Pulsar 200NS vs KTM Duke 200
The KTM Duke 200 was something that we really enjoyed testing, it set a lot of new standards and it gives the competition even ones not in its own league a good scare in terms of outright off the line performance and handling. All seemed well at the KTM store until competition came from its own household in the name of the Pulsar 200NS. We have been asked about a zillion times to pit these machines against each other by now and it is only fair that we oblige. So come last weekend we take both these machines and put it through the IAMABIKER comparo. So then do we have a winner? Well it is an interesting battle, here we go!
Engine and Performance
After spending all morning with these machines one thing is clear, both these motorcycles although having some core DNA sharing are about as similar as the HULK and Mr Bruce Banner, the Duke being the Hulk and NS being Banner here. The 200NS is a calm composed bike very non-dramatic in its power delivery but powerful nonetheless. The Duke 200 though is an explosion of power, punchy and all about style. Every shift on the Duke is a punch and you can feel the bike surging forward. The 200NS almost equally powerful goes about surging forward with almost equal acceleration but 10 times less the drama. How much difference do you ask? Well we put the machines against each other in a quarter mile drag (400 meters) we switched riders and did the drag again and all of this we did it twice. The KTM Duke 200 doing 125kmph at the quarter mile mark was ahead of the Pulsar 200NS doing 118kmph by one bike length, Settled then? But wait, double the quarter mile and you will see the Pulsar 200NS ahead by about 2 to 3 bike lenghts and in-fact will continue to increase the gap, but that mainly has to do with the Duke’s 138kmph cut off. The Duke definitely rev’s much faster and hits the rev limiter at 10.5K in every gear. While the 200NS hits the rev limiter quickly in the first four gears struggles a bit on the 5th and never in 6th. Oh yes and we must say, although the 200NS is leagues ahead in terms of what a Pulsar was, it still needs to learn from not from its competitors but from the KTM Duke 200 itself what a vibe free ride is.
The Duke’s FI system give it instant power delivery, while the 200NS with the ‘3’ spark plugs try it’s best to replicate the efficiency of an FI system, mind you we are not saying the 200NS is a slouch, we are saying there is a reason why the world moved to FI and that’s evident on the Duke. The Duke will even give you better mileage figures after a heavy rip session due to this piece of technology. The shorter gearing on the Duke lets you potter around the city easily as there is ample power even in top gear at lower rev’s, while the slightly longer gearing on the 200NS will enable you to cruise better while touring.
Pulsar 200NS top speed and 0 – 100 video below:
KTM Duke 200 top speed video below:
Looks Feel and Build Quality
The styling on these machines are ones that appeal to different crowds, the 200NS sticks to certain of the Pulsar’s trademark features, like the big prominent tank and its mix of sharp and curvy lines all across the body, a design that easily helps people relate to the entire Pulsar lineage and still very different enough to be called all new. The Duke 200 is this sharp, angry looking chap that looks impatient and just wants to head out and blast through the roads one wheel in the air. Going past the looks soon enough you realize that unlike the Duke, the Pulsar 200NS is built with a slightly more attention given towards practicality. The Pulsar gets a more comfortable seating position and a wider seat for the pillion as well. The seating height on the 200NS feels a bit higher than that on the Duke due to the positioning of the foot pegs, while in reality it is a 5mm lower. When it comes to build quality the Duke has its nose ahead. If you do not know it yet there is a lot of sticker job on the 200NS, all of which could eventually succumb to our adverse conditions. We actually are not major fans of the rear mud guard on the 200NS in-fact some of us on the review team were of the opinion that a similar mud guard on the Duke 200 would be much more suited.
Handling and Braking
Now here is where things get interesting, after a good round of pushing both the bikes around tight, fast, slow and basically any sort of a corner we could find, both bikes are actually pretty even and in a very good way. Both the bikes are stable around a corner, but the Duke just shoots off during the exit. The 200NS though has a better entry feel, you feel a bit more confident turning it in. In city traffic both are easy to manoeuvre, but if you are upgrading from a regular commuter bike, you will find the turning radius a bit high, but that’s something that you get used to quite quickly. The Duke has a better aggressive riding position that compliments the city rider. Take it off-road and you will find that both the bikes are like fish out of water, obviously though as both are pure bred street bikes. The Duke 200 has softer compound tyres so it does have that extra bit of grip when compared to the 200NS. The Pulsar 200NS like we said earlier has a broader set of parameters to fulfill when designed, the tyres are of harder compound and are meant to last. Take it to the high way and both being bare naked you will experience a lot of wind blast post 110kmph.
Moving to the braking department, after a combination of 40-0, 60-0 and 80-0 both seemed to be at par. The Duke’s front brake has a soft progressive feel, while the 200NS is sharp and bites hard. The rear brakes on the 200NS have a better feel though but locks easily. We reckon if you put a better set of tyres on the 200NS and then do the braking test again the Pulsar might actually have an edge.
Accessories and Key features
The Duke 200 and the Pulsar 200NS are on very different pages when it comes to this part of the comparison, in-fact the Duke is in a whole new book. It gets all sorts of additions in terms of accessories and certain key features like the USD forks and something just short of full-fledged computer. Check out the detailed KTM Duke 200 review for details on the same. Something funny though is that it looks like Bajaj kept some new parts to its local boy the 200NS. While the KTM gets switch gear from the older Pulsars which are good and also a similar petrol tank lock, the 200NS gets a new switch gear (which we really do not like) and a new tank lock. Check out the Pulsar 200NS review for a full-fledged detailed look at the bike. When it comes to the lightning department, there is nothing really to set them apart, both have 55/60W bulbs and provide good lighting.
Value for Money
It comes down to what you are actually, if you want a bike that is specialized, full of tech, stands out, has a lot of character and don’t mind spending the extra money for that exclusivity, the Duke is for you. The Pulsar true to its decade old characteristics is a work horse, it does everything is almost the similar manner to the Duke and without much of a compromise and at a very yummy price tag compared to the Duke. From a mileage point of view its quite evenly poised and if you keep a steady right hand and you can see figures close to 40 kmpl on both. In terms of regular maintenance and also if you take a look at the mileage figures both are pretty much the same, but the Pulsar 200NS has its nose ahead here.
By now you would have realised these bikes are a lot different, one is a bad boy that stands out and takes all the attention and the other is the silent really confident type that knows it will sell anyways. Performance wise, the riding experience on the Duke is more involving and exciting while the 200NS is subtle. If we are forced to pick a winner, we being all enthusiasts here, we would go for the KTM Duke 200 hands down, but add ingredients like practicality and value for money and then you have the Pulsar 200NS taking a huge step forward to the lead. Check out the KTM Duke 200 review and the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS review for a more elaborate look at each motorcycle.
|KTM Duke 200
|SOHC — 4V
|DOHC — 4V
|18.3 Nm @8000 RPM
|19.2 Nm @8000 RPM
|23.2 Bhp @9500 RPM
|25 Bhp @10000 RPM
|Pressed steel Perimeter Frame
|Tubular space frame
|37mm Telescopic Front Forks
|WP Suspension 4357 – USD forks
|Nitrox Mono Shock
|WP Suspension 4618 EM – Adjustable Mono shock
|2 piston petal disc
|4 piston disc
|1 piston petal disc
|1 piston disc
|Disc diameter front
|Disc diameter rear
|14T front and 39T rear
|14T front and 43T rear
|100/80 — 17 inch 52 P — Tubeless
|110/70 17 inch radial tubeless
|130/70 — 17 inch 61 P — Tubeless
|150/60 17 inch radial tubeless
|12 V 8 Amp VRLA
|12 Volt 8 Amp
|12V 55/60W H4
|Engine Oil grade