When it comes to motorcycles, the veterans will always tell you – Its always more fun to ride a small bike fast. The KTM Duke 125 comes with this promise.
Then there is also the distinct KTM styling and the top notch equipment coming in from its elder siblings. Surely then, for a small capacity bike the Duke 125 is rich when it comes to things on offer. But there is a twist in this perfect tale, the price. So, what is this baby Duke all about? Let’s find out.
Right from the word go, the Duke 125, ticks all the boxes that you would expect from a KTM. Thumb the starter and you hear the typical Duke sound, but now with a slightly less bass. Rev the engine and if you have ever ridden a Duke, it’s all very familiar. Its only when you slot in and get going you realize the difference.
The 125 cc engine on the Duke definitely produces more power than any other 125 in the market, but its price point is always going to get it compared to motorcycles of higher capacity. That said it still is fun to ride. You can rev through the gears and still keep things within limits and you can have fun with this engine and still remain efficient.
Once you get used to the ratios of the smooth and precise gearbox you can really have it work in your favour. Most of the power is available above the 6k RPM mark and you time your shifts right you will see the speeds climbing towards the ton quite quickly. Top speed lies around the 100-110 mark from a real word perspective and mileage of the Duke 125 was pretty impressive at around the 40 kmpl mark.
The bike is perfect for a city rides and the commute and even though the temperature meters always show high, due to the small capacity, there is no heat thrown at you.
The Dukes have always been great handling machines and the 125 is no different. Even though it weights 148 kgs, it is a very light and easy to ride machine. With its comfortable riding position it can navigate through the urban jungle quite easily. We only wish the suspensions were on the softer side.
Throw it around and corner and the Duke 125 will remind you that’s it a proper sports bike. In typical Duke style it leans in easily and feels comfortable leant over, always giving you good confidence. The brakes in itself are quite good, the Bybre system works quite well and you have a single channel ABS system as well.
One thing you need to watch out for is that lack of engine braking. If you are the type that just rolls off the throttle and use the engine to slow you along with the brakes, then the Duke 125 will surprise you. On this machine you need to totally depend on the brakes to get you stopped in time.
So, on the face of it, the Duke 125 seems like a mixed bag. But it has a clear purpose, it is the perfect first bike for someone who wants to enter the sports bike riding world.
Its forgiving, efficient and yet stylish and a head turner. It gives you a taste of what the big boys can do and prepare you well for that big upgrade.