KTM Duke 200
The KTM Duke 200 is a special bike and I realized that even before I swung my leg over it. For a sports bike lover, I found myself ogling at its brawny styling for hours on end and couldn’t get over all the technology it offers. Inverted forks, steel braided lines, lightweight aluminium die cast swing arm, multifunction cockpit, the list went on. And that was just the start because when I rolled her out for a short spin, it actually felt like I had hitched a ride to a very promising future of motorcycling in India.
Looks and Styling:
The KTM Duke 200 is hands down one of the best looking bikes in India right now. It has been built with a purpose and it looks the part. The beefy inverted forks, the naked trellis frame, the sharp headlight and the sculpted tank all lend the KTM a brutish appeal and the presence of a thorough street fighter. But what sets it apart in terms of styling is the attention-to-detail and the world class quality of its equipment. The LED indicators, the futuristic cockpit, the fit and finish of the plastics as well as the paint scheme reek of pure quality. And they don’t just look good, they also score high on the functionality quotient. The multi function cockpit for example is nothing short of technical wizardry and tells you a whole lot more than your speed, rpm and fuel range. This includes:
- Engine temperature
- Average speed
- Riding time in minutes
- Fuel efficiency in kmpl as well as l/100km
- Which gear you are in
- When to shift to the next gear (programmable to suit your need)
- How long before you run out of fuel
- When your next servicing is due
- Shift up indicator that can be programmed to flash between any rpm range and a lot more.
Comfort and Ergonomics
When you sit on the Duke, you know it has been custom built for our city streets. It boasts of street friendly ergonomics because of the raised handlebar and lower set footpegs. The tank too has been designed such that your knees lock in perfectly in your normal riding position and the front side of the split seat is wide enough to give the rider enough room to move about. But it is a little on the hard side and long rides will take a toll on your derriere. And things get worse when it comes to the pillion seat because it hardly exists and is a far cry from any possible definition of comfort.
The 200cc 4 valve DOHC engine of the Duke is liquid cooled and makes 25PS at 10,000 rpm and produces 19Nm of torque at 8500rpm. And the bike has a kerb weight of just 136kgs. That makes for the best in class power-to-weight ratio of 184PS/tonne which compounded by the short and seamless gearing of its 6 speed transmission give the Duke almost a 2 stroke akin acceleration. You have more than enough torque on tap irrespective of which gear you are in and that simply transforms your experience of riding around in traffic. You actually start enjoying zipping through the clogged streets and that’s when you realize that you are riding something truly special.
The clutch is perfectly weighted and progressive and the throttle response is nice and crisp. The bike does stutter a bit between 1.5k to 3k rpm where the fueling is a bit off but from there on it is smooth as silk. The engine revs smoothly all the way through and there are no vibrations even as you climb the rpm rapidly.
Also when it comes to outright performance, I weigh about 72 kgs and was still able to clock 0-60kmph in 3.7 secs and 0-100 in 7.8secs on the speedo, which is mighty impressive. The 6th gear is rather tall though and getting to its restricted top speed of 137 takes sometime after you are past the 120kmph mark.
The braking on the Duke is out of this world. The steel braided lines which come as standard on the Duke empower you with the confidence to brake hard and late in pretty much any situation. You are in tune with all the feedback transmitted by the 280 mm disc at the front and 230 mm rear disc that are both, potent and progressive.
Riding the Duke 200 is so easy that it feels like you are playing a video game. The raised handlebars and lower centralization of its mass make the Duke incredibly flickable and razor sharp when it comes to handling. This is another reason why the Duke is so much fun to ride even in traffic as you can change direction at will and slot it in the smallest of gaps.
The same holds true even when you go corner scorching. You look at a corner and she turns even before you realize it, much like the Yamaha R15. The trellis frame provides exceptional feedback and lets the rider know exactly what’s going on at the surface while the 43mm inverted forks and the direct link WP monoshock (with ten levels of preload adjustment) ensure the bike is poised in corners as well as under hard braking. And then you have the MRF Revz 150/60-R17 rear and 110/70-R17 front radial tyres which provide great high speed stability and excellent traction in corners.
It is really hard to find flaws in the KTM Duke 200 because it hardly has any. If you may, you can complain about its limited tank capacity of 10.5 litres, its stiff seating, the small rear seat and how you can feel the engine heat on your legs because of the absence of a fairing. But then again, it is a street fighter built to conquer the city traffic and not to munch miles. And it does what it’s made for better than any other machine we have in India. It is bloody quick, ridiculously easy to ride and a sharp handler at that. It is a through and through international product when it comes to quality and looks drop dead gorgeous even in neon orange. And to top it all, it comes at an introductory price of just 1.17 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi). So if you are still wondering, whether the KTM Duke 200 is worth the dough, just take it for a spin and the rest will be history.
KTM DUKE 200 TECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS
The KTM Duke 200 was maybe one of the most anticipated motorcycles to come out of Baja’s stables since the news spread about the Pulsar 220 Fi. The baby Duke incorporates many innovations that are a first for the Indian motorcycling industry. From the beautifully exposed tubular space frame to the externally-braced rear swingarm, the Duke 200 sports a plethora of tasty technical bits that every biker worth his salt will go gaga over.
Lets begin at the front. The baby Duke comes equipped with upside-down forks, which is a first for any Indian production motorcycle. Of course the first Indian bike to display this innovation was the defunct Mahindra Mojo, but we guess the project lost its mojo right out of the box. Moving on, the upside down forks on the Duke 200 are produced by WP Suspension and measures 43 mm in diameter (same as the company’s flagship RC8 no less!). The USD forks provide 150mm of travel but more importantly, reduce un-sprung weight as the main mass of the fork (the sliders) are clamped to the chassis via the triple clamps and the lighter stanchions are clamped to the wheel hub through the axel. The suspension offers exceptional rigidity and feel to the rider when riding on scarred city streets or tearing it up round corners.
The Duke 200 also features an industry first radially mounted front brake caliper made by Bybre in India. The caliper features four pistons that clamp down on a 300mm disc. The main benefit of this mounting arrangement vis-à-vis conventional mounting is that it offers very high torsional (twisting) rigidity and better feel. Compared to the conventional sliding pin caliper used on most Indian motorcycles today, where the bolts go through the side of the caliper, the radially mounted caliper has bolts passing through the rear and at the top and bottom part of the caliper body. This enhances its ability to resist torsional loads and offer better feel over a wide range of braking levels. Having a fixed design also leads to quicker release of brake pressure as it is not the whole caliper body that is sliding to one side in order to exert pressure on the brake pads, but it’s just the 4 pistons moving in and out to push the pads from both sides onto the disc. The difference can be felt like night and day when compared to other bikes and is something to be experience at least one. Superbike levels of feel and braking power is what you get with the Duke 200.
Moving backwards on the bike, the Duke 200 features a beautiful tubular space frame – or what is popularly known as a Trellis frame – which is completely exposed for all to gawk at. It is made from high strength steel tubes and is powder-coated black. The frame offers enormous confidence to the rider and is more than up for the job of handling anything that the 200cc mill can throw at it. Due to the inherent rigidity of the space-frame design, the chassis can handle flexing loads very well and hence keeps the bike quite stable when ridden hard. Housed in this beautiful sculpture is the heart of the Duke. Displacing 200cc, the mill produces 25 bhp and 19 nm of torque from its bore and stroke dimensions of 72mm x 49mm. The engine is liquid cooled and features double overhead cams activating two inlet and two exhaust valves. The exhaust chamber has been placed very low in the chassis and close to the center of gravity for mass centralization and it produces a really peculiar and fruity note when the bike is revved. The swingarm is yet another exquisitely crafted die-cast piece with external cross bracing and incorporates the bottom mount for the rear WP shock, which also provides 150mm of travel. It not only looks good but provides very good torsional stiffness and tracking. Bajaj and KTM have worked very hard to keep the bikes’ mass close to its center of gravity in order to make it light and nimble on its feet. All these innovations, combined with a dry weight of just 126 kg and the super short gearing, the Duke provides exhilarating performance off the line and throughout the rev-range.
Friday, 24 August 2012 05:55
Hi i am in dilemma to choose b/w KTM DUKE and R15 v2.0. Please suggest me a good advise to buy a bike b/w them.I'm 5'7". I like the appearance of R15 but technically duke is good.Tell me the mileage of both bikes in city.whether Pulsar 200ns is good when compared with these bikes?Plz suggest b/w those 3 bikes.............
Thursday, 09 August 2012 09:14
Orange Monster :)