KTM 125 Duke Road Test Review

12 February 2019, 07:06 PM Janak Sorap

Introduction

Pros: Handling, equipment, efficiency

Cons: Low-end torque, comfort

 

Offering the same looks as the 200 Duke with a smaller motor, KTM has ventured into the 125cc space with a performance-oriented motorcycle. With premium features and a price tag that crosses the one lakh mark for a 125cc bike, is the 125 Duke worth the price it demands? Also, is there a buyer out there ready and willing to put money on the 125 Duke?

Now, we’ve had the 125 Duke with us for some time now. After riding the motorcycle at the Chakan track in Pune, where it impressed us with its handling qualities, it was time to put the baby Duke through its paces in real-world conditions. And most importantly, know its actual worth.

Quality

KTM has a fairly stellar reputation in India for producing  quality motorcycles. That reputation continues to remain untarnished as the company hasn’t skimped anywhere with the 125. Using components from the same parts bin as the 200 Duke, the 125 offers an identical level of quality and feel.

Comfort

Now if you were expecting the 125 Duke to be a comfortable motorcycle like other 125cc motorcycles, then be warned that it’s not. As mentioned before, the 125 Duke is a performance-oriented motorcycle in the 125cc class. So, to put things across, the 125 Duke hasn’t been designed for the smooth sailing comfort commuting. With rear-set foot-pegs and a wide handlebar setup, the 125 Duke has the same riding ergonomics as other Dukes. The seat is firm but forgiving enough for long journeys. In the comfort department, the 125 Duke is a sporty bike, but at the same time, it’s also not an uncomfortable one either.

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 1,24,166

Performance

The only aspect that differentiates the 125 Duke from the 200 is its motor. It is a 124.7cc liquid-cooled DOHC unit that registers 14.3bhp of max power and 12Nm of peak torque. Now, for the kind of frisky acceleration that is common with riding KTMs, it’s a bit different with the 125 Duke. Different because, until 6000rpm you will feel that the motor is probably in limp mode as there is not much engagement from the bike as expected. But past that comes the realisation that this is not a sloppy bike after all. The motor feels all alive and is notably eager to hit the rev limiter as you’ll open the throttle.

Initially, this experience can be annoying if you’ve already ridden a KTM. However, after spending more time on the saddle, you will realise the 125 Duke lets the rider enjoy the best of both worlds. You can ride the bike calm when needed and also enjoy its true KTM character by riding it at higher revs. Top speed achieved was 116kph, which frankly, is a good number for a 125cc motorcycle. Now, KTMs have been known to run hot when mostly riding in the city. Remarkably, with the 125 Duke, although the temperature gauge was filling up, there wasn’t much heat felt between the feet at any point.

Regarding the other aspects of the bike, the 125 Duke aces in the handling part just like the 200 Duke. The setup is simply perfect for any budding motorcyclist. The brakes have a strong bite with good progression. The MRF Revz tyres offer ample grip allowing the ABS to intervene only when required.

Technology

The 125 Duke has an exhausting list of tech features when it comes to a motorcycle in this segment. It has a liquid-cooled DOHC motor with and underbelly exhaust, top class WP suspension units paired with Bybre calipers featuring a 4-pot radial caliper for the front and single-pot caliper for the back.

Next is the lightweight trellis frame and aluminium swingarm, premium components in the package. And lastly, the single-channel ABS unit for the front with RLP (Rear Lift Protection) which prevents the rear wheel from lifting upon jamming the front brakes. The 125 Duke is, without a doubt, the most-specced motorcycle in its segment.

Fuel Efficiency

After riding the motorcycle on our designated route for performing fuel runs, the 125 Duke managed to return an impressive fuel economy of 51 kmpl in the city. This translates to a range of 520 km from its 10.2ltr fuel tank.

Fitness of purpose

The 125 Duke is a motorcycle that is perfectly apt for someone who wants to learn motorcycling the proper way. Interestingly, it is also an ideal motorcycle for someone who has been riding fast bikes and is looking for something that is easy to ride but not too basic and boring. With the 125 Duke, what you get is a well-specced motorcycle with an ample amount of features and safety tech. It is easy to ride when commuting and at the same time, fast enough to feel the KTM character.

Our take

 

An ideal motorcycle to hone one's riding skills. For its not so aggressive power delivery, it is a very approachable motorcycle that one would find it easy to live with. The asking price of Rs 1.18 lakhs (ex-showroom, New Delhi) is justified for the kind of kit and features offered. And not to forget, the company’s brand image also ropes in a lot of buyers who want to own a KTM without burning a hole in their pocket. Conclusion? The 125 Duke will definitely find takers.

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

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