KTM Duke 200
The KTM Duke 200 is the first of many KTM’s that will come to India via the 40% Bajaj connection. The KTM name has always been associated with the most fun motorcycles around the world be it dirt, track or street. The Duke 125 showed us how much fun a motorcycle can be and add to that top stunt men like Rok Bagoros who swear by it, this bike definitely generated a lot of attention world over. We spend some quality time with the Duke 200 and now bring to you an in-depth review of the motorcycle. So how does the KTM Duke 200 measure up in our road test? Read on.
Engine and Performance
Powered by a 200cc motor with bore x stroke of 72mm x 49mm, the Duke 200 produces enough torque & power that can give some 250cc bikes a run for their money. The short stroke engine might lead one to assume that the powerband is placed pretty high in the rev range. That, however, is not the case. You get lots of usable bottom end torque that catapults you forward with ease in pretty much any gear. Couple the short stroke the 4 valves and the DOHC (Double Over Head Cam Shafts) and you have a bike that builds revs quite quickly. The bike has a 6 speed transmission that feels slick and gears slots in without drama. We did not encounter any false neutrals either. Even after pushing the bike hard for couple of hours the engine quite happily asked for more.
The maximum speed the bike did in each gear is as follows:
| 1st : 46kmph | 2nd : 62kmph |
| 3rd : 82kmph | 4th : 102kmph |
| 5th : 121kmph | 6th : 138kmph |
When you hit 10,500 rpm, the rev limiter cuts in quite sharply; so sharply that riding at full throttle, even in 6th gear is impossible as the ECU keeps killing the power when the bike touches 138kmph. They bike definitely can go way faster. At a constant 137 kmph though, everything is fine and you can keep cruising. Increase the speed by just another 1 kmph and engine seems to be stuck deciding between delivering full power & delivering no power. That’s how sharp the cut off is. According to the on-board computer, we obtained mileage figures between 21 & 34 kmpl depending on the riding conditions and speeds. Expect no more than 22-23kmpl if you ride around the city mostly in the first 4 gears. On the highway, we obtained a decent 34kmpl while cruising in 6th.
Look and Feel and Build Quality
Go ahead and take another good look at the baby Duke’s pictures. What was it that struck you at first sight? Was it the headlight? Or the muscular tank? The beefy forks up ahead? Or the minimalist rear section? The mirrors that stand out edgily, perhaps? Whatever it may have been that caught your attention, one thing’s for sure, it made quite some impression on you. That’s how different/radical/enticing the design of the KTM 200 Duke is! The KTM Duke 200 is a perfect on-road example of mass centralization. Your eyes wander from the chunky tank to the swoopy tank scoops, the trellis frame and the engine sitting pretty over the bright orange underbelly scoop, screaming ‘Racing KTM” in bright orange colors. At which point, you decide there’s something missing until you realize you don’t see that familiar component. The underbelly exhaust is as much a masterstroke in design as it is in failing and then grabbing your attention like nothing other. The drawn out rear fender coupled with the monoshock and that detailed lightweight aluminium die cast swing arm portrays an aggressive character to the 200 Duke. It also helps in leaving the rear wheel look ‘open’ and unhindered by anything surrounding it, probably a reason why people mistake this street bike for an off-roader. Saree guards are usually an eye sore but we have to admit, it manages to look the least ugly on this motorcycle. Step away from this orange metal art and the entire design seems to be telling you nothing else than what KTM has been saying all along, Ready to Race?
The baby Duke mixes being light, agile and confident all at the same time. The riding stance is one that complements the characteristic of this bike really well and the wide handle bars giving you good control and a relaxed feel. Sharp and good fun is how we’d like to describe the KTM 200 Duke.
Handling and Braking
The riding posture feels tall and high owing to the saddle height of 810 mm. The position is upright and comfortable. The handle bars are wide and allow you to change the bike’s directions easily. If you’re over 6ft. tall, you will find your knees touching the plastic tank panels, but otherwise, you fit into the bike pretty well, with the well sculpted tank proving you good tuck in space for your knees allowing you to grab the tank easily. The ergonomics is balanced well between comfort & ease of handling the bike. The oversized high performance WP inverted forks at the front, with similar dimensions to the ones found on high end models like the KTM RC8 or the Super Duke 990 & the WP monoshock suspension with 10-step adjustable preload at the rear connect you to the road and provide good feedback. They do a good job of absorbing bone-jarring encounters with speed breakers or potholes.
The Duke 200 handles well over a range of riding conditions that you might encounter everyday: potholes, speed breakers, bad roads and smooth curves. Bybre brakes provide the stopping power at both ends, a 280 mm disc with a 4 piston radially mounted caliper at the front and a 230 mm disc with a single piston, floating caliper at the rear. While we were mighty impressed with the front brake, it was the rear that wasn’t really living up to their names as “brakes.” The engine braking in 2nd gear seemed to slow down the bike faster than using the rear brake alone. However, this can be overlooked by how powerful the front brake is. The front brake makes up for any shortcoming of the rear. You need to apply little pressure on the lever and the brake complies in cutting down speed. With the considerably less weight, the Duke feels very eager to come to a stop, which takes a bit of getting used to, but is good in emergencies or hard braking. This has to be the most remarkable feature of the bike.
Accessories and Key features
KTM gives us the 200 Duke ready with a horde of feel good factors. Backlit switchgear is standard as is the engine kill-switch and push-to-cancel indicators. The mirrors, though nicely designed and in tune with the rest of the design language, isn’t the most useful unit we have come across. Split seats are good and add to the aesthetic beauty of the Duke’s side profile. LED indicators and taillights are good touches and look sleek. The feature that takes the cake, however, has to be that all digital, text readout console.
Have a look at the following —
- Speedometer capable of displaying both kmph and mph
- Bar graph tachometer
- Fuel gauge bar graph
- Two user-resettable trip meters and another that starts automatically when the fuel level drops to reserve
- Engine temperature bar graph
- Average speed
- Riding time in minutes
- Average fuel efficiency in kmpl as well as l/100km
- Side stand down warning
- Low battery warning
- High coolant temperature warning
- Low oil pressure warning
- Low fuel level warning
- Gear indicator
- Distance to empty
- Distance to next service
- Shift up indicator that can be programmed to flash between any rpm range
You can check out the different console modes photographs at the KTM Duke 200 image gallery.
And if that wasn’t enough, there are a few tell-tale lights to help you along, such as —
- Turn signal indicators
- Engine diagnosis warning lamp
- Shift warning lights
- Neutral indicator
- High beam indicator
- General warning light
Once past this barrage of information, you’ll notice the subtle but immensely pleasing KTM branding in places you least expect to find one: the wheel hub for example, or the headlight cover. Overall, the Duke has enough goodies on board to pamper its owner, and if you still want more, KTM will shortly be introducing the Power parts as well with which you can add that extra bit of personalization.
Even we were a bit sceptical about how the KTM Duke 200’s underbelly exhaust will perform in a silencer submerged situation, the video explains it all. The Duke 200 easily wades through knee deep water, survives 30 minutes submerged and a silencer submerged start up.
Commuting and City Riding
A single ride on the Duke and it’s obvious that KTM designed it to be a street/commuter bike. That is not to say the bike lacks power and returns stratospheric mileage. We are referring to its handling, power delivery & braking efficiency. First off, the handling: with a kerb weight of just 126kg, the 200cc machine changes directions effortlessly. Avoiding swerving vehicles & zombie pedestrians is not only easy, but is quite fun also. This is particularly helpful if riding in rush hour traffic is part of your daily commute. The suspension is soft enough to let potholes and small bumps go unnoticed, while hard enough to not make you feel you’re on a pogo stick through a corner. It returned a decent mileage of about 22-27 kmpl during our test.
Power is available right off the idle and you can open the throttle at any rpm and rest assured you will be thrust ahead. The wide power-band ensures you don’t have to change gears too often, nor depend on the brake too much as the engine braking is quite strong for a 200cc. Getting ahead of slower vehicles takes but a twist of the wrist, with the 6 speed transmission churning out loads of power. We can find only one word to describe the front brake: awesome. The four piston, radially mounted Bybre calipers at the front offer so much bite that using just a single finger is more than enough to shed excess speed, especially in traffic, where you would have to brake & accelerate repeatedly. At first, you will find yourself overbraking, till you get used to the brake. The steel braided brake liner offers excellent feel of the braking pressure and allow precise control. Any of the three characteristics by themselves could have made a good street bike. The combination of all three makes the Duke a great bike to ride in the city. With this, you will be eager to go to the grocer’s or look forward to your long daily commute, even if there’s a lot of traffic. You won’t know just how much fun it is until you actually ride one. The horn, we feel is more suitable for a scooter than a bike. A slightly louder, dual tone horn would have been nice to alert other road users. Since we tested the bike out in the day we could not test out the headlights, but a 12 volt 60/55 H4 socket setup almost never disappoints.
This has to be the only area in which we weren’t impressed by the Duke. The tiny rear seat, on which it is difficult to mount your existing saddle bags; the short range that you get from the puny 10.5 litre fuel tank, which with its plastic side panels looks bigger than it really is; lack of a windscreen to protect you from windblast. You would probably have to reinvest in luggage if you’re looking to tour long distances on this bike, and KTM has done its part to help out by providing branded tank & tail bags as “Power Part” accessories.
That said, the power to weight ratio of this bike possibly makes it less strenuous to do long rides on. Also, an average of 34 kmpl while cruising at 7-7.5k rpm on the highway is pretty good too. The pillion seat however seems to be designed keeping people with size zero figures in mind. Seats are definitely comfortable but there just is not enough room. Not much under seat space either.
KTM is probably better known for winning the Dakar Rally multiple times and making world class dirt bikes. In spite of them classifying the Duke as a “street bike,” we were pleasantly surprised how well it performed when the tarmac ended. The smooth soft rubbers offered good grip on loose surfaces. More than one would/can expect from them. The suspensions dampen all the bumps you go over while the peppy motor keeps you going further.
The 165 mm ground clearance is particularly helpful when going off-road. The under chassis exhaust stayed well out of reach of the ground during our testing. The rear brake performed decently, but the front was too powerful for the loose surface. It was very easy to lock up the front-we had to press on the brake lever very very gently to slow down without losing the front.
With all the low end torque, the minimalistic design and of course the extra light body the KTM Duke 200 has all the right qualities to be a stunter’s number one choice. Probably the one person who can do justice to this motorcycle at stunting would be none other than stunt champion Rok Bagoros. He recently announced that he would be swapping the engine of the Duke 125 for that of the 200’s. Below is a video of the young talent showing to the world what the Duke is capable of.
While KTM never intended the Duke to be a track instrument, it does perform quite well. The rev friendly engine, the light kerb weight and that awesome front brake is a recipe for some serious corner carving at the track or your local twisties. It may not handle as well as a dedicated track bike, but it compensates by having a better power to weight ratio. The cast aluminium wheels reduce inertial mass, and with the steel trellis frame, keep the overall weight down. The front suspension is not adjustable, and can be described as being somewhere between hard and soft. The rear WP monoshock offers ten levels of preload adjustment. At its hardest setting, it will minimize swing arm movement and offer a stiffer chassis for the cornering enthusiast.
The rear tyre is the MRF REVZ-C 150/60-R17 and at the front is the REVZ-FC 110/70-R17. Both are tubeless radials, which again contribute to saving weight. The stock tyres offered excellent traction on dry roads, even when braking hard. The programmable shift light that flashes at a user configurable rpm will be particularly helpful on the track. The rpm at which the light starts to flash and the rpm at which it stops can both be set in the console. In short, it’s definitely not a sports bike, but can be fun to ride through curves.
Value for Money
Try pulling up next to a ‘CC’ driven motorcyclist and telling him your motorcycle costs more than his and he will remind you how he has more cubic capacity than you. And right there, on the face of it, fails the notion of this being a Value for Money product. But you’ll be wrong in giving in to that argument. Owning a motorcycle like the KTM 200 Duke is less about its numbers and more about what those numbers can do to the hair on the back of your hands. You can think like an accountant all you want. Or you can let the baby Duke make a case for itself out on the streets. Yes, at an ex-showroom price of Rs. 1.17 lakhs, your forehead does frown a bit, but then there aren’t many options at this price-point that can hold a candle to His Orangeness. The fit and finish on the Duke is unlike any we have seen coming out of Bajaj’s Chakan plant. Good performance, high refinement levels and the KTM brand backing up the rest, it could be priced 50% higher and we wouldn’t complain.
There is a surge of motorcycles expected in this segment and we don’t see any that can quite match to the experience and value of the 200 Duke. Yes, it’s a new product in the market and we aren’t quite sure how it will fare when it comes to servicing and spares yet. But knowing Bajaj’s history with motorcycles now, we are assured of being played safe. All in all, if this motorcycle seems not quite Value for Money to you, we aren’t sure what will.
There is a surge of motorcycles expected now at this end of the market and we don’t see any that can quite match to the experience and value of the 200 Duke. Yes, it’s a new product in the market and we aren’t quite sure how it will fare when it comes to servicing and spares yet. But knowing Bajaj’s history with motorcycles now, we are assured of being played safe. All in all, if this motorcycle seems not quite Value for Money to you, we aren’t sure what will.
So then who is the KTM Duke 200 for? It is a motorcycle that’s exactly what KTM portrays it to be: a street bike, and does its job brilliantly. The KTM Duke 200 would make you stand out in a crowd, a light bike that will bring a smile every time you head out to battle the maniac traffic. Long tours may not be its cup of tea and the underbelly exhaust might throw some problems in the monsoons, but then again it does have the highest ground clearance in its class. The KTM Duke 200 almost does it all, but surely, it is first and foremost a street bike built for fun in a package that will not disappoint.
|Design||Single-cylinder, 4-stroke, spark-ignition engine, liquid-cooled|
|Torque||19.2 @ 8000 RPM|
|Power||25 bhp @ 10,000 RPM|
|Starting aid||Electric starter|
|Transmission||6-speed, claw shifted|
|Engine lubrication||Forced oil lubrication with 1 rotor pump|
|Primary gear ratio||22:72|
|Secondary gear ratio||14:43|
|Cooling system||Liquid cooling system, continuous circulation of coolant with water pump|
|Clutch||Clutch in oil bath / mechanically operated|
|Ignition system||Contactless, controlled, fully electronic ignition system with digital ignition timing adjustment|
|Frame||Tubular space frame made from steel tubes, powder-coated|
|Fork||WP Suspension 4357|
|Shock absorber||WP Suspension 4618 EM|
|Suspension travel Front||150 mm|
|Suspension travel Rear||150 mm|
|Brake system Front||Disc brake with two-pot brake caliper|
|Brake system Rear||Disc brake with one-pot brake caliper, floating brake discs|
|Brake discs – diameter front||280 mm|
|Brake discs – diameter rear||230 mm|
|Chain||5/8 x 1/4” (520) Oâ€‘Ring|
|Steering head angle||65°|
|Wheel base||1,361±15 mm|
|Front tyre||110/70 17 inch radial tubeless|
|Rear tyre||150/60 17 inch radial tubeless|
|Ground clearance (unloaded)||170 mm|
|Seat height (unloaded)||810 mm|
|Total fuel tank capacity approx.||10.5 l|
Unleaded fuel (91 RON)
|Weight without fuel approx.||125 kg|
|Battery||12 Volt 8 Amp maintenance free|
|Head lights||12V 60/55 W|
|Engine Oil Grade||20W50|
|Weight without fuel approx.||125 kg|