Since its release in 2013, KTM’s 390 Duke has become a staple in the entry-level segment. It’s amassed a slew of awards but despite its plus points—a sub-330lb dry weight, modern reliability and high-end suspension—the little Duke is one of the most commonly-overlooked platforms for customization.
One of the handful of shops that have recognized the merits of the Austrian single is Australia’s Ellaspede. The Brisbane outfit has given the Duke 390 a blacked-out, off-road-oriented makeover—and provided an alternative to the newly unveiled KTM 390 Adventure.
The build started life as a low-mile 2017 390 Duke, and was commissioned by a client who already owns a one-off Honda CT110 from Ellespede. He was looking for something a little more powerful and contemporary, which would also be capable of some light trail duties.
“The intent was to make the stock 390 Duke look a little less futuristic, reduce some of the ‘forward’ angles, and create a bike that looks like it could be a factory KTM concept,” explains Ellespede’s Hughan Seary.
The team began by tearing the 390 down to the chassis, before looping off the stock subframe and replacing it with a bespoke structure that was reportedly the result of no less than 16 hours of work.
A custom ribbed, tucked and rolled saddle was fashioned for the new framework, hiding a one-off electronics tray underneath. An LED taillight, Motogadget m.blaze pin indicators, and Ellaspede’s own ‘Ninja Star’ tail tidy keep the back of the build clutter-free.
The original tank remains in play, though it’s been modified to give a cleaner, more timeless aesthetic that almost borders on an ADV vibe.
“The 2017 390 Duke got bigger tank shrouds in the factory redesign, but it was the previous model’s smaller shrouds that we ended up sourcing, modifying, and custom mounting,” Seary tells us.
The Duke’s sharp and futuristic front-end was binned and in its place is now an LED Koso unit capped off with a Dart flyscreen. The 390’s 5.2” TFT display has also been relocated to in front of the top triple, just behind said flyscreen, allowing it to blend in markedly better.
Below, the guys have crafted a one-off steel front fender that tightly hugs the tire. Changes to the cockpit include new grips, LSL bar-end mirrors, and adjustable aftermarket shorty-levers shrouded behind a set of Barkbusters.
In an effort to squeeze a bit more power out of the 373cc engine, its respiratory bits were upgraded and a low-slung SuperTrapp is now suspended from a bespoke hanger.
“A Power Commander unit was wired in to take care of the new air filter and airbox mods, plus there’s the custom exhaust which wakes up the package a little more. It was impressive before, but who doesn’t like more power and sound right?” jokes Seary.
To bolster the Duke’s off-road prowess, a beefy one-off skid-plate was whipped up and tacked to the power plant, and sliders were installed on the frame and front and rear axles.
The KTM now rides on a set of Shinko 705 tires, too. At the request of the client, a bevy of bespoke and aftermarket racks and luggage were also added to the mix.
“One of the requirements was a removable pannier system that not only looked the part but would allow sufficient storage for future ‘back road’ weekender camping trips. So a series of laser cut plates were designed, CAD’d and welded up to hold the RotoPax fuel and water (cells) with a soft Kriega pannier on each side. A spare rack can also be bolted over the top of the pillion seat should more storage be needed,” relays Seary.
With the Duke fully sorted, the Ellaspede tore everything down again and began prepping the KTM for paint. It was decided that the white and orange scheme would be replaced with a murdered-out livery comprised of multiple shades of black in varying finishes.
This not only included painting the frame and bodywork, but also the new subframe, the wheels, skid-plate, exhaust, electronics bay, the mono-shock, and even the orange lettering on the engine was overlaid in black.
“This KTM is now a great all-rounder that’s an absolute hoot to ride and looks the business in a compact package,” says Seary.
“If you own a 2017-onwards 390 Duke then you’ll probably notice lots of other little changes and details. If you don’t, then you probably won’t—and that’s the intent when you’re going for a ‘factory concept’ style build.”