2017 KTM 250 Duke : Track Ride Review

01 March 2017, 05:12 PM Omkar Thakur

What is it?

It is the KTM 250 Duke – the new addition to the KTM lineup that sits between the 200 and the 390. It is built like a Duke 390 but gets a smaller motor and fewer things off the equipment list. 

The design of the new Dukes is edgy and the 250 Duke does keep you busy. It looks striking up front with the beefy forks, fat tyre and the tank shrouds shouldering the SuperDuke-inspired headlamp defined by the LED daytime running lamps (there’s no LED headlamp, mind). As you move to the side, the headlamp rakes back and the tank shrouds follow suit riding up the upswept tank. The liquid cooled mill lurks underneath wrapped in the exposed black trellis frame. The grey crankcase has a belly pan.

KTM 250 Duke

KTM 250 Duke

  • Displacement248.76 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)29.6 bhp
  • Kerb Weight161 kg
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai


The rear subframe is now bolt on and is highlighted in orange. It cuts into the upswept tail cowl that houses the step-up split seat. It might still be on the stiffer side for your everyday commute but the new seat is a little more forgiving than before. The stubby tail gets a new tail lamp design and the number plate mount hangs further behind. Unlike the previous Dukes, the 250 gets a side exhaust and it does sound nice. The catalytic converter is still under the belly and the lightweight aluminium end can makes sure the mass centralisation isn’t off by much.

While the other Dukes get orange wheels, the 250 Duke stands out with black. The rim gets a dash of orange and the two liveries of the KTM 250 Duke mixing orange and white add to the drama of the minimalist design.


How does it ride?

The KTM 250 Duke rides just the way it looks. It is sharp, edgy and focussed. The new 248.76cc single cylinder engine develops 29.6bhp of power and 24Nm of torque. Like all oversquare engines, this motor likes to be revved hard and the response is eager. The torque peaks at about 7500 rpm but you can feel it building up from about 4000rpm. Once the revs hit the power band, in the first gear, the rev counter hits the redline in the a blink of an eye. While the peak power is at 9000rpm, the liquid-cooled engine goes well over without losing any of those horses.

The engine is quite refined and the power is enough to pop the front wheel from a stop if you are too eager with the throttle. The six-speed gearbox is smooth and clicks positively through the shifts. You hit 100kmph in third gear and the bike will go on to a top whack of about 140 kmph.

The suspension is stiff but forgiving. The 250 gets the new WP open cartridge 43mm inverted forks in the front while the aluminium swingarm in the back houses the preload adjustable monoshock. The KTM 250 Duke holds firmly through corners and won’t bob even over mid-corner undulations. The Duke 250, at 161kg, is a bit on the heavier side but that adds to the stability. The rearset footpegs provide generous cornering clearance.

The 300mm disc brake setup in the front has the right bite and progression and provides enough stopping power along with the 230mm rear disc. It is the same setup found in the previous gen 390 Duke and ABS would have been a nice addition. KTM offers MRF REVZ Zapper FC-1 tyres on the Duke 250.


Anything else should I know?

The KTM 250 Duke gets the digital dash from the 200 but it doesn’t go off when you kill the engine with the kill-switch like it does in the 200. The 250 misses out on ride-by-wire and the all-new digital console. The MRF REVZ tyres on the 250 have a softer compound as compared to the 200, but the only way to distinguish them is the speed rating – this model has ‘H’ rated tyres.

The plastics, paint quality and overall build is nice and the KTM is certainly a sturdy motorcycle. The 250 gets a new metal 13.5-litre tank which will extend the overall range by about 100km. The stiffness of the WP open cartridge forks in the front can be adjusted but for that you will have to take them off first.

Anything else should I know?

Why should I buy it?

If you need something that will stir up adrenaline every time you swing your leg over and in a budget less than Rs 2 lakh on road, look no further. At Rs 1.73 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, the KTM 250 Duke offers the right mix of aggression and dynamic ability wrapped in a rather forgiving package. Mind you, it will still snap at you if you go overboard but it is the exact character that will keep you wanting to ride it.

Where does it fit in?

For its price tag, it takes on the Royal Enfield Classics and Thunderbirds but they are a different breed of motorcycles. Among sporty motorcycles, you have the Mahindra Mojo and the Honda CBR 250R and the Benelli TNT 25 having price tags really close to the Duke. While the Mojo and the Honda lose out on power, only the Benelli is closely matched with the Duke 250 for price as well as for power. But then, the service reach of Benelli is no match for the KTMs.


Pictures by: Tilak Murdeshwar

KTM 390 Duke track ride review

KTM 200 Duke track ride review


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