IAMABIKER has got hold of the latest snaps of the rumoured KTM 200 Duke from an  eagle-eyed biker (Niranjan Skoda) who was able to photograph it at Bangalore. Of the lot, these are crispiest shots we’ve got of this machine, and as Mr Rajiv Bajaj had already confirmed the coming of the Duke 200,this is for sure one of the test mules roaming around. We just had to analyze every snap in depth to squeeze any info we can get out of it. Here’s what we thought of this creation of East meets West:

  1. Brakes: The stopping grip seems to be lifted directly from the KTM 125 Duke. 280mm front disc with four-piston caliper and 230mm rear disc with one-piston caliper made by Bybre. Yes, the KTM 125 sold in Europe has Bybre setup, which, according to international magazines, does the job pretty darn well. However, we seriously do wish, the 200 Duke comes with slightly uprated brakes
  2. Suspension: The suspension, again, seems to be lifted from the 125 Duke. WP-USD telescopic forks up front and a WP monocross suspension linked to the swingarm à la the FZ16. KTM prides itself on making  “Ready to race” motorcycles and we don’t expect the 200 Duke to be an uneasy handler.
  3. Chassis: The trellis frame is new in the mid-level motorcycle market. The sub-frame with the footpegs extending down looks absolutely stunning and neat. The attention to detail on the sub-frame alone gives you an idea of KTM’s ambitions for upcoming markets like India.
  4. Swingarm: The lattice pattern on the outside of the swingarm does lend the motorcycle a look of extra sharpness. Though maintaining it in “Indian conditions” will be a worry for those who love a sparkling motorcycle for every ride.
  5. Tires: Same as 125 Duke. Front – 110/70 R17; Rear – 150/60 R17. No info about the manufacturer but pretty sure these to be Indian made on the Indian models. Thin tires by no means but we will hear the odd complaint or two. No lack of overambitious people here.
  6. Exhaust: The most radical looking exhaust found on motorcycles sold in India(no SBKs, please). The silencer is concealed well under the frame of the motorcycle and gives it very smooth viewing lines. In fact, the absence of the chrome tip makes it hard to spot in the pics too! But clearly the mounting points for the chrome tips are visible
  7. Engine: The all-important engine with a displacement of 200cc with two overhead camshafts, 4 valves and electronic fuel injection should give a power output of 20ps or so, if not more. What wouldn’t we do for more power. With a balancer shaft added for good measure, the engine is bound to feel butter smooth. 6-speed gearbox with short gearing would make this a pretty potent machine off the line.
  8. Handling: Your guess is as good as ours. Kerb weight should be around 130 kgs making it nimble in traffic but not skittish. With no fairing, it shouldn’t be affected much by crosswinds.
  9. Cosmetics: As evident from the pictures, the bellypan present in the 125 Duke is missing on this test machine. There seems to a lot of part sharing happening between KTM and Bajaj as we can deduct from the tank filler cap / handlebar/handle bar  switches/brake and clutch levers and layout. Another thing we would like to add is the option of introducing PowerParts concept in India for that extra customization that some buyers would love.

It is quite clear by this point that India is one of the most lucrative markets for motorcycles in the quarter liter range because of the right balance between usable power, fuel efficiency and affordability. The introduction of such motorcycles was in the offing for a long time. With its nearest rival, the CBR 250R producing around 25ps, we do trust Bajaj/KTM to give the consumers some serious choice among the two instead of just falling into the slot between the CBR and the premium offerings from the Indian manufacturers. We’ve always thought, if the Hyosung Comet 250 was released now it would be a success for its price. It had got the timing wrong. The KTM is at the right place, at the right time. What ensures its success will be the price.

On another note, it is curious to notice how spy pics of test mules of the 200 Duke keep cropping up regularly almost as if to keep the Indian consumers on their toes. Intentional? However which way you take it, it’s pretty exciting times for bikers in India.