Ktm Duke 125 (2011 - current): Babies gone wildEngine: The single cylinder liquid cooled 124.7 c.c. engine with a SOHC four-valve head delivers 15 bhp / 10500 rpm and 1.2 kgm / 8000 rpm torque, claimed values.
Actually the small engine is very linear. Increasing engine revs, power output is increased proportionally, no noticeable bursts or weaknesses at the power curve. On the other hand, it will accept a higher gear operation without usual surging.
Minimum engine revs to avoid surging during acceleration, 3000 rpm. Simply the DukeĒs acceleration will be weak as long as engine revs are not kept high. The selected gear indication is very helpful for the rider.
The 125 cc engine feels powerful, no miracles performed here though. An experienced rider will not be thrilled because of engine performance, it is obvious that engine capacity is neither 250 nor 200 cc.
To go really fast, rider has to show no mercy to the engine revs, the top range of the power band should be used. As an indication, more than 8000 rpm are necessary for satisfactory acceleration.
Rev limiter intervenes at 11500 rpm, except form the last sixth gear. The engine revs given above, are rpm meter indications.
Under full throttle acceleration the speed of 30 Km/h is achieved very-very fast, 50 Km/h very fast, 70 Km/h quickly, 90 Km/h adequately, the 109 Km/h top speed is achieved moderately.
It is important that the top speed is electronically limited, rpm meter indicates 11000 rpm, 500 rpm lower than before.
Overtaking on fast cruising roads will require planning, because at the 109-110 Km/h figure, the game is over for top speed, rev limiter intervenes. Engine is coughing for a few seconds, the little Duke begins to slow down, process is restarted and so on... Rev limiter operation is kind of abrupt, it could be improved.
Like any Ktm faithful to the brandĒs roots, a decisive left foot is required to avoid false neutral gear engagement. The led gearshift indicator may be set to light up at the rpm threshold desired by the rider, for example at 7500 rpm during engine run - in. Engine is quite frugal in terms of fuel consumption. Valve adjustment interval is short, 5000 km.
Riding position: The seat height is normal for a supermotard bike, that is 810 mm. Average height riders or higher, will step a confident foot on the ground.
The dimensions of the bike are small. The width of the handlebar is excluded, it is increased. Also the side surfaces of the fuel tank seem to be vulnerable in case of a fall. It is a point that needs to be improved especially on a motorcycle which is mainly aimed to novice, yet passionate riders.
The bike feels light, 124 Kgs ready to race, without fuel, claimed value.
Rider is placed mainly over the bike, riding position provides alertness, although its not a racing one. Rider's legs are placed slightly backwards. This would be very useful in a motorcycle designed for a drag strip, the Duke 125 is really far from there. Perhaps it is simply an impression game.
On the road: Suspension stiffness is average. An inverted 43 mm fork is equipped. There is no linkage at the shock absorber. A steel Trellis frame is used.
The factory fitted tyres are MRF with dimensions 110/70-17 front, 150/60-17 rear. They are considered a very moderate choice, especially on slippery roads.
On city rides the Duke 125 is an easy, daily, very agile and robust bike. It will fulfill the needs of the rider, the only possible compromise asked is due to the broad handlebar during filtering.
At this point both the handlebar and mirrors height is equal with carĒs and SUVĒs mirrors respectively, which does not result in a great problem for the rider. Conclusively the Duke is not a top filtering bike for the 125 c.c. category standards.
Steering lock is great, it will be very helpful for the rider in congested traffic.
Road imperfections are absorbed quite good, not superbly though. Perhaps for the age group that this bike is addressed to, comments about comfort might be something like this weekĒs useless information.
The mirrors are marginally outside from the immediate riderĒs field of vision. In order to look through mirrors, rider should instantly get his eyes away from the road.
Eventually the Duke 125 is a motorcycle tempting the rider, who would wish to have a good excuse to ride at a nimble pace across the city. Riding this bike is not an indifferent process even downtown.
On B- roads the Duke feels quite different. The superb agility, wheelbase 1350 mm, and robustness provide great riding. The Duke could be described as a solid game, although it's quite a serious game.
Rider will be thoroughly fulfilled from the provided ... services of the Ktm, up to a nimble pace for the 125 cc category standards.
At the fast pace on average friction factor B- roads, feedback to the rider gets decreased. This is due to the factory fitted tyres, which set the riding limits when rider is smiling inside his helmet on roads like this.
If rider persists on charging, sliding away is close, no obvious prior warning provided. If better tyres are fitted on this kind of roads, they would provide greater feedback and better progressiveness when sliding.
Finally, purposefully skidding at the entrance of the turns, that is ridden in motard style, is easy and confident enough.
On faster turns, a street bike style should be adopted, the Duke is very stable, although feedback to the rider is average once more. The small pillion seat serves as a stop for the rider then. The 125 c.c. engine is small for such a pace, the party soon comes to an end.
On high friction factor B-roads, rider will be overwhelmed even at the fast pace. Rider feels like mastering an integrated bike. Feedback to the rider could be slightly better, riding too fast.
The weak bhp output is the problem faced by the rider then. A high cornering speed will be achieved, throttle off engine operation will be rare.
Even on a succession of road imperfections during the turn, the suspension will provide a convincing feedback, the wheels will follow the road surface.
For anyone who is interested in such riding conditions, changing tyres and will again be asked, although not as urgently as described at the previous paragraphs.
On dirt roads the KtmĒs racing genes cannot be hidden. The Duke is comfortable, robust and effective. In other words, itĒs a fun bike, limits are set by the road tyres used, which is typical in supermoto category.
On the highway the little Duke will not be a satisfying bike. The electronically controlled 109 Km/h top speed, restricts overtaking of slower vehicles. Conclusively, planning will be required for overtaking and avoiding obstacles on the right lane, and of course riding patience. Several times.
Single disc brakes, 280 mm front and 230 mm rear are used. A two piston radial caliper at the front, a single piston caliper rear, steel brake lines are equipped. The front brake is very powerful and progressive, providing good feedback. The rear brake is powerful, providing a strong initial bite, feedback is good.
The brakes are between the best of both worlds, aiming to novice and experienced riders. A unique compromise will be required due to the power of the front brake. That is the need for better tyres when the motorcycle is used on average friction factor streets.
Comments: Turning the key, a “ready to race” welcome message is displayed. Perhaps Ktm is one of the few companies that actually mean it in the 125 c.c. category. The digital display is top class.
The design of the bike is very youthful, energetic, full of bold angles and lines. The design similarities with the 690 c.c. big brother, especially concerning the aluminum swingarm and the muffler under the engine, are important for a 125 c.c. motorcycle.
The symbols on the handlebar switches light up internally. Indicators and rear light use led lights. Pillion handgrips are very beautiful. Quality build is very good.
200 and 300 cc engine versions will be produced also. It is an excellent factory planning as the engine limitations and factory fitted tyres are the two weak points of the bike.
The engine performance is expected to be weak because of the limited capacity. Power provided is limited to 15 bhp because European Union regulations for novice riders, aged 15-16 years old.
Ktm manufactured a bike with excellent specifications and road handling, on a relatively low cost. The company conducted a six months research throughout Europe in order to comprehend the taste of young riders concerning their first motorcycle. It is known that the age of average motorcyclist is getting older slowly in Western countries, unfortunately.
The Duke is manufactured in India by the Bajaj company, partner of Ktm, under high Ktm specifications. The bike parts come from India , China, Poland, some of these companies involved are subsidiaries of well-known European brands like Brembo-WP. It is something that Europeans and other manufacturers are now, implementing, one or the other way.
The Duke 125 is an integrated bike aiming to novice riders willing to learn riding and raise the level of their adrenaline at will, safety first. Graduating from the elementary or high school of biking, it will be due to a feeling trapped sensation, because of the restrictions imposed by the small engine capacity of the Duke.
Price: 3890 Euros
+ Integrated bike for novice riders willing to be improved
- Factory fitted tyres
- We will be waiting for the larger capacity versions of the Duke 125