KTM 200 Duke Review
Almost eight years on, KTM decided to give the 200 Duke a mid-life update. About time, we say!
The 200 Duke has been KTM’s cash mule ever since it was introduced in India back in 2012. It was offered as the entry ticket to the Austrian manufacturer’s streetfighter range, before the 125 Duke arrived; which is still fairly recent.
Now, almost eight years on, KTM decided to give the 200 Duke a mid-life update. About time, we say! We had the chance to see the bike in the flesh and most importantly ride it around KTM’s test track in Chakan, Pune and here is what we came back with.
Being a hardcore 1290 SuperDuke fanatic, the first thing that came to mind after seeing the new 200 Duke was..’ that looks explicitly tasteful’. After all, it does look strikingly similar. The design isn’t completely new per se, having debuted on the second-gen 390 Duke in 2017, but it is a delightful sight against the dated design of the previous model.
At the front, it sports an inverted triangle headlamp cowl which offers an LED DRL that tags along with a conventional bulb for illumination. Complementing the shape of the headlamp is the new 13.5-litre fuel tank adorned with sharp tank shrouds and subtle, yet defined graphics.However, the most important change comes in the form of the new sub-frame which holds the sleek tail section and revised split-seat setup.
While the new 200 Duke looks impeccable in the new avatar, step closer and you would wonder if KTM could have done a better job in terms of quality. The switchgear doesn’t feel as tactile to touch, there are noticeable gaps in the plastic panels and the quality of a few components like the footpegs could have been more premium for a motorcycle that demands nearly Rs 2 lakhs on-road.
Apart from the overhauled styling and new chassis, the new 200 Duke is essentially the same as it was before. It continues to come equipped with an orange-backlit LCD that does get slight revisions to its layout, although we wished for a better unit in the 2020 model at least. It still throws up essential information like service-due indication, average, and current fuel economy as well as clock along with speed, odometer, and tachometer. Moreover, unlike the previous model, the 2020 KTM 200 Duke now comes with a dual-channel ABS.
Swing a leg over the new 200 Duke and a sense of compactness comes over. You sit slightly more bent forward, in true streetfighter fashion and the new fuel tank encompasses the inner thighs much more than the previous tank design which left the knees feeling rather lonely. The seat is also much more comfortable and the 5mm increase in seat height further amplifies the aggressive riding posture.
Now, the revised riding position along with the new chassis has made the 200 Duke nimbler and more precise than before. The motorcycle feels light and switched sides on the chicanes effortlessly. It would surely be a hoot filtering through traffic as well.
Underneath the new split-trellis frame, the 200 Duke uses the same 199cc, single-cylinder engine that has been tweaked to make it friendlier with the environment. While most manufacturers had to dial down the power output due to BS6 compliance, KTM managed to retain the same figures- 24.7bhp and 19.3Nm. Now, while the power figures are the same, the motor feels dialed-down; almost robbed of the hooligan rush it once offered.
On the bright side, the 200 Duke continues to hit a top speed of 137kmph and offers a more precise gearbox. And with way lesser vibrations emanating from the BS6 motor, the new 200 Duke feels smoother as well. Also, the dual-channel ABS sourced from Bosch works wonders in bringing the Duke to a halt without any drama and is the least intrusive system out there.
KTM has given the highest-selling Duke in the country a makeover it long deserved. Not only has this change upped its appeal, but has also added more value to the package. After all, at Rs 1.72 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) you are paying nearly Rs 10,000 over the previous model.
It caters to the audience that wouldn’t be wanting to shell out an additional Rs 30,000 for the 250 Duke but wants more power and character than the 125 Duke. And in these conditions, the new 200 Duke fits the bill quite well.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi
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