The Duke 125’s closest rival in India is the popular R15 V3.
The KTM Duke 125 was launched in India on 27th November. With a price tag of Rs. 1.38 lakhs, the Duke 125 has no direct rivals in its segment and as this motorcycle is aimed squarely at the youth, it has to compete with the other favourite bike among the youth, the Yamaha R15 V3.0. The most popular sub-150cc performance motorcycle, the Yamaha R15 V3.0 is priced at Rs. 1.51 lakhs (all priced on-road, Mumbai).
Styling – The Duke 125 derives a lot of its styling elements from the Duke 200. It also features a fully digital instrument cluster which we have seen on the older Duke 390 and the current Duke 200. However, the international version gets a full-colour TFT screen which is also present on the new Duke 390. The Duke 125 can be categorised as a modern sport-naked bike complimented by bright colour schemes and sharp lines. The bike offers an upright riding position that keeps the rider engaged yet comfortable.
The Yamaha R15 V3 comes with a fully-digital instrument cluster. Its styling is sharper and has grown over the Version 2.0, which was discontinued some time back. The Yamaha offers a sportier riding position compared to the Duke with its clip-on bars and rear-set footpegs. The motorcycle still maintains the charm from the older models but looks aggressive now. One can also opt for a MotoGP edition of the Yamaha R15 V3 for a better looking colour scheme.
Dimensions – The Duke 125 shares the same trellis frame from the Duke 200. When you consider the lack of bodywork on this bike, you will be surprised to know that it weighs the same as the Duke 200. At about 148 kgs, it is slightly heavy, while the R15 V3 is lighter at 139 kgs. The Duke 125 has a length of 1993 mm while the R15 V3 falls slightly less at 1990 mm. The Duke 125 also has a larger wheelbase at 1366 mm for better straight-line stability. When compared to the R15 V3, the lesser 1325 mm wheelbase makes it more flickable. The tyres of the Duke 125 are wider than those of its competitor. The former gets 110/70/17 front and 150/60/17 rear while the latter gets 100/80/17 front and 140/70/17 rear.
Performance – The KTM Duke 125 generates its power from a 124.7cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC engine. It is able to produce 14.3 HP and 12 Nm. The Yamaha R15 V3 uses a larger 155cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder VVA motor that churns out 19 HP and a peak torque of 15 Nm. Both engines are paired to a 6-speed transmission. However, the Duke 125 has an advantage with a Double Overhead Camshaft (DOHC) engine while the Yamaha R15 V3 gets a regular SOHC layout. The R15 V3 trumps the Duke 125 with a slipper clutch on offer as well.
As they say, there is no replacement for displacement and the Yamaha R15 V3 is simply faster than the KTM Duke 125 in both acceleration and top speed. While the Duke 125 produces the most output among 125cc bikes, it is simply slower than cheaper 150cc commuter bikes which not only offer more output but are more efficient as well.
Verdict – The Duke 125 is a force to be reckoned with as it offers the big bike feel in a small package. While the R15 is a track-focused motorcycle for corner cravers, the Duke 125 has what it takes, on paper, to entice these riders away from the R15 V3 by offering superior hardware and more comfort. Both these motorcycles are more about dynamics and thus even price doesn’t play a serious factor here. However, the Duke 125 is budget-friendly for someone who wants to enter the performance biking world with a KTM product but we wished team Orange launched the RC 125 instead as that would have been more apt a bike to take on the hugely successful Yamaha R15.