KTM 125 Duke Review: Picture Gallery
Does the 125 Duke pack enough punch to stay true to its hooligan genes? At the same time, is it approachable enough to not intimidate beginners? We find out with the help of 30 detailed images.
KTM launched the new 125 Duke for around the same price it had launched the 200 Duke: Rs 1.30 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). While it did prove to be quite fun on the Bajaj test track during our first ride, it also got us wondering if it could handle your daily duties.
Also Read - KTM 125 Duke: Road Test Review
First things first, it looks exactly like the KTM 200 Duke minus the sticker work. Though the international-spec 125 Duke comes with the new 390 Duke-like styling, India gets the old-school KTM design.
It isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the 200 Duke is quite popular in the country and its design is instantly recognisable to the aam junta as the quintessential KTM.
It is also a sound business decision as using the older bodywork saves the brand a lot of money, and also helps in pricing the bike reasonably. After all, this bike is intended for someone who wants a KTM on a budget.
Just like its design, the instrument cluster is also shared with the 200 Duke. We found the orange backlit digital console to be quite informative with readouts for fuel efficiency, range, fuel consumption, trip readouts, gear position, revs, speed, time, odometer readout, coolant temperature, fuel gauge and whatnot.
However, it does feel a bit cluttered considering that small square-ish space, and the tachometer reading, with its tiny numbers in particular, takes some time to learn how to read.
The switchgear, handlebar and key slot all feel premium, and we’re happy to inform that KTM hasn’t cut corners on any of these.
Though the rearview mirrors look sporty, they could’ve been larger or more outboard for better visibility and smaller blindspot area.
Overall, the build quality of the motorcycle is on par with other KTM bikes -- there’s nothing to complain about here.
Engine & Performance:
The 124.7cc single-cylinder DOHC engine is liquid-cooled and generates 14.5PS at 9250rpm and 12Nm at 8000rpm.
Also Read - KTM RC 125: Track Ride Review
These numbers are pretty decent for a performance 125 but the powerband is quite narrow. It is concentrated mostly between 6000-8000rpm.
Being a 125, there’s only so much power you can extract, and it lacks the outright frantic nature that KTMs are known for.
The sixth gear is tall, but there’s just no power if you need to quickly accelerate, demanding a couple of downshifts to get the engine back into the powerband.
In our performance tests, the KTM 125 Duke reached 60kmph from standstill in 5.65 seconds, making it 0.4 seconds quicker than the Honda CB Unicorn 160. That might not sound like much of a difference but let’s not forget: The CB 160 might be among the slowest 150cc motorcycles we’ve tested but the fact remains that it still is a 162.71cc machine. And this 125 outrun it.
Performance wise, while it does beat 125cc motorcycles, it’s still slower than almost all 150-160cc bikes. It takes 17.25 seconds in the run up to 100kmph, which is fairly reasonable, but then again, it can’t keep up with the likes of the Suzuki Gixxer, Honda CB Hornet 160R and TVS Apache RTR 160 4V.
The motorcycle reached a top speed of 106.54kmph - a little over 3kmph more than the Honda CB Shine SP, which is not saying much. If you’re expecting KTM level of performance, then you need to look elsewhere.
But then did it at least manage to deliver in terms of efficiency? Well, it does manage to compensate to a certain degree here. In our tests, it returned 46.92kmpl in the city and 48.05kmpl on the highway.
One aspect where this baby Duke really shines is the refinement level, which is by far the best among KTM’s current lineup in India. The engine feels smooth both in the city and on the highway, and this makes for a fatigue-free ride.
Ride & Handling:
The riding position is a little sporty. You’re sitting on a compact seat, with your legs folded rearwards (because of the rear-set footpegs) and your torso has a slightly leaned-forward stance.
The whole setup eggs you to push your cornering skills to its limits. While it might not have brute power, we have to say it is a brilliant handler.
It’s easy to change directions on the move thanks to the wide handlebar. It also allows you to tip into corners easily.
The suspension setup (WP inverted forks and rear monoshock) is slightly on the stiffer side, but there won’t be any back-breaking problems on most of our roads.
Only on really bad surfaces is it actually jarring. The only grouse we had was the wider-than-normal turning radius, thanks to the rather fat 43mm inverted forks.
KTM hasn’t cheaped-out on the brakes either. You get a proper 300mm front disc reined by a radial caliper and a 230mm rear disc. As expected, the stopping power is superb, but we wish it had a wee bit more progression, especially at the front.
You also have the safety of a single-channel ABS in case things get hairy.
Interestingly, the braking distance from 80kmph to zero is 38.82m, which is actually longer compared to other 125cc bikes. Even from 60kmph, it takes a somewhat long 20.62m to come to a standstill.
These figures put it at par with 160cc motorcycles, such as the Gixxer, Hornet and the Pulsar NS160. This is because at 148kg, this KTM is in the same weight class as the 150s and 160s, not the lighter 125s.
And then, the intervention from the single-channel ABS is also to be blamed for increasing braking distances a little bit.
All these underpinnings have been designed for a 45-horsepower motorcycle. So on the 125, these components seem to be so far ahead of the motor’s performance, that there’s very little you can do to get into trouble. Exploiting the full handling prowess of this bike is actually very easy.
All in all, the 125 Duke is a promising motorcycle with satisfyingly agile dynamics. It offers the simple joys of motorcycling - just like how you felt when riding a bike for the first time.
But then you reach the limits of this bike fairly quickly and might just end up craving for more.
At Rs 1.30 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it is also quite expensive for a 125cc motorcycle. However, if you’re a KTM fan looking to experience the premium-ness of the Brand Orange at a budget (somewhat), the 125 Duke is the one for you.