KTM Duke 125 vs Yamaha MT-15 vs Honda Hornet 2.0 - Spec Comparison

Duke 125 vs MT-15 vs Hornet 2.0

After the immense success of the Duke 200 and the Duke 390 in India, KTM went on to launch their smallest offering, the Duke 125 in India, back in 2018. While the 125 didn’t perform as well as its bigger siblings did when they had first arrived, it led KTM’s sales chart for quite some time. For 2020, the Duke 125 has received its first real update and it now boasts of a new design but it has gotten surprisingly expensive too. At its new price, the Duke 125 has tough company in the form of the Yamaha MT-15 and the brand-new Honda Hornet 2.0 in the market. Hence, to find out if it is a feasible option in the market or not, we’re pinning the new KTM Duke 125 vs the Yamaha MT-15 and the Honda Hornet 2.0 in a spec comparison.

Duke 125 vs MT-15 vs Hornet 2.0 Design

The new KTM Duke 125’s design is arguably the biggest change it has undergone. Like before, it follows the footsteps of its elder siblings and ditches the old ‘Duke’ skin as it welcomes the new design language. It now looks at par with the bigger Dukes, thanks to the much more aggressive and sporty design. The design isn’t exactly brand new, though, as we’ve seen this design on the previous-gen Duke 250 too. That said, the 125 definitely looks better than before and in a quick-glance, one might mistake it for a bigger motorcycle too.

Coming to the other two bikes here, the Honda Hornet 2.0 is an all-new design by Honda while the Yamaha MT-15 features an year-old design. Both motorcycles look excellent in their own ways as the Hornet opts for a more radical approach while the MT-15 has a minimalist yet futuristic design. Both bikes also get LED headlamps which the Duke 125 misses out on. If you look at all three bikes together, the Duke 125 looks the sharpest, with the Hornet 2.0 in second and the MT-15 in third. But looks are subjective and some people might not like the Duke as it is an old design afterall. Let us know which bike qualifies as an eye-candy for you in the comments below!

Duke 125 vs MT-15 vs Hornet 2.0 Features

The feature-list of the Duke 125 hasn’t really changed following the update and it’s probably because it is the most feature-rich for a 125cc offering. The features include USD forks by WP, a digital instrument cluster, alloy wheels, LED tail light and LED indicators too but it misses out on a LED headlamp. Coming to the other two, the MT-15 gets LED headlamp, LED tail light, a negative LCD digital instrument cluster but misses out on LED indicators and USD forks. It gets an assist and slipper clutch, though, which the other two miss out on.

The Hornet 2.0 gets full LED lighting, a negative LCD digital instrument cluster, USD forks, and even a hazard light switch. If you look under the skin, though, the Hornet 2.0 misses out on a side-stand cutoff switch which the other two get. Also, the Duke’s speedo has the most information on offer even though it looks aged and misses out on the negative LCD display. We think the Yamaha MT-15 is the most practically feature-packed here even though, all bikes are neck and neck.

Duke 125 vs MT-15 vs Hornet 2.0 Ergonomics

Ergonomics-wise, all three bikes are comfortable and feature upright riding postures. The Duke 125 and Yamaha MT-15 feel more suitable for spirited riding, though, as compared to the the Hornet 2.0’s commuter-y feel. The MT-15 is the only bike here to have a single-seat as the other two get a split-seat setup. Capacity-wise, the KTM Duke 125 leads the way with its increased 13.5-litre fuel tank with the Hornet in second and the MT-15 in last place. Lastly, the seat height of the Hornet 2.0 is the lowest at 795 mm, while the MT-15 is 810 mm high and the Duke 125 with the highest seat height at 830 mm. This makes the Duke 125 a little hard to live with, especially for someone of average height.

Duke 125 vs MT-15 vs Hornet 2.0 Performance

This is where this comparison feels a little unjust for the Duke 125, as it is the smallest bike between the three. The little Duke features a 124.7cc motor which makes 14.3 BHP and 12 Nm of torque. The MT-15 features a 155cc motor which makes 18.23 BHP and 13.9 Nm of torque. Lastly, the Hornet 2.0 has a 184.4cc motor which manages 17.03 BHP and 16.1 Nm of torque. As you can clearly see that the Duke 125 unsurprisingly makes the least power but the MT-15 surprisingly makes the highest power even though the Hornet has a bigger motor.

All bikes are single-cylinder offerings and the MT and the KTM use liquid cooling while the Hornet uses conventional air-cooling. Additionally, the Hornet uses a 5-speed gearbox while the Duke 125 and the MT use 6-speed ones. The MT-15 even gets a slipper-clutch, which no other bike gets here giving it an added advantage. The Hornet makes the most torque, though, making it a decent package. Overall, the Duke has a significant disadvantage here, as expected, while the MT-15 shines.

Duke 125 vs MT-15 vs Hornet 2.0 Handling

The Duke 125 is arguably one of the most premium bikes in this section. It gets 43 mm USD forks by WP upfront and a 10-step adjustable mono-shock at the rear. The Hornet 2.0 also gets USD forks upfront which definitely look the part, along with a mono-shock at the rear. Lastly, the MT-15 uses conventional telescopic forks at the front and a mono-shock at the rear. Coming to ground clearance, the Duke 125 offers the highest at 175 mm while the MT-15 and the Hornet 2.0 offer 170 mm and 167 mm, respectively.

For braking duties, the Duke 125 has the biggest disc brakes with the Hornet having the smallest ones. All bikes only offer a single-channel ABS setup but the Duke 125 has the best tyres in the lot, giving it an advantage. Additionally, the Duke also uses a split-trellis frame from the bigger Dukes, which is surely better than the Hornet and the MT. However, the new Duke 125 is heavier than before and weighs approximately 20 kgs more than the lightest bike here, the MT-15, which weighs just 138 kgs.

Duke 125 vs MT-15 vs Hornet 2.0 Verdict

Remember when we said the Duke 125 has gotten surprisingly more expensive? Take a quick glance at the infographic and you’ll see that the smallest bike here is also the most expensive one. At almost Rs. 1.8 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai), the Duke 125 is so expensive that even the Hornet 2.0 looks like superb value, which is actually bashed for being over-priced. No doubt the KTM Duke 125 is an extremely likeable, capable and excellent entry-level bike with top notch equipment but is it a feasible option? Not really. As this comparison suggests, there are much more capable options which cost less than the 125. One can even opt for the TVS Apache RTR 200, which outperforms all three bikes here in every field while being much more affordable!

2021 KTM Duke 125 Price
The KTM Duke can deceive anyone as a bigger bike if it wasn’t for the ‘125’ graphics
Honda Hornet 2.0 Review 12
The Hornet 2.0 is a very capable sporty commuter
Yamaha MT-15 BS6 Price
The MT-15 looks minimalistic, futuristic and you can even tune the colour scheme to your liking for extra money!