Shootout: Mahindra Mojo vs KTM Duke 200
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1,89,778/- (Mahindra Mojo), Rs. 1,63,530/- (KTM Duke 200)
The Duke 200 & Mojo have little in common with each other but have something unique to offer
1843, can you guess what that number is? That’s the number of days between the first showcase and the launch of the Mahindra Mojo (going by the tentative launch date), a time in which bike models change a complete generation. It’s late to the party but as they say better late than never. Being a street-fighter, the Mahindra Mojo has to naturally face the best bike in this price range, the KTM Duke 200. Now the Austrian machine is a very different beast than the India tourer but buyers are likely to consider both models before making a purchase. Can this Mahindra bike steal the Duke 200’s mojo?
Motor Quest: KTM launched the Duke 200 in India in January 2012, giving it two new colours in October of the same year. A minor update was given to the Duke 200 in March 2015 wherein it got improvements in several areas. Mahindra unveiled the Mojo on 30th September 2010 and showcased it at the Auto Expo too, but it has taken them more than 5 years to bring the motorcycle to the market.
Styling – The Mahindra Mojo is longer than the KTM Duke 200 but the latter is taller and wider. Still, it’s the Mojo which looks bigger due to its twin headlights (offer better illumination at night), golden coloured frame and twin exhausts which are traditionally mounted unlike the Duke which gets an underbelly unit. The KTM is a naked street-fighter and does with minimal body panels which gives it good street presence while the Mojo looks a bit bulky from certain angles. There are some nice design bits on the Mahindra like the golden coloured forks, swing-arm and frame, it also gets LED daytime running lights. Both bikes use the same 10-spoke design for the alloy wheels.
The Mojo being much fresher and a bit different in appearance, does manage to draw more attention
The colour scheme is different for the Mojo as the golden finish on certain parts are only limited to the black and white colour options, the red and white coloured bike doesn’t get golden coloured frame or swing-arm although the forks are finished in the said shade. KTM too offers three colours on its Duke 200 but none of them get any change in the colour of the frame. Both bikes use LEDs for the brake light and we certainly like the indicators on the Duke which are slim and LED powered. Out on the road, it’s the Mahindra Mojo which attracts more eyeballs and that can also be attributed to the fact that it’s the fresher bike of the two.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – KTM has been praised endlessly for the loaded console they offer on all its bikes in India (all four models use the same console). With a plethora of data on offer like real time mileage, average economy, distance to empty, distance to service, side stand indicator, average riding speed and what not, the Katoom seems to have it all. But it doesn’t because the Mahindra Mojo might not have the aforementioned features in its instrument cluster but it has something unique to offer with a top speed recorder and a 0-100 km/hr timer. That’s not all, the Mojo uses an analogue digital cluster wherein there is a big tachometer on offer and that’s the party piece because a red light moves along with the tacho needle, highlighting which RPM the engine is spinning and when you upshift, it also highlights the shift point (best RPM achieved), how cool is that! Meanwhile, the Duke’s tachometer is as good as absent, as it’s small and not so easy to read. Both bikes have very good switchgear which are backlit.
Ergonomics – Both bikes offer an upright seating position and you pilot a wide straight handlebar. But the seat on the Mahindra Mojo is much softer unlike the one on the KTM Duke 200 which is a bit hard and not so friendly for your butts. The rear seat too is better on the Mojo so comfort for the pillion is higher on the Indian bike. The footpegs on the Duke are more rear-set than the Mojo and although riding posture is upright, the Mahindra is way more comfortable to be astride on, the bike not tiring you out even after long hours on the saddle.
Performance – While both bikes use a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-valve, DOHC configuration, there is a vast difference between the engines of these bikes. The KTM Duke 200 uses a 199.5cc motor that produces 25 HP at 10,000 RPM and 19.2 Nm at 8000 RPM while the Mahindra Mojo employs a 295cc unit that belts out 27 HP at 8000 RPM and 30 Nm at 5500 RPM. The numbers are clearly in the Mojo’s favour with the Mahindra bike having more power and more torque, both peaking in at lower RPM. The Mojo also has better NVH although the Duke isn’t bad in this regard but the Mahindra feels more refined. But when you put both bikes in a quarter-mile drag race, it’s the KTM which takes the lead right from the start, finishing marginally ahead of the Mojo.
The Duke 200 is difficult to ride slow while the Mojo is a more calmer bike but equally quick
The result does come across as a surprise but there is some method to the madness. The Duke 200 is a massive 38 kgs lighter than the Mojo but that’s not all, it also has a higher redline of 10,500 RPM against the Mahindra’s 9000 RPM. The Duke 200 has punch all throughout so whatever RPM you are at, open the throttle and the KTM just takes off while in the Mojo, it’s the mid-range that’s the sweet spot. 0-100 km/hr comes up in 9.30 seconds on the Duke 200 while the Mojo isn’t far behind at 9.48 seconds. But where the Mahindra bike annihilates the Austrian machine is in top speed, the KTM’s short gearing makes it run into the limiter at 138 km/hr while the Mojo’s taller gearing makes it easily hit 150 km/hr (155 km/hr on a longer stretch of road).
Clearly riding a motorcycle isn’t about outright acceleration numbers and that’s where the Mahindra Mojo impresses a lot by offering good punch to overtake. It cruises comfortably at 120 km/hr while the KTM doesn’t like to sit at one speed, it just begs to go flat out all the time. The low-end and top-end is better on the Duke 200 but the mid-range on the Mojo is fantastic, making it at home when cruising. Both bikes are very refined and have a smooth shifting 6-speed gearbox with a well weighed clutch but the Mojo’s 2-into-1 freeflow exhaust (with dB killers) sounds much better than the KTM engine’s unimpressive sound. Heating in stop-go traffic is a non-issue on both bikes and the KTM is marginally more efficient, returning a couple of kms more per litre than the Mojo. But the Mahindra bike has almost double the fuel carrying capacity of the KTM, the 21-litre tank giving the Mojo a much bigger riding range than the KTM’s 11-litre unit. The Mojo also has a limp mode which restricts engine revs and speed to 5000 RPM and 60 km/hr respectively.
Riding Dynamics – There is something in common between these bikes after-all as both use rich hardware. Both employ upside-down front forks, rear monoshock, trellis frame and same sized tyres. But the set-up on these motorcycles is very very different. The Mojo does use inferior box section swing-arm in front of the KTM’s aluminium unit. The KTM Duke 200 is more stiffly sprung and being lighter, offers better handling than the Mahindra Mojo. The steering on the Duke is lighter and the bike is more flickable too, while the Mojo’s front-end is a bit heavy, thereby preventing quicker turn-ins. Where the Mojo has an edge are the tyres, the Pirelli Diablo Rosso II offering way more grip than the MRFs on the Duke 200.
Unlike the KTM, the Mojo offers comfort so that you can ride it on all kinds of roads without getting tired
The Mahindra Mojo has a softer suspension set-up and it’s the bike which has much better ride quality, tackling bad roads with much more ease. The ride on the Duke can unsettle the rider but that’s not the case with the Mojo which can be ridden for long hours without tiring the rider. The Mojo has a longer wheelbase than the Duke, which coupled with its heavier weight of 183 kgs (wet weight is even more due to the bigger fuel tank), makes it much more stable at high speeds. Both bikes suffer from heavy wind-blast, the KTM more so. Brakes are good on both these motorcycles but initial bite is lacking on the Mojo although it does have bigger discs (320/240 mm vs 280/230 mm). Neither get ABS, not even as an option. The Mojo has a higher ground clearance than the Duke 200 (173.5 mm vs 165 mm) and also a taller seat height (814.5 mm vs 810 mm).
Verdict – The KTM Duke 200 has been without competition for a very long time now but things are set to change with the arrival of the Mahindra Mojo. The 300cc Indian bike is well engineered and is being positioned as a tourer while the Duke 200 is a bike for the street. So positioning wise, these machines are opposites. The crucial question, which is the one to buy? The KTM Duke 200 is without doubt the more fun machine, that which impresses with its hooligan performance and sharp handling but not all want to ride fast all the time. That’s where the Mahindra Mojo comes in, it just does certain things which the KTM doesn’t, better, like touring, absorbing bumps and a higher top speed. While the Duke has always been a hot favourite of bike enthusiasts (KTM has one of the best sales and service experience which Mahindra can’t match), the Mojo is the one that appeals to the more mature rider. The Mojo won’t outsell the KTM but Mahindra has arrived back in the 2-wheeler space with a bang.
Since the day we first rode the KTM Duke 200, we knew it’s not the bike for everyone, it’s purely for the enthusiasts due its stiff ride and urgent power delivery. The Mahindra Mojo on the other hand is a bike more suited to the average rider, who wants to ride in the city while heading out to another city on the weekend. It’s a more all-round machine while the KTM is a specialist.
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