27th Feb 2012, the day KTM Duke 200 started its deliveries in Bangalore. The previous night our co-author and review writer Mr. Naren gave me a call and said, “KTM will be un-veiled tomorrow”. The moment he said that, I was in truck loads of mixed emotions. Was happy that a new kind of biking gene would be starting in India. At the same time, was eager to compare it against my all new Honda CBR250R which had created a huge speculation as its competitor just because KTM could shell out 25bhp of power. So, it was Mr. Amit Nandi, Vice President, Bajaj Auto, who took the honor to do it in Bangalore. That was the moment Indian bikers got a new trend setter, the bike which carry an attitude along with the riders.
So, it was all set and I, being the photographer then covered the launch and was all set to burn the KTM’s rubber the next day along with Naren. But, due to unforeseen reasons that was cancelled and Unfortunately that was the last time me and Naren worked together.
Now, let’s roll up even back to know what KTM is.
Well, KTM is an Austrian breed which is named after its founder as usual, Mr. Hans Trunkenpolz (Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen). KTM is also the second largest player in the Europe only after BMW. And if you have heard about KTM, there is another event which just pops up into anyone’s mind, the Paris – Dakar rally. Which is the ‘THE’ most toughest rally on the Planet Earth covering an off–road hostile terrain of 9000 kms. And KTM bikes have ended up being 1st on the finish line for 11 consecutive years. And in the 2012 rally, 7 out of the top 10 bikes were in KTM bikes. If there could be any example of sheer domination, then this is it.
Though very well known for off-road biking, KTM also have superior bikes like the RC8, adventures’ series and many more. But if there could be one bike ruling the streets, that is the KTM Duke 200. Well, enough of the history, the company and everything, let me jump into what the bike really is and how it performed in our test.
KTM DUKE 200cc Review by BikeAdvice
DUKE 200cc Design
Muscular, elegant, aggressive and yet beautiful is what I would like to describe the Duke 200 as. It comes with a super light Trellis frame and the 200cc engine sitting right inside it. With the straight lined up powerful headlights, very muscular looking tank, the sharp edges, the split seats, the under belly exhaust, a very attractive aluminum swing arm and more, makes the bike look one of the best in the present day market. The build quality is top class and over all it has been superbly designed. Though the looks of the bike is very subjective, I loved the way it looked and I am pretty sure most of you out there carry the same feeling along with me.
BikeAdvice rating- 4.5/5
DUKE 200cc Engine and performance
KTM is well known for its high level of engine refinement and it is very evident in the Duke 200. It comes with an energetic 199cc, 4-valve, single cylinder, liquid-cooled DOHC engine with an accurate fuel injection unit which produces 25bhp of power at 10,000rpm and 19Nm of torque at 8,000rpm. Well, enough of all the numbers, the review here is all about how the bike feels and you can find the numbers in the technical specifications column below.
The engine is very powerful and with that extremely light weight body, it seems to jump like a horse even with a small twist of wrist. It climbs the revs very quickly and needs to be geared up very quickly before the rev limiter cuts off the power supply at 10,500rpm. And trust me, the rev limiter is very sharp. At 10,500rpm the bike is confused if to give full power or no power at all. Though the engine is powerful, there are no vibrations of any kind at any speeds. But then it is more of like a horse, gallops and starts with a high pull and later increases just a little as you can never notice how fast the revs climb up and all you need to do is gear up.
BikeAdvice rating- 4/5
DUKE 200cc Handling and brakes
Handling is one department in which you can never complain anything about the bike. Its low weight makes it extremely flickable and mass centralization with an under belly exhaust and the frame makes it a bliss to corner. The huge 150mm rear tyre offers abundance grip and builds in a confidence to attack corners at high speeds. The all new MRF Revz – c tyres have done wonders. I have never seen a MRF tyre grip so much, in my life. In fact it stuck like a leech on the tarmac, it was very very difficult for me to pull a burnout on the tarmac even when revved up very high.
The high performance WP inverted forks at the front, and the WP monoshock suspension with 10-step adjustable preload at the rear does its job very accurately by absorbing hard bumps or Indian road’s famous pot holes. But then it is not too soft either, it is a perfect blend, soft enough for daily use on Indian roads and hard enough to attack any corner with complete aggression. And yeah, to put a smile on your face, the front forks are of those types which are present on the monstrous RC8 and the performer Super Duke 990.
Speaking about the brakes, the Bybre disks does its job amazingly in the front, while there is not enough response from the rear, leaving a lock up of the rear wheel or very low stopping power which is disappointing. But then the front brakes are way too powerful and will compensate the rear issues.
BikeAdvice rating – 3.5/5
DUKE 200cc Riding comfort and pillion comfort
I was completely blown away with the weird sitting posture. It is a up-right position while your legs are pushed back making it a new posture, but then it was amazingly comfortable throughout my testing period. The wide handle bars gives you a feeling as good as holding a 25 horse chariot’s REIN.
You can zip through the traffic very easily without taking any toll on your wrist or your back. But then once the speed increases, particularly over 95kmph, it takes some effort to get adjusted to the wind blast and makes you hold the handle quite hard, which would strain the rider.
And the pillion seats are designed as per the bike’s dimensions, only a very slim or zero sized person can fit into it making it extremely uncomfortable for long hours of journey.
BikeAdvice rating – 3.5/5.
The numb that matters – SPEED
The KTM as I said is very powerful and is capable of doing high speeds and its body supports it. But then, the top speed of the bike is restricted to 136kmph in the top gear at 10,500rpm while the rev limiter cuts off the power supply. But the bike definitely is capable of doing more. There are power parts supplied by the KTM itself, which removes the rev limiter at 10,500rpm, but then think again. Rev limiters are used to keep the bike’s engine in good condition for the long term, if so then why remove it? (This is purely my opinion).
Its top speeds in various gears are as follows:
1st gear – 45kmph
2nd gear –59kmph
3rd gear –79kmph
4th gear –98kmph
5th gear –119kmph
6th gear -136kmph
It takes just above 9sec to reach 100 kmph and just less than 4 seconds to reach 60 kmph from stand still, which is astonishing.
BikeAdvice rating – 4/5
DUKE 200cc Electronics and Electricals
Let me start with the console which would steal the show by huge margin comparing to any other Indian bike in this segment. It showcases information like no other bike available today could even match up in the near future. As soon as turn it on, the KTM with a pleasing orange back light console shouts, “READY TO RACE” while the engine check is done in the background. And once that is gone, there is a note, side stand down, until you remove it. And then the information like gear indications, speedometer, bar type tachometer, engine temperature and fuel gauge, two trip meters, clock, average speed, riding time in Minutes, Average fuel efficiency in kmpl as well as L/100kms, distance to empty and distance to next service is displayed.
And if you think that is too much, there are still a few more lights to tell stuffs like, Turn signal indicators, Engine diagnosis light, Gear shift lights, Neutral indicator, High beam indicator and General warning light respectively in the order from left to right and then down.(There are still, 2 more light hoses for your own personalization. ) But then though it has a lot of features, it’s not so attractive and not eye catchy at 1st sight.
The headlights are very strong and will never let you down. The indicators are so tiny and go with the bike’s characteristics, but are very powerful that I could see it flashing from about 50mtrs behind in a heavy down pour. The LED tail lights definitely need a mention which not only performs its duty at its best, it also looks great.
BikeAdvice Rating – 4.5/5
DUKE 200cc Mileage/Economy
Again back to India’s favorite question, “Kitna Deti Hai?”
Well, it gives an average economy of about 32kmpl (Plus or Minus 10KMPL) depending on the riding conditions. When I revved it up very hard its average was about 22Kmpl, whereas cruising in the top gear at 65 – 80 kmph, I got an average economy of about 44kmpl.
Hmm ever thought if your riding style has so much effect on the economy?
Test it out to agree with me. Well, for a 200cc, 25bhp motor, an average of 32kmpl is still a very good economy.
DUKE 200cc Pros and Con
What is so cool about the bike?
- The badge “KTM”
- Highly refined and very smooth engine
- Very sharp Handling
- The beauty of its own which cannot be described in words
- A very low weight of about 125kgs makes it a great handler
- Higher power to weight ratio
- Under belly exhaust not only looks cool, also helps is mass centralization
- Powerful head lights makes riding easy in all conditions
- KTM badge in a lots of places which pampers its owner
- “STUNTING” if there could be any bike which would suit it perfectly, it is the KTM.
- Pricing- As it is manufactured by Bajaj and is not brought as a CBU, costs very less.
What is not really cool about it?
- Rear brake is a huge let down
- Horn would suit a moped more than a 200cc beast
- Riding comfort in high speeds is still a question
- Pillion comfort should not be expected
- A very small fuel tank capacity of 10.5ltrs
- Bajaj’s name is visible in a few places like the radiator and the electric start motor, which gives a un-premiumness feeling
- Though very powerful, you don’t get that torque feeling that any petrol head would want.
KTM Duke India Price as on July, 2012
Whenever you park the bike or stop in the signal or a petrol pump, the 2nd question they ask you is, how much the bike cost. Well, it is priced at INR 1.17lak (ex-showroom Delhi) Feel it’s too high? Think what it would cost if Bajaj was not manufacturing it and if it would come down as a CBU.
It comes with a single color scheme of Black and orange, which not only is beautiful, is also a head turner for sure.
KTM DUKE 200cc Spares and services
Though Bajaj is hosting up the spares and services of the KTM bikes in India, its standards are very high. Service has been good and the spares have been priced fair enough leaving nothing to complain about the bike.
BikeAdvice Verdict: 4/5
Well here comes the final part of the review. So, for which kind of rider is this bike more suited?
Well, KTM has placed this bike as a Street fighter. It does that job brilliantly being the best out there in the market for city riding. It is for those who just don’t use the bike for commuting, it’s for those who travel with an attitude, with passion. It is for those who want to zip around fast in the traffic with all those people around humming, “WooooW” and for a short weekend relaxed ride. It is one of those machines which are built to bring a smile on the rider’s face and is really fun to hang out.
Well, I would like to whole heartedly thank Shreeda Kumar from Bangalore for happily lending his pride possession for BikeAdvice road test and watch it being treated badly by me. Also special thanks to Manish Kumar Choudhary for arranging the bike and helping the review by helping in capturing some beautiful photos while I was riding.
KTM Duke 200cc Technical Specifications
Design Single-cylinder, 4-stroke, spark-ignition engine, liquid-cooled
Displacement 200 cm³
Bore 72 mm
Stroke 49 mm
Performance 18.4 kW (25 hp)
Torque 19.2 Nm
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 cooling liquid 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 300 mm
Brake discs – diameter rear 230 mm
Chain 5/8 x 1/4” (520) O‑Ring
Steering head angle 65°
Wheel base 1,361±15 mm
Ground clearance (unloaded) 165 mm
Seat height (unloaded) 810 mm
Total fuel tank capacity approx. 10.5 l
Unleaded premium fuel (95 RON)
Weight without fuel approx. 125 kg
More KTM Duke Photos from the test ride: