India is slowly waking up to the arrival of super bikes. Though the bulk of two wheelers sold belong to 100cc and 125cc segment, the number of motorists looking for super bikes is rising. Two of these super bikes are 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 and KTM 390 Duke, and both the bikes were revealed in during the last year. However, they have not been launched yet, but could be seen on the roads any time during 2013. Both the models are favoured for different reasons. The Kawasaki 300 is clearly recognised as a sports bike through its design, while the KTM 390 looks more like a naked dirt bike. Starting with the engine, KTM 390 gets a 375cc 4-stroke engine with a power output of 42 bhp, while Kawasaki Ninja 300 has a 296cc 4-stroke engine producing 38 bhp of power.
Both engines are mated to 6-speed manual gearboxes. Interestingly, the Ninja gets double cylinders while KTM 390 is more powerful despite having just one cylinder. However, the design of KTM is not completely new among performance bikes. It has been observed that manufacturers are trying to remove expensive bike parts and tuning the engine to make running economical. This is a new category between learner and middle weight bikes, referred to as the middle weight bikes. Simple mechanicals like single cylinders and front disc brakes are being used.
KTM weighs in at 139 kg, while Ninja has a weight of 172 kg. Clearly, with a better power-to-weight ratio, KTM 390 stands out. It has an explosive mid range with a maximum speed of almost 200 kmph. One area where Ninja scores over KTM is the fuel tank capacity, which is 17 litres in the former but only 11 litres in the latter. As a high performance bike, one really feels that the KTM should have got a bigger fuel tank. Mileage would be similar for both, in the range of 25-30 kmpl. Both bikes have been provided with Anti-lock Braking system (ABS) as options. Styling is also markedly better than the previous version. Despite being slower than the KTM 390, Kawasaki 300 would be a thrilling bike to ride on any circuit.
As a replacement of the erstwhile Ninja 250, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 has already been launched in a few international markets. The engine is bigger than the previous one, with new pistons, lower compression and a remapped Engine Control Unit (ECU) being some of the new features. Not to be left behind, sensors on front and rear wheels in KTM 390 are also connected to a separate ECU for ABS. This ECU helps in monitoring engine torque for best braking results. ABS can also be switched off, if required. Both bikes have a direct fuel injection system.
Kawasaki 300 comes with a warranty of 12 months, while KTM 390 would have a warranty for 24 months. Kawasaki's bike is slightly pricier at Rs. 3.5 lakhs, while KTM 390 could be purchased for Rs. 2.2 lakhs.