The “edge” in the word “cutting-edge” has been getting blunt in the past few years. What I mean by that, is that while the world still searches for perfection from the internal combustion engine, the boundaries of performance are being stretched by the Electric powertrains in the automotive industry, which got me wondering… If you’d like to buy the most advanced bit of kit on two wheels available in India, would it be the best entry-level performance bike, the KTM Duke 390, or the most advanced EV bike to ever come out of our country, the Ultraviolette F77?
While both the bikes don’t share common ground in terms of competition, they both have one thing in common, they are packed to the brim with tech wizardry. The Duke 390 hosts a suite of rider safety features like dual channel switchable ABS, cornering ABS, switchable traction control, A bidirectional quick-shifter and even launch control!
The F77, on the other hand, has most of its pioneering tech in its powertrain. Its proprietary battery tech is unlike anything our country has ever seen, a 10 kWh battery that pumps out 30.2 Kw of peak output and a whole 100NM of torque to the rear wheels at 0 rpm! And this specific Recon variant has a ridiculous range of over 300 km putting a lot of ice engine tank capacity to shame.
The F77 is the most futuristic-looking one out of both, all of it has been designed with aviation principles, so if it has no function, it should be discarded. Every single component is designed with function in mind. The aero, the pseudo tank, even the side stand has been designed with function in mind, the Duke personally looks like an alien to me while the F77 looks like a prototype, still human in essence. I love how the F77 looks so small from the side profile since its wheelbase is shorter than of the duke’s.
The Duke looks like it’s from out of this planet, with the massive eye for a headlight, the side fins that look like teeth, and all of the edges along the side with the exposed trellis frame. It all gives a bionic humanoid-style vibe, it looks alien for sure. While the F77 in my opinion looks more like an appliance or a machine. But one thing you have to agree on, weight-wise, the Duke 390 is featherlight at 168 kgs compared to the F77’s massive 204 kgs.
What’s impressive about the F77 is how it masks its weight on the move. You’d assume that the Ultraviolette would feel like a barge in the corners. While it is still a heavy bike, its very well balanced. Left to right transitions are smooth and don’t require as much effort as one would think, where most of its weight is felt though, is under heavy breaking, the nose dive is quite prominent during weight transfer, and I would’ve preferred to have some more stopping power too, its single disc 320mm setup at the front even though it comes with braided lines, still struggles to give the bike consistent stopping power. So when you’re on the move its fun and you feel like you’re riding a big brawny bike.
There is still no replacement for ICE powered ponies yet, but you have to give it to Ultraviolette for providing a proper glimpse into the future with the F77 , in the city the F77 is the ultimate eye catcher and with its amazing powertrain specs it sure is the right step forward in terms of transitioning to EVs. But when it comes to keeping up with an ICE like the duke 390, its still got a long way to go. the F77 is a well built, sharp looking bike, with performance that is by no means slow in any standards, but there are things that would force a customer away from the F77 and towards the Duke 390. like its hefty weight that is apparent in slow traffic, or the fact that its battery takes up to 8 hours to charge from a normal socket, in that sense the Duke is the perfect bit of kit for the present, with enough power and performance to put sports cars to shame to a 100 , and ICE performance that is electrifying, no pun intended!
If standing out in a crowd and having a futuristic machine that catches everyone’s eye is on your priority list then the Ultraviolette is a good option (if the price isn’t a problem) but if you’re rather an old school and you want uncompromised performance for your money, look no further than the duke 390 which I can confidently say in this new generation, it is back at being at the top of the entry-level performance segment!