In the looks department, both the bikes are on par with each other. Mojo gives a big bike feel with the big front fascia. The twin exhaust and the longer wheelbase adds to the aesthetics of the bike. ‘The Transformer’ as some refer to the twin headlamps, manages to grab attention wherever the bike goes. The tank is very big and the painted frame in a golden color makes valuable contribution in the department. Coming back to the Duke 390, Oh boy! It’s orange everywhere. After almost three years since the bike was first introduced in India, Duke 390 still manages to grab attention everywhere it goes. Those orange wheels, the orange frame and the stance of the bike shouts aggressive! Personal taste is a factor worth considering here because my father and few friends of mine liked the stance of Mojo more. Coming to the ride and handling, both the bikes are miles apart in the type of comfort they offer. Sitting position on the mojo is more relaxed and the higher handlebar provides a good riding position suitable for cruising. The seat offers ample amount of cushioning on the rider as well as pillion seat. The Mojo is one of the better handling bikes aimed at cruising on sale in India for sure. Mojo could change directions relatively easily at speeds around 100kmph. Although a knee down is not really recommended as you will end up scratching your foot peg and the higher handlebars won't help in that aspect either. The suspension setup is tuned towards comfort and offers an adequate amount of handling ability as we mentioned earlier. The Upside Down front suspension and gas-charged mono-shock suspensions perform a brilliant job in soaking all the bumps.
KTM did upgrade the seats in post 2015 Dukes but it is still not the most comfortable bike around on long runs. However, the suspension is tuned well according to our roads with Upside Down forks at the front and adjustable mono suspension at the rear. I have taken the Duke 390 to the extreme terrains of Ladakh and I can guarantee you that they will do the job perfectly. Duke 390 is a totally different breed when it comes to handling though. Duke 390 is the best handling bike in its segment, period. The bike can change directions at very high speeds with ease. We took the bike to the speeds upward of 170 kmph and the bike was extremely stable. The Wind blast was little unsettling though. (Disclaimer: the high speeds were achieved by experienced riders and under a favorable road condition. We do not recommend you to practice this on roads as its very dangerous and potentially can be fatal). Just a quick note here. When you take these two bikes off-road, Mojo manages to keep the rider more comfortable than Duke 390. Pillion seats are equally bad on both the bikes. The seat is small and can upset the pillion on longer journeys. The top speed of the Duke 390 is around 177 kmph and the top speed of Mojo is around 150 kmph (as indicated by the Speedometer of both the bikes). Engine of Mojo is a lot smoother than Duke 390 mainly because the stroke is not very short and the amount of power extracted from the engine is not very high (27 hp and 30 Nm of torque from 295 cc engine) as compared to Duke’s short stroke engine (44 bhp and 35 Nm of torque from 373.2cc engine). Mojo stays at home even on lower RPM and has a pretty good low end torque, one of the characteristics of cruiser bikes. The engine stays smooth unless we rev the engine close to its RPM limiter, whereas Duke 390’s engine is funny. It gets smoother from 3000 RPM all the way to 7500 RPM and after that the vibrations start coming in. Both engines are different from each other. Mojo is tuned for relax highway journeys and the Duke 390’s engine is tuned to ride hard. Let’s talk about the hardware on offer. Both the engines are fuel injected. The task of cooling is performed by radiators with coolant inside them. The cooling of Duke 390 is more effective than Mojo. Why we say the 390 is better in cooling, because 390's engine heat up more than Mojo (Take a note). Now there's a catch! Mojo's radiator fan does not turn off when the ignition is off and it keeps cooling the engine by using battery as the power source for the radiator fan. We feel that it’s unnecessary usage of battery and Mojo should manage cooling without an overhead time. The tires are soft on both the bikes. Mojo comes with softer Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres (110/70 at the front and 150/60 at the rear)and the Duke 390 comes with a soft Metzeler Sportec M5 tire (Size is similar to Mojo) which is arguably one of the best tires on sell in India. Let’s move on to the braking department. Duke 390 comes with four piston caliper 300mm disc brake at front and single-piston 230m disc brake at rear while Mojo does it with massive 320 mm front petal disc brake and 240mm petal disc brake at rear. The biggest advantage the Duke has over Mojo is the ABS. It’s always good to have a safety net given the traffic and road conditions we have. The front brake of Mojo is not as good as Duke 390. They both lack the bite which we would normally expect from the brakes this huge but the brakes of 390 are much progressive than the Mojo.
However, Mojo wins in rear brake department as the bike stops with ease when rear brakes are applied. Not with the Duke though, the ABS kicks in more often when rear brake is applied you can see the tyre skidding when ABS is switched off (Yes you can do that). Mojo is a heavy bike with dry weight of 165 Kgs. Expect it to increase even more when you tank up the bike. Duke 390 weights mere 138 kgs dry and that's an advantage over Mojo when we think about power to weight ratio. Not to forget how easily a rider can handle as bike when it’s light. Unlike Duke 390, Mojo does not have crash guard as standard and it puts the engine as well as the radiator at great risk in case of a fall. The engine is exposed and it is not covered by the frame like Duke 390. Mojo has tank capacity of 21 liters which is almost double the capacity of KTM’s fuel tank. And that’s an important factor consider for long range riders who would want lesser fuel stops. The headlamps on Mojo are slightly better than Duke. We expect brighter headlamps from both the bikes.
Last but not the least, the service and the costs of ownership. The fuel economy we got from Mojo was around 35 kmpl on highways and 30 kmpl in cities. The Duke 390 is almost similar to Mojo on highways. But given the revvy nature of the bike we can expect it to fall down to the range of 18 to 25 kmpl in cities. KTM has a large and proven service network throughout India whereas the Service of Mahindra Mojo in particular has not yet proven. Verdict-
We had to limit the article somewhere and hence we reach the verdict. Both the bikes are made for different purposes with their own pros and cons. For people who are looking for a fun bike which can do long runs as well and are ready to compromise on comfort and fuel economy then KTM Duke 390 is the one for you. If you are a person who prefers cruising and comfortable ride and does not mind less power (Mojo is not by any means slower, Duke 390 is just much faster) than Mojo is the one for you. Feel free to comment below with your questions and we will try our best to answer them. The comparo was indeed a huge task and we hope that you find the best match for yourself after reading the comparo.
By Rituraj Sambherao