KTM RC 125 First Ride Review

29 June 2019, 05:00 PM Neil Nair

Introduction

KTM introduced the 125 Duke in India late last year and it was evident that its fully-faired, ‘Race Competition’ variant would follow soon. Well, here it is then, the KTM RC 125 in flesh. And while it was being manufactured in India for a while, the company initially decided to limit its sales only to the international markets. So why is the RC 125 here now? To figure out an answer to that question, we rode the RC 125 around KTM’s testing track because, after all, an ‘RC’ belongs on the race track, isn’t it?

The Visuals

The most prominent aspect of the RC 125 in terms of looks is that it has RC written all over it (quite literally). The motorcycle is an exact replica of its siblings, the RC 200 and RC 390 in terms of design and size, to say the least. The sharply-styled full-fairing with LED DRLs and twin projectors up front are unique to the Austrian manufacturer’s fully-faired motorcycles.

KTM RC 125

KTM RC 125

  • Displacement124.7 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)14.3 bhp
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 1,47,917

And just like the bikes it imitates, the RC 125 sports an exposed sub-frame with a split-seat setup to complete its aggressive appearance. It also gets the odd-looking grab-rail that sticks out like a sore thumb. Visually, the two things that set it apart are the blacked-out frame and dual-tone colour schemes which, for the first time, aren’t similar to the product KTM sells internationally. 

The Package

Even though it is the smallest and most affordable RC, KTM hasn’t cut down on the quality or features that the RC 125 offers. Components like the tubular steel trellis frame, switchgear, clip-on handlebars, mirrors and the MRF Revz tyres come straight from the RC 200’s parts bin. The orange-backlit digital instrument cluster, although now long in the tooth, has been picked up from the bigger RCs too.

The RC 125 even gets the top-spec inverted forks from WP and a ByBre braking setup. However, to keep costs in check, the motorcycle misses out on a dual-channel ABS and makes do with a single-channel unit instead. 

The Ride

Crank up the RC 125 and you are welcomed with a muffled version of the distinctive KTM exhaust note. The 124cc, liquid-cooled engine isn’t as much of a hooligan as the other KTMs and feels completely out of place on a racetrack. It churns out a humble 14bhp which struggles to push the bike to its top speed of 120kmph. The initial acceleration isn’t exhilarating either. Nevertheless, it gets a slick-shifting six-speed gearbox and a crisp throttle response to compensate for the power output. 

On the saddle, the RC 125 feels like a big motorcycle thanks to the unchanged dimensions. The clip-on handlebars and rear set pegs is a perfect recipe for aggressive riding ergonomics and on the track, the RC 125 surely makes its bigger siblings proud in terms of handling and its willingness to tip into corners. Moreover, the MRF Revz tyres provided decent grip on the track and the braking setup which has been borrowed from the RC200 offers excellent bite and feel. And even after pushing the bike to its limit for about half an hour, the brakes showed no sign of fade whatsoever.

Conclusion

The RC 125 exists to make the ‘RC’ brand more accessible (it costs Rs 37,000 lesser than the RC 200) while also completing KTM’s sub-400cc portfolio in India. But then again, the Rs 1.47 lakh introductory price tag of the ‘most affordable RC’ is what plays it down. For the first time in a long time, a KTM doesn’t seem like it is value for money. In comparison, the Yamaha YZF-R15 V3 might miss out on inverted forks but offers a much powerful and better spec engine, a fresh-looking white-backlit instrument display and dual-channel ABS, all for Rs 8,000 lesser at Rs 1.39 lakhs.

So who is the motorcycle targeted at? The RC 125 is perfect for novice riders wanting a fully-faired motorcycle. Its lack of immediate power makes it friendly and forgiving and the full fairing just adds to its appeal. It also comes equipped with an incredible braking setup and has good handling ability although, with slightly more power, the KTM RC 125 would have certainly been an exciting motorcycle to ride. 

Photography by Kapil Angane

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