DUKE OF LIT­TLE HEARTS

The KTM fam­ily lad­der just got ex­tended and grew a rung at the bot­tom, mak­ing the door to KTM eas­ier than it was. Be­hold, the 125 Duke

Evo India - - CONTENTS - WORDS by ANINDA SAR­DAR PHO­TOG­RA­PHY by RO­HIT G MANE

Thus far, the 200 Duke has been the ac­cess point to the KTM brand in the coun­try. But now there’s some­thing smaller, eas­ier that won’t ask you to push at all times

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T`1.59 LAKH, EX-SHOW­ROOM, the KTM 200 Duke has thus far been the en­try point into the cov­eted Aus­trian brand. All that changed a few weeks ago, when the com­pany made en­try into the fam­ily even eas­ier with the launch of the 125 Duke at `1.18 lakh. That’s forty-one grand eas­ier, which isn’t a pal­try sum. So you get all the good­ness of a KTM in a more man­age­able and cer­tainly more af­ford­able pack­age. But there’s a chink in that orange ar­mour, be­cause the 125 Duke weighs ex­actly the same as the 200 Duke – 141kg dry and 148kg kerb, but has less power. So what’s it like to ride?

The bike that has been launched isn’t ex­actly new and had been on sale in Europe till the new gen­er­a­tion was launched there. The 125cc liq­uid-cooled sin­gle is ac­tu­ally the base on which the 200 was cre­ated by bor­ing this one out. The 125 is pretty high strung too with a com­pres­sion ra­tio of 12.8:1. The

peak 14.3bhp is made at 9250rpm while the max torque of 12Nm kicks in at 8000rpm. The rest of the specs are iden­ti­cal to the 200 Duke.

Out on the lovely test track at Ba­jaj’s plant in Chakan, the Duke feels light and nim­ble. Flick­ing it from left to right and back again is a breeze and while it still dis­plays the age old KTM char­ac­ter­is­tic of be­ing slightly twitchy, the 125 Duke isn’t un­sta­ble. What’s miss­ing is the drive out of cor­ners. The fact that the en­gine’s power band is nar­row and at the top doesn’t help ei­ther. On the tricky par­a­bola that leads on to the long long straight, the bike just doesn’t have the grunt to get up to speed. The fact that the chas­sis is su­per ca­pa­ble only helps in ex­ag­ger­at­ing the prob­lem.

But it isn’t all bad ei­ther. It does, like KTM says, let you ex­pe­ri­ence the Aus­trian brand’s core DNA with­out in­tim­i­dat­ing you. And even though you’ll have to work through the gears to en­sure progress at slow speeds on ac­count of the lack of a good bot­tom or mid, it feels man­age­able and noob-friendly. Which I be­lieve is the prin­ci­pal aim of this mo­tor­cy­cle in the first place, that it should serve as a good step­ping stone. On that lat­ter count the KTM 125 Duke does the job and will lure those who have al­ways wanted to own some­thing orange in their garage but have shied away from the in­tim­i­dat­ing out­put of the larger KTMs. But if you’re not too brand con­scious then there are oth­ers that of­fer as much, or even more, at an even more ac­ces­si­ble point. ⌧

THE KTM 125 DUKE DOES THE JOB AND WILL LURE THOSE WHO HAVE WANTED SOME­THING ORANGE IN THEIR GARAGE

Left top to bot­tom: Fa­mil­iar stuff there; can barely read the rpm but you’ll al­ways know your speed; first 125 in In­dia to get rear disc and ABS; 125cc en­gine is ac­tu­ally the base for the 200; do you re­ally need that large a ra­di­a­tor for a 125?

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