Sharp, sleek, and stunning; like something out of a Micheal Bay movie

KTM Duke 250 Ownership Review

After much speculation and research, I bought my first motorcycle, the KTM Duke 250, over an year ago. I would be lying if I said my experience has all been all sunshine and rainbows, it’s been all that, but, with its own unique set of challenges that I explored with my bike. Read on, as I attempt to do justice to the questions commonly asked with regards to my bike, the KTM Duke 250.

Challenged by many, conquered by none; the KTM Duke 250 is arguably the best in its segment, depending on who you ask

At the time of researching bikes that I felt were right for me, I had a few factors in my mind. They are as follows:

Price: The budget I had at my disposal was around Rs. 2-2.5 lakhs. Within this price range, the Bajaj Dominar 400, Royal Enfield Himalayan, Yamaha FZ 250, TVS Apache 200, Bajaj Pulsar 200 Twins, and of course the infamous KTM Duke 200 and RC 200 were available. As of today, there are many other entries in the market worthy of your consideration. Namely, the Husqvarna series that borrows the engine and several other components from the Duke 250.

The Duke 250 made the cut indefinitely for me as I felt it was right in my budget, looked killer, had a dual-channel ABS feature, never compromised in performance, and promised a decent fuel economy for all that is offered. But, was I happy with the efficiency figures once I had the bike in my possession? That’s a matter for later.

A lightweight, compact street-fighter that looks mean and acts like it

Naked or Faired Bike: This is something I feel every prospective bike buyer should give plenty of thought to. As you may have gathered by now, I went for a naked bike. Although a faired bike offers a plethora of advantages in certain areas of riding, the dedicated posture which requires you to bend a lot, chances of the side faring being damaged heavily, lack of off-road ability, lack of pillion comfort and the traffic of Bangalore were some of the reasons I went for a naked bike. The KTM Duke 250 allows me to test it on all terrains, keeps me free of body aches due to the excellent seating posture while giving me immense confidence and control.

The bike tips into corners effortlessly and carries itself with great poise

Fuel Efficiency: This is an extremely important factor in choosing a bike. My initial interest was towards the Duke 390. But the online quotes on the commendable fuel efficiency of the Duke 250 grabbed my attention, they claimed 30 km/l in the city and 35 km/l on the highways, naturally, I was very impressed as this motorcycle has the same body and a similar performance feel like the Duke 390. But, sadly I can tell you right away, this is not true.

I am saying this after over a year of use and keeping track of every time I fill up. The bike, if riding in higher gears and lower RPMs up until 6000-7000 RPM will give you about 25 km/l to 27 km/l in the city and 29 km/l to 31 km/l on a highway ride. I have tested the efficiency thoroughly in different riding conditions, terrain, and types of trips, from places with curvy roads to straight highways for hundreds of kilometres. This is what you get, period.

Concerned about running out of fuel? Fret not, as the KTM Duke 250 is equipped with a 13.5-litre fuel tank.

Keep in mind, these results were obtained under the riding conditions I have mentioned, you can expect drastically lesser numbers if you are riding between 8000-11000 RPM and raising the RPM in lower gears, you can expect 22 km/l to 24 km/l in the city and highways if you keep that up for the whole duration of the ride. My tip is to be as higher up in the gear as the vehicle permits under the circumstances; the bike will still have an amazing pull which will ensure you are much ahead of anyone on the road. 4000-7000 RPM is the sweet spot, in any gear.

A rather silly excuse for a phone mount, but these rubber bands have done the job splendidly!

Looks & Comfort: I feel the Duke 250 speaks for itself in this area, it’s the best looking bike in the market after the Duke 390 according to me. I was carried away by the futuristic, sharp, and alien-like design borrowed from the Super Duke since the day I first laid eyes on the bike. Comfort. To be honest, the seat is on the stiffer side and I have felt discomfort on long rides for sure. I feel this issue can be easily addressed but there are no updates as of yet. The seat could be much softer.

The exhaust note goes hand-in-hand with the bike. It is low, refined, and packs a grunt, as you rev it to higher RPMs

The seat height. Another vital factor to be considered, this is something that is dreaded by most of us. The seat is definitely high at 835 mm, it would not be the easiest for shorter riders to handle in traffic and off-road situations. I am 5’9 and I find difficulty in navigating the bike in parking spaces and off-road trials due to the weight and how it’s distributed. However, you will not face any difficulty once you are on the road and in better conditions.

KTM Duke 250 Ownership Review
The KTM Duke 250 comes equipped with a rear 150/60-17 inch tyre, inspiring both stability and rider confidence

Technology & Riding Ergonomics: The Duke 250 comes with a highly informative console that has all the information you may need regarding your bike. You can set trips, see the average fuel consumption and speed of each trip (the consumption figure always seems to be wrong in mine), engine heat meter, petrol gauge, RPM meter, next service due and kilometre range, and much more. It also comes with dual-channel ABS which is highly helpful. Riding ergonomics, out of around 25 to 30 bikes that I have ridden, I feel the Duke 250 surpasses all in inspiring the most confidence which is extremely vital for a rider.

The KTM Duke 250 is packed to the teeth with cool tech, ensuring you know all that you need to know about your bike, parked or on the go

This bike makes you feel as if you are one with the bike and the bike is an extension of your body. This has been done by the truly creative seating posture with your knees high-up and close to the body and the wide handlebars. The brakes are quite spongy and offer very less bite, KTM has addressed this with the BS6 compliant Duke 250 which comes with a bigger 320 mm disk as opposed to the 300 mm on the BS4 model. The rear brakes don’t contribute anything at all to your braking and that is common in all bikes as far as I know.

KTM Duke 250 Ownership Review
The Duke 250 is an apt choice for the highway, but, the dedicated foot-placement may cause sores and aches

Maintenance Cost: KTM offers 3 free services, labour is not charged for the work done in these 3 services. The details of the services are given below:

  • 1st service is right after 1000 kms. It cost me Rs. 1800/-. The main things done are engine oil change, air filter change, oil filter change, and chain lube.
  • 2nd service was given at 5000 kms. It cost me Rs. 1750/-, the same routine was followed.
  • 3rd service was given at 9500 kms. It cost me Rs. 2400/-, the same routine was followed.

In addition to this, chain lube has to be done every 500 kms to ensure smooth gear shifts and to reduce vibrations. KTM does a fairly good job with the service and I have not had any issues so far. Chain sprockets and chain replacement had to be done at 10,000 kms as the chain kept going out of tension and getting loose, it cost me Rs. 3700/- including labour. I recommend getting the service and oil change done every 4000-5000 kms. As I have used all my free services, the next one will cost me Rs. 3500/- to Rs. 4000/-.

KTM Duke 250 Ownership Review
The 185 mm ground clearance compliments riding in unusual terrains.

Well, you have made it to the end of my review and I hope I have painted a fair picture of what you will be getting into, on buying this beautiful machine and what you can expect from it. Thank you for reading and ride safely. Cheers.