Project KTM 390 Adventure

Five months ago I bought a KTM Duke 390 with a plan of modifying it into an adventure style motorcycle since KTM doesn’t appear to be interested in offering a small displacement adventure style motorcycle to the Indian market. Over these months I’ve made a number of mods to the motorcycle and I’m pretty satisfied with what I’ve come up with. Many Duke 390 owners have been asking me questions about the mods and I point them to the posts on this blog which are part of the “Project KTM 390 Adventure” series. This blog post is meant to serve as an index for all the posts in the series.

The Plan

Custom Seat

Handlebar Risers

Fork Spacers

Skid Plate

Tail Tidy

Auxiliary Lights


Hand Guards

Luggage Rack

Raised Exhaust

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  • Siddhartha Pandey

    Deelip, I need to adjust a pillion on my Duke 390 for long tours, what can be done for this, because stock seat base is small, thinking of extending the chasis from behind. My good friend Vivek is helping me do this but we need to have suggestions on the same.

    • You may want to try strapping an air seat over the pillion seat. Google “air hawk”

      • Siddhartha Pandey

        Seats have been taken care off as by putting in more foam without hampering the original design, believe me those are sweet comfort to the bums on off roads and long tours I am just wanting to extend the base of the seat and also what can be done to wither the pain of the foot pegs as need of more upright is needed than the bent ones, on our trip to auto expo recently I was riding with a pillion and he was in extreme pain due to not so good positions of the rear footpegs and mine also went numb due to same reason while riding.

        • The Duke 390 is a street bike, designed for short quick rides around the city. It’s not meant for long distance riding, and things get really uncomfortable if you are tall (I’m 6 feet tall). How do you plan on extending the rear? Adding to the end or in between?

          • Siddhartha Pandey

            Adding in the end as where the chasis ends, the ends are not closed , so we are planning to insert pipe in it and will hammer it inside upto 3 to 4 mm inside it and then weld it, removing the side plastic panels thus exposing the side chasis and a longer seat base for the same.

            Things I am talking about are in the draft mode as of now but will start working on them soon enough.

            Any thoughts on the front and rear footpegs? I am also 6 ft 2 inch and on the heavier side, sitting position with that bend position is really a pain on long rides but what to do, stability, breaking and cruise speed and many more plus points allows me take this hooligan Orange on the open roads again and again.

          • I think what you really need is a wider pillion seat, not a longer one. Elongating the rear may help, but maybe not to the extent that you think it will. Just my two paisa.

          • Siddhartha Pandey

            Sir I need to extend it both ways. Broader and long also.

          • Farhad Tarapore

            Elongating the rear will add to stability and handling problems – as in, front will become light

  • Siddhartha Pandey

    Second thing, the rear shocks, the stock ones, they are not meant for abusing on off roadings and bad roads, any idea if we can install any from adventure series bike as I already changed one under warranty, lost all the dampness, got the new one and from day 1 riding it on the hardest setting, need to get one that has more endurance and keep up with rider and pillion on bumpy roads during road trips.

    • I found the rear shock to be not too bad when riding off road. The real problem was the front shocks

      • Siddhartha Pandey

        I am also not complaning but talking about the endurance. I dont think they will last long as they are more suited to street rides and might require shocks with more endurance and shock resistance capability.

        • Unless you are riding the Raid de Himalaya or something, the stock suspension will work for you. When you ride off road, your speeds are lower than when you ride on road and you hit obstacles and holes at a slower speed. The stock suspension is designed and tested to be ridden into potholes are a higher speed. So I don’t think the stock suspension will give way, unless you are into extreme off roading.

      • Siddhartha Pandey

        While riding pillion the weight on the shocjs increases, so I thought that it might not damage the dampness again in coming time again and this time it will be out of warranty.

      • Farhad Tarapore

        What about all the issues with people cracking their rims when going over normal paved potholed roads?

        • A lot has to do with tyre pressure. If its low, even a small pothole is enough to crack the rim. I’ve ridden my Duke on many trails and even crashed into sharp rocks and stuff. I’ve not heard the front suspension bottom out so far.

  • Moto Torque

    Well said and well done !! really KTM india needs to offer us an entry level tourer.

  • Farhad Tarapore

    I find the riding position quite cramped , like sitting on my balls because the rider footpegs are so rear set. Can those be adjusted so that it doesn’t flex my hips at a weird angle? I got a cramp first time I rode it.

    • My initial plan was to move the foot pegs in front a little. But then I rode the bike after adding the fork spacers and handlebar risers and didn’t feel the need to move the pegs forward.

      I’ve done day long rides and its not that bad.

      • Farhad Tarapore

        Thanks a lot Deelip for the quick answer and the useful blog. I currently use a thunderbird 500, but am quite fed up of the reliability issues. Duke 390 sounds like total value for money!

        • My experience with the Duke has been absolutely amazing. Absolutely no tension motorcycle. Just fill fuel, lube chain and check tyre pressure. Do regular service and you are good.

  • Riyash Abdul Rehiman


    I recently purchased a Duke 390 with the sole purpose of converting it to an adventure off roader. Ive been a car and jeep guy all my life and biking has hit me only recently, and thats when this interest hit my head. My opinion of the bike has always been that its a wonderful machine, one that needs to be tamed to deliver according to ur needs and my needs were not speed but cruising and part offroading if necessary.

    My main issues with the bike were the ride position and the seating. When i bought the bike the plan was to increase the handle bar height and adjust the pedal positions to suit to my comfort. Thanks to your blog, instead of increasing the height only at the handle bar level now i have the option to have it raised at the fork level too. Instead of adjusting the pedal position which was not to my suiting ur build provides better pedal position without any mods on that. The idea of cushion on the pillion seat was one thought i had but never had a complete idea as to how it needed to be built.

    Ur blog has given me more confidence in getting my bike built to my needs, thanks a ton to the inspiration ur works has brought to my need. i do have some changes that are not entirely as ur version, but ur build is definitely a great inspiration. Works on my bike would start sooner now thanks to u since i have better direction. i did not get much inspiration asking around in kerala, maybe it has got to do with my thoughts and mingling with people are always around car and jeep and lesser on bikes.

    Thank you once again for inspiration

    Riyash A R