KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

Published On Jun 29, 2019 By Jehan Adil Darukhanawala for KTM RC 125

Does spending Rs 1.47 lakh for a 125cc faired motorcycle make sense?

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

The success of the KTM 125 Duke was a surprising shock for most of us in the office. KTM India’s funda was simple – build something that has KTM’s performance DNA but in small doses and has to be an affordable package – and it worked. Looking to cash in on the success of the 125 Duke, KTM has decided to bring in the RC 125. Although it has got the small dosage brief right, we are not sure if it is got the affordable bit quite right. Rs 1.47 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for a 125cc faired motorcycle is a bit much. Especially when the naked 125 Duke is Rs 17,000 cheaper and its direct rival – the Yamaha R15 V3 (which makes more power) – costs Rs 7,000 less. So why has KTM slapped on such a high price tag on the RC 125?

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

Pros:

  • It gets top-spec components like USD fork, radial tyres.
  • Motorcycle is set up to handle brilliantly in corners.
  • Design still looks fresh in new orange colour.

Cons:

  • Aggressive riding stance will prove to be painful in city as well as on the highway.
  • The RC struggles to get beyond 95kmph.
  • High asking price.

Stand-out features:

  • The new orange livery looks smashing.
  • Confident handling abilities make it a great beginner’s sportbike

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

Design

No surprises for guessing, KTM has not changed the styling of the RC family for the 125. It looks just like its 200cc sibling – the RC 200 – and that is not a bad thing. It looks fresh and youthful in the bright KTM orange colour scheme, something which we cannot be said about the white colour option.

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

The scowling face remains with the twin LED projector headlamps and twin LED DRLs taking pride of place. For track application, the fly-screen provides enough wind protection when tucking in. Even the sharp cuts on the fuel tank shrouds are ergonomically designed for a racy riding posture. 

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

The tail unit is a piece of art as the pillion seat looks exactly like a cowl from a race motorcycle. And the under-seat panels look smashing in the orange scheme. As this is the India-spec RC 125, you get an underbelly exhaust unit and not a side-slung one as found in international markets.

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

Ergonomics

With its tagline of ‘Ready To Race,’ you would not expect anything less racy from a KTM supersport, be it the old RC8 or the RC 390 or this baby RC 125. Everything from the RC 390 has trickled down to the 125. This means that you find the same super aggressive, track-focused riding stance on the RC 125 as you would on the RC 200. 

The flat clip-on bars are set quite low. You are perched quite high, 835mm to be precise. The rear-set footpegs complete the sporty posture. There is enough space even for larger riders to move around in the seat.

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

Out here on the Bajaj test track, the aggressive stance was not worrisome. However, in the real world, as we have experienced on the other, larger engined RC siblings, it is bound to cause neck, wrist and back aches. 

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

Technology & Features

The only other 125cc motorcycle which is as technologically superior and feature-packed as the RC 125 is its naked twin – the 125 Duke. It gets the same full digital information cluster like the majority of the KTM products in India and relays necessary ride-related information in a tight package. The design has not seen any change since the original 200 Duke, which was launched in 2012. The design does feel a bit dated, especially considering that KTM also has the colour TFT screen which is found on the 390 Duke. Also, the layout does feel cramped with the trip details being hard to read while on the go.

In terms of riding aids, the RC 125 gets a basic single-channel setup which was not very intrusive on the test track.  

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

Performance

KTM did not want to compromise on the kit on offer. Hence you will see the same steel trellis chassis and other mechanical components on the RC 125 that you would find on the RC 200. What is changed from the RC 200 to the RC 125 is the presence of the 124.7cc engine. 

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

Engine

KTM RC 125

Specs

124.7cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled fuel-injection

Power

14.5PS @ 9250rpm

Torque

12Nm @ 8000rpm

Transmission

6-speed

 

It is but obvious that the RC 125 shares top honours with the 125 Duke when it comes to power outputs in the 125cc class. This is still a pretty high strung motor that revs to 10,000rpm. However, this baby RC does feel a little slow. Down the long main straight at the test track, I could only manage a speedo-indicated top speed of 115kmph. My heft is partly to blame here. Powerdrift’s Shumi was only able to extract 4kmph more. It is a struggle getting beyond 95kmph, which came fairly early on the kilometre-plus long straight.

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

The flipside to having modest engine outputs is that new riders are not likely to be scared by the power delivery. It is not manic like the RC 200 or the RC 390. For those parents who are constantly nagged by their 18- or soon-to-be 18-year-olds, they will highly appreciate this bike’s mild demeanour.

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

 

KTM RC 125

Chassis

Tubular steel trellis frame

Suspension

Front: 43mm USD fork

Rear: Preload adjustable monoshock

Tyres

F: 110/70 R17

R: 150/60 R17

MRF Revz radial tyres

Brakes

F: 300mm disc with 4-piston caliper

R: 230mm disc with single-piston caliper

Dry weight

154.2kg

Wheelbase

1341mm

 

Pick a line and the RC genes shine through on the 125. It is razor sharp when turning in to corners and is equally stable in the bends. There is so much potential that one can extract from the solid foundations. It can even help an experienced rider refine his or her basics when it comes to motorcycle control. Through a series of quick direction changes, the RC125 feels effortless. 

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

The suspension internals have been tweaked to suit this motorcycle. I have faint memories of the RC 200 at the Bajaj test track but this RC 125 felt softer sprung. Perhaps, this has been done to welcome new riders into the KTM family. I cannot comment on ride quality as the test track was in pristine condition.

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

The MRF Revz radial rubber are more than capable of handling their own on the RC 125. Again, we were riding this bike on super grippy asphalt, which is far from what we find on most public roads. On the test track the tyres inspired enough confidence to take corners with much gusto. 

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

It does pack the best braking kit that any motorcycle of its cubic capacity, or even one rung higher, has. It also gets single-channel ABS as standard which, though not intrusive out on the test track, is something which we would have to test in the real world. The performance on offer is good for the most part but we would like to have just a little more brake feel. The lever feels a little soft and spongy, and doesn’t give you an exact indication of just how much braking force you’ve applied -  something which has been a bit of an issue on the 125 Duke too. 

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

Variants

The KTM RC 125 is available in just a single variant but with two colour options – orange/black and white/black.

KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review

Verdict

Although it might sound like it is a pricey affair, the KTM RC 125 has all the necessary qualifications to prove it is a KTM product. It might have just scraped through in the performance game as it is not as punchy or powerful as larger KTM offerings, but it remains a fun to ride motorcycle on the track. Sure, the Yamaha R15 v3 is more powerful, certainly quicker and more affordable than this baby RC. But when it comes to handling, the KTM offers a level of confidence which the Yamaha can’t match. And that’s something a lot of riders who are just beginning their sportbike journey are sure to appreciate. The big question then comes down to whether these new riders would be willing to pay the extra cash for the KTM, given its lack of outright performance. We would think not. But then again, we’ve been proven wrong by KTM 125 Duke not so long ago.

KTM RC 125

Variants*Ex-Showroom Price New Delhi
KTM RC 125 ABS (Petrol)Rs. 1,47,213*

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