However, the experience of the Yamaha’s 42PS will be more enjoyable thanks to its extra cylinder. A twin-cylinder will always be more refined than a big single-cylinder motor. 

However, because the MT-03 shares its motor with the R3, its power and torque will be found high up in the powerband - 10,000rpm and 9000rpm respectively. Now while we haven’t ridden the MT-03 yet, we have spent quite some time on the R3. And if that bike is anything to go by, the MT-03 will also be super tractable at all speeds, unlike the KTM, which lumps all its power delivery in the mid-range.

Both bikes feature a USD (upside down fork) and a monoshock. However, while the KTM gets a 43mm front fork and a 10-step adjustable monoshock, the MT-03 gets a thinner 37mm fork and a monoshock with minimal preload adjustability. Both motorcycles are equipped with single disc brakes at either end, but Yamaha may not offer the various rider aids - like ABS modes, a slipper clutch, or a quickshifter - like KTM does on the 390 Duke.  

Both streetfighters come with all LED lighting and a digital instrument cluster. However, unlike the MT-03 which is coming to India via the CKD (completely knocked down) route, the 390 Duke is made in India, and this will have a huge impact on its pricing. The KTM 390 Duke currently costs Rs 2.96 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), and our estimate is that the MT-03 will be priced around the Rs 3.8 lakh (ex-showroom) mark. 

With all factors considered, the MT-03 sounds like an exciting bike for sure. But its biggest hurdle will be its pricing. Unless Yamaha finds a way to narrow that price gap between the two streetfighters, the 390 Duke packs more fun, features and value for a lot less money. That said, if money isn’t an equation, then you should check out the MT-03 when it launches (likely between June and July '23) because that twin-cylinder experience would be refreshingly fun.

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