The Ride - 390
So where does that leave the 390? The 390/400 capacity is an odd thing to my way of thinking. Once upon a time it made sense (there used to be a 400cc class in enduro). KTM built one for aeons and then stopped, started and stopped again. Beta have done well with their own one, sales-wise. However, it’s an odd bike to ride. Honestly, it seems slightly pointless. At the moment when sat next to the rest of the range it doesn’t really work. It doesn’t do anything outstandingly, especially sandwiched between the excellent 350 and lovely 430.
It doesn’t have the grunt or horsepower of the 430, which is great for both racing and trailriding. Likewise it lacks the handling prowess of its little brother - it feels almost like the 430 in the way it turns - but without the advantage of the useable, lovely torque. It’s just a slightly flat, confusing bike to ride. It’s the one bike in the range I got off and wasn’t motivated to get back on.
It’s hard to pin who it’s really aimed at too. I mean it’s not going to be as fun as the bigger bikes to trail ride, and it’s not going to work exceptionally well a race bike either. It is a conundrum. You however, may have different ideas…
The Ride - 480
The big bore of the range is a really fun bike to ride. It’s the same with a lot of the bikes in that class. Every time I ride one I have a big smile on my face. They have some much torque, make so much progress and are so easy and fun to ride that you can’t help but enjoy it. The 480 is a capable bike and can undoubtedly tackle difficult terrain… as long as you aren’t expecting that to be your regular riding.
For racing it is still a big bike. You can’t really get around that fact, and as such you have to take a different view of the situation. It’s a grin factor bike that is great for skids and power wheelies; lovely for cruising around on enjoying life. But you have to remember that when you arrive on that startline of a race, you aren’t gonna’ find it as easy as people on smaller bikes.
Because it’s a bigger bike you naturally don’t push so much and as such the 480 never felt like it was much of a handful to ride. It does turn well and feels like it will only really overcome you once you get tired. Around the type of test track we had I wouldn’t be surprised if the times on the 480 weren’t actually far off the 430, but it’s going to get harder to ride with fatigue. That’s just a fact of life. It was still an extremely fun bike to ride - I really enjoyed it - and for a big bore bike it’s pretty damn manageable.
It’s also the bike I also had the least issue with the suspension on too. Being able to use the torque and the natural inertia of the bigger engine worked in the 480’s favour. There is also an element of: it works because you aren’t ever really trying to cut the fastest line through each corner and so the wallowy nature is less of issue. But more on that now…