Gadgets & Gear

Review – SW Motech rear rack for KTM Duke 390

No sooner a bike is on the roads and along comes accessories for it either from bike dealerships or as after-market products. Some built for a functional purpose while others for visual enhancements. Now the KTM Duke 390 by default comes with no parts meant to support luggage. Sure, there are options now such as pillion seat bags, handlebar bags, tank bags, side panniers (hard/soft) made available to choose from that can go onto the bike limited only by one’s choice, preferences and spending ability.

Here in question is a rear luggage rack for the KTM Duke 200/390. Adding on a rear luggage rack for my KTM Duke 390 was the requirement. Purpose and function for the same are listed below:

  • Should support luggage on the bike independent of any other.
  • A top case can be added at a future date if deemed necessary.
  • Should act as an extended support to pillion seat if a larger tail bag is placed onto it.

So looked up online and consulted fellow biker friends. Options that came up were either the SW Motech aluminium rear rack retailed locally at Rs.14198/- by Big Bad Bikes or the metal rack priced at Rs.3000/- fabricated by a Pune based company named Faaster Wheels. Former was much more refined and pricey while the latter was boxy/sharp-edged but practical and cost effective. Cost between the two was a whooping Rs.11198/-. This is madness! This is Moolaah!!

Loved the SW Motech but for the price. Went over to Big Bad Bikes and checked with the representative there – either for some discount or better yet getting a sponsorship. He said he would revert in a day or two. No word. Contacted again and he conveyed that he could not offer sponsorship yet and that the focus was more on bikes over 600cc. Disappointed but rather adamant to get it. Checked with my friends living in UK who would likely be coming down to India. Fortunately, there was one school mate was to come end of month. Requested him to bring it for me and he did gladly. Thank you Rajneesh.

Got the SW Motech rear rack and so it costed me Rs.8500/-. Compare this to the local dealer price of Rs.14198/-, that’s a saving of Rs.5698/- which I could use to buy other add-ons such as the rear top case, fog lights, rear luggage bag or fuel. Meanwhile, ordered for Loctite 243 thread locker (medium strength) from Amazon online and waited. No sooner than they both arrived home, set out to assemble it. Took pictures as I progressed. The rack when assembled weighs a little over 2kg and is sized up to 18″ length x 13.25″ width x 7″ height. The maximum load capacity as stated in the manual and on the rack itself is 7.5 kg. To begin fixing it onto the bike, first sort out the nuts, bolts and washers as per the installation sheet provided to make it simple. Fitting it onto the bike requires the two bolts on the underside of the pillion section/rear wheel mudguard to be removed. With the help of Locktite, bolt in the U bracket provided.

Remove the pillion seat, remove the existing grab rails and now fit the left and right arms to the rear rack in its place. Do not tighten the bolts though. Bolt on the rear rack onto the arms with the four recessed bolts provided. Again, do not tighten just yet. Now bolt the rear rack to the U bracket underside with 2 nuts/bolts provided. Make sure to use the Locktite thread locker liberally on each of these nuts/bolts. If needed move/shift the rack a bit so the arrangement sits correctly in place and then tighten all the bolts up firmly with the Allen key/spanner. All done. Looking good, yes? oh yeah!

When purchasing a bike, accessories or just about anything, four factors come into play – purpose > function > design > cost, in that descending order and none of them can be ignored. For all practical purposes and good price, it’s logical and sensible in choosing the rear rack by Faaster Wheels.

Where/how does the SW Motech take the lead?

  • For a KTM Duke 390 – a neatly designed, agile and fast naked street motorcycle, wouldn’t want to spoil the visual appeal of the bike with a crude/boxy rear rack added onto it. So design of SW Motech rear rack beats the other. On the other hand, if it were a spartan bike meant to take on much off-roading, then avoid this and go with those where design and finish can be given least priority.
  • Rear rack by Faaster Wheels has a claimed payload of 25kg as against 7.5kg of SW Motech. However, it wouldn’t be wise to load up that much weight at the very rear end of the bike purely with respect to weight distribution and is better in loading up heavier part of the luggage closer to the bike’s CG. It’s good to add on a non-metallic top case (to hold helmet, medicines, etc.) or a tent+sleeping bag/bivvy sack/bag of clothes for a weekend trip.

Pros
The SW Motech aluminium rear luggage rack has clean lines, smooth edges and neat finish in matt black color. Blends perfectly with the contours of the bike like it was meant to be in the first place. Is it worth it? Heck yes! Just don’t buy it here in Bengaluru as it is by far much steeply priced. Recommend you check with a friend/relative who travels to Europe/US to purchase/get it for you.

Cons
Nothing really but to come to terms with the fact that the panniers, in my case Viaterra Velox cannot be used as its holding loops into which the pillion grab rails go aren’t there now for its been replaced with this new rear rack.

Thanks to Saqib, was able to contact a representative in Viaterra and have conveyed this problem along with two workable solutions and possible alterations to the current model. Was informed that the problem was genuine however a fix for the same could bump up the price. Well, hope its taken into consideration on future production models and also hope to get an alteration/upgrade for the same.

KTM Duke 390 with Viaterra Fly as tail bag and Tribord waterproof bag on the SW Motech rear rack

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