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Now, before I explain the very existence of this strange comparison, let me break down some very important facts. Beneath this extremely unusual comparison lies two bikes that, perhaps, have created quite a stir in the Indian market.

The segment had always been inclined towards the KTM 390 Duke up until last year. With its ‘Ready to Race’ tagline and mind-numbing performance, the 390 Duke had always been the Numero Uno choice for the purists.

But with the arrival of the Interceptor 650, the retro-classic fanboys had a good reason to shift their focus to the RE. While it may have caught the fancy of many retro-classic cruiser aficionados, it certainly affected the sales numbers for KTM. As of now, these are two mainstream motorcycles that have garnered the most sales and affection from prospective buyers.

But that’s the case with most buyers, for they know if a street naked or a modern classic certainly matches their needs. So, what if an average buyer just can’t decide on one of these? Part of the reason is they retail at an almost equivalent price tag. So, we lined them together for a brief comparison, to help you make the decision.

The Comparison

A street naked on one hand and a retro-classic cruiser on the other. In this comparison, KTM 390 Duke is certain to win the hearts of the modern buyers that crave for the latest technologies and gizmos. Ensuring this, the KTM packs in a fancy instrument display, a sharp overall design, a bright orange shade, and a perfectly cut headlamp that’s packed with LEDs. On the other hand is RE’s latest and greatest motorcycle, with retro touches all around and a circular theme that goes well with the blend.

Differentiation according to the driving experience

KTM 390 Duke

As you swing your leg over these, the differences become quite apparent. The Duke you see here makes sure the rider is sitting in a committed and aggressive position for the best riding experience. Therefore, it helps in aiding the handling prowess of the KTM making it more fun to take it around the corners.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

In comparison, Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is a cruiser at its heart. And if you have just a little bit experience with the cruisers, you would know how they emphasize on comfort over other traits. And the RE gets the job done in an extremely commendable manner, for the seats, footpegs and the handlebar ensures that the rider is always sitting in an upright and comfortable position.

Differentiation according to power

At the heart of the KTM is the company’s 373cc single-cylinder engine that is capable of churning out 43bhp and 37Nm of torque. On the whole, this engine is bonkers fast! The engine is so energetic and free-revving, that you end up pushing the tacho needle to the redline more often than not. The acceleration is crisp, and the mid-range is strong. It’s almost as fast as a Mustang in a 0-100km/h sprint.

Powering the RE is a 648cc parallel-twin that produces 47bhp and 52Nm of torque. As the on-paper figures suggest, the RE is marginally more powerful and torquier than the KTM. But when you ride them back to back, the difference becomes less apparent. Since it’s a cruiser, the power delivery here is linear and relaxed in comparison to the KTM. But even then, the RE keeps up with the KTM in a drag race suggesting that it’s just as fast as the performance-hungry hooligan.

The part where RE leaves extremely impressed is the refinement. Sure, the single-cylinder unit at the heart of the KTM is extremely refined, but it isn’t as refined as the parallel-twin setup in the RE.

So, which one should you pick for the same budget? After a thorough comparison, the differences in both these bikes are easily identifiable. The KTM is an outright hooligan, and it’s a fast machine. The way it accelerates is just mind-numbing. And it really brings out the enthusiast inside of you.

But in front of the RE, the KTM is just not practical enough. After riding for a couple of hours, the seat feels a bit too firm and the backache is real. As for the RE, sure it isn’t outright fast as the KTM, but you can have some fun with it as well. So, it’s the RE that trickles my heart for its practicality and refinement. To read our full Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 vs KTM 390 Duke comparison, visit us at autoX.

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