2020 KTM 200 Duke BS6: First Ride Review
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After a substantial update and a price hike of over Rs 10,000, does the 200 Duke do enough to remain a favourite among the masses?
KTM’s entire India lineup is now BS6 compliant. Most motorcycles have received a minor update primarily in the form of new paint options and a few odds and ends here and there, but the 390 Duke and the 200 Duke have received much more than that. While the 390 Duke now comes with a quickshifter as standard, the 200 Duke has been mechanically and visually redesigned as it was in dire need of an update.
At Rs 1.72 lakh (ex-showroom), the BS6 200 Duke is Rs 10,476 more expensive than before. This price increment is the highest till now in the KTM family. So the question is, are these updates substantial enough to justify its high asking price?
- The new design makes the 200 Duke finally look like a modern KTM.
- Performance feels unchanged from the older model, which is a good thing.
- It is a bit more comfortable and touring-friendly than before.
- Ground clearance has dropped to 155mm as the exhaust now routes under the bike.
- Slightly taller and wider seat might be a challenge for shorter riders.
- 11kg weight increase is likely to affect actual performance numbers.
- Gets proper dual-channel ABS as standard.
- The 1290 Duke-inspired styling and new paint schemes freshen up the bike’s looks.
- Nearly 3.0 litre increase in fuel-tank capacity means fewer trips to the pump.
Since its launch in 2012, the 200 Duke never received any major design update. With the 2020 iteration, KTM’s designers went back to the drawing board and started designing from scratch. Well, it was a straightforward process as the bike maker has used the same design language as the 250 Duke. So, both share the front end, seat layout, and even the fuel-tank design. We are not complaining because the result is still quite pretty.
The only thing we would have wished for is more colour options, especially the dark silver and grey ones seen on the new 250 Duke and the 390 Duke. The orange-black paint scheme has been around for a while and honestly, we would’ve preferred the matte grey paint on the trellis frame instead of black. Let’s hope someone from KTM is reading this and decides to surprise us by adding new colours to the lineup!
Swing a leg over the 200 Duke and you feel a sense of familiarity as the rider’s triangle is nearly identical to the 250 Duke and the 390 Duke -- the footpegs are rear set, the handlebars are a bit raised, and you sit a little further back than before. Thanks to the new subframe, the rider’s seat is quite comfortable and there’s enough room for the rider to move around. The older model’s seat height was already on the higher side, but at 823mm, the seat height on the BS6 model has increased by 5mm. That along with the now wider seat might make it a little difficult for shorter folks to plant their feet on the ground. Since we had a limited time with the motorcycle, we will reserve our judgment on how comfortable the pillion seat is for later.
The BS6 200 Duke is 79mm longer, 71mm wider, and 26mm taller than before. But the major difference is the weight and the ground clearance between the two versions. Tipping the scale at 159kg, the BS6 200 Duke is 11kg heavier than before while the ground clearance is lower by 20mm. One of the reasons why the 200 Duke has gained a few kilos is due to its bigger 13.5-litre fuel tank (up by 3 litre). However, a major chunk of this additional weight comes from the new subframe, new seat, new body panels, and the new exhaust system.
Technology & Features:
The 200 Duke was never a feature-rich motorcycle. All you had was a small digital instrument console, which is the same unit that we later saw on the 125 Duke and the 250 Duke as well! And guess what? It is still the same. It does get a new headlamp though with LED DRLs. Now, we haven’t thoroughly tested the motorcycle yet, but it is highly likely that the 200 Duke’s headlamp has a similar throw and intensity as the 250 Duke. An additional feature the BS6 200 Duke gets over the BS4 version is dual-channel ABS.
Engine & Performance:
We know what your main concern is with the BS6 200 Duke. Has the engine lost its mad character to be BS6 compliant? Well, no. The 200cc single-cylinder motor still retains its high-strung nature and even though it is now BS6 compliant, it makes the same power and torque as before (25PS and 19.3Nm). You can still feel some vibes above the 6000rpm mark on the footpegs and the fuel tank. Considering the extra pounds the Duke has gained, we believe there could be a difference in terms of performance, but while riding, we were hard-pressed to find any discernible difference. You’ll have to wait for the exact numbers until we put it through a VBox test.
Ride & Handling:
The suspension hardware remains the same as before -- a 43mm USD fork at the front and a monoshock at the rear. It’s too early to comment on the ride quality as we had a limited time with the motorcycle. But we’ve been assured by KTM India that the suspension is pretty much unchanged, except for a retune to cope with the increased weight. Apart from the subframe, the other major difference between the BS4 200 Duke and the BS6 model is the inclusion of dual-channel ABS. Now, out on the track, there was no chance to test ABS intervention, but if we’re being honest, the bite from the brakes felt a little unsatisfactory.
Now you do feel the extra weight that the motorcycle is carrying around, but does it make it hard to corner? Not really. Even though it weighs 11kg more than before, it is still quite easy to handle the 200 Duke around the corner.
Out in real-world conditions, we would advise you to take it easy while going over speed breakers and potholes as the ground clearance has gone from 175mm to 155mm. Again, the new exhaust system is to blame here as it goes from under the bike rather than the side as on the BS4 model.
The 200 Duke is an attractive motorcycle and the update is quite substantial. Yes, it weighs more than before and yes, you might end up rubbing its belly at times on tall speed breakers. But that’s just a small price to pay for a motorcycle that looks so good, is more comfortable than before and in theory, greener as well. Yes, the new Rs 1.72 lakh price tag is a fair bump up, but we believe you’re genuinely getting more motorcycle for your money. And honestly, we are also quite relieved that this BS6 200 Duke still retains all the performance characteristics that made its predecessor so much fun to ride. The only downside here is that the BS6 200 Duke might prove to be even lesser value-for-money as motorcycles like the Suzuki Gixxer 250 offer more performance for a lower price tag.