KTM Duke 125 Review
Bike Tested: KTM Duke 125; Road Test No. 1040; Test Location: Pune
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1,38,200/-
The 2019 KTM Duke 125 is like a newbie back in an elder brother's clothing
So the news of the KTM Duke 125 struck as soon as Diwali ended. Literally, everyone was talking about the baby Duke getting an even smaller engine. And within a few weeks, KTM India announced the Duke 125 and within no time it reached the showrooms as well. We did a quick video on how it felt and it made us greedy enough to have a test ride. But then, KTM India sent us an invite to the Chakan test track for a first ride experience. What better place to ride the mad Duke than a test track! I was quite familiar with the track, I knew I was gonna have fun with the newest baby Duke.
Motor Quest: The KTM Duke 125 shares its design elements as well as the mechanical parts with the Duke 200. Even the 125cc motor is a smaller bore of the Duke 200's engine. However, the international model shares its design and parts with the new Duke 390 which has an edgy and fresh look.
Styling - The KTM Duke 125 looks identical to the Duke 200. If you park both the bikes next to each other, without the stickers it would be very difficult to differentiate. However, the Duke 125 gets a fresher livery and has 125 written all over. The headlight cover is black in all the variants and the colour options are White, Orange and Black. It gets the same orange wheels and trellis frame from the Duke 200. A noticeable difference is that the trellis frame is black and the engine head and the exhaust pipe are thinner. Even after being a 125, this KTM looks like a bigger Duke. It does grab quite some attention just like its siblings.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear - The KTM Duke 125 gets the same instrument cluster we had seen 6 years back on the Duke 200. The tachometer isn't clearly visible but the console is loaded with a lot of information. It shows distance to empty, mileage, twin trip meters, odometer, gear position indicator, engine temperature, fuel gauge and a clock while it also gets a shift light. Although the meter feels dated, it still goes well with the bike. The Duke 125 also gets the same backlight switches from the Duke 200. The switchgear has a piano black finish and the fit & finish levels are quite good.
Ergonomics - The ergonomics of the KTM Duke 125 are exactly same as the Duke 200 and the older Duke 390. The difference, however, is that the seat has better cushioning than that on the other Dukes. The seat height is also 8 mm taller at 818 mm. This makes it a little difficult to get on if the rider is short but then the footpegs are slightly rear-set which again isn't that comfortable. Seating posture is upright and that combined with the pegs and the seat makes the riding posture very unique, doable but not for all. The rear-view mirrors are the same and don't offer great visibility if the rider is wearing a jacket. Pillion comfort isn't much either and there is very little room to move around.
Performance - The KTM Duke 125 is powered by a 124.7cc engine and this motor is a smaller bore unit of the Duke 200's powerplant. It produces 14.3 BHP of power and 12 Nm of torque at the higher end of the rev band. This makes it responsive only in the top-end while it does not rev as quickly as the Duke 200 does. The motor redlines at 10,000 RPM and the throttle response is decent enough in the mid-range while it lacks in the low-end. However, there is enough grunt to stutter around without much fuss. It reached 100 km/hr within 17 seconds but goes out of breath as soon as you hit 110 km/hr. With a long stretch of road, one can push it to 115 km/hr which is its top speed.
The Duke 125 has a mellow exhaust note, slightly different from its siblings
The Duke 125 gets a 6-speed gearbox and the gearshifts are very crisp while the clutch is light. All the gears aren't tall and one will have to keep shifting to keep the pace going. However, you can ride at 60 km/hr or push it to its top speed in the 6th gear itself. The smaller bore has resulted in a lot refinement from the engine. We could feel the vibrations kicking in only when the motor neared the redline, that too was just a buzz on the footpegs and the tank. NVH levels are very well contained and the Duke 125 gets a mellow exhaust note. Unlike its siblings, it does not heat as much either.
Riding Dynamics - The KTM Duke 125 rides and handles just like the Duke 200 because it gets the same suspension setup, the same set of tyres and retains the exact same weight. The tyres grip well and the suspension setup being stiff makes it very feedback rich. Tipping it into corners is a piece of cake and the feedback from the handlebars is very engaging. It gets the same braking setup and also gets a single-channel ABS. This makes the braking feedback better and the Duke 125 feels surefooted while the ABS isn't switchable. The only gripe is that the seat height is slightly more than both the Duke 200 and the older Duke 390. The addition to the seat height is a result of better cushioning on the seat making the Duke 125 quite comfortable to sit and ride on.
Verdict – The KTM Duke 125 is priced at Rs. 1.40 lakhs and we might be able to justify the price with the hardware on the motorcycle. But for the performance it offers, it seems a little costly. However, there is no other motorcycle in the same category that offers this much sportiness. And if we are here to compare, the Duke 125 even takes on the 150cc sporty-commuter motorcycles as well. While the Duke 125 is a brand new motorcycle by KTM it still looks slightly dated with the Duke 200 design. If it would have got the new Duke 390 design which goes out in the international market, the price could have been justified even more. Yet it makes a great product as an entry-level motorcycle and an affordable way to get into the KTM family, only if you like that orange.
* Engine feels very refined for a KTM
* It takes on the 150cc sporty-commuter segment
* Braking performance is great, ABS works really well
* Riding dynamics are spot on, the handling is feedback rich
What’s Not So Cool
* Design looks old and dated
* Not comfortable for pillion duties
* Priced at a premium makes it unappealing
KTM Duke 125 Specifications
* Engine: 124.7cc, Liquid-Cooled, 4-Valve
* Power: 14.3 BHP @ 9250 RPM
* Torque: 12 Nm @ 8000 RPM
* Transmission: 6-Speed Constant Mesh
* Top Speed: 115 km/hr
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Fuel Consumption: 40 km/l
* Frame: Steel Trellis Frame
* Suspension: 43 mm WP USD Forks (Front), WP Monoshock (Rear)
* Tyres: 110/70/17 (Front), 150/60/17 (Rear), MRF Zapper
* Brakes: 300 mm Disc (Front), 230 mm Disc (Rear), Single-Channel ABS
KTM Duke 125 Dimensions
* Length x Width x Height: 1993 mm x 789 mm x 1083 mm
* Wheelbase: 1366 mm
* Seat Height: 818 mm
* Ground Clearance: 175 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 10.2-litres
* Kerb weight: 148 kgs
KTM Duke 125
KTM Duke 125 Review
The KTM Duke 125 is the latest offering from KTM in India. It is now an entry-level motorcycle in the sporty KTM family. The Duke 125 gets premium hardware and a new 125cc engine producing 14.3 BHP and 12 Nm of torque. The design and the mechanical parts are taken from the Duke 200 while it looks appealing with a fresh livery. The KTM Duke 125 is a sporty 125cc motorcycle yet it competes with the sporty-commuter motorcycles in 150cc segment.